By Achunga Chuaungo
The Statistical Abstract of Mizoram 2011, published by Directorate of Economics and Statistics, states that 2,382 missionaries are sponsored by at least eight different church bodies.
Presbyterian Church of Mizoram sponsored 990 missionaries, of whom 472 are female and 518 are male. Baptist Church of Mizoram (BCM) sponsored 577 missionaries, United Pentecostal Church (North East India) (UPC-NEI) sponsored 125 and United Pentecostal Church (Mizoram) (UPC-Mz) 83.
Adding to the list would be the Salvation Army which sponsored 281, Seventh Day Adventist 57, Evangelical Church of Maraland (ECM) 247 and Lairam Isua Krista Baptist Kohhran (LIKBK/Jesus Christ Baptist Church of Lairam) 22.
Despite being one of the most backward state in India, the churches without fail raise funds “for the ministry of the Lord”, says Zosangliana Colney, leader of Mizoram Presbyterian Church.
Besides tithes and offerings, Christians in Mizoram still follow the practice of setting aside a handful of rice before every meal. The rice is then collected each week and sold or even sent to homes of missionaries. The impressive tradition supposedly began in the year 1914.
Meanwhile, going by the stats, the Mizoram Presbyterian is the biggest denomination having 472,840 members within the state, followed by BCM (146,331), UPC-NEI (91,720), UPC-Mz (41,558), Salvation Army (55,791) and Seventh Day Adventist (19,235).
It further reveals that there are 2,612 church buildings across the state. Also, there are 184 schools of which 89 belong to the Presbyterian Church and 46 to the Roman Catholic.
The total number of Christians is thought to be 911,543 (84% of the population).
According to the statistical abstract, published by the Government of Mizoram, the state has about 31,562 Hindus, 10,009 Muslims, 326 Sikhs and 179 Jains There are some 3,105 people following religions described as “others.”
Buddhism, with over 70,494 followers, is the second largest religion in Mizoram.
The population was based on the Census 2001 in which the number of Christians was placed at 7,72,809.
Mizoram, one of the Seven Sister States in Northeast India, shares land borders with Tripura, Assam, Manipur, Bangladesh and the Chin state of Burma. Thanks to English missionaries, the state ranks second in India with a literacy rate of 88.49%.