Northern Circars

The Northern Circars (also spelt Sarkars) was a division of British India's Madras Presidency. It consisted of a narrow slip of territory lying along the western side of the Bay of Bengal from 15° 40′ to 20° 17′ north latitude,[1] in the present-day Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

The annexation by the British of the Northern Circars deprived Hyderabad State, the Nizam's dominion, of the considerable coastline it formerly had, assuming the shape it is now remembered for: that of a landlocked princely state with territories in Central Deccan, bounded on all sides by British India.[2]

The territory derived its name from circar or sarkar, an Indian term applied to the component parts of a subah or province, each of which is administered by a deputy governor.[1]

Northern Circars
Division of British India

Flag of Northern Circars
Location of Northern Circars
The Northern Circars shortly after their occupation by the British
 •  The British buy the rights over the Circars 1823
 •  Independence of India 1947
Area 78,000 km2 (30,116 sq mi)


The Northern Circars were five in number: Chicacole, Rajahmundry, Ellore, Kondapalli and Guntur with a total area was about 30,000 square miles (78,000 km2)[1] when Nizam initially lost their control to the Europeans.[3]

In the main, the region at various points of time corresponds to the northern and the central parts of Coastal Andhra region of Andhra Pradesh, including whole of the present-day districts of Guntur, Krishna, East Godavari, West Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam of Andhra Pradesh as well as Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Koraput, Nabarangapur and Malkangiri districts of Odisha and parts of Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh and few parts of Mulugu district (previously in Jayashankar Bhupalapalli), Bhadradri Kothagudem districts of Telangana


Madras Prov North 1909
The Northern Circars in 1909

The region was invaded by the Bahmani Sultanate in 1471; in 1541 they conquered Kondapalli, and nine years later they extended their conquests over all Guntur and the districts of Masulipatam.[1] The sultans appear to have acquired only an imperfect possession of the country, as it was again wrested from the Hindu princes of Odisha about the year 1571, during the reign of Ibrahim, of the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda and Hyderabad.[1] In 1687 the Circars were added, along with the Golconda Sultanate, to the extensive empire of Aurangzeb.[1]

In 1724, Asaf Jah, governor of Hyderabad, declared his independence from the disintegrating Mughal Empire, claiming the title of Nizam al Mulk of Hyderabad. Salabat Jang, the son of the Nizam al Mulk, who was indebted for his elevation to the throne to the French East India Company, granted the district of Kondavid or Guntur to the French in return for their services, and soon afterwards the other circars.[1] In 1759, by the conquest of the fortress of Masulipatam, the dominion of the maritime provinces on both sides, from the river Gundlakamma to the Chilka Lake, was necessarily transferred from the French to the British.[1] But the British left them under the administration of the Nizam, with the exception of the town and fortress of Masulipatam, which were retained by the British East India Company.[1]

In 1765 Lord Robert Clive obtained from the Mughal emperor Shah Alam II a grant of the five Circars.[1] Hereupon the fort of Kondapalli was seized by the British, and on November 12, 1766 a treaty of alliance was signed with Nizam Ali by which the Company, in return for the grant of the Circars, undertook to maintain troops for the Nizam's assistance.[1] By a second treaty, signed on March 1, 1768, the Nizam acknowledged the validity of Shah Alam's grant and resigned the Circars to the Company, receiving as a mark of friendship an annuity of ₤50,000.[1] Guntur, as the personal estate of the Nizam's brother Basalat Jang, was excepted during his lifetime under both treaties.[1] He died in 1782, but it was not till 1788 that Guntur came under British administration. Finally, in 1823, the claims of the Nizam over the Northern Circars were bought outright by the Company, and they became a British possession.[1][4]

