At the height of British colonialism, conversion to Christianity was a path to upward mobility for Indian low-castes and untouchables, especially in the Tamil-speaking south of India. In this book, Eliza Kent takes a fresh look at these conversions, focusing especially on the experience of women converts and the ways in which conversion transformed gender roles and expectations. She argues that the creation of a new, "respectable" community identity was central to the conversion process for the agricultural laborers and artisans who embraced Protestant Christianity under British rule. By the creation of a "discourse of respectability," says Kent, Tamil Christians hoped to counter the cultural justifications for their social, economic, and sexual exploitation at the hands of high-caste landowners and village elites. Kent focuses particularly on interactions between Western women missionaries and the Indian Christian women who worked to transform themselves into good wives and mothers who would nurture Christian values in everyday life and show that their community was worthy of esteem and moral regard.