2006-06-08 10:05:39

 North East India needs to be saturated with the GOSPEL of CHRIST through a CHURCH PLANTING MOVEMENT! To saturate N.E. India with churches we need to see at least 1CHURCH for every 1000 PEOPLE! N.E. India is the least evangelized except  (Nagaland,Mizoram and Meghalaya) and the biggest most unreached(more than 85% unreached) block within the 10/40 window area. As the Lord Jesus Christ says, “The harvest truly is great but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37). North East unreached PEOPLE GROUPS are:

  1. Hindus- Assamese, Bengalis, Meiteis, Nepalis, tea gardeners and others.
  2. Muslims- Assamese, Bengalis, Meiteis and others.
  3. Buddhists- Sikkimese, Bhutias, Chakmas, Monpas and others.
  4. Animists- Rajbongsis, Boros, Tripuris, Hajongs, Jaintias, Adis, Arunachalis and others.

N.E.India has more than 44 million people and 200 people groups with only 14% Christians in the region and most of them are nominal Christians and therefore unaware of the unreached people groups in N.E. India. “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Now I am giving here a brief panoramic view of each state in N.E.INDIA. In ation given here are selective and brief. This is the first series of MISSION N.E.INDIA, which is designed to give special focus on the ‘last frontier of mission’ in India.

 

1.      ASSAM:

Area                 78,000 Sq Km

Population        26,787,248

Religion           

Hindu              57.13%

Muslim            37.43%

Christian            4.32%

Buddhist            0.50%

Others                0.62%

 

 To the outside world, ASSAM is generally known by its tea, oil and wildlife. While the neighbouring states of Assam like Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram have been evangelized; Assam till now has only 4% of its population as Christians. Most nominal Christians are found in Assam among the N.E.Indian states. Therefore they are not even reaching their own brothers and sisters with the GOSPEL of CHRIST. This the great Challenge for us today!  Assam population growth accelerates and further doubled since 1971 due mainly to influx from outside specially Muslims. Diversity of cultures, languages and religions has made Assam distinctly unique and

Special. While Assam remains the biggest challenge to the churches of N.E. India and like-minded mission organizations around the world, Assamese churches sad to say are neither growing nor involved in Mission. Therefore, there is an urgent need for renewal of Assamese churches. As Assamese population multiplies rapidly, and as anti-Christian forces are gaining momentum and as there are so many openings and opportunities, reaching Assam for Christ must be considered by churches and missions as the most urgent thing to do now.

 

MUSLIMS IN NORTH EAST INDIA

.

THE FACT IS, ONE OUT OF EVERY FIVE PERSONS IN THE EARTH TODAY IS A MUSLIM.WHO CARES FOR THEIR SALVATION ? WHO WILL TAKE THE GOOD NEWS TO THEM ?(Rev.Syed Mazhar Shayan, Director, Gospel for Children of Ishmael,Dimapur, Nagaland).

 

DO YOU KNOW THIS ?

 

1. The fastest growing religion in the World is Islam with 1.4 billion followers (a) Highest rate in biological growth, (b) also growth Evangelically.

 

2. There 57 Islamic Countries in the World and sharing about Jesus or converting a Muslim in these countries is punishable by death. The least Evangelized people in this earth are the Muslims.

 

3.  The most populated Islamic country is Indonesia with more than 200 million Muslims. The second largest group of Muslims live in India with about 200 million Muslims. There is freedom of sharing the Gospel to Muslims in India than any other country on the earth. It is truly disheartening that in spite of religious freedom in India 99% of Muslims are still unreached. It is sad fact that not even 1% of Churches or Christian Organizations are ever directly or indirectly involved in ministry to Muslims. We would like to urge all Churches and Christian Organizations to come forward and be involved in reaching Muslims in North East and other parts of India. Pray and consider being partner with us in this great ministry for the Lord.

 

4.  It was  1994 when I was a leader of western Baptist Association the Lord helped us to led  Late Mr. Hussain Losker a Muslim priest who encountered personally with  the Lord Jesus Christ and accepted Him as his Savior and he became first Evangelist in our Area. Through his ministry  many Muslims came to the Lord Jesus Christ. Being seeing his strong determination to  win Muslims for Christ he was murdered on June 13, 1996 while returning from his preaching tour. The murder was plotted and instigated by four Islamic priests as it was disclosed by the murderer when he was arrested by the police. Every month he receives threatening letters from the fanatics Muslims yet nothing could stop him and his workers from preaching the Gospel to Muslims in the North east India.

