Orissa also has many beautiful Hindu temples, located in India’s equivalent of national parks.Tourism is a government-controlled industry in Orissa.
Muslim missionaries made few inroads among the common people of Orissa. In the 1750s the British began gaining political influence in eastern India through a series of wars, but they couldn’t annex Orissa until 1803.
The British takeover opened the door for Christian missionary activity.
There are a number of scheduled tribes who have a higher than average Christian population.
These tribes are often wealthier than their caste Hindu neighbors because they qualify for national government jobs.
The competition for government jobs has strained ethnic and caste relations in Orissa.
Those who don’t qualify for affirmative action programs often resent those who do.Baptist missionaries, serving with the London Missionary Society, were already active in the neighboring state of Bengal.Some of these missionaries moved south to preach the gospel in what is now Orissa.Though there are large forests that could produce a lumber industry and a long coastline that could support a vibrant fishing industry, the private sector remains weak. The national government is Orissa’s biggest employer.There is a large dam in Orissa, under the control of the national hydroelectric company.People from the scheduled tribes see conversion to Christianity as a way to maintain an ethnic identity separate from India’s mainstream Hindus.