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Hindu holds mass in Assam to ring in Xmas

ICC Note:
This story shows a different side to how Hindus and Christians interact in India. Though it is regrettable that this Hindu considers God to be same everywhere, his willingness to celebrate with Christians instead of use Christmas as an opportunity to attack them is a welcome change.

Times of India (12/26/06) – A Hindu addressed a mass prayer in a western Assam church as the North-East woke up to the chiming of Christmas bells on Monday. Of the seven north-eastern states, three — Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland — have a Christian-majority.

In Assam’s Kokrajhar, Karuna Talukdar, a retired government employee addressed the prayer at a Baptist church. Nothing extraordinary about that, save Talukdar is a Hindu. “I celebrate Christmas every year because of the faith and love that I see all around. It promises a future of peace and stability required in the region. It has a lot to offer to the turbulent world of today, particularly the Bodo territorial council region. So I make it a point to be part of the universal celebration,” he said.

“God is the same everywhere; what we need to know is to respect other religions.” Shillong, the music capital of the North-East, went into silent huddle and prayed after a gala Christmas-eve bash. Church bells tolled at the stroke of midnight heralding the birth of the ‘prince of peace’.

Midnight masses and special prayer sessions were attended by thousands of faithful in churches across Meghalaya. Captivating Christmas numbers and traditional carols kept the swelling crowds enthralled.

People exchanged greetings irrespective of caste, creed and religion in this cosmopolitan city. All decked up and glittering, the Meghalaya capital attracted a record number of tourists this festive season. Tourists have poured in from several places of the North-East, especially Assam, other parts of the country and even abroad to regale in the Christmas and New Year festivities.

In Nagaland, Christmas was celebrated, a chilly weather notwithstanding. People in Kohima came out in thousands on the streets in the wee hours of the eve and thronged churches to attend special prayers. Over 2,000 people attended the prayers at Kohima’s Cathedral Church.

In the Presbyterian-majority Mizoram, Christmas is a month-long celebration starting from December. The churches across the state held special prayer on Monday, while the young spent the night on the street busy attending bashes. In Aizawl, the Salvation Army organised a gala party that lasted till 2.30 am on Monday. Prominent gospel singers like Rebecca Saimawii and Liandingpuii enchanted the audience with their renditions.