OPEN LETTER: An Open Letter to the Disaster Management & Rehabilitation Minister of Mizoram


The Minister
Disaster Management & Rehabilitation,

Dear Sir,

As a citizen of a tribal state with one of the smallest populations in the country of India, I think you would understand what it feels like to be a minority. If one looks up minority studies on the google search engine, it would state that the core concepts to be examined include social inequality, dominance/subordination, prejudice, and discrimination, based on poverty, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, or religion.

I am a Seventh Day Adventist, my father and my grandfather are ordained pastors of the Seventh Day Adventist church. I was not only born an Adventist but I have also grown to  hold its beliefs close to my heart. Of these, stand out the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. I could complete my Bachelors of Commerce program in three years, but I took four years, because one subject, Economics, fell on the Sabbath day. I have joined companies and left in a week when I was told that I would not be able to have Saturday off. These hours are holy to us as per the fourth commandment “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates,” and holy they must be kept. 
See, I have studied in schools across India, I have worked in two metropolitan cities before I started my life in Mizoram and in all these places I was labelled a Christian, I was neither a majority nor a minority, just a Christian. But in the state of Mizoram, for the first time, I learnt what it feels like to be a minority religion. I have faced differents forms of insult and ridicule in my workplace, in my college and in public as well as private gatherings. My friends have been told to keep silent about their beliefs in job interviews in Mizoram, else, they might not be offered the position. I learnt to grow a thick skin and kept silent to the laughter of my peers, understanding that they are free to express their opinion. But I will not stand this from a government that stands for democracy with freedom of religion imprinted in its constitution. 
Though as a tribe, I am a Mizo and form a part of the larger population that resides in the state of Mizoram, as a denomination, I am a minority, and I have felt the blow of what a minority status entails. I understand that as an individual, you are entitled to your opinion. But the government is not. We only ask one thing, allow us to keep our day sacred. 

May I ask you if the meeting was held in such a rush that it evaded your mind that Saturday, the one day in the week which you had appointed to be the day for “opening markets” is the one day that the Seventh Day Adventist holds sacred? 
I am an Adventist, I am a minority denomination in my state, the state of Mizoram, and I plead with you and the government to hear my voice.

Yours Faithfully,
Kimi Colney

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