CHRISTIANITY AMONG THE NYISHIS OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH, INDIA
Complex systems of beliefs in the spiritual qualities of nature and at the same time the conception of a Supreme Being are the two significant traits which characterises the traditional religion of Nyishi people. The spiritual worlds of the people are dominated by a number of Uyub (spirits) either benevolent or malevolent. It is normally believed by the villagers that various diseases, miseries and misfortunes are caused by the evil spirits. These spirits have such great powers that they may exert influence on man in his earthly life and after life too. Almost every tribal people believed in a Supreme God, who is just, benevolent and good. Traditionally, the village people often considered Donyi-Pollo or the Sun and the Moon as one supreme God.
Belief in the existence of supernatural powers is almost universal. Day-to-day unexplainable experiences have led the villagers into believing in other than the material visible world i.e. in the invisible spiritual world or supernatural power. Generally the people are found to establish a close relationship with the spiritual world either by controlling or overpowering the spirit by enchanting or practicing some techniques and canalising the power, for good or bad or by offering ritual or worship to propitiate the supernatural power for acquisition of the thing or object desired.
However, nowadays, there are clear indications that the Christian religious ideas have penetrated into the traditional religion of the people in the Nyishi villages. They have taken up certain ‘Christianised’ rituals as well as participate in the worship of God in church. Apart from their relative physical isolation from the higher Christian personalities, with certain amount of avidity, the people as a group has definitely came within the Christian... [continues]
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