Chronology of Christianity Among the Tangsa

1957: A Khasi Catholic Christian was posted in Nampong as Agriculture Inspector. He succeeded introducing Catholic religion to a person by the name Ringkey Mongru of Khamkhai village (Nampong). Ringkey was sent to Don Bosco School in Dibrugarh.

1964: The Tangsa of Myanmar were already Christians as early as 1950. Christians from across the border used to come to Nampong and sang songs coupled with prayers on Sundays. They spread the Gospel among their brethren in the Changlang District. At that time the people were looking at the ways to get rid of spirit and puja system.

During that time, an Assam Rifle Jawan, from Mizoram John Joina, used to come to Namkai and Khamkhai villages every Sunday. He taught something about Jesus and gave New Testaments to some people.

These introductions stirred the Tangsa to look for ways to receive Christianity. Then they reached out to the Sema tribe of Nagaland with whom there had existing relationships.

1968: Turning point to Christianity began. On 11 June, Shri Kamlong Tikhak and his wife of Kamlow village (near Manmow) took baptism at the hand of Evangelist, Jelebe Sema, at Lal Pahar. Wiken Mungray of Phulbari village followed his example on 20 November.

1969: More baptisms occurred. Mr Ringhat Lungkin of Namkai village and Mr Kengi of Khamkhai village became Christians on 14 February. In the same year, Mr Mit Chin Mungray, Mr Thakna Jugli and friends received baptism on 20 March.

1972: on 2 September a meeting was organized under the banner of Tirap Baptist Church Council (TBCC). This was united under one leadership among them. TBCC was later renamed Tangsa Baptist Church Association (TBCA) which remains to this day.

1990: A misunderstanding developed between the leaders of TBCA and Mossang. Hence, a meeting was organized on 29 June that completely separated themselves from the TBCA and called their group, Hewa Baptist Church (HBC).

1991: Further divisions took place. Christian Revival Church (CRC) was formed out of HBC. And Tangsa Presbyterian Church was developed from TBCA on 27 January under the leadership of Ngaimong Hahcheng and Jugli Samgwal.

1996: Between June and July, revival meetings were organized by the TBCA that created troubles instead of revival. As a result the Church of Christ came into existence among the Tangsa. The villages of New Khamlang, Singmao, Ongman, Nairow, Tikhamlang, Injan, Phinbiro, Chamro, Tengmo, Yanchun, Water Pump, Lekhapani, Mallong, Wahra, Yanam, Nalung left the TBCA.

1999: In March under the leadership of TBCA, Mr. Pater Paul (a Bihari person), came and preached in Nampong, Phulbari, Jairampur, Lakla and Miao and took away some educated persons from TBCA.

Finally, the Catholic Church came preaching in Nampong, Miao, Manmow and Jairampur. Many people joined the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church approached with this philosophy: “We’ll not hamper your past Tangsa culture.”

Source: Tangsar Aaina by H.K. Morang, Page 137-44

Christian Presence

Where are the Christians in Arunachal Pradesh?

A map from Centre for Policy Studies, gives a very good overview based on Census 2011. This shows where the Christians are found and where Christians are not present now.

christian-arunachal-2011-1

Source: Centre for Policy Studies

To correlate with the district locations I have borrowed another map from the same source.

arunachal-districts-1

Where are Christians?

A note from the Center for Policy Studies mentioned: “In conclusion, Christianity seems to have made deep inroads in the eastern Tirap district and in the western and central Kameng, Siang and Dibang regions, especially in the former two. Many of the major tribal communities inhabiting these regions namely, Nocte, Wancho, Nyishi, Nissi, Adi, Tangsa, etc.—had acquired a considerable share of Christians already in 2001. During 2001-11, the proportion of Christians in the total population of Arunachal Pradesh has risen considerably from 18.7 to 30.3 percent. The increase is much more marked in the regions of Christian dominance that we have mentioned. Though religion data for the individual tribal communities has not been published till now, yet it seems that many of the communities that had been substantially Christianised in 2001, may have become entirely or predominantly Christian now.”

Where are Christians Not?

Their description gives clear picture about where the Christians are. I think the Christians should look at where the Christians are not found. In the perspective, the most notable among the districts are Anjaw, Dibang Valley, Upper Siang, West Kameng and Tawang. Those are the areas of the Mishmi, Adi and Monpa tribes.

Another way of looking

The Census of India 2011 gives in terms of percentages of religious adherents in each district. See the last four districts that have less than ten percentages of Christians.

District Christian Hindu Muslim Sikh Buddhist Jain Other Religions Not Stated
Tirap 74.45% 18.47% 0.99% 0.05% 0.69% 0.04% 4.76% 0.56%
Kurung Kumey 55.59% 5.28% 0.51% 0.05% 0.13% 0.09% 37.10% 1.25%
Papumpare 47.80% 32.30% 3.48% 0.18% 2.70% 0.08% 12.79% 0.68%
East Kameng 47.19% 15.67% 0.83% 0.05% 0.57% 0.03% 35.41% 0.24%
Lower Subansiri 41.43% 11.50% 1.78% 0.03% 0.23% 0.02% 44.66% 0.33%
West Siang 26.69% 14.14% 1.98% 0.51% 2.95% 0.04% 53.45% 0.24%
Changlang 24.27% 32.17% 1.44% 0.06% 33.99% 0.06% 7.92% 0.09%
East Siang 18.40% 28.07% 2.31% 0.07% 0.78% 0.03% 49.78% 0.55%
Lower Dibang Valley 17.04% 53.47% 4.15% 0.06% 5.42% 0.04% 19.22% 0.61%
Upper Siang 15.98% 14.90% 1.16% 0.08% 7.30% 0.02% 59.36% 1.21%
Upper Subansiri 10.52% 16.15% 0.62% 0.03% 0.36% 0.01% 71.24% 1.07%
West Kameng 10.08% 37.24% 2.35% 0.39% 42.99% 0.08% 6.62% 0.24%
Lohit 7.33% 67.95% 2.64% 0.14% 16.78% 0.07% 4.99% 0.09%
Dibang Valley 2.79% 39.24% 1.39% 0.09% 1.57% 0.02% 53.31% 1.59%
Tawang 1.55% 23.69% 1.57% 2.33% 69.87% 0.14% 0.70% 0.13%
Anjaw 1.28% 61.83% 3.09% 1.29% 3.04% 0.06% 28.99% 0.41%