Arunachal tribe rejoices over new church
By Felix Anthony
Miao: One of the small sub tribes of Arunachal Pradesh rejoiced on February 8 when their bishop blessed the first Catholic church in their village.
“A building does not make a church, but it is the people who make the church,” said Bishop George Palliparampil of Miao while blessing the church at Old Khamdu village of Changlang District in eastern parts of the northeastern Indian state.
The church caters to the Logris, a sub-tribe of the Tangsas.
The Salesian prelate reminded the gathering that a community makes a church only when it lives the values of Christ. “Let us make a strong transformation as we migrate from a humble bamboo structure to a strong concrete Church, he said and stressed the need for spiritual transformation.
Located about 7 Kilometers from Jairampur subdivision of Changlang District, Old Khamdu is home exclusively to the Longris. It is an all-Christian village with 22 Catholic families.
“It is one of joyous day of our life,” said Tusam Longri, a resident of Old Khamdu and Zilla Panchayat Member of the Subdivision. Speaking on the occasion, the Longri exhorted the people to give up bad habits such as drugs and use of alcohol. “As we make a new beginning with the blessing of this new church, let us start our life afresh,” he added.
Mungtang Mossang, president of east Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association, together with the Pilar priests working in Nampong and Manmao prepared a wide range of cultural items to make the spiritual event colorful.
Pilar Father Avan Vas, the mission in-charge of Old Khamdu, thanked all donors who helped built the church.
Several thousands of Tangsa people live in Changlang, parts of Tinsukia district of Assam, and in the Sagaing region of Myanmar. They are a scheduled group under the Indian Constitution.
The Tangshang are well-built and of medium-stature. Tangsas believe they migrated from Mongolia in the 13th century. The term Tangsa is derived from ‘Tang’ (high land) and ‘Sa’ (son) and means ‘people of the high land.’
Traditionally, the Tangsa kept long hair in both sexes, which is tied into a bun and covered with a piece of cloth. The men traditionally wore a long and narrow piece of cloth called lamsam that barely covers the hip and pelvis region. The women traditionally wear a piece of cloth wrapped around the chest and a similar piece of cloth wrapped around the waist extending just below the knees.