Mizoram – Christian majority with Jewish minority

Mizoram – Christian majority with Jewish minority

Mizoram is one of the Seven Sister States in North Eastern India. It shares land borders with the states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur, Bangladesh and the Chin state of Burma. Its population at the 2001 census stood at 888,573. Mizoram ranks second in India with a literacy rate of 88.49%. Mizoram has the most variegated hilly terrain with the highest peak Phawngpui [Blue Mountain] of 2210 metres. Mizos are a close-knit society with no class distinction and no sexual discrimination. 90% of them are cultivators and the village functions as a large family. Birth, marriage, and death in the village are important occasions in which the whole village is involved.

Some 87% of the population (including most ethnic Mizos) is Christian. Other faiths include Hindus who form a small minority in the state, at 3.6% of the population following the religion. Muslims also form a small minority with 1.1% of the population following the faith. People who believe in this faith are from other state but living in Mizoram.

Mizoram has two seats in Parliament, one each in the Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha

The Mizo National Famine Front, which was created to fight famine in the sate, dropped the word ‘famine’ and a new political organization, the Mizo National Front (MNF) was born on 22 October 1961 under the leadership of Laldenga with the specified goal of achieving sovereign independence of Greater Mizoram. Simultaneous large scale disturbances broke out on 28 February 1966 government installations at Aizawl, Lunglei, Chawngte, Chhimluang and other places. The Government of India had to bomb the city of Aizawl with ‘Toofani’ and ‘Hunter’ Jet fighters to quell a separatist movement. 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 for several hours which left most houses in Dawrpui and Chhingaveng area in ashes. The search for a political solution to the problems facing the hill regions in Assam continued. The Mizo National Front was outlawed in 1967. The demand for statehood gained fresh momentum. A Mizo District Council delegation, which met prime minister Indira Gandhi in May 1971 demanded full fledged statehood for the Mizos. The union government on its own offered the proposal of turning Mizo Hills into a Union Territory (U.T.) in July 1971. The Mizo leaders were ready to accept the offer on the condition that the status of U.T. would be upgraded to statehood sooner rather than later. The Union Territory of Mizoram came into being on 21 January 1972.

With Pakistan having lost control of Bangladesh and no support from Pakistan, the Mizo National Front was convinced that disarming, to live as respectable Indian citizens, was the only way of achieving peace and development. Laldenga met the prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on 15 February 1985 and signed a peace accord. Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 198

The major Christian denominations are the Presbyterian It is one of the constituted bodies of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of India, which has its headquarters at Shillong in Meghalaya (India). In recent decades, a number of people from Mizoram, Assam, and Manipur have claimed to be Jewish. This group is known collectively as the Bnei Menashe, and include Chin, Kuki, and Mizo. Several hundred have formally converted to Orthodox Judaism and many openly practise an Orthodox type of Judaism. The Bnei Menashe do not see themselves as converts, but believe themselves to be ethnically Jewish, descendants of one of the Lost Tribes of Israel The Jewish population of the Bnei Menashe currently is estimated at 9,000 people. The pre-Christian spirituality of the Mizos are Hindu tribes. Presently sometimes, they are being identified as animists. Chakmas and Khans are in this caegory.

The fabric of social life in the Mizo society has undergone tremendous change over the last few years. Before the British arrived in these hills, for all practical purposes, the village and the clan formed units of Mizo society. The Mizo code of ethics or dharma focused on “Tlawmngaihna”, meaning that it was the obligation of all members of society to be hospitable, kind, unselfish, and helpful to others. Tlawmngaihna to a Mizo stands for that compelling moral force which finds expression in self-sacrifice for the service of others. The old belief, Pathian, is still used to mean God. Many Mizos have embraced their new-found faith of Christianity. Their sense of values have also undergone a drastic change for the worse and are largely being guided (directly and indirectly) by the Christian church organisations.

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