The Northern Circars were governed as part of Madras Presidency until India's independence in 1947, after which the presidency became India's Madras state. The northern, Telugu-speaking portion of Madras state, including the Northern Circars, was detached in 1953 to form the new state of Andhra. Although Andhra state was merged with the Telugu speaking parts of Hyderabad State in 1956 to form the state of Andhra Pradesh, the two were once more bifurcated in 2014.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Circar" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 380.
  2. ^ P. N. Chopra, B.N. Puri & M.N. Das, A Comprehensive History of India, Volume 3. pg. 298
  3. ^ Great Britain India Office. The Imperial Gazetteer of India. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908.
  4. ^ The History of Vizag

Coordinates: 17°27′N 83°00′E / 17.45°N 83.00°E

A. B. Masilamani

Acharya A. B. Masilamani or Abel Boanerges Masilamani (1914–1990) was a Golden Jubilee Baptist pastor and evangelist on whom parallels had been drawn comparing his ecclesiastical ministry with that of Saint Paul. The Mar Thoma Syrian Church, one of the Saint Thomas Christian Churches founded by Thomas the Apostle in the first century which holds the annual Maramon Conventions used to have Masilamani preach at its conventions since the 1970s. During one such Maramon Convention held in 1983 at Maramon, Masilamani was one of the main speaker who spoke on Christology in the presence of the two patriarchs of the Mar Thoma Church, Alexander Mar Thoma and Thomas Mar Athanius.Masilamani belonged to the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars and had ministered as a pastor since 1934 and was a spiritual formator from 1955 through 1958 at the Baptist Theological Seminary, a major seminary in Kakinada. Masilamani got popular acclaim, especially as an original hymn writer, in Telugu and nine of his compositions can be found in the Christian Hymnal in Telugu used in the Protestant churches in the Telugu-speaking states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, which P. Solomon Raj, the Lutheran pastor notes that it has been of high literary standard consisting of hymns in Telugu set in music patterns of Carnatic music and Hindustani classical music.In 2000, Roger E. Hedlund, the Missiologist wrote that, along with the Bible, the Christian Hymnal in Telugu also formed the main bulwark of Christian spiritual life for the Telugu folk and of equal use to both the non-literates and the literates as well. Nearly a decade and half after the articles by P. Solomon Raj and Roger E. Hedlund on the importance of the Christian Hymnal in Telugu, G. Babu Rao, the Old Testament Scholar recollects the homiletical significance of the preaching and singing of Masilamani in the context of his birth centenary celebrations held in 2014,

We heard the messages of Masilamani in the Church Society gatherings of the Churches under Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars where Masilamani would preach on a theme with key verses split into three parts, each stuffed with exegetical and expository-devotional and spiritually deep thoughts with exhortations through suitable and easily understood illustrations making an educated and illiterate member of Churches to go home feeling equally enthusiastic after having heard and listened to a wonderful sermon and songs. Sometimes the listeners would go home singing the theme song which Masilamani composed.

While the use of Telugu in Christian hymns was on an upward rise in the Protestant churches, it was not so among their Catholic counterparts who had to stick to Latin. It was not until the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council that vernacular languages began being used instead of Latin. Once the Vatican Council approved the use of vernacular languages in Church liturgy, most of the songs in the Christian Hymnal in Telugu including Masilamani's songs readily found their way into the Catholic Hymn Books in undivided Andhra Pradesh. The Rev. Fr. D. S. Amalorpavadass who espoused the cause of Indian ethos and advocated for inclusion of vernacular languages at the Second Vatican Council rechristened himself as Swamy Amalorananda at a later stage of his ecclesiastical career.

The growth of the Church in Telugu-speaking states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh began taking shape with the advent of Catholic and Protestant Missions. One such Protestant Mission was the Canadian Baptist Mission which propagated the Gospel along the northern circars along the Bay of Bengal. Masilamani was the outcome of the missions and believed in self-identity of the Indian Church. Masilamani struck original ground in his lyrics and a forerunner in developing the Indian ethos way ahead of Rev. Fr. D. S. Amalorpavadass. At a later stage of his ecclesiastical life, Masilamani also rechristened himself as Acharya A. B. Masilamani in the spiritual traditions of India.

