A witnessing church

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/15/2018 12:45:53 PM IST

 One lesson that can be learnt from Mizoram, is how the church has faithfully followed the biblical tenet to- go to the world- and not let the world come to the church. The Mizo church’s ability to maintain its saltiness and radiate light is truly a testimony of its strong foundation. In the recent election, the Mizos attracted intense national and international interest when they stood as one against then state CEO S.B.Shashank for having the EC shunt out Mizo IAS officer Lalninmawia Chuaungo of Gujarat cadre. Mizos were incensed on two counts- they strongly believed that Shashank had taken adverse decisions in favour of Brus to please a certain political party and that the Mizo officer Chuaungo’s only crime was to counter Shashank for not routing his orders through the state government. The protest against Shashank was spearheaded by the Mizoram People’s Forum(MPF). The MPF proved that it was not only psychologically or spiritually influential, but also physically capable when it was able to marshal around 50,000 at the protest rally against Shashank. The message was loud and clear and the ECI ultimately had to give in to the demands. The MPF comprises of church members and advisers handpicked from the civil society and borrowed volunteers from the YMA besides two other civil society organisations – Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) and Zoram Upa Pawl (ZUP). MPF requisitions volunteers as per its requirement to monitor the polling process and help people cast their votes at the booths in a smooth manner. The MPF came into existence in 2006 as a voluntary body of society and church, to put down the worrisome trend of use of money and muscle power in Mizo state politics that began in 1998 and also 2003 to ensure that election in the state was free and fair and “without money power”. Like the powerful socio-religious body Young Mizo Association (YMA), MPF is also backed by the state’s Presbyterian Church. However, unlike the YMA, which has nearly four and a half lakh members across the state and can be called not only the oldest but the single most influential socio-religious body of the Mizo society that has a say in almost every aspect of community living, the MPF becomes active only during an election. The church in Mizoram( particularly the Presbyterian church) has been holding a firm grip over morality and ethics and shown reluctance in “allowing the world to come inside the church”. The MPF takes over electioneering right from weeding out undesirable candidates with dubious backgrounds, to banning feasts, liquor or any form of enticement. MPF also conducts common platform for candidates and disallows other forms of canvassing. Even election materials such as flags or posters are restricted. The MPF is particularly very strict on expenditure so much so that it has even asked the ECI to reduce expenditure limit to less than the prescribed ceiling of Rs.20 lakh. The solid foundation of practising Christianity does not begin or end with elections, as is being understood by people in Nagaland. The Mizo church is vibrant and proactive in every facet of social life and which the Naga church can emulate if there is any seriousness in achieving the much desired ‘Clean Election.”

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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