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STATE MIZORAM THE BAND

Exodus, such as enemies chasing them many of the stories of the


over a red-coloured sea, quails, and a Bible, and were practic-

Monsoon Raga
pillar of cloud is a clear evidence of their
ing a form of biblical Ju-
Israelite ancestry. daism.”
Translation of the lyrics: More then 5,000
“While we are preparing for the people in Mizoram and
Sikpui Feast, The big red sea becomes Manipur claim to be
divided; As we march along fighting our ‘Jews’, and hundreds
foes, We are being led by pillar of cloud of them have already
by day,’’ And pillar of fire by night. Ourmigrated to the Middle
enemies, O ye folks, are thick with fury, East. They are mostly
Come out with your shields and arrows. settled in Gaza and the
Fighting our enemies all day long, We West Bank. Mizos who
march forward as cloud-fire goes before claim to be ‘Jews’ have
us. The enemies we fought all day long, formally converted
The big sea swallowed them like wild themselves to Judaism
beast. Collect the quails, And draw the after being ‘baptised’ at
water that springs out of the rock.” ‘Mikvahs’ or spiritual
Freund also reported that according baths organized by rab-
to the Bnei Menashe, “a century ago, bis visiting Mizoram and
when British missionaries first arrived Manipur during the past
in India’s North-East, they were aston- few years. Around 1,200 A Mizo woman with a vision fixed in Israel.
ished to find that the local tribesmen people from Mizoram
worshipped one god, were familiar with have reportedly migrated to Israel dur- Menashe - the ethnic community in
ing the past years, Mizoram and Manipur - as Israeli de-
with over 500 going in scendants. After that historic announce-
2006, and nearly same ment on March 30, 2006 the Amishav
numbers of ‘Jews’ Hebrew Centre - the institute for learn-
have moved to Israel ing the Hebrew language and Jewish
from Manipur. religion and culture located at Republic
According to me- Veng Street in Aizwal - was renamed as
dia reports – the Is- the Shavei Israel Hebrew Centre. The
raeli Interior and Ab- rapid conversion of Mizos to Judaism
sorption ministry had has brought about a change in the reli-
earlier approved the gious equation of the state. This other-
Everytime we enter into the monsoon season, we raise debate on what is caus-
‘home coming’ of the wise Christian dominated state is wit- ing “less rainfall” in our wettest place. But records say we are comfortably high
Mizo Jews in Octo- nessing a rise in Judaism.
ber, 2006 after which But the state’s powerful church,
in rainfall. Madhuparna Bhattacharjee finds more on this.
around 500 Mizo Jews have always dismissed the theory of the
left for Israel. A Mik- Mizo Jews. Churches even assert that

E
vah or spiritual bath of by all empirical accounts, this tribe was very year, I often hear few people complaining that versity and what he has to say on this is something interest-
the Jews was erected animist at the time of the arrival of the there is not enough rainfall that particular year. And ing. “The total rainfall in this region has not decreased. What
at Zuangtui locality missionaries. with the system of electricity shutdown, which has has happened instead is that the region is not experiencing
near Mizoram’s capital Yet hundreds of Mizos have con- been the trend for the past four years, their voices seem to raise incessant rain that it used to do earlier.”
Aizwal, where Mizo verted to the Jewish faith, with many higher and they speak with a lot of conviction, even though the Dr Singh along with Taiichi Hayashi, a senior scientist
‘Jews’ were formally learning Hebrew through correspon- scientific studies indicate otherwise. from the Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto Uni-
converted to Judaism dence courses. At the local synagogue, The Northeast India is one of the most vital zones of the versity, Kyoto, Japan, has been jointly conducting a research
in 2006 by the rabbis- hundreds of Mizos attend prayers thrice world which often comes up for discussion or reference when- on the rainfall pattern in the Northeast India with Cherrapun-
the religious teacher of a day – just to show how deep-rooted ever there is some debate over global warming, climate change jee their study area.
the Jews. their faith is in Judaism and the Jews or ecological imbalance. And why not, when Cherrapunjee re- “After going through the records of Cherrapunjee’s rain-
In an earlier de- life style. But the question that remains cords highest rainfall in a year and becomes the world’s wettest fall during the past hundred years, we can say that now the
Biju Boro

velopment, Sephardi still unanswered is whether the kind of place, it is quite obvious that any global study on the rainfall rainfall in this part of the world has changed its pattern. Ear-
Rabbi Shlomo Amar, hope and desperation with which these pattern in various pockets, Cherrapunjee must have a place lier there used to be constant rain for days. But now we get
head of the rabbini- lot of people embraced Judaism would there. sudden and short spells of heavy shower,” Dr Singh said.
cal court in Israel, had be reciprocated during their emancipa- With this question in mind whether the average rainfall in Monsoon in India lasts for few months, normally from
announced the rec- tion with the general Jews. Only time the Northeast has at all decreased, I had a very academic dis- June to September. If you go for the history of it, you would
Mizo Jews in a synagogue. ognition of the Bnei will tell. cussion with Dr Surendra Singh of the North Eastern Hill Uni- find that the term was first used in English in India, Bangla-
44 August 08 August 08 45