 

5. Orginally Muslims lives in this parts of India, were converted from Hinduism to Islam. During the period of 1000 years Mughal rule in India. By race about 80% of them are Bengali speaking, about 18% are Assamese and rest 2% are Urdu and Hindi speaking Muslims. In 1971 war between India and Pakistan and after the liberation of Bangladesh million of Hindus and Muslims are illegally migrated to this parts of India. Though majority of them are Hindu migrants, yet Muslim migrants should not be neglected. According to various NGOs there are more than 12 million illegal Muslims are living in the North Eastern parts of  India. They are not being enrolled in the census or in the voters list yet they are living since last 30 years.

 

6. Bengali speaking Muslims are known as Miyas and Assamese speaking are known as Goria  Muslims and rest are known as Muslims or Musalman.

 

7. Most of the have adopted Arabian surname as Shaikh, Syed and some of them have adopted Persian or Afghan.

 

8. Now regarding the population of Muslims in North East India is difficult to figure out. Officially it is 13.5 Million but unofficially more than 18 Million. In Nagaland state official population of Muslims are not even 45, thousand  but the fact is this, there are more than 350 thousand Muslims living in the District of Dimapur alone.

 

9. In the North East India 70% of Muslims are Bengali speaking, 25% are Assamese speaking Muslims and the rest are Urdu and Hindi speaking Muslims. Most of these Urdu and Hindi speaking Muslims are from the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

 

10. Occupationally the following categories of Muslims are living in the North East of India. 40% labors Class, 45% farmers, 12% Business and rest 3% are Government and no-n Government services.

 

11. 99% of Muslims are Sunni and few Ahmedia. 60% Muslims are mystic(Sufis) and in local term they are known as Marfatee Muslims and in other hand they are folk Islam. They always follow a spiritual leader, who is known in their community as PIR BABA. 38% are pious Muslims, and they are known as Saryati Muslims, this category of Muslims strictly follow their traditions of Islam and try their best t observe all Islamic rituals, prayers fasting, alms giving and going to Mecca for pilgrimage etc. and rest 2% are intellectual Muslims. There are not known Shiite Muslims in this part of North East India. There are no differences in their beliefs and practices than rest of Indian Muslims.

 

12.   In the state of Nagaland we have 185 Muslims accepted Jesus Christ but in the state of Assam we have only 150 accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

 

13.   Literacy rate is very poor, 70% of Muslims are illiterate in the North East India, and especially Bengali speaking Muslims. Women are more neglected.

 

14. Practices, Culture, Bengali Muslims more or less follow Bengali culture and Assamese Muslims follow Assamese culture but there is no great differences between them.

 

15.  Though Muslims does not practice child marriages but early age marriages are very common. Most of the girl parents try to give their daughters at the age of 16 years. Dowry practices are picking up these days among educated class of Muslims but not like Hindus in India

 

16.  Few Gospel Literature are available in Muslamani Bengali and Muslmani Assamese. We use Bengali Injil Sharief, from Bible Society of India, which we use for the ministry among Muslims. Beside that we have printed few tracts and booklets in English and Musalmani Bengali. Printing Assamese Injil Sharief  is under translation and few Musalmani Assamese tracts are available. So far there are no Musalmani Bengali or Musalmani Assamese Audios or videos for the ministry among Muslims in North East India.

 

17.  Pray for the Churches in North East India that they will take the challenge and proclaim the Gospel and also support the ministries ministering among the Muslims in North East India. The Churches and Christians in this part of the country are not taking interest on Muslims ministry. Recently some few of us are interested to reach Muslims in North East India. Pray for more supporters and workers to reach these people and pray for relevant literature need to translate and print in their languages (Assamese, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi and English). Pray for the strength and protection for the converted believers from Islamic background, they face lot of oppositions from their own community.

 

18.  Pray for 350 thousand Muslims living in Dimapur District of Nagaland. In Assam out of 24 Districts, 8 Districts are Muslims populated and they are: Karimganj, Silcher, Nogaon, Tezpur, Dhupri, Barpeta, Kamrup and Sonitpur. We are working now in Kamrup District of Assam.

