It is only a matter of time - a decade or so at best - before the Christian missionaries’ gameplan of convincing the indigenous tribes of Arunachal that they are, in fact, Nagas succeeds.
The alarming changes in the demographic composition of the strategically placed north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh that borders Tibet has been pitchforked to national consciousness two days ago by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju. The minister, who hails from that state, has rightly ignited a debate on the unbridled activities of Christian missionaries who have been proselytising poor tribals of that state with monetary and other enticements.
But what also needs to be highlighted is that these Christian evangelists pose a grave threat to national security. Not only have they been converting the simple tribals, the proselytisers have been implanting the seed of rebellion in their heads. In doing so, these evangelists have followed a long tradition of creating a sense of alienation between the newly-baptised tribals from the rest of India. This sense of alienation is what led to the birth of many insurgencies in north-east India.
The church in states like Mizoram and Nagaland has always played a nefarious role in aiding and abetting insurgencies and even providing the insurgents a global platform to plead for secession from India. The diabolic role played by Michael Scott, a Christian priest, in aiding the Naga rebels in the name of negotiating peace between them and the government Of India, is well known. Mizo insurgent leader Laldenga and Naga insurgent leader A Z Phizo received a lot of help from the Church of England.
Even before 1947, British missionaries had conspired to create a Christian ‘crown colony’ comprising the Arakan province of present-day Myanmar, the Chittagong Hill Tracts (of present-day Bangladesh), Lushai Hills (present-day Mizoram), Naga Hills (present-day Nagaland), some areas of Assam and the hill areas of Tripura and Manipur. This colony, they envisaged, would be loyal to England and the Church of England. In addition, this colony would serve the useful purpose of being Britain’s eyes and ears in South Asia and provide the West with a permanent foothold in the region to play mischief.
Though that plan came to naught, the church in north-east India and its proselytising priests have never given up the dream of making Northeast India a bastion of Christianity and a large landmass that would be in perpetual opposition to ‘Hindu India’, ‘Islamic Bangladesh’ and ‘Buddhist Myanmar’ and one that would serve the interests of western powers like England and the USA.
Creating A False Naga Identity
For Arunachal, the Christian missionaries have a more diabolic plan: to not only convert all the tribals into Christianity, but float a fraudulent theory that all of them belong to the same genetic stock as the Nagas and, hence, should join their Naga brothers in demanding that they live together as one people under a common administrative and political setup. It would be worth noting here that the early Christian missionaries (mainly the American Baptists) who went to the Naga Hills to proselytise the tribes there also gave them the artificial identity of ‘Nagas’ and united all the warring tribes - the tribes used to kill each other and have nothing in common, not even a common dialect - under this identity that has become very closely linked with Christianity.
All the tribes inhabiting the present-day state of Nagaland, as well as some others in the northern hill districts of Manipur adjoining Nagaland and in the Sagaing division and Kachin state of Myanmar bordering India (they have been labelled as ‘Eastern Nagas’), are overwhelmingly Christian (mostly Baptists). And based on the myth first floated by Christian missionaries - and which has now become an accepted narrative (remember Goebbels’ theory that a lie repeated a thousand times becomes the truth?) by Nagas and non-Nagas alike - about the shared and unique history of the Nagas, these tribes have been demanding one homeland called Nagalim. This Nagalim comprises Nagaland and Naga-inhabited areas of the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam as well as Myanmar.
Significantly, the insurgent outfit - the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) led by Thuingaleng Muivah - has been an ardent advocate of Nagalim and has ‘Nagalim for Christ’ as its avowed goal. The Baptist church has very close links with this outfit and the two act in tandem to further their common goal of founding a Christian state (or country) called Nagalim. Naga insurgents have been funded, given moral support and provided shelter by the church, especially the Church of England.
The Diabolic Plan
As for Arunachal, the Christian proselytisers have been successful in getting the Wancho, Nocte and Tangshang tribes inhabiting the southeastern Tirap and Changlang districts of the state bordering Nagaland to believe that they are actually Nagas. The NCSN has also been proclaiming this for the past few decades. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the Church through material and other enticements and even threats by the NSCN, these three tribes have bought into the ‘Naga’ narrative and now proclaim themselves to be Nagas.
The Catholic and the Baptist missionaries have converted tens of thousands of members of the Adi, Apatani, Galo, Idu Mishmi, Nyishi and Tagin tribes into Christianity by foul means: monetary rewards, free education and healthcare, and material benefits over the past 15 years. Catholics number about 3.4 lakh now while Baptists are about 1.92 lakh, thus making them about 34 per cent of the state’s estimated present population of 15.65 lakh. By 2020, Christians are expected to make up for 40 per cent of the state’s population.
The southern portions of Arunachal Pradesh’s southern districts bordering Assam like East Kameng, Lower Subansiri and Papumpare districts have already become overwhelmingly Christian habitats. So are major parts of Upper Subansiri and Kurung Kumey districts. Tirap and Changlang are wholly Christian districts and many parts of Lohit, Lower Dibang and East Siang are dominated by Christian converts. The Christian missionaries are now trying, with alarming success, in converting tribals living in the rest of the state also to Christianity.
The process of convincing the other tribes of Arunachal that they belong to the greater Naga family has already started. Catholic priests and Baptist clerics have been preaching from the pulpits that the tribals of Arunachal have little in common with the rest of India that is inhabited by “heathens following a pagan religion of idolatry” (quoted from a Baptist Church text). Thus, an artificial divide is being created between these tribals and the people of the rest of the country.
Along with creating this divide, the tribals are also being bombarded with false propaganda by the Christian proselytisers (almost all of them hail from Kerala) that ‘Hindu-majority India’ has been neglecting them and according step-motherly treatment to them and the only way they can claim their rights is to assert themselves as Christians and Nagas. The Adis, Apatanis, Galos, Idu Mishmis, Nyishis and Tagins are being told that they are, in fact, the lost Naga tribes. And that Christ the Lord ordained for all of them to live as one people.
It is only a matter of time - a decade or so at best - before the Christian missionaries’ plan of convincing these indigenous tribes of Arunachal that they are, in fact, Nagas succeeds. And once these tribes also adopt the creation of a Christian Nagalim as their common goal, the church would have succeeded in its ploy of creating a client state of the West in the strategically located and sensitive north-east India. This can only have hugely adverse security implications for the country.