Christianity in Assam
Christianity is a third largest religion in Assam, a state of India in the north-eastern region. The population of Christians in Assam is 1,165,867 making up 3.74% state population as of 2011 census report and it is also second growing religion in Assam after Islam. The largest concentration of Christians in Assam can be found in Dima Hasao District where Christian population there is 30% approx and Karbi Anglong district where Christian population is 16.5% approx as of 2011 census report.
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Two Portuguese Jesuit missionaries, Cabral and Cacella - the first Christian Missionaries to set foot in Assam - reached Hajo and Guwahati on September 26, 1626. They were en route to Tibet from Hooghly. There is no record of significant sharing of the gospel in Assam at this point.
The start of sustained missionary work in Assam seems to come with the arrival of Nathan Brown along with Oliver Cutter in 1836. They previously had been Christian missionaries in Burma. They carried a printing machine with them and first arrived in Sadiya, eastern most part of Assam. They started schools in Assamese and Khaamti languages and authored text books. They also started the translation of the New Testament into Assamese. But in 1839, due to Khamti rebellions, Brown along with Cutter left for Jaipur, India. They kept publishing in Assamese from there. The complete translation of 'New Testament' was first published in 1848 as 'Amaar Traankorta Jisu Christor Natun Niyom'. In 1854, he published 'Christor Biworon and Xhubho Bartaa'. He also translated a few prayers to Assamese. Brown started the translated of Bible he was finally completed in 1903 with other missionaries efforts.
Oliver Thomas Cutter was born in United States in 1811. He started his journey towards east in 1831 along with his wife Harriet Cutter. He first landed in Burma (Myanmar) and from there he crossed Patkai to reach Assam in 1836 along with Nathan Brown's family. He together with Browns started a printing press in Sadiya. They started to print books in Assamese, Khamti and Singfou language from there. They also started school and authored some text books for the schools. But due to Singfou rebellions, they were forced to leave Assam and go back to Jaipur. But they kept on publishing books from Jaipur. After few years, Cutter's family came back to Assam and this time settled down in Sibsagar. Miles Bronson came to Assam with friend Jacob Thomas in 1836. He first started his works in Sadiya, Jaipur and Naamsang. He started interacting with Naga tribes and first compiled 'East Naga' Thesaurus. According to historian Mccangie, no European after or before Bronson could get so close to Nagas. But he soon felt ill working with Nagas, so he finally came down to Nagaon via Sibsagar. In Assam, Bronson started working in both Christianism and local education. During the period from 1848 to 1851 and 1867 to 1871, he took vacation from his works and went back to New York. Miles Bronson was the main leader of the movement against government enforcing Bengali language as the official language in courts, school in Assam. In 1867, using Jaduram baruah's scripting, he published the first Assamese and English dictionary. The dictionary contained around 14 thousands words and published from Baptist Missionary Press, Sibsagar. This dictionary was another strong step in support of Assamese language. Bronson also started the translation of Bible to Assamese. Nidhiram, the first Assamese convert, was baptised by Bronson on June 13, 1841.
Khasi and Garo are notable ethnic groups with a large Christian population. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Himalayan States has an Assam diocese since 2003, which used to be the Assam Church. Among the large Bengali population of Assam, there are few Christians.
Population by district
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List of denominations
- Association of Regular Independent Churches of India
- Assam Baptist Convention
- Boro Baptist Church Association
- Boro Baptist Convention
- Cachar Hill Tribes Presbyterian Synod
- Christian Fellowship Centre
- Church of Christ (Instrumental)
- Church of God (Anderson)
- Kuki Christian Church
- Karbi-Anglong Baptist Convention
- Lakher Independent Evangelical Church
- North Bank Christian Association
- Rabha Baptist Church Union
- United Pentecostal Church in India
- Biateram Presbyterian Synod
- Cachar Christian Association
- Holy Christ Church, Tribon North East India
- Archived March 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- "Regional Updates - Gospel for Asia". Gfa.org. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- Population by religious community: Assam. 2011 Census of India.
- World Christian Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., 2001 Volume 1, p. 368-371
- "EACI". Eacinet.org. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- Archived February 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-04. Retrieved 2014-01-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)