Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Christian conversions & North East India

[ This section deals with the issue of Christian conversions in North East India and gradual destruction of indegenious culture of the region. Readers are requested to post their comments specifying the Article number they want to give their feedback on ]

Article 1: Conversions will distort the Mishing tribe

It is sad to note that taking the advantage of the poverty of the Mishing community in Majuli, Dhemaji and Jonai, numerous Mishing families are beenconverted to Christianity by opportunistic Christian missionaries. I am an ordinary citizen and can do nothing. As such I thought of writing this letterto your newspaper so that I might create an awareness among the Mishing tribe of Assam.

I would request my community members to learn from the mistake of ourneighbouring states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram where inspite of havingseperate states, the tribes have lost their identity.

Our own traditions are no way inferior to the rich Vatican City or Pope. Thepoverty in Mishing councils is because of the corrupt politicians among us like Bharat Narah, Bhuban Pegu etc., not our customs, beliefs and rituals.

Missionaries can give us money and English education, but cannot return ouridentity when it will be lost by following Christian rituals and alientraditions in our day-to-day lives.

If religion is lost, heritage is lost. When heritage is lost, identity is lost.It is time influential socio-cultural organizations of the Mishings, ourstudents' union and Mahila samitis launch rigorous awareness drive among thegullible Mishings or the Mishings will go 'missing' from the cultural map ofAssam.

Yours sincerely,

Rongmon Pegu
Article 2: Role of the Church and Insurgency

Author: JP Rajkhowa
Publication: The Sentinel
Date: May 12, 2008

Pseudo-secularists would not swallow any revelation that the Church in the Northeast represented by its different factions - Baptist, Presbyterian and Catholic - has been promoting, aiding and abetting insurgency in the region in a clandestine manner, though in the garb of various welfare measures for the uplift of the tribal population.

Nagaland can very well claim the position of 'pride' as the mother of insurgency in the Northeast, with late AZ Phizo spearheading the Naga Rebellion by launching a fully armed organization called the Naga National Council (NNC). Its goal was to form a sovereign Nagaland by seceding from the Union of India. Interestingly, the same Phizo, who hailed from Khonoma village, assisted the Indian National Army (INA) led by Netaji in the battle at Kohima during the Second World War in order to defeat the British imperialists. Rani Gaidinliu, then a girl aged 16, led the movement called Zeliangrong Heraka Movement to protect the sovereignty of the country and defend indigenous Hindu faith.

Even after this resistance, the British could establish their rule over Naga Hills area and pushed American and British Christian missionaries into Nagaland. The forced conversion to Christianity and expansion of British rule continued together. After the grand success in dividing the country by creating East and West Pakistan, the British picked up Phizo (since converted to Christianity) and NNC cohorts to create a Christian state in Northeast India.

Missionaries acted as informers against army (Indian) movements and against those who did not support NNC uprising and Christian inquisition jointly operated by NNC and the Church. British missionary Rev Michael Scott became the friend, philosopher and guide of Phizo and NNC rebellion. The British reverend supplied lethal weapons packed in Red Cross boxes to NNC militants. This politically motivated Reverend was later expelled from the country because of his anti-India activities by then Prime Minister Pandit Nehru.

The Church formed several NGOs which acted as host to NNC guerillas and Christian crusade. Naga Club and Naga Hoho were two such NGOs which were master campaigners and expert educators of NNC and Church agenda amongst the Naga public. When the Government of India wanted to arrest Phizo for his anti-national activities, he silently escaped to London where he spent a royal life till his death in 1990 hosted by a British Church organization under the supervision of Rev Michael Scott and Billy Graham.

As of now, the NNC stands divided into four camps - NSCN (IM), NSCN ( Unification), NNC (Adino) and NNC (Yanthan), which has led to fratricidal killings in their race for supremacy even after conciliatory role played by so many NGOs, including the Nagaland Baptist Council of Churches. Several masked NGOs are reportedly registered under the country's law with the declared objective of serving the society in the field of economic uplift, hygiene, medical care, education, AIDS etc, and are receiving unaccountable money from their foreign masters. In return, they are reportedly funding rebel outfits for acquiring lethal weapons.

These NGOs reportedly maintain a close strategic link with the Church as well, whose aggressive religious expansionism agenda get field support through them. The local and international Church organization and local and international non-governmental organizations are now very thick with NSCN (IM) and they are helping it in all respects.

With a view to internationalizing the domestic problem pertaining to Naga society, one American Goodwill Mission toured Nagaland during May 16-27, 2007 and tried their level best to establish Christian solidarity with US Christians. Nagaland Church has also reportedly come forward in establishing this solidarity by declaring the State as 'Nagaland for Christ', where only Christianity is a recognized religion (in spite of our secular Constitution!).

Nagalim is the proposed Naga Country advanced by NSCN(IM), which is almost nine times bigger than existing Nagaland including almost three-fourth of Manipur and large portions of Arunachal Pradesh and Asom. With the help of international Church organizations and foreign NGOs, NSCN (IM) has several support centres in the Netherlands, Thailand, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, South Korea, Australia, England, Philippines, Sweden, Belgium and US. The source of the above information is The Morung Express (December 10, 2006).

Security analysts strongly believe that America has a reason to help NSCN (IM). There is no Christian country in the Third World. Right from Israel up to Japan including countries like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, India and other smaller countries, there is no Christian country and nearly 375 crore people live here. This is the main nexus of USA, UK and the Vatican. They want to create a Christian country and Greater Nagaland which NSCN (IM) now refers to as Nagalim which, if carved out, will be the proposed Christian country in the subcontinent. This strategy of America is an echo of the Pope's declaration: '' Europe was won over in the first millennium, Africa and America in the second millennium. Now in the third millennium, Asia must be won over.''

In Asia, Communist and Islamic countries have banned the preaching of Christianity. And that is why India is at the top of the hit list of targets, thanks to Hindu tolerance. And the means are forced conversion; destruction of youth power by preaching the 'principle' of hedonistic consumerism, liquor addiction and carnal pleasure; and bullet (the way NSCN-IM is operating in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland for forced conversion).

The source of the above information is again The Morung Express (December 10, 2006). Should the proposed Nagalim become a reality, it would only be a matter of time for the US to make its military presence established in the Northeast with the help of Church solidarity, which would act as a bulwark against China and a source of constant pressure against India.

I have dealt in considerable length with the Naga insurgency for the simple reason that there are a number of terror groups operating both in Asom and outside, some on ceasefire agreement too, which are primarily Christian-dominated and are known to be terrorizing non-Christian organizations.

In this context, we may make a reference to some shocking detailsof nexus between the Church and terrorism, published in the North East Quarterly, Vol 1, No 2, January 2008 - a publication of the North Eastern Forum, New Delhi. For instance, imposition of the Roman script to reduce the language of a tribe has been one of the modus operandi of the Church so that the tribes could read the Bible. ''From 1970 onwards, the Church openly championed the use of the Roman script for the language of the tribals of Tripura and Boros of Asom.

This even prompted two Marxist ministers in the Tripura government, Dasrath Deb and Ranjit Deb Burman, to characterize the demand of Roman script for the Kokborok region of Tripura as communal politics. The imposition of the Roman script has on occasion been at gunpoint. On August 21, 2000, terrorists of the Church-backed NDFB gunned down Bineswar Brahma, president of the Bodo Sahitya Sabha. His only crime was that he favoured the use of Devanagari script for the Bodo language.''

Extortion is another method used by the NSCN factions which are headed by Christians and ''get financial support from the World Council of Churches, a missionary organization. The NSCN has its offices in New York, Geneva and Hague which display boards with... People's Republic of Nagaland. It has twice raised its demand for an independent nation in the United Nations. The NSCN has its own government which collects money from local people: one third of the salaries of government servants is taken away as Nagaland tax before disbursement. Most of the banks in Nagaland have closed down because of the huge sums extracted by this outfit. The letterheads and stamps of this unofficial government read 'Nagaland for Christ'. Most of the terrorist organizations in the region follow this pattern...''

In this context, it is observed that the Church and some key functionaries of the Government of Nagaland have joined hands to foment communal trouble in Asom by their recent, senseless venture in the historic Majuli island - the seat of Vaishnavite culture in Asom - where a parliamentary secretary of Nagaland, accompanied by church functionaries, inaugurated a church for converting some poor and illiterate Mishing tribals to Christianity. Do the pseudo-secularists expect us to look the other way?

(The writer was Chief Secretary, Assam)

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