Vengal Chakkarai

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Vengal Chakkarai
Vengal Chakkarai Chettiar

(1880-01-17)17 January 1880
Died14 June 1958(1958-06-14) (aged 78)
Occupationtheologian, activist

Vengal Chakkarai Chettiar (17 January 1880 – 14 June 1958) was an Indian Christian theologian, missionary, independence activist, politician and trade unionist.[1]

Early life[edit]

Chakkarai was born to a Hindu Chettiar family.[1][2] He was educated at the Scottish Mission School, Madras Christian College, graduating in 1901 after majoring in philosophy.[1][1] He then studied at Madras Law College, and practiced for some time as a lawyer.


In 1913, Chakkarai joined the Danish Mission Room as a Christian preacher and worked as a missionary for twenty years. During these years, he also became a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi and participated in the Indian independence movement. He served as mayor of Madras from 1941 to 1942.


Chakkarai tried to explain the Christian faith through the Hinduism point of view.[1] This can be seen when he tried to find the meaning of cross for the followers of Christianity with how to get moksha.[1]

Some of the Chakkarai's point of view about Christianity:[1]

  • Jesus is truly human (sat purusa).
  • Holy Spirit is Christ himself who continues to exist and work until now.
  • God can not be seen as the creator of sin.
  • Humans themselves are responsible for the sins that they commit.
  • Knowledge of God is not something that is intellectual (jnana), but a personal experience of God (anubhava).
  • Sin is seen as the handcuffs (pasa), which prevents the human soul (pasu) to reach God.
  • The essence of sin is the desire to find "the mystery of the forbidden".


  1. ^ a b c d e f g (in English) Andreas Anangguru Yewangoe.1987.Theologia crucis in Asia: Asian Christian views on suffering in the face of overwhelming poverty and multifaceted religiosity in Asia. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi BV. pp. 59-80.
  2. ^ (in Indonesian) FD Wellem.1993.Riwayat Hidup Singkat Tokoh-Tokoh Dalam Sejarah Gereja. Jakarta: PT BPK Gunung Mulia. p. 75-77
  • Schouten, Jan Peter (2008). Jesus as Guru: The image of Christ among the Hindus and Christians in India. Rodopi. pp. 117–119.
Preceded by
G. Janakiram Chetty
Mayor of Madras
Succeeded by
C. Tadulinga Mudaliar