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Traditional religion and root of Christianity among Koren/Koireng tribe

Pr Kungsong Wanbe *

Koireng :: An Ethnic Doll display at Mutua Museum Cultural Heritage Complex, Andro
Koireng :: An Ethnic Doll display at Mutua Museum Cultural Heritage Complex, Andro



KOIRENG RELIGION:

Koirengs are among the smallest tribes of India’s North-eastern region which is a meeting ground of various racial and cultural elements in this part of Asia. The Koirengs are the followers of a well-set traditional religion which is a system of worship of the supreme God (Pathien in Koireng).

In their worship the Koirengs say, “Wanchunga om kipa/kinpa Pathien kinikoi/kinnikoi ningairo” In English, “My/our heavenly Father/God, kindly hear my/our prayer and save me/us”.

The Koirengs love their customs and traditions other than any concept of faith. In many ways, Koirengs are proud of their tradition and religion. But following the conversion of the hill people of Manipur into Christianity and the Koirengs coming into contact with the tribal Christian coverts, the Koirengs also gradually began to convert into Christianity.

THE ROOT OF CHRISTIANITY:

Christianity was brought to the hills of Manipur in 1894 with the coming of William Pettigrew, an American Baptist missionary. He first worked in Ukhrul and established churches there. Then, Christianity was spread gradually among other tribes. Now Christianity is a major religion among the hill tribes of Manipur.

The Koirengs received Christianity through their association with other tribal Christians. A Kom preacher first came to Utonglok village as Utonglok youth associated and mingled with the Kom youth.

Y Phunsorang was the first Christian convert among the Koirengs. K Shonkhosei, a Kom evangelist baptised him. Thus, as a result of their association with Kom missionaries, Utonglok and Sadu Koireng villages were converted into Christianity.

Most of the Koirengs cannot read Kom Bible and cannot speak Kom language, half of Koirengs joined the Sadar Baptist Association where Manipuri is common for them. Besides, there are a good number of Seventh-Day Adventists among Koirengs. Among the Seventh-Day Adventists, Pr Kungsong Wanbe was a pioneer.

He went to Assam Training School, now Adventist Training School (ATS)/Northeast Adventist College (NAC), Jowai, Meghalaya for high school education. He came back with little Christian light.

He delayed his baptism for more than two/three years because he wanted to know a clear cut truth and distinction between the Saturday and Sunday observance by Christians. He made enquired many Christian leaders but none of them could give him satisfactory explanation of what he wanted to know.

Finally, Ph Shomi (Khangchuga), a Seventh – day Adventist evangelist, gave him a month-long Bible study. He was convinced about the immutability and perpetuity of the Law/Ten Commandments of God. Pastor MC Kujur baptised him. After his baptism, he wrote the following pamphlets:

1) Holy Day Jehovah’s Rest;
2) The First Day of the Week, Sunday;
3) The True Religion;
4) Understanding or Perish;
5) My Short Lecture;
6) My Second Lecture;
7) The Duty of People Who Are Awaiting the Second Coming of Jesus and 8) Be the True Protestant.

Now almost hundred/cent per cent of Koireng population are Christians.


* Pr Kungsong Wanbe wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on December 30, 2016.


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