The 125 year old suspension bridge popularly known as Clark’s Bridge built on the Milak River at Molungyimsen, which has been lying in ruin for many years was restored on Saturday with minister of planning and coordination, veterinary and animal husbandry, evaluation and parliamentary affairs, T.R. Zeliang unveiling the restoration plague as chief guest.
Speaking at the restoration ceremony on the bank of Milak River, T.R Zeliang, recalled and lauded the contribution of Rev. Dr E.W. Clark to the Nagas.
Dr Clark’s wisdom for the Nagas was remarkable and his mission was not only for Christianity, but also for peace, education and uplifting of Nagas economy, he said adding it was through Dr Clark’s mission that Nagas today learn the method of peace.
Asserting that Clark’s Bridge was a heritage and could become a hot spot of tourist attraction, T. R. Zeliang, called upon the people to have a sense of belonging and help such historical places.
“The bridge appears to look simple but if it is preserved properly our future generations can translate it significant into many dimensions”, Zeliang said adding that such heritage was the resource. He also assured help from state government for further development of the site.
Initially, the bridge was constructed with bamboo and cane in 1884, but four years latter it was replaced by steel wire imported from Chicago, America and served as a mean link between Naga Hills and Assam valley when the travelling was very difficult as people had to cross formidable rivers Tsurang and Milak, also known as Jhanji. It is about to be 125 years now and though it is not in use by the people today, except to see, those days it was the only all weather road in Naga Hills.
This small bridge also served as an important link in the connectivity traveled by Rev. Dr Clark and the Missionaries in fulfillment of the God given task of bringing the Gospel to the Nagas, recalled Dr Sunep Imchen.
This road was declared as peace Zone by the then British Government, which allowed people to travel freely without fear and doubt, and is known by various name this days as ‘Kings Bridge’ by the trans-Dikhu tribesmen, ‘Peace Bridge’ by the Aos and ‘Clark Bridge’ by the Molungyimsem villagers. The Clarks called it as the ‘Naga Hill Suspension Bridge’, however, Dr Sunep Imchen christened its a ‘Gospel Bridge’.
It was Dr Clark along with Dekhahaimong populace established Molungyimsen the first Christian village in the Naga Hills on October 24, 1876.
It was through Dr Clark’s initiative that hunting was brought to an end, abolished slavery in the Ao country and also brought about change in disposing of the dead bodies.
Meanwhile, Molungyimsen villagers and several other organizers and individual have extended gratitude to T.R. Zeliang, who provided necessary financial assistance for restoration this historic bridge.