 

MUSLIMS IN ASSAM

 

Among the religions  Assam Muslims are rapidly growing every year. Today Assam has more than 10 millio Muslims. In 8 districts of Assam, Muslims are majority. Due to low literacy rate among Muslim women and the continued inflow of immigrants from across the border, the Muslims’ growth rate is accordingly higher than the rest. While the national population growth rate is 10% per annum, North East India maintained a higher rate of growth (12%), which means the components of population in North East India, is still in a state of flux.

 

PEOPLE GROUPS IN ASSAM.

 

The different tribes and castes of  Assam other than Assamese and Bengalis are – Bodos, Koch Rajbongsis, Karbis, Misings, Rabhas, Tiaas(Lalungs), Kachris, Deoris, Chutujas, Matak-Morans, Garos, Meities,Nepalis,Bihars,Rajbongsis,Rongmei Naqgas,Mizo-Kuki-Hmar, Khasis, Chakmas. Tea Gradners(Santalis, Oriyas, Saoras,Orangs,Mundas,Kharias)

 

Among the above mentioned people groups, tribals, including Nepalis are considered receptive to the Gospel. Those tribes and castes who had longer association with Assamese and Bengalis or whose numbers are much smaller then the dominant communities had been assimilated to Assamese culture in greater measures than others. Example Tea Gardeners, Rajbongsis, Deoras etc. Who will reach them ?

 

The Tea Gardeners speaks Assamese, so also most of the tribals until recently. The present trend is for each community is to revive their own native language or dialect and hence Assamese as a language is being reduced to a second language specially among the schedule tribes and other backward classes. But Assamese will remain the link language in Assam.

 

LANGUAGE WISE

Assamese                 57%

Bengalis                   22%

Schedule Castes       15%| also speaks Assamese

Schedule Tribes         8%|

 

 

PEOPLE GROUPS N.E. INDIA

 

TAKAM MISING People of N.E.India

 

Mising Population 12,00,000 (N.E.India)

Assam Population  11,50,000

The rest are scattered in Arunachal, Meghalaya etc.

 

 

1. MISING PEOPLE AND HISTORY

 

It is often said that Takam people are ‘the largest missing people’ in N.E.India as they have long been neglected and marginalized and nearly absorbed by the main stream Assamese culture. Lately, several of the Mising people have ed themselves into groups to assert their native right s and identity. Very few have become Christians in the process. Having no economic base, due to illiteracy, ill-health and dependency on others, they still live in the remote jungles and riverside, many of them surviving barely on daily wage labourers. Some who moved to the urban areas have done better. Like all other tribals, their history went back to China and Mongolia from where they settled down in the plains iof Assam.They have their own tribal deities but now heavily interpolated with Hindu worship and practices. During rice bear is customary among all the Miris/Misings.

 

Strategy/The Challenge and Task

 

As most Miris/Misings live in the north bank of Assam, the North Bank Baptist Christian Association(NBBCA) had initiated works among them since 1949 mostly through its John Firth School based in North  Lakhimpur. Recently some progress had been made even in the other parts of Assam. All Mising Baptist Fellowship was ed in 1986 under which almost 30 fellowship have now emerged. The main aim of this fellowship is to find “Missing people” for Christ.

NBBCA had initiated a more ambitious plan of reaching the Mising through its association. From Nagaland some tribes also have individually started Mising mission

Just recently. NBBCA has prepared plans to employ more workers to work among the Mising people. But much progress could not be made due to lack of workers and financial resource.

 

Possible Plan of Action

 

Proper survey of the Mising People-locations, culture, religion and world view must be collected. This background in ation is first and foremost essential for future planning.

 

The estimated 1500 Mising Christians must be carefully nurtured to make them a reproducing and responsible Christians.

 

Make plans to develop leadership among the Mising Christians that is crucial and urgent. If other churches/mission agency could support this goal, that would be very helpful.

 

While there are attempts to make them accept Hinduism, there are among the younger generation who desire to revive their own customs, languages and culture. This has made them more open to new ideas and thoughts. This is why proclaiming the gospel to Mising People in a way they can understand is so important. Till now Mising People as a community have not had the clearly and fully proclaimed to them. More than a million people ‘missing’ must be the concern of all those who have been found. New Testament portion had been translated into Mising.

 

2. DEORIS OF ASSAM

 

Traditionally associated with the royal temples of the Chutyias of Upper Assam (Gait 1905), the name ‘Deoris’ derived from the Sankrit ‘Deva Grihika’ means the temple guard or priest (Kakati 1967). They would like to be called themselves these days as ‘Gemasaya’ meaning ‘the children of the sun and the moon’.

