Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chp 148. Mizoram: The Truth.

Related Reading:
Life in a Christian Majority State: The Truth.
Life in a Christian Majority State: The Denominations.
Life in a Christian Majority State: The Church.

India is a secular country, with the majority being Hindus. According to the 2001 census of India, Hindus constitute around 80.5%, followed by Muslims at 13.4%, and Christians at 2.3% [source: censusindia]

2.3% of Christians would be around 24 million. Kerala has the highest number of Christians (6 million) followed by Tamilnadu (3.7 million). All in all, 10 States have a Christian population of over 1 million (Mizoram ranks 13th in this break-up).

Percentage wise, there are five “non-Hindu majority” States in India: Punjab (59.91% Sikhs), J&K (66.97% Muslims), and three Christian majority States: Nagaland (89.97%), Mizoram (86.97%) and Meghalaya (70.25%).

There are various articles on the Net lambasting the Christian Mission here in India. Many people still firmly believe that the terrorism in North-east is sanctioned by the Church, and that non-Christian organizations like the Naxalites and ULFA are actually funded by Christian missionaries to kill those who won’t convert to Christianity. You can find such articles at Crusade Watch and Christian Aggression websites.

In order to prevent such debates and discussion regarding those topics over here, these series of posts will be based only on Mizoram, land of the Zo Braves, and my home. Comments regarding other neighboring Christian States or RSS propaganda etc will be disapproved of, and may even be deleted.

One main reason why the Church of Mizoram has flown under the radar of most propaganda is because the Church has always been in favor of being a part of India since Independence [source: Embattled Frontier]. In 1947 when we got Independence, the various Churches of Mizoram (back then, not a State or even a UT yet) proclaimed that violence must be avoided at all cost, and peacefully become a part of India. The Mizo community obediently obliged. Other ethnic groups (Nagaland, Tripura, Manipur etc) on the other hand refused to become a part of India from the very beginning. Hence Mizos actually became “Indians” long before most other Indians of “Princely States” [Refer Manorama Year book 2007, or “Constitution of India” by DD Basu], although ironically those are the same people who are not accepting us as Indians today merely because of our looks!

Then what’s with the Church of Mizoram sponsoring “terrorism” and “ordering every Mizo to kill Indians”?

Those are just baseless propaganda spread by you-know-who trying to make this great Country a 100% you-know-what Nation. Plus, they probably got us mixed up with the on-going problems in other North-eastern States, after all, I don’t blame them for their ignorance, considering their shallowness and narrowness regarding such issues.

Sure, Mizos did rebel against the Indian Government once, but that was way after we agreed to become a part of India. Every scholar, researcher and historian who made a study in those areas knows the real reason why the Mizos rebelled. It had nothing to do with Christianity.

Mizos rebelled because the Indian Government never paid heed to the Mizos incessant plea for food during the Great Famine (1958-60) that occurs every 48 years in the Mizo Hills due to the large multiplicity of rats caused by the flowering of bamboos. Bamboo, as we all know, constitute around 30% of the forest cover in Mizoram.

The Indian Government back then did not take any action, and scores of Mizos died every passing day. One unconfirmed report stated the number of deaths to be more than half the population of the Mizo tribes back then, while another popular saying is that, when the Mizo representatives met the Indian Government officials, they were crudely asked why we require food since “we eat each other” anyway… I may dismiss the second statement as just hearsay, but one fact was obvious: None of the Mizos wished to remain a part of India then, regardless of what the Church asked them to.

The MNFF (Mizo National Famine Front) was formed by Pu Laldenga in 1960 to battle the famine, and he easily won the heart and support of every Mizo. The MNFF became the MNF (Mizo National Front) in 1961, an underground movement with a separatist agenda from India, converting the Mizo hills into the bloodiest revolution the North-east has ever witnessed.

The magnitude of the movement was so immense that unlike other places in the North-east which saw a fair amount of people not supporting their respective movements, Mizos witnessed a more or less total resentment towards India, with memories of India’s laissez-faire attitude towards them during the Famine fresh in everybody’s mind. There was nothing the armed force could do against such totality, except bomb the entire area like a full-fledged war between two Nations. Hence Mizoram earned the infamous distinction of being the one and only Indian Territory to be bombed by the Indian Air Force.

A news quote from newslink.in, which is now defunct after it split into aizoltimes.com, can be found here at ultrabrown.com:
“In the afternoon of March 4 1966, a flock of jet fighters hovered over Aizawl and dropped bombs leaving a number of houses in flames. The next day, a more excessive bombing took place…” Hunter and Toofani fighters were deployed for the Aizawl bombardment, which became the first and only aerial attack India has carried out against its own people. The fighters came from Tezpur, an IAF air base in Assam…

“The Indian Air Force deployed Hunter and Toofani jet fighters to carry out the mission; it was the first time India used its air force to quell a movement of any kind among its citizens. Goa was a different story, it was a move to drive away the Portuguese…”
Of course, would a person who firmly and stubbornly believe in the “Missionary conspiracy theory” ever believe all that? Nah. To them, it’s only a case of crazy gun-wielding Christian priests shooting up all non-Christians in a guerilla warfare Rambo style, and that the “famine” and “air force bombardments” in Mizoram are just fictions and lies created by the evil Missionaries so that they can convert the whole of India into evil Christianity.

Hence this series of post is only for all my friends and other broadminded individuals out there, regardless of any religious background, who might be interested in knowing about how life is like in a Christian majority State here in India. These posts are not about Christian ideology/doctrine posts (for my non-Christian friends and secular readers), but rather just a simple look into the life and custom in Mizoram.

15 comments:

Pixie said...

Wow!!! I didn't know any of this...
The rest of the country's ignorance can be blamed on the
you-know-who's I guess because there never has been any sort of awareness created about the North-Eastern states of India - their issues and their glories...
The only thing that has been highlighted is the violence and the ULFA and other terrorist groups
Thank you for sharing so much. Looking forward to your future posts too...

illusionaire said...

See, actually, down the passage of time, I can somewhat understand why people don't know much about all that, after all, the System does nothing to highlight those parts of the Country.

But what I really really can't stand, are those people who have never set a foot in North-east, who have no idea what's going on there, who don't even know the differences between each group, and yet write trash and trash about Mizoram from thousands of miles away. Those are the people that really disgusts me.

Thanx for your regular visit, dear Pixie :)

Pixie said...

I agree.. Also, the slang "chinki" irritates me to no end... I know you had done a post on this long back, but I couldn't help but mention it here...
People need more awareness and sadly that doesn't seem to be happening too much... My sister's close friend is from Manipur and she got a lot of taunts from her other classmates that most of her friends were "chinkis"... Sad really... because most of them really nice...

Jinx said...

Fantastic Post! Other than 'raltlan', 'sawikhawm' and the many hardships talked about by my 'Pi and Pu' generation, (sadly) I don't have much knowledge about the history of Mizoram back then. This post is truly an eye-opener for me.

illusionaire said...

@ Pixie: Ah yes. A walk down memory lane regarding that post of mine :) Nah, basically thats what my post tried to analyze: How much we end up racially discriminating a particular community while raising a huge hue and cry when our own community is being discriminated. Happens with everyone. Indians as a whole (I mean the stereotype Indian: Aryan or Dravidian) complain when they are discriminated by foreigners. But at the same time, the same people racially abuse "chinkies". Again, people from the NE cry out against such discrimination, but at the same time we too are guilty of our fair share of discrimination. I write posts that are directed at both directions: about us being discriminated and also about us discriminating others. It does make me quite unpopular among our community for doing that :)

@ Jinx: I'm fortunate to have a very old dad :) He's the age of most of my friend's grandfathers. So he used to tell me about those "rambuai" days a lot... Sometimes it sounds like a fantasy novel, not able to believe that such things happened in what we now know as the most peaceful State in the North-east.

thinchhia said...

wow! nice template. a hma kha chuan i nei sei bawk si, a dum lutuk bawk si(a zahmawh mah mah i ti em aw?!)chhiar zawh meuh chuan mit a kham vek zel thin a tunmi chu a tha khups mai.

illusionaire said...

Nangpawh i template thar chu chhiar a nuam zawk a lawm, mahse i blog ah zahmawh lam sawilo mah la, a la zahmawh tho ang, i blog a nih vang hrim hrim in. :-)

Philo said...

And yet, in parrying the accusations of a militant missionalism of Mizo, we might lose sight of the religious spin on bamboo-related problems fuelling support for our self-assertion, polemically percieved as 'rebellion.' This I think is important because the church's statusquoist position might make it redundant in the face of 'new' problems. Apologies for taking off on a totally different tangent but as always, your posts always instigate such lateral ideas.

illusionaire said...

In fact, dear Philo, I am planning to write a small article on "Separation of the Church from the State" but that will have to wait as I won't be updating my blog for a month (again)! An upcoming important exam that I want to give my 100% dedication to. In fact, that's what I've been doing all these time when I'm not blogging. Tough times coming up.

Lal said...

Sometimes I wonder - did we really agreed to be part of India, and if so, what might be the reason behind for our acceptance to be part of India? Or did the Indian Govt. fooled our past leaders to be part of India? What was the clauses of the agreement reached between the Indian Govt and the Mizo Chiefs during those times? If we look into that, the reason for the acceptance to be part of India could be in some way demystified.

You said it true that the rebellion against the Indian Govthas nothing to do with Christianity. But I agree to it only in partly that the Mizo rebellion was only due to Mautam and that it was because the Indian govt never paying any heed to the Mizos incessant pleas for food.

The rebellion also has its roots in the 'new' geo-political setup of the kindred Zo peoples that divides them in three countries, and their resentment in the failure of the Indian govt to grant them an autonomy that was probably part of the agreement and negotiation between the Mizo Chiefs and the Indian govt. when India was to gain Independence from the colonial British Empire.

Let me locate the MNF map from my archive, its somewhere...

Lal said...

Corrigendum: Not MNF Map, but Historical Map of Mizoram. Has this in 2006.

Here is the link to the map:

Historical Map of Mizoram

stressed out madame said...

hi, totally out of the context, i'd like to bring up an issue, i work in a hospital in delhi, filled with poor people. one day this patient was admitted, a case of down's syndrome with heart disease.his parents didn't have money for the surgery,and because they didn't know any language, they came n found me. i turned out they were burmese refugees, so they could speak mizo.i went and told my seniors that these people could get financial help if the hospital writes a letter tothe UNHRC. i was literally blasted away!!! my senior's attitude was that, how can they help people who are not even indians, whan there are so many indians needing help!!
i couldn't say much after that but man, i felt so mad and helpless at the attitude!they were more concerned about the political issues rather than that poor sick patient at hand! now even i don't know what to do!

Anonymous said...

The solution for long standing issues is this, Mizos should start emigrating to other nations and build a powerful diaspora. Through empowerment, economic, spiritual and joining the greater world community of Christians, showing the world about your existance, history and culture, that way you break dependence on any political entity.

Build a world diaspora. Start migrating, getting jobs in other western nations, do what Sikhs and other ethnics from India have done over the last 100 years.

The world won't hardly care for you if you don't even care for your own people first.

As far as India is concerned, no one asked the people what they wanted. It was their kings that decided stuff.

From A Non Mizo.

Anonymous said...

Even I'm biased towards the people of the NE; differently though. I absolutely love & adore them! I have two friends from the NE - one from Manipur & the other from Tripura - & they are absolute sweethearts! I think generally, people from the NE are very pure & gentle at heart.
With lots of love from the other side of India,
A non-North Eastern "you-know-what"!!

Anonymous said...

Well written, though still viewed through the prism of western Christianity. Read Stephen Knapp's book titled "Crimes Against India And The Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition - 1000 Years of Attacks Against Hinduism And What to do About it". An eye opened for Indian minorities, if they wish to open their eyes. All the best and Jai Hind.