A. D. Matheson

A. D. Matheson was a Baptist Pastor who served as a missionary in India from 1920 through 1965 as part of the overseas missionary endeavour of the Canadian Baptist Ministries.

After a four-decade missionary service, Matheson was elected in 1960 as the President of the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars succeeding A. B. Masilamani.

After nearly five decades of missionary service in India, Matheson left for Canada in 1965.

Andhra Christian Theological College

Andhra Christian Theological College (ACTC) is a seminary in Telangana which was founded in 1964. It is affiliated with India's first university, the Senate of Serampore College (University) (a university under section 2(f) of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956), and has degree-granting authority under a Danish charter ratified by the government of West Bengal. ACTC is on the Hussain Sagar canal (north) in Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the Secunderabad Junction railway station.The college was founded on the Lutheran Theological College campus in Rajahmundry and the founding societies included the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Church of South India, the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars, the Methodist Church in India and the South Andhra Lutheran Church. The Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches held its B.D. classes at ACTC in 1967, and in 1972 the B.D. programme of the Ramayapatnam Baptist Theological Seminary was integrated into the college. When M. Victor Paul was principal (1991-1993), Good Samaritan Evangelical Lutheran Church joined the college.Christian missions in Andhra Pradesh opened seminaries in Gooty (Union Theological Seminary), Dornakal (Andhra Union Theological College, for the Church of South India), Ramayapatnam (Baptist Theological Seminary, for the American Baptists), Luthergiri (Lutheran Theological College), Kakinada (Baptist Theological Seminary, for Canadian Baptists) and Shamshabad (Mennonite Brethren Centenary Bible College, for the Anabaptists). Although professors were exchanged among the seminaries, Bachelor of Divinity students attended Serampore College in West Bengal.

Archibald Gordon (missionary)

Archibald Gordon (born 1882; died 1967) was a Baptist missionary who served in India during 1913-1953 through the Canadian Baptist Ministries.

Baptist Theological Seminary

Baptist Theological Seminary (founded in 1882) is a Protestant seminary of the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars (CBCNC) located in Jagannaickpur, Church Square, Kakinada in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, India. The seminary was affiliated to nation's first University, the Senate of Serampore College (University) in 1949. In the successive years', the Seminary embarked on an ecumenical initiative in 1964 along with other Protestant societies operating in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, namely,

the Lutherans

Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church headquartered in Guntur,

South Andhra Lutheran Church headquartered in Tirupati

the Anglicans, Congregationalists, and Wesleyan Methodists

Church of South India, headquartered in Chennai,

the Methodists

Methodist Church in India, headquartered in Hyderabad

the Baptists

Samavesam of Telugu Baptist ChurchesTogether with the above Protestant societies, the CBCNC and the Baptist Theological Seminary founded the Andhra Christian Theological College in Rajahmundry. However, the Seminary continued to function as a Propaedeutic Seminary in Kakinada without University affiliation.

The Seminary Council administers the Seminary as well as other institutions, the Eva Rose York Bible Training and Technical School for Women, Tuni, the Andhra Christian Theological College, Secunderabad, and the Shanthi Parishodana Patashala, Rajahmundry.

CBM Bethel Hospital

CBM Bethel Hospital is a participating hospital of the Council of Christian Hospitals, an autonomous body of the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars. The CBM Star of Hope Hospital is located in Vuyyuru, Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, India and was founded in 1906 by missionaries of the Canadian Baptist Mission. It is perhaps the oldest in the region.

Canadian Baptist Mission

The Canadian Baptist Mission (CBM) was established by the Baptist Missionaries of Canada ca. 1850 which is now under the name of Canadian Baptist Ministries. The CBM was founded at the initiative of Thomas Gabriel which gave the impetus to the Canadian Baptists to embark on overseas missions.