 

Recognized as one of the plains schedules tribe of Assam, they are mostly scattered in the districts of N.Lakhimpur, Demaji, Dibrugarh,Tinsukia, Sibsagar and Darrang.Total population estimated to be around 50,000. Historian like Brown opined that they migrated from Lohit district of Arunachal into Assam.The four main sub-clans of Deoris are Dibongiya,Tengapaniya Borgonya and Patorgonya.Intermarriage among the sub-sections are prevalent.

 

Due to close association with the Chutiyas, who are recognized as ‘other backward classes’ of Assam, the Deoris are noted for their religiosity. They are culturally and religiously allied to the Chutiyas who have embraced Hinduism. They have their distinct culture, language and animistic religion (kundu mania), which however have been overwhelmingly influenced by Assamese religion and culture.

 

As regards their origin, one theory states that they were originally Aryans, moving from central Asia to Mongolia and finally entering into India. Their food habit and language confirms their affinity to the tribes of NE India.In Assam, the Deoris have adopted Assamese dress, custom and to great extend religion also. Only recently, the Deoris are trying to revive their own customs and traditions which they want to claim distinctly Deoris. Often when people movement like these takes place, they are most respective to new ideas. This means they are open to the Gospel as well. What we need is a vision and commitment to share the gospel to the Deoris. Angami Baptist Association has recently started working among these tribes.

 

3.KACHARI DIMASA.

 

Dimasa- means ‘sons of the great river ‘. They are mostly found in North Kachar and Karbi Anglong districts of Assam. Their population is 1,11,344. Slash and burn cultivation is their traditional as well as their present occupation. With regard to religion, Hindus are 80.54%, while 20.46% subscribed Christianity. The Dimasa Kachari people are also listed under scheduled tribe in Meghalaya and Mizrom. There are a few Christians among Dimasa people in Karbi- Anglong area under Karbi Anglong Baptist Convention and in North Cachar hills of Assam. There is a great need for proper survey and research on Dimasa people.More efforts needed to reach these community.

 

4.THE RAJBONGSHIS OF ASSAM.

 

Historically, the Rajbongshis are considered blood brother of the Bodos. Due to inter marriage with non-tribals and eventual adoption of Hindu religion, they appeared to be the most Sankritised among all the tribals of North East India. Accordingly, they are also variously known as scheduled castes of India. They are also know as ‘Desi’or Bahey and Rajbongshis Kshatriya. The name Rajbongshis simply means ‘people of royal descent’. Many Rajbongshis are educated and employed by government and private establishments.

 

They inhabited West Bengal and Lower Assam mostly. Those living in Assam speak Assamese but majority use Bengali language. Only recently there are attempts to revive their own culture and language. Of the two sub groups- Chhotabhag and Barabhag, the later is considered superior than the er. They followed patrilineal system and their social customs and practices are a mixture of tribal and Hindu traditions. Like other tribal, they are non-vegetarians. Many Rajbongshis occupy high offices in the govt and majority of them are cultivators and other manual works.

 

Their religion may be described as Hinduism with interpolation from tribal religion like worshipping tribal deities. They cremate their death and like Hindus practice a bit of caste system. Only a handful of them have embraced Christianity recently. Baptist Church of Mizoram is working among the Rajbongshis and a few churches have been planted recently. Rajbongshis claimed their numbers to be over 1 million. They are one of the winnable people for Christ. Careful survey and research is needed among Rajbongshis.

 

 

 

5.AMRI KARBI OF ASSAM.

 

One of the tribal groups of Assam inhabiting Kamrup and Nwgong districts and other adjoining areas are known as Amri-Karbis. They belong to the Karbi community which are known as Nihangs, and Putas only separated by a thin line of language and culturally variations. The Nihang- Puta Karbis earlier known as the mikirs live mostly in the Karbi Anglong district of Assam. Amri Karbis are animists with the moderate influence by Hinduism.

 

BASIC STATISTICS OF AMRI KARBIS.

 

1.Number of villages                        201

2.Total population                    1,10,000

3.Total Christian population        10,000 +

 

INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY.

 

It was only in 1982 that Amri Karbi people started embracing Christianity in large numbers through the efforts of Godula Mission based in Merangkong village, Nagaland. Now they have ed Amri Karbi Baptist Church Association.

