Influencers on Yobin Society: Late Dishington Sohkhlet

With respect, he was locally called Bah Dishing. In the late 70s he studied his masters from the Cincinnati Bible College and graduated in 1974. He returned to India and founded North East India Christian Mission the same year at Nongpoh, Meghalaya. He served as its Director till his death in May 1999. His son Bill took over his baton.

During his lifetime, he had never been to Shidi. But looking at his contribution to our society, I am so much amazed to see what a person could do even from a distance. In a sense, he was “savior” to us. His support came at a time when all the State Government rights and privileges had been cut off from us.

WHAT HE DID

  • He supported us in education and Bible training for two decades, from May 1979 to 1999.
  • During this period, he provided hostel to stay, money for food, taught Bible and school education. Each student was support for a period of four years.
  • Most probably about 100 students had an opportunity to be in his hostel. Many did not complete their term because the transition from village education to town (that too in English) was too much to bear. Gratefully several went on to complete their graduations in theology and secular. Almost all graduates in 80s and 90s were those who have gone through him.
  • A partnership with a school at Nongpoh called Ri-Bhoi Presbyterian School so that we could get admission easily. The Headmistress of that school, Mrs K. Ranee, loved us and supported us. Like Dishington she had never been to our area.

RESULTS

  • People who had been in his school became government servants, school teachers.
  • The study in Bible provided a platform for our people to study further in Chennai at Madras College of Evangelism (Now Lakeview Bible College and Seminary). These graduates became key church leaders among us, many became missionaries, some became directors of mission organizations/NGOs.

Once again I thought: what would the situation among us if we did not have the privilege of studying at Nongpoh?

PEOPLE IN THE BACKGROUND

In addition to Dishington, many played their part to ensure this support system functioned well. Late Mathi was at that time posted at Shillong. He corresponded with other missionaries (primarily Joseph) to help us and then routed support through Dishington. Then there was the Gospel Evangelizing Committee of Shidi Churches of Christ which took active interest to educate our young boys. Finally, we had the early graduates from that institution taught in the Bible institute. They were Nathaney, Barnabas and Stephen, who taught and gave much moral support to our students.

Forced out of homeland for health, education

Source: The Assam Sentinel, 7 August 2010 (accessed: 10 August 2010).

ITANAGAR, Aug 7: Talk of abandoning homeland in search of basic human facilities. At least seven patients belonging to the Yobin community of Dawodi, rechristened Vijaynagar for obvious reasons, have permanently shifted to Miao to avail medical care! At least 238 Yobin students have also set up their bases in and around Miao for higher studies! It might be unthinkable of a life without schools and medical facilities in this era but these are bitter truths for the Yobins and Gorkhalis of Vijaynagar. Ironically, they have been living under government administration since 1962 after the Chaukan Pass Expedition.

Reportedly, for years now, people in Vijaynagar have not seen a doctor. A nurse substitute a doctor there, who too has nothing much to offer as the so-called medical center runs out of essential drugs faster than a leaking bucket.

“It is unfortunate but we have come to terms with the realities of life. Our sick brothers and sisters have been shifted to Miao for better health-care,” said a native. This, in the face that, Government of India’s much bragged about NRHM boasts of having taken basic health services to remotest villages of the country.

According to sources about 140 Yobin adults in Miao take care of the 238 young children in their education. Due to lack of government interventions in Vijaynagar circle, people are poor and are increasingly finding it difficult to pay for school fees. This condition is further worsened by the fact that Yobins are not counted as a scheduled tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. Without this status, Yobins do not enjoy the privileges offered by the state like the other tribes. For every basic facility, they have to pay like any other general category citizen.

Meanwhile, the series of reports on the plight of Yobins carried by this daily has begun to evoke response from various quarters. The North East Students’ Organization (NESO) became the first to make its stand official when its Secretary General Gumjum Haider voiced in support of the Yobins.

“Equal amount of facilities must be given to indigenous tribals like Yobins. If we have claimed their ancestral land as part of Arunachal then it is the state government’s responsibility to provide them with basic amenities too,” Haider said.

