Complaint lodged alleging distortion of indigenous Mishmi faith

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 15 Oct: Two residents of Anjaw HQ Hawai have written to the district’s deputy commissioner, alleging that a government-funded building in Hawai – the Indigenous Tribal Culture Centre – which is meant exclusively for preservation, protection and promotion of the indigenous culture, “is being used for non-indigenous activities.”

In their complaint letter, Matyup Tamblung and Barun Masong alleged that, instead of promoting the indigenous rituals and practices, the centre “is distorting and damaging the age-old culture, tradition and rituals of the Mishmi tribe.”

The centre, funded by the state’s indigenous affairs department, is reportedly being run by the Mishmi Indigenous Cultural and Faith Society.

The duo has also lodged a complaint with the CALSOM, the apex body of the Mishmi tribe.

“The centre is to provide a place for the indigenous tribes of the district to take up indigenous activities such as indigenous ritual practices and training, altar making training, indigenous festival celebrations, discussing, meeting, etc, on indigenous matters, local craft training, local weaving training, etc. And in the context of Anjaw district, the indigenous tribe means Mishmi and Meyor communities. But to our surprise, the centre is being used for promotion of faith that is similar to Hinduism and which is completely alien to the indigenous Mishmi faith,” said Tamblung, speaking to this daily.

“The prayer procedure as inscribed there in a hoarding clearly depicts the way of worshipping, such as deep prajwalan, diya burning, tightening thread at wrist, sprinkling holy water, burning incense stick, etc. There is a portrait of god, too. We Mishmi believe our tribal god is omnipresent. What is happening at the centre is a complete distortion of the Mishmi faith. Unfortunately, a few sections of people are misguiding our people,” he said.

Tamblung added: “In the name of fighting religious conversion, we cannot allow distortion of our tribal faith and culture. We will oppose any attempt to distort our ancient indigenous tribal faith which has been passed on to us by our ancestors.”

He also appealed to the indigenous affairs department to check such attempts to distort tribal faith in the state.