 

THE UNFINISHED TASK.

 

Godula Mission’s goal is to enlist 10,000 Christians by Ad 2000; Amri Karbi has a hymnbook of their own with portions of Bible in their language. But no Bible is available yet in their language. Churches lack Bible teaching and literacy is very sadly low. Recently, a few of them have joined Roman Catholic Church. As most of them live in the

inaccessible  hills and jungles, the health conditions of the community is quiet poor. There is a great need for building up leadership in the local churches as many of them are poor and illiterates.

 

6. THE LALUNGS OF ASSAM/MEGHALAYA

 

The population of Lalungs sre over 100,000 now mostly inhabiting Nagaon, Karbi Anglong, Kamrup, Sibsagar and Lakhimpur Districts of Assam. They are now known as Tiwa meaning ‘water of good quality’. Their language is called Lalung. They are one of the Bodo-Kachari language group whose origin can be traced to the 17th Century AD when they migrated to the plains of Assam and neighboring Meghalaya. They are divided into 12 exogamous clans namely-Monrong, Madum, Moloi, Dafan, Halkai, Amehi, Kush, Chalong, Kakhor, Amchong, Darphong and Larom. They also employ titles like –Deka, Raja, Bordoloi, Deuri, Senapati, Konwar. Doloi, Bharali and few other surnames. This explains the extent of their assimilation to Assamese culture. But they are meat eaters and use Roman Script instead of Dewangiri.

 

Social customs about marriage, bride price and monogamous system are similar to other tribal groups of North East India. Interestingly, those living in the plains are patrilinial while those residing in the hills follows matrilocal system. The tribal religion of Tiwa have already replaced by Hinduism.1971 census records 99.55% of the as Hindus. 0.38% Buddhists and 0.o7% as Christians.

 

Literacy is low and health care or other developmental works scarcely reach the Tiwas of Assam. Further research needed  to asses the needs of the Tiwa people. At the moment only the Evangelical Church of Marland are working amonmg the Tiwas.Further research and survey needed to work more effectively among the Tiwas.

 

7. THE TEA GARDENERS OF ASSAM

 

The Challenge and Opportunities

 

Assam is historically equated with Tea gardens initiated by the British after annexing Assam in 1842.  Churches have also grown here and there along with the tea industry managed by manual labourers inducted in large numbers from West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa etc. These Tea gardeners in course of time adopted Assamese language and culture and were considered eventually Assamese speaking community. Most of the now speaks ‘sadri’.

 

With the ethnic revolution moving across the length and breadth of Assam, there are enough indications that more than 6 million tea-gardeners and their descendents are now interested  in reviving their original languages and traditions. There has been one common language for all these groups which is collection from Hindi, Assamese, Bihari,

Oriya.

The major ethnic groups are:

 

Oriyas, Sauras (Soras), Santalis, Mundas, Orangs, Kharias. Already different organizations along ethnic lines have already been ed. Some Oriyas and Sauras Christians have also ed their own Fellowships and Churches in Assam. All denominations combined, the Tea gardeners group may be around 300,000 only. We have planted two churches among tea gardeners in Assam. They are more receptive to the gospel but the workers are few. This is the Challenge.

 

POINTS TO PONDER

 

  1. Out of more than 6 million tea garden population, only 300,000 are Christians. The rest remain unreached to day. Who will reach them?
  2. Due to various reasons, tea garden Churches are weak, static and traditional. Till now there has not been any serious attempt to review, build up churches or duely leadership among them.
  3. Outwardly they appear to be receptive to the Gospel. It would be crucial to conduct survey, research and consultations to discover the best strategy to reach them effectively. They can not evangelize their own people. This is the Challenge.

 

 

 

8. BORO OF ASSAM

 

As Bodo (Boro) movement gains momentum to have a homeland of their own, the number game became very important  both for the Boros and the Government of Assam to determine the various claims and counter claims made concerning the exact number of  the Bodos. The Bodo volunteers went all over Assam to make head count of the Bodos and the figures produced as a result of this massive survey had been used to determine the creation of Bodoland within Assam. According to the findings of this survey, the total number of Bodos came to 40,00,000. Out of this total figure we could see how much remains to be done if all the Boros must have an opportunity to hear the Gospel and meaningfully respond to the message of salvation.

