One major thing that made Bartholomaus so different was his attitude toward the Tamil people. He didn't see them as his inferiors, like many Europeans did. From the time he first landed, he chose to live among the Tamil, attend their school, and really try to understand their culture -- he even studied their religion, to better understand them. The result of his study of Hinduism was simple: everything they had been looking for was in Jesus Christ, and he was delighted to share that news with them.
Bartholomaus became the very first missionary to discard the idea of trying to Europeanize his converts. For example, they didn't need to adopt Western clothing styles as long as their clothes were modest. There was no reason for them to change their eating habits, either. In short, their culture, as much as it did not come in conflict with the Bible, could remain a part of their lives.
Remember his gift in music? He discovered some gifted poets and musicians among the Tamil Christian community. He encouraged them to write their own Christian music to be used in their worship services, thus introducing the singing of Tamil lyrics to Indian melodies in the church. Again, this was very unusual for a missionary in his time period.
The missionary board did not have available funds, but knew of another missionary society that would be interested: The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) of London, which is still in existence today. They had been forbidden to work in that area of India, and when they saw an opportunity to make an impact they sent everything that would be needed to start printing in India.
Sara McCaslin is an engineer, a computer scientist, and a freelance writer.