Yobins: Outcast on all fronts for no fault

Source: The Assam Sentinel, 6 August 2010 (accessed: 10 August 2010).

ITANAGAR, Aug 6: Yobins, who are hardly 2000 in number as per Census 2001, have been living in a contemptible situation, both socially and economically. Deprived of several rights, this tribe of a vibrant ethnic culture has hardly found space in the developmental scheme of the State government. ‘Pitiable is the condition’ is what Phusa Yobin, President of the Yobin Tribe Welfare Committee (YTWC), aptly describes the situation.

Going by the statistics, Phusa is far from being wrong. Out of the 2000-odd Yobins, only 1% are employed. This is a blot in the name of governance since even after 60 years of India’s Independence and after 20 years of Arunachal’s statehood, Yobins-inhabited areas around Vijaynagar (Dawodi) has no road communication that would link it with rest of the country.

“In absence of road communication and due to lack of higher education facilities in Vijaynagar, most of the students drop-out from school,” Phusa informed. He claims that another reason for high rate of school drop-out is the fact that most of the Yobins are poor and do not have enough money to send their children to Miao, the nearest town, for further studies. School drop-out rate amongst Yobins is as high as 70%.

Hinting at the root cause for such neglect and systematic deprivation of his tribe, Phusa blames on the misconceptions about the origin of Yobins.

“Our citizenship was doubted first. Later our scheduled tribe status was snatched away,” lamented Phusa.

The Arunachal government while restoring the Indian citizenship to Yobins vide notification No POL-57/79/ Vol. II dated January 18, 1994, it maintained a stoic silence on the APST status. This was despite the fact that Yobin tribe is enlisted in serial no 78 and serial no 107 of the 1961 and 1981 census operations respectively.

A glimmer of hope shone for the Yobins in the year 2000 when the state government forwarded its recommendation list for APST to the Government of India that included the Yobins. As a follow up, the state government provided ethnographic information on Yobins to the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs vide memo no. SC/ST (IN-EX) 99 dated November 20, 2006. However, it has been almost 4 years since then and nothing has come out of it.

“In January 2008 political representatives of Changlang district, Komlung Mossang and Setong Sena, submitted a memorandum in favour of granting ST status to Yobins to the Prime Minister during his visit at Itanagar,” informs Phusa but rued that nothing positive has transcended ever since.

It is important that state government pushes for restoration of APST status to the Yobins in the wake of glaring realities in absence of ST status. The younger generations of this tribe are suffering in particular and the whole community is lagging behind as they are being deprived of many centrally sponsored schemes under various ministries of the Center.

 

Education Centres In Yobin Villages

Last updated: July 20, 2012

I thank brother Jesasay and Ngwalidwe for providing data for this article.

At this time, many educational initiatives have been made available to our people by the state government. I like to group those under three categories.

ANGANWADI CENTRES

Beginning 2007, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) provided several angawadi centres for pre-school children in our villages. These centres are equivalent to Day Care centres in urban areas. There are now seven such centres.

  • Dawodi (one centre)
  • Hazolo (one centre)
  • Sichoto (once centre)
  • Shidiku (one centre)
  • Shidi (three centres)

I noticed the impact of these institutions in my last visit home. My four year old niece had been in angawadi (she calls “A-GA-WA-DI” in typical Lisu accent) for over a year. Now she has learned as much as 100 English vocabularies and almost an equal number of words in Hindi! This year when she joined class I, those initial learning provided an easy transition to her next level of education.

PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Seven schools are providing primary education.  Only 2 and 3 offer upto class four. The rest has only upto class two or even below.

NO SCHOOL STUDENT TEACHER
1 Katha Lisu School 245*
2 Govt Primary School Hazolo 34 1
3 Govt Primary School Sidiqui 31 1
4 EGS Miphote 30 1
5 NC Public School Dawodi 25*
6 EGS Dawodi 1 1
7 EGS Sichoto 1 1

(Data is from NUEPA, except those marked *).

