In northwestern Burma’s Naga Self Administered Zone, Burmese missionaries were alleged to have destroyed valuable cultural artifacts belonging to the Makury tribe. It is to be noted that the Makury tribe is a part of a Naga ethnic group.
It is alleged that since October 6, atleast two traditional Morung huts and a log drum were destroyed in the State.
Why were the relics destroyed?
It is to be noted that this year Nagaland came face to face with a two-month outbreak of measles which claimed the lives of 70 people, mostly children. In a terrain as mountainous and remote as Nagaland’s, its hard to find immediate medical help. Enter the Burmese Christian missionaries, who alledgedly told the simple villagers that the recent crisis maybe the work of ‘the devil’. The missionairies then threatened and forced the villagers to destroy their cultural relics and ornaments on the pretext of being evil.
The Council of Naga Affairs single out Sai Aye, a Burmese Christian Missionary for encouraging the locals do away with the buildings and the drum. When the Council contacted the Missionary to address the issue, Sai Aye reportedly didn’t come forward.
Who brought Sai Aye to Nagaland?
Sai Aye was initially brought to the region by the Naga Christian Revival Church, who later apologised to the people for the same. They admitted to not have foreseen the destruction of the Naga cultural entitities.
Since then the Council has requested the Tribal Councils to send back the missionary, who allegedly is still in rural Nagaland, back to Burma. The Council Committees are yet to register a judicial case and are set to begin an investigation at the community level.
Source: The Irrawady Magazine