In India, the Canadian Baptist Mission work was spread in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. In the postcolonial era, four societies were formed to take over the work of the CBM in India based on linguistic basis,

among the Kui speaking people,

Kui Baptist Association (KBA),

among the Soura speaking people,

Soura Baptist Christian Mandali Sammilani (SBCMS),

among the Telugu speaking people,

Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars (CBCNC),

among the Odiya speaking people,

Utkal Baptist Churches Association (UBCA),

Chetti Devasahayam

Chetti Devasahayam (6 October 1913 – 28 February 1993) was the Registrar of the nation's first University, the Senate of Serampore College (University) who was in office from 1960 through 1975. It was during Devasahayam's tenure at the University that ecumenism gave way to merger of seminaries and the formation of special purpose entity's throughout India. It was Devasahayam who gave the inaugural address when the Andhra Christian Theological College was formed in 1964 in Rajahmundry.

Chetty Bhanumurthy

Chetti Bhanumurti (born 23 February 1888; died 6 January 1973) was a Hymn Writer whose hymns are found in the Hymnal in Telugu. Bhanumurti was a Pastor of the Canadian Baptist Mission/Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars who also led the Principalship of the Baptist Theological Seminary, Kakinada from 1945-1956 leading to its affiliation to the nation's first University, Senate of Serampore College (University) in 1946Comparative religion Scholar R. R. Sundara Rao who researched at the University of Wisconsin–Madison highlighted the literary standard of Chetty Bhanumurti terming him as a pioneer hymn writer whose songs had the element of Bhakti. The Old Testament Scholar, Victor Premasagar was also enthused by the lyrical content in Bhanumurti's compositions, especially Hymn Number 94 titled Yesuku Samanulevaru (Translated Who is equal to you Lord?) with direct reference to Psalm 71:19 and strikingly similar to Tyagaraja's composition in Kharaharapriya. Dayanandan Francis brings Chetti Bhanumurti in the line of another Hymn writer, Purushottam Choudari and writes,

Like Choudari, Bhanumurti also is interested in picking up ideas, thought-forms and even ragas from popular Hindu poems and lyrics, while at the same time endeavouring to broaden the perspectives found in such religious literary forms with distinctive Christian ideas.

Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars

The Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars (CBCNC) is a Christian denomination in north coastal Andhra Pradesh. The churches are part of the Telugu Christian community of Southern India. Its language is Telugu. It is affiliated to the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and the World Council of Churches (WCC). The Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars consists of 1,063 churches and more than 165,400 baptized members.

Council of Christian Hospitals

Council of Christian Hospitals (COCH), an autonomous body of the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars, facilitates the management of the medical institutions founded by the Missionaries of the Canadian Baptist Mission. The COCH is a body corporate under the Indian Societies Registration Act and has its registered office in the premises of one of its participating hospitals, the CBM Christian Medical Centre, Pithapuram in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh.

Formed on April 13, 1973, the COCH sets an annual agenda in the line of the Missionary endeavour to serve the poor and the needy. In terms of continuing education, the COCH is one of the members of the Christian Medical College & Hospital, Vellore where the two members of the Council participate in the Annual General Meeting of the Association of the Christian Medical College & Hospital in Vellore. As a sponsoring body, the COCH also communicates with members of the Churches under Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars inviting applications for possible sponsorship to eligible students to study health-related courses at the Christian Medical College & Hospital in Vellore.

The COCH is represented at ecumenical forums as a member of the Christian Medical Association of India, an affiliated institution of the National Council of Churches in India comprising members from the Protestant and Orthodox Churches in India.

