Nagaland is one of the three states where the population is mostly Christian. The Bible has played a significant role in the socio-economic transformation of the various Naga communities.
Nagaland has several indigenous Naga groups, and interestingly they speak mutually unintelligible languages. Hence,English is the ‘unifying’ official language of Nagaland. However, Nagamese – a creole – functions as a lingua franca and is nearly spoken by all.
Nagamese developed out of the need for the hill Naga people to interact with the indigenous Assamese in the plains. It began as a ‘market language’ for the purpose of business communications. Nagamese has gradually become more complex and is written in Roman Script.
Now, Nagamese is preferred for a wider form of communication and is used in all aspects of everyday life. Besides being spoken in casual settings, it is also used for official communique, religious gatherings and in School classrooms to explain subject matters better.
The release of the Nagamese New Testament by Dr. Z.K. Rochill, Sr. Auxiliary Secretary, on the 30th October, 2018 was a proud moment for all of us at the Dimapur Auxiliary.
Most Naga groups have a Bible, a New Testament or at least portions of Scripture in their languages. However, the Nagamese Bible presents the different Naga communities the possibility of reading the Bible together and learning the Bible in fellowship together.
We hope and pray that the Bible in Nagamese would be a great blessing for the different Naga people to engage in Scripture Engagement.