Personally, I know two schools that made a difference. One of my younger sisters joined the first batch of Katha School at Shidi. The teaching was good and that provided a good foundation. Later she studied at Kohima and she could do well even there, though with some difficulty.

The other one “EGS Miphote”. Shidi people call it “Yaesina school” after the teacher. I hear many good testimonies about that school.

UPPER PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

These two are the highest level of educational centres available for our people in Dawodi circle. Interesting to note that though Shidi is only a middle school (Upper Primary), its enrolment is much higher than the secondary school of Vijoynagar. Another thing to note: there is a huge difference between the number of teachers of these two schools.

NO School Students Teachers
1 Govt Middle School Gandhigram 337 4
2 Govt Secondary School Vijoyanagar 209 13

(Data from NUEPA).

OBSERVATIONS

  • Nibodi is a large village with about 50 families but it has only an angawadi centre. The reason – the government has not recognized the village yet (It is now a census village from 2011). The children of that village are deprived of basic education.
  • Shidi village has the highest enrollment of students. The secondary level education should be shifted to Shidi, rather than at Dawodi.
  • The private education and angawadi centres have provided good basic education, majority of educational institution provide poor education. In 1992, five boys and one girl appeared for entrance exam in Meghalaya. None could pass the test. So all had to study a class lower.

REFERENCES

Katha Schools. 2009. http://www.katha.org/site/what-we-do/education/our-schools (accessed 18 July 2012). Four Katha schools in Shidi, Ngwazakha, Hazolo and Shidiku returned 245 enrolments in 2009-10 between 3 – 6 years old.

Location of anganwadi centres in  changlang   district of Arunachal Pradesh. http://arunachalswwcd.gov.in/content/central%20plan/icds/anganwadi/Changlang.pdf (accessed 18 July 2012). Published by Department of Social Welfare, Women and Child Development, Itanagar.

NUEPA. 2011. http://www.dise.in/Downloads/School%20Directory/Arunachal/1212.pdf (accessed 18 July 2012).  School directory of Changlang district for the year 2010-11.

Yobin People Who Studied Theology

Compiled By Liahey, Data Collected By Barak (1 – 19 June 2012)

For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the LORD – Habakkuk 2:14

BACKGROUND

Barak did an excellent job of collecting information. Also I thank Atibosa and Avia for helping in verification.

In this count, we have counted only those who involved as “full-time” students in theology. So we have not considered those who have completed from Nongpoh and Shidi.

FINDINGS

  • How many studied theology? The Yobin community has 67 people who have completed diploma, bachelor and master levels of study. Maximum number have done their bachelors (40 graduates). None have completed doctorate nor am aware anyone is aiming for doctorate at the moment.
  • What are those graduates doing?  About 34 percent of the graduates are engaged in various ministries such as in church, evangelism and in teaching. And as much as 49 percent are not directly involved as “full-time” ministry. The rest are still pursuing various degrees.
  • How many men and women? 58 males and 9 females completed their studies. This appears as if theology is a domain of men! Interestingly, among those 9 women, 2 have did their masters in theology.
  • Where did they do their studies?Chennai continues to top the list.

    Places where study took place

  • Where do they come from?

Education by village

  • Which decade had the highest number of those who completed theological studies? The 2000 decade produced 41 people who had theological training. And it is very likely that the 2010 decade will exceed the previous decade because within the first two years of this decade, already 19 have graduated.Which village do they come from?

    Education according to decades

At Last:

One in every 45 Yobin people are theologically trained. This is in addition to our existing pastors, those who completed from Nongpoh and those who had training at various churches in Vijoynagar circle.

If everyone of those above are mobilized well, the spread of God’s knowledge within the Yobin community and outside communities will not be difficult.

I also like to challenge everyone who did theology: Do not send your children to theological college. Train them at home well so that they can become great servants of our God.

==========================

[I felt its appropriate to mention how the theological education progress over the years. Below is a brief summary]

Until 1970s, our churches did not have formal theological education. The senior pastors used to organize seminars occasionally and trained the pastors that way.

