Lian H. Sakhong
Prior to British annexation in 1896, Chinram was an independent country ruled by traditional tribal and local chiefs. Annexation saw the land divided between India and Burma and Chin society abruptly transformed, not least by the arrival of Christian missionaries. The conversion of the Chin to Christianity from traditional locally based Chin religion had unintended consequences as the Chin became involved in Burmese independence movements. They began to articulate their own Christian traditions of democracy and assert a burgeoning self-awareness of their own national identity. Moreover, the church has taken a key role in the struggle of Chin liberation movements in Burma and India. Just how Christianity has provided the Chin people with a means of preserving their national identity in the midst of multi-ethnic and multi-religious environments is the main focus of this study.
Written by an exiled former Secretary General of the Chin National League for Democracy, this study contains valuable data on the Chin and their role in the history of Burma, and provides a clear analysis of the close relationship between religion, ethnicity and nationalism.