Eastern Coastal Plains

The Eastern Coastal Plains is a wide stretch of landmass of India, lying between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal. It is wider and leveled than the Western Coastal Plains and stretches from Tamil Nadu in the south to West Bengal in the north through Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Chilka Lake is a brackish water lake along the eastern coastal plain. It lies in the state of Odisha and stretches to the south of the Mahanadi Delta.Deltas of many of India's rivers form a major portion of these plains. The Mahanadi, Godavari, Kaveri and Krishna rivers drain these plains. The region receives both the Northeast & Southwest monsoon rains with its annual rainfall averaging between 1,000 and 3,000 mm (39 and 118 in). The width of the plains varies between 100 and 120 km (62 to 80 miles).

It is locally known as Utkal Plains in the Northern part between Kangsabati and Rushikulya Rivers, Northern Circars in the Central part between Rushikulya and Krishna Rivers and, as Coromandel Coast in the Southern part from the south of river Krishna till the Southern tip of Mainland India at Cape Comorin where it merges .

First Anglo-Mysore War

The First Anglo–Mysore War (1766–1769) was a conflict in India between the Sultanate of Mysore and the East India Company. The war was instigated in part by the machinations of Asaf Jah II, the Nizam of Hyderabad, who sought to divert the company's resources from attempts to gain control of the Northern Circars.

J. I. Richardson

J. I. Richardson was a Baptist Pastor who served as a missionary in India through the Canadian Baptist Ministries.

Richardson came to India in 1945 and after more than a decade and half he was elected President of Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars in 1958 In the continuing year, Richardson was replaced by Rev. A. B. Masilamani.

After a period of missionary service in India, Richardson returned to Canada and in 1961 became Dean of Carey Hall at the University of British Columbia. In addition to his responsibilities as Dean of Carey Hall, Richardson was also Chaplain to the University of British Columbia as well as Lecturer of Oriental Religions.

L. Prakasam

L. Prakasam was a Pastor of the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars who served as the Auxiliary Secretary of the Bible Society of India Andhra Pradesh Auxiliary during the period 1982-1998, the longest in the history of the Auxiliary.

Prakasam belonged to the Krishna Association of the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars and hailed from Akiveedu

Quirk Memorial Baptist Church

Quirk Memorial Baptist Church (QMB Church), founded in 1948, is a Protestant Church affiliated to the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars. The Church is located on Rama Talkies Road in Resapuvanipalem, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh (India).

The QMB Church is known among the Churches in Visakhapatnam for its proactive programmes.

S. E. Krupa Rao

S. E. Krupa Rao (born 8 August 1939; died 15 June 1993) was a Pastor of the Protestant Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars where he held leadership positions in the Church society whose area of operation extended from Srikakulam District in the northern circars along the Bay of Bengal right through seven districts up to Guntur District.

As an Administrator Krupa Rao contributed to the ministerial, technical and medical ministries of the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars, as Principal of the Baptist Theological Seminary, Kakinada and the Eva Rose York Bible Training and Technical School for Women, Tuni as well as to the Council of Christian Hospitals, Pithapuram. Krupa Rao headed the Major Seminary in Kakinada from 1977 through 1993, the longest ever in the history of the seminary till that point of time. In 1989, he also became Principal of the Eva Rose York Bible Training and Technical School for Women, Tuni succeeding Mildred H. Law.

Talla Gnananandam

T. Gnananandam was a Pastor of the Protestant Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars and was Principal of the Baptist Theological Seminary, Kakinada during 1968-1969, the shortest ever in the history of the seminary.

Timpany School

Timpany School is a Christian mission school in the city of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. It was founded in the year 1931, in the Indian pre-independence era by Dr. Rev. A.W. Timpany of the Canadian Baptist Mission. It is managed by the Evangelical Trust Association of South India (ETASI) and the Chairman of ETASI Dr. Ken Gnanakan, is also the current Chairman of Timpany Schools. The medium of instruction for the school is English.The school has three campuses in and around Visakhapatnam with each campus affiliated to different Boards of Education:

Timpany School (Asilmetta) - affiliated to the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), New Delhi.

Timpany Steel City School (Gajuwaka) - affiliated to CBSE.

Timpany Secondary School (CBM Compound) - affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi.

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