That trend started to change when Ngwadu/ꓥꓪ-ꓮ-ꓓꓶ and Late Yosiyeh/ꓬꓳ-ꓢꓲ-ꓬꓯ went to Chennai to study in early 1970s. Unfortunately, they could not complete their studies and returned half way.

Another wave began when Nathaney went to Chennai to pursue his Bachelor of Theology in 1982. He then made a record as the first theological graduate from our people. He also made history in Lakeview Bible College and Seminary (then Madras College of Evangelism) as its first graduate. The decade of 1980 witnessed about 5 graduates from our people.

Around that time, we had an opening at Nongpoh to simultaneously pursue school education and Bible studies. This school level program provided a stepping stone to pursue higher studies both in secular and theological education.

From 1990s, those theological educated rose steadily. Our people got training in Chennai, Bangalore, Damoh and Kerala, to name a few.

Educated People From Yobin Community

Compiled by: Liahey, Data Collected by: Barak and Juicy, 1-5 June 2012 (Last Revised: 16 June 2012)

“Education is a liberating force, and in our age it is also a democratizing force, cutting across the barriers of class, smoothing out inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances.” – Indira Gandhi.

People are educated in many ways. In this study, we have focused on those who did their formal education (both regular and open systems). Other streams like theological, vocational etc will follow later.

The question we asked: How many Yobin/Lisu have completed high school and above? I want to thank Barak and Juicy for collecting needed information. They did much interviews over phone and of course much recollection of memory too!

The information covers only those who are living with us today as our purpose is to show how many educated people are there in our society today.

In this study, I invite you to join the findings we had on the progress of education among the Yobin people over four decades. Let us rejoice in good progress, work together in areas that need attention.

NUMBER OF EDUCATED PERSONS IN FOUR DECADES


One hundred and forty eight have completed class 10 and above. This is about 5% of total Lisu population of about 3,000. Out of that no one has completed M. Phil or Ph.D. 

There is not huge difference in dropout rates between high school and PUC. But dramatically gap widens after class 12. Only about 40% make it to bachelor and very few to masters.

Some notable people from above are:

  • Till date, brother Yusihay is the only one from our community who has almost completed his PhD program. I am positive that one day he’ll complete it.
  • Chayoni and Jemapho are the pioneers to pursue nursing profession.
  • Phuyosa is the first person to practice law.

RISE OF EDUCATION OVER THE DECADES

In the 1970s there was only one who completed bachelor degree. Most might know it is none other than Phusa, who led our society throughout these years. The 80s and 90s had been difficult years when our citizenship was removed, but educated people rose slowly. Because it was the time God provided us Nongpoh as a town where our people could be educated, till date.

The next decade is not as dramatic as the 2010s. The first two years of this decade outnumbered all the educated people of all time. This two years produced 97 people, though most from class 10 and 12. If this trend continues, we will see about 500 people who have completed matriculation and above, in this decade. And we may find difficult to find uneducated youth from our society in the next decade.

Perhaps, this success could be attributed to our settlement at Miao since 2000, when Yobin Camp at Miao was established. People could easily stay there without much expense. And clearly our people had invested to the education in that decade and we reap its fruit in this decade.

See further breakdown of educational levels according to the decades.

To depict the progress graphically, look at the same data in graph.

In the days to come I look forward to see the columns for Bachelor and Master rise higher. And of course I hope to see a column for M.Phil and PhD. And personally I will make sure I get included with the PhDs.

EDUCATION AND GENDER

The male educated is 98 and female 50, about 2:1 ratio.

The gender gap is not huge at matriculation, but widens in higher education. It can be noted here that there is no female who has completed master level education till date.

EDUCATION ACCORDING TO VILLAGES

Shidi being the largest village has produced highest number of educated people. But Dawodi has the highest percentage of educated people, looking at the lower Lisu population in that village. It has also the distinction of having the first MA graduate, Late Makhu.

Our people need to rise from Nibodi, Ngwazakha, Aguchi and many other smaller villages. Let us pray God will make ways for them too.

Our people need to rise from Nibodi, Ngwazakha, Aguchi and many other smaller villages. Let us pray God will make ways for them too.