In the Ignatian Jubilee year and on the occasion of the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the Jesuits in Tripura have opened their first residential house and christened it as “Arrupe In”. Arrupe In is located in Jamtalibari, Kailasahar, about 150 km north of the state capital Agartala. ‘In’ in local Halam Tribal Language means ‘House’. Bishop Lumen Monteiro CSC inaugurated and blessed the house in the presence of local parishioners, religious and priests.
The Jesuits did not have a permanent residence. In 2018, two Jesuit missionaries, Babu Paul and James Morias, arrived in Jamtalibari from Kerala Province. In a few months they built a tin house which was later handed over to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy. The Nuns collaborate in the new Mission. This year, a Jesuit from Calcutta Province, Irudaya Jothi is collaborating in the new mission of opportunities.
‘Arrupe In’ focuses on the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus. Arrupe In will help change the face of neighbouring villages in the years to come, hopes local youth Sanjith Halam. The locals are basically tribals working in rubber plantations and tea gardens.
The Jesuits have already registered as a Trust – Xavier Institute for Developmental Education (XIDE), and an integrated approach in intervