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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 been converted to Christianity by opportunistic Christian missionaries. I am an ordinary citizen and can do nothing. As such I thought of writing this letter to 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 our neighbouring states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram where inspite of having seperate states, the tribes have lost their identity.

Our own traditions are no way inferior to the rich Vatican City or Pope. The poverty 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 our identity when it will be lost by following Christian rituals and alien traditions 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, our students' union and Mahila samitis launch rigorous awareness drive among the gullible Mishings or the Mishings will go 'missing' from the cultural map of Assam.

Yours sincerely,

Rongmon Pegu
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Md Akhtar Hussain's picture

I am a student of religion and going to do M-Phil on Mishing tribes. I belong to Assam but studying in Delhi. I need help on behalf of this tribe. The article is good.
Sanchali Sutradhar's picture

I am a student of media tech. as i am doing a assignment for my culture and society i have choosen mishing culture.So i have many friends who are mishing so if you can help me through e-mail than please help me how to get the information.thank you
pranab doley's picture

Thanks atleast you are concerned about 'losing our own identity'. Sir, I agree with you completely and would be very thankful to you if you help me as I am currently going to do a research on the issue of conversion of misings. thanking you Pranab Doley (TISS, Mumbai).
lanaya pegu's picture

I think the problem addressed here is not very precise. Do you mean the ethnicity or the religious? In whichever you mean if my understanding is not wrong our original religion is supposedly donyi-polo and most of us are a adopted Hinduism over some generations back, so what does it make us? Do we go back to worshipping the sun and the moon or what we have over the years progressed in civilization and accepted our own democratic and secular views of whatever religion we follow or even not follow. Is not that a sort of moral policing and too much intervention on someone's private space of belief?? I mean lets plainly accept that people have their own choice and change of religion has very little to do with our ethnicity think it is just the mindset of some orthodoxy that actually poses the problem if I am to give my opinion and change is the very necessity of life and so is identity. but religion is not an identity it is an individuals own choice of belief and perhaps it should be a private and personnel thing not a community thing. Hope this message is taken with a positive note in which I have wished to express.
Peter Pegu's picture

Christian people all over the world have maintained their own culture and traditions. British, French,German, Russian, Indian all have their own culture despite considerable Christian population. Religion has nothing to do with cultural identity. Rather,Christianity encourages acculturation, which means adoption of local culture as a part of Christian ethos. We do not understand, how Nagas, Khasis, Mizos have lost their identity? Their culture is intact in the eyes of the world views.
jutika patir's picture

I am doing M phil on mising tribes. in dibrugarh university. i need your help about the religious life of the tribes
Uttam Doley's picture

Thanks. There is somebody like me what i believe. As you are absolutely right; losing our own identity.If religion is lost, heritage is lost. When heritage is lost, identity is lost and if identity is lost everything is lost. So, let us join hands to prevent these misleader. Thanking you
nirupoma kardong's picture

Thanks Rongmon for your article.I am an student of cultural studies in tezpur university and i am really worried about our mishing tribes converting into christainity especially in majuli.But i am glad becouse atleast some of our ages are alert. Nirupoma Kardong Tezpur University
Prafulla mili's picture

I am a student of Dibrugarh university,i am agree with your comment but not satisfy at all bcoz I think now a days our people have almost lost our identy.About which culture and relision you are asking, the celebration of Assamese Bihu or worshiping of Hindus gods and many other Assamese culture which are not our original identity.
Raktim's picture

There many elements of Mising culture which has influenced what you term 'Assamese Bihu'. The 'Assamese'-ness of this dance is an amalgamation of numerous styles of dancing Bihu in Assam. Its unfortunate for the people of Assam that we have not been able to evolve and accept our creations nor do we assert our claims to a dance form. This type of 'ours' and 'theirs' has pushed us to an Africa where nothing common has sufaced a yet. Already lobbies of different communities from other states of India have successfully divided the people of Assam with the stupid question like 'defining the Assamese'. We were a far happy people before 1947. The British never divided us in these lines like ethnicity.
Rongmon Pegu's picture

It is sad to know that Prasanta Mili terms the composite Bihu of the people of Assam as 'Assamese Bihu' and demarcates it differently. Actually it is not his fault either. We are product of a generation which is divided on ethnic lines. Since 1985 Assam Accord, the Indian mainstream has divided the Assamese peoples into several fragments. We were a happy and better people before the faulty Assam Accord. The gesture where the female dancers place both their hands on the sides of their waists is an influence of Mising Bihu on the so called 'Assamese' Bihu (I would prefer to term it as 'Composite Bihu'.
Arindom Prince Panging's picture

MISHING,(MIRI)the second largest community of North-east Assam.Which belong to schedule tribes but it's so deplorable that, there is no any development status about the Mishing communities. Althoug it's a colorful traditional and multi-culture customs like ( Ali-ai-ligang) crop harvesting festivel,porag,Dobir Uoi(Sun)Dodgang ,Mibu Abang etc,,and some of folk songs like oi:nitom,Anuni:tom, Gumrag (Traditonal songs and dance)Otherhand, some of delightful and flowerful dresses ie.Ege-gasor ladies wear, (Mibu-Galup)(Ugon) gents wear which is made by every Mishing Women and young girls.etc..
neepa choudhury's picture

dear rongmon,u r absolutely correct.i m doing research on various tribes of assam and is absolutely spellbound by the rich and distinctive and definitely beautiful culture of each ethnic group.i m grateful to rahibala dale and mr dale from guwhati to make me understand a lot about the rich mishing culture.but its sad that people from their own community are adopting other cultures.but exceptions are there like our very young robin pegu whos working a lot for preserving the mishing culture.i m a bengali and always feel proud to say dat.thus i request all dat they can find heaven in their own culture and should dedicate themselves in preserving its richness rather than pushing it towards extinction
Vox Populi's picture

The tradition of APONG (rice beer) has made the men of Mising community very lazy, especially in villages. You will find them under the influence of Apong, and all work has to be done by the womenfolk.

I do agree with you. But to me in the name of securing identity we should not lost our unity. We want a single ASSAM, where every indigenous people could live with dignity and fraternity.------ TRISHA RANI DAS. DIBRUGARH UNIVERSITY.
Md. Akhtar Hussain's picture

The best way of preserving any religion, culture and identity is to create awareness amongst the respective community. Though there are some organisations of the Misings but religious awareness amidst is not up to the mark. During my field study in Majuli it has been found that leaders of the community are not as much concerned as compare to the other religion. The more you work on this issue more you get positive result. Mising is a wonderful tribe having rich culture and heritage. I am impressed by it and committed to work in this regard.
indoo chintey's picture

its rubbish how come religion is related to culture. please be precise and clear about the topic. you are not supposed to blame a religion.
Priyanka's picture

Absolute rubbish!!... like many of you have said above that religion has nothing to do with culture, I agree with you. A person's choice of belief is his own right. No one can take that away.
Akash Taye's picture

It doesn't sounds good to claim religion as a culture or has nothng to do with culture or identity,it's a person's own spiritual right of belief,one has no right to deprive one's own beliefs.we should carefully study anything in the right direction,just imagine brother,what would be the consequences of the effects of changing someone's belief..Rather we ought to focus on humanism, unity and peace,not on some bread to the hunger people is not wrong..None can force one to convert,it's one's own personal rights..         Many wel to do rich mishing people are also christians..dear bro,my question is that did they get any privileges or opportunity?Many educated people are Christians,if u think unprivileged people are converting alone then why those who are educated and rich converting themselves.The only answer is he/she finds peace in them..i hope u won't take in negative discuss the matter u can contact me at 8812099720 by whatsap         Ur article is a painful matter of discussion..Thank u b d way  
Dhiren's picture

The Hindus robbed the culture and identity of the Misings and Christianity now is trying to re establish its name and identity. Mr. Rongmon, don't be manipulated by the Hindu Fundamentalism. They are trying to remove our tribal rights and reservations. Judge before you say.

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