 

RATIONALE AND PLAN OF ACTION

 

  1. The Boro tribe of Assam constitute the largest ethnic group in NE India having more than 4 million population and hence can not be ignored.
  2. Out of the 4 million only 5% are Christians which is indeed a very small percentage. Thus, the unfinished task is still considerable.
  3. The recent Bodoland movement has awakened the whole Boro people seeking a new identity, which makes them more receptive to the Gospel.
  4. There is growing and passionate concern on the part of Boro Christians to bring their fellow tribesmen to the saving knowledge of Christ and more efforts are being made to win the winnable.
  5. There is also at the same time a new movement to revive traditional animistic religion “BATHOU WORSHIP” whose followers are campaigning against Christianity or other religions. Their main target is however the Christians and those wanting to accept Christianity.
  6. The Bodoland movement and for that matter the Assam political and social situation is unpredictable and could swing in any direction which may be the beginning of an uncertain situation for the Gospel proclamation and Church planting unless the present opportunities are seized by the Church.
  7. The younger generation especially the educated group(High School –upwards) have shown greater openness and eagerness to hear the Gospel and there are not enough workers, resources and tools to get hold of these young people. Hence the need to speed up the actions towards reaching the younger generation.
  8. There is great need to co-ordinate the missionary movements and efforts made by the churches towards bringing Boros to Christ. We have started working among the Boros in Goalpara and Kamrup districts of Assam.
  9. Once the Boros are evangelized there are similar tribal groups around them who can be easily covered by the Boro Christians with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  10. If the Boros are firmly followers of Jesus Christ it would be easier to reach other larger groups of Assam like Assamese or Bengalese as the Boros are well conversant with these two languages or cultures having lived together for ages.

 

 

 

9. THE RABHAS

 

The Rabhas  are Hindus more than 90% and Christians are less than 10%. They live in Goalpara, Kamrup and Darrang Districts of Assam. We have started working among the Rabhas in Goalpara and Kamrup Districts of Assam.

 

Religion of the Rabhas:

 

Rabhas has a large collection of deities and animistic gods and goddesses. In order of importance they are:

  1. Rishi –(male or female status not yet confirmed). Some forest dwellers also call mahakal or Baraburi(Assam).
  2. Rantuk and Basek- Household god (Dhan-Lakshmi). Rajbongsis and the Bodos called Thansiri or maikao.
  3. Machik Bai- God of life, protector and blessings. Rabhas also pay respect to many spirits and worship nature, trees, rivers, rocks etc. Who will bring Rabhas from all these bondages? This is a challenge!

 

Hinduization Movement:

 

It started in 1930 from Bhorea village of Cooch Bihar district as the Rajbonsis and others who have been assimilated into the Hindu society continually marginalized them. So they too wanted to improve their social status by becoming Hindus. They were refused entry into the Hindu temple and the movement died down.

 

Later around 1940, Sri Dhaneshwar Bhattacharya took up the cause of making Rabhas as Hindus as many are being attracted to becoming Christians. The Rabhas, Garos, Meches and Koches are considered untouchables by the Hindus. By the help of Royal Pandith of Cooch Behar, he visited  many Rabha villages and organized purification ceremonies for the Rabhas. During this period when the Rabhas were struggling to obtain Hindu status, the freedom movement was already launched by the Congress. Sri Deban Das Rabha took up the cause of freedom movement propagated Jangjogi religion in 1960.But this was partially successful among the forest Rabhas only.

    

10. KARBIS (KARBI ANGLONG)

 

erly known as MIKIRS, they are now called “Karbi Anglong”. Karbi Anglong District was created on 14th October 1976.

Area                   10332 Sq. KM.

Population           700,000 (+)

Literacy                40%

 

Religion:

 

Traditional religion “Honghari” animistic in content and practice followed by the Karbis. The priest of “Kurushar” per s all the rituals and sacrifices except sacrifice offered to a Tiger god which is done by “Denja.” Chumangkam (memorial service), Lantuk Harney (honouring departed souls) are the most popular festivals. The sacrifice system of the Karbis are very similar to the Jews as recorded in Leviticus chapter 19 of the Bible.

 

Social Organizations:

 

Karbis are well organized and they have a headman (Sarthe) blacksmith (Hemai) Pherangki (village crier) wood curver (baroi). Kathar Bura was the last kind of the Karbis who lived near Socheng in Hamren Sub-division. The marriage celebrations “Adam Asa” per ed through songs and serenades are very interesting . Karbis are patrilineal society. Dead bodies are now cremated although burial system was used earlier. Karbis claimed that some Karbis are in Arunachal  Pradesh state also.

 

Karbis speak one common language and are believed to have migrated from China through Burma using Moirang passage in Burma and landed in Assam prior to the arrival of the Ahoms. The Gospel came to Karbi Anglong  Area from Nowgoan side as well as from Hamren side almost 200 years ago. Baptists first came to this area, followed by other denominations like the Anglicans and the Presbyterians, Catholics etc. To day the Christians are growing and its about 20% now.

 

Challenge:

 

1. The great challenging task is to develop local Christian leaders and enable the Churches to be self-supporting and self  propagating. Till now, Churches in Karbi Areas are heavily dependent  upon outside resources and personnel.  Developing local Churches would necessarily require spiritual awakening of the local Churches before any meaningful evangelistic or development works can be attempted.

2. Grassroots level evangelism instead of big conferences have always been found successful. Hence  ways and means to strengthen local churches is the first priority.

 

3.  From the traditional method of preaching and evangelism, holistic approach of mission using creative and effective methods and tools must be undertaken to speed up Church planting ministries. As of now, growth rate of Christians compared to other communities is very slow. It is therefore time to review our strategy, method and system employed by Christians.

 

4. Hindus and Muslims are equally active in this area. Karbi community may be overwhelmed by outsiders sooner or later unless their economic, social and political status are improved through education and social development programmes.

 

5. Unless the economic condition of the Karbis are considerably improved through education and economic re s, and unless the Church and Mission groups give priority to this there is no much hope for the future for the Karbis. Karbi Anglong is just a bordering to Nagaland and there is no much opposition to the Gospel.

 

6. Last but not the least, Revival in the Churches is badly needed in the Karbi areas and all over North East India. The Gospel must be proclaimed and taught until it penetrates the culture and superstitious of the people. Churches in Karbi areas will do well to prepare themselves for a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will sweep the length and breadth of Karbi Anglong. To awaken the churches intensive Christ centered Bible studies is needed in the Karbi Anglong Churches.

 

 

There is urgent need to survey and study each language group of Assam as religious fundamentalists both from the Hindus and Muslims are marching on to bring the tribes and castes of Assam to their fold.

  1. Assam today represents the single largest Mission field in N.E.India.
  2. It has by far the largest population among the 8 states of N.E.India now exceeding 26 million with more than 10 million Muslims.
  3. Likewise, Assam also nurtured the biggest numbers of Hindus and Muslims found in N.E.India.
  4. Missiologically, the biggest unreached people blocks are found in Assam i.e. Assamese and Bengalis.
  5. Though historically Assam was first to receive the Gospel, Assam churches remained static and not multiplying like churches of the Hill Areas.
  6. Inspite of nearly 200 years of existence, Christian percentage in Assam today stands 4% only. This is the Challenge.
  7. Again on closer examination of the various ethnic groups of Assam, the majority of the Schedule Castes like – the 6 million tea garden people or the Rajbongsis are still untouched by the Gospel message.
  8. Even majority of tribals like the Boros, Kacharis, Karbis, Missings, Deoris, Dimasas, Rabhas, Lalungs are only partially evangelized.
  9. The number of immigrant people like – the Nepalis, Bangladeshis and Buddhist Chakmas are rapidly increasing everywhere. Who will reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
  10. Muslims are the fastest growing Community and now 8 districts are Muslim majority. Due to low literacy rate among Muslim women and the continued inflow of immigrants from across the border, the Mulsim’s growth rate is accordingly higher than the rest.
  11. Christians are not only minority but made up of lower Castes and tribes which is      economically or otherwise backward and hence unable to impact on the society as a whole.
  12. The overall total number of Hindus decreased in 1991 as many tribals who had been returned as Hindus have started adopting and reviving their traditional religions while good number have embraced Christianity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. ARUNACHAL PRADESH

 

Arunachal Pradesh is remote and mountainous, bordering on China and Myanmar. Politically isolated and sensitive. It was a state with severe persecutions on Christians during 70s and 80s. Many people were killed or jailed or punished because of their faith in Christ. The first persecution against Christian started on 7th January 1969 when four Baptist Churches were burnt by the Govt. authority. In 1971 the Govt. official by the name Jagir Singh ordered to bring all the Bibles in Sagalee area and burnt them in to ashes. Many other kind of persecutions carried out from place to by students, village  leaders and Govt. officials to stop Christianity in the state. Strenuous efforts by the authorities in the late 70s and early 80s to prevent evangelism and persecute Christians have failed, and persecution has ended recently. In 1971 only 0.8% of the population was Christian. The Lord gave me a burden for the Nyishi tribe in Arunachal Pradesh and in 1984 we started our mission to Nyishi tribe and  planted Churches and today the tribe                                                                                                                                               and today the Nyishi tribe has nearly 300 Baptist churches and with other denominations it has more than 400 Churches and the Adi tribe have over 300 churches, and the Tangsas may be 35% Christian. However, restrictive legislation has yet to be repealed. Pray that constitutionally guaranteed freedoms may be granted to Christians. Arunachal Pradesh has 26 major tribes and 110 sub-tribes inhabiting who speaks different languages and dialects. Most of these communities are ethnically similar, having derived from an original Mongolian stock, but their geographical isolation from each other has brought among them certain distinctive characteristics in language, dress and customs.

 

 

THE PERSECUTIONS AGAINST CHRISTIANS

 

  1. The first lawless act against Christians of Subansiri District in Arunachal Pradesh took place on 7th January 1969 when four Baptist Churches burnt into ashes by the Home Guards of Arunacahal Government. The Churches are-Deed, Dem, Neelam and Seya.
  2. On 30th January 1972 all the Christians were ordered in the name of the Deputy Commissioner of the Ziro, Subansiri District and the Christians were asked to get together from the entire area.Then Mr. Takam Han a Christian leader was bound hand and feet and kept confined in a shop. After being confined for eleven days without food Takam Han was brought before the Deputy Commissioner and he was later  released after a warning not to propagate the Gospel.
  3. On 6th February 1972 Late Tasar Mangha, the then Zila Parishad Member  assaulted Babiang Riangcho because he was a Christian.

Area                   - 83,743 Sq. KM.

Population          - 10,91,117 

Religion              - Hindus     35.04%

                            - Buddhists 12.88%

                            - Christians 14.29%

                            - Muslims     1.35%

                            - Others       34.22%

 

There are plans to reach every tribe in 10 years from now. Pray for Arunachal Pradesh to be majority Christian by then. Indigenous Christians, refugee Christians from Mynmar, and Indian mission agencies from Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and other states have planted churches in more than nine peoples. They need Bible translations immediately. Only  the Tangsa and Adi languages have a New Testament.Pray for the unreached, the Buddhist peoples of the west adjoining Bhutan, the animist peoples of the center and west have a complex and expensive sacrificial systems, but are more receptive to the Gospel.

 

 

3. MANIPUR

 

Manipur state is on Maynmar (Burma) border. Most of the tribes in Manipur have been reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite some persecution from Hindus, churches have multiplied. Most numerous are Baptists followed by Presbyterians and 14 other denominations. This state has the potential to become majority Christian. Pray that this may be so.Drug addiction and AIDS are major problem in the state. The majority Meitei are Hindu, but nationalism is lowering commitment to Indian Hinduism. Muslims andd Scheduled caste groups have been neglected. Nepalis have some churches among them, but the majority are still Hindus.

 

 

Area                 22,000 sq. km.

Population        1,761,000

Religion            Hindus       57.67%

                          Christians  34.11%

                          Muslims      7.27%

                          Buddhists    0.04%

                      Others          0.77%

 

4. MEGHALAYA

 

Meghalaya state is Mountainous state on Bangladesh’s northern border. Average annual rain fall is 12 meters – the world’s highest. Cherrapunji in Meghalaya has rain through out the year. People groups are Schdule tribes 80.06%, Caste Hindus 18.03%, Schedule Castes 0.04%. Most Khasis are Presbyterian  and most Garos are Baptist.

 

Area                       22,000 sq. km.

Religion                Christian      57%

                              Animists      22%

                              Hindu          17%

                               Muslim         4%

 

The Christians in Meghalaya are working hard to reach their own brothers and sisters but still need to reach 43% of the unreached people groups. Some of the smaller tribes – notably the Hajong, Mikir and others have been less responsive and remain entrenched in their animism. The Hindu minority have has been little affected by the gospel.

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