Post Mortem

Religious rites of different Faiths

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/1/2018 12:32:00 PM IST

 The past week, had been a testing time of Naga Christian Faith. Several friends and Pastors requested me if I could write something about the controversy of the immersion for the ashes of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India. I hesitated to do it. I am not a Church or Political leader, so why should I burn my finger? I regret having done it earlier. However, my conscience prompted me that I should share my opinion.

To my opinion, this controversy is not whether we are Christian or not. It is not even conflict between religion and politics. Late A.B. Vajpayee, was the former Prime Minister of India and we respect him as such. Immersion of his ashes has nothing to do with politics. The problem is a matter of religious rites and practises of his faith. Under the constitution of India, the Hindus have all the rights to do as they deemed it fit.

I do not know the practices of the other different tribes of Nagaland. I as a Lotha, I speak only of the Lotha tradition. For the Lothas, to touch ashes of a dead body, whoever he may, is genna (taboo) in Lotha language “Saria”. As far as Christian faith is concerned, the ashes of a dead body, is simply dust. I am not disputing or rejecting Hindu perception. It is their right to do so. I have not any biblical reference, where such objects are to be taken as sacred. But as a citizen of India we are under the Constitution of the land. Everyone has the right to practice any religion according to his own choice. Nobody can force the other.

According to Baptist Church doctrine, the State and religion are separate. The two cannot interfere with each other. There seems to be confusion and each one attempting to dictate its term to their other is surfacing. The common impression of the Nagas is to call Nagalnd as Christian State. May be Christian are majority in Nagaland but that does not make it a religious State. The Constitution does not allow it. A State is a Geographical Administrative unit of the Country. It has nothing to do with religion.

In the Old Testament, we read the story of Daniel and friends. They were uprooted from their root to a foreign culture, more advanced from their own. They became responsible Officers in the Government of Babylon. They discharged their secular duties effectively and justly. But they did not compromise their faith. They were devout Jews who believed in the true and living God. Daniel remained the dame in the Mede-Persian kingdom.

The issue here is about the performance of the religious rites and practices. A Naga or a Christian cannot perform Hindu religious rites. A Hindu priest cannot perform funeral rites of Christians or a Naga. It is as simple as that. A Hindu priest cannot perform funeral rites of Christians or a Naga. It is as simple as that. Unfortunately, some Naga attempted to take political mileage out of it. This is very dangerous. This is the seed of a divisive policy. I want to emphasise here is that anybody can observe or look at the function. There is a difference between participation and merely a spectator. A Naga or a Christian participation is nothing less than Sacrilege.

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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