Tag Archives: Meghalaya

Focussing on Bible translation in North East

Missionary work is actively pursued in Northeastern states.

The Bible has been translated into 57 languages in the region and the figure is expected to touch 100 by Christmas 2011. The Bible has been translated so far into Adi, Anal Naga (Pakan), Angami Naga, Ao Naga, Assamese, Bengali, Biate, Boro, Bru, Chang Naga, Dimasa, Gangte, Garo, Hmar, Galo, Hrangkhol, Hmar, Karbi, Khasi, Khiamnuingan Naga, Komrem, Konyak Naga, Kuki and Kyong Naga (Lotha), Liangmai Naga, Lamkang Naga, Lai, Manipuri (Meitei), Mara (Lakher), Maring Naga, Maram Naga, Mao Naga, Mizo (Lushai), Moyon Naga, Monsang Naga, Nokte Naga, Paite, Phom Naga, Poumai Naga, Rabha, Ranglong, Rengma Naga, Rengma (North) Naga, Rongmei Naga, Sumi Naga, Sangtam Naga, Sema Naga, Tangkhul Naga, Tangsa Naga, Thadou Kuki, Thangal Naga, Thangkhal, Tiddim Chin, Vaiphei, Yimchungru Naga, Zeme Naga and Zou (Zomi). The Bible was first translated into Assamese in 1820 that the latest translation was in Nokte, a language spoken by an indigenous group in Arunachal Pradesh.

Jesus is referred as Isua in Mizo, Yisui in Ao, Jesun in Thadou, Isu in Hmar, Poupa Jesu in Paite, Isuan in Ranglong, Jisunii in Maram and Pakai Jesu in Kuki.

The Northeast has diverse languages and the translation project is meant for those who are in need of the Bible. It could be noted that the Bible is the basic foundation of Christian faith. The aim is to make it available to those who aspire to read it. Even though the owners of the project insist that translations are not aimed at popularising Christianity, the demand for translation of the Bible is being created in a consistent way. The holy book is selling hugely among Mizos after it was translated in their language.

The new principle of translation aims at transferring the content into local idioms and expressions. The idea is to reach out to all sections, the young and the old, the learned and the barely literate and the womenfolk. The translation is done meticulously to ensure that the text of the Bible is not diluted. Each indigenous community nominates a linguistic scholar to translate the Bible into its language. The Bible Society of India has a team of experts that compares the translated version of the Bible with the Old Testament in Hebrew and New Testament in Greek. The translation is approved only after the content matches the original text.

NE tribals clash for religious reasons

Religious conflicts erupted between the Rabhas and Garos Christians along the Assam-Meghalaya border. On 5th January, trouble started with four people dead and thousands are displaced. On 30th October, a temple in Williamnagar was allegedly attacked by Garos while protesting against civic polls in the Garo Hills. Prior to this, the Garos complained that Rabhas blockades restricted their movement on NH-37, the only link that connects NH-40 leading to Shillong. Rabhas were blocking National Highway 37 in Assam to press their demand for autonomy under the Sixth Schedule. This is also said to have prevented many Garo students in Shillong from reaching home in time for Christmas. On 22 December, a Garo pastor and his family was attacked while they were travelling on NH-37 during a bandh and it was alleged to be an act of Rabha youth. The Army is reported to have moved into the affected areas.

Over 34,000 people, both Garo and Rabha tribals, have left their homes and taken shelter in relief camps. A number of these people have no houses to go back to, while those who do have homes have fled for fear of being attacked. More than 7 people are killed in the clashes. At least 103 people have been arrested and 25 cases of attempted arson and rioting have been registered in the ethnic-violence-hit areas in Meghalaya

Since the time Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram were carved out of Assam, the inter-state border issues combined with various social factors including active proselytization of Christian missionaries are creating simmering tensions in the region and sometimes lead to death and destruction.

Meghalaya a matriarchal society

Meghalaya a matriarchal society

 

Meghalaya literally means “The Abode of Clouds” in Sanskrit and other Indic languages. Meghalaya is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long (east-west) and 100 km wide, with a total area of about 8,700 sq mi (22,720 km²). The population numbered 2,175,000 in 2000. The state is bounded on the north by Assam and by Bangladesh on the south. The capital is Shillong, which has a population of 260,000. About one third of the state is forested.

Tribal people make up the majority of Meghalaya’s population. The Khasis are the largest group, followed by the Garos. Other groups include the Jaintias, the Koch and the Hajong, Dimasa, Hmar, Kuki, Lakhar, Mikir, Rabha,Nepali etc.. Tribes historically had their own kingdoms. These tribes traditionally had relatively higher sex ratio in the state was 975 females per thousand males which was much better than the national average of 933. One of the unique features of the State is that a majority of the tribal population in Meghalaya follows a matrilineal system where lineage and inheritance are traced through women.

Meghalaya has two representatives in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India; one each from Shillong and Tura. It also has one representative in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament.

Meghalaya has a Christian majority with 70.3% of the population.26% of the population follows Hinduism with a sizeable minority of 11.5% living as tribals. Muslims make up 4.3% of the population as well.

Meghalayan tribes were brought under the British administration in the 19th century. Later, the British incorporated Meghalaya into Assam in 1835. Meghalaya was formed by carving out the two districts of the state of Assam: the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21 January 1972. Prior to attaining full statehood, Meghalaya was given a semi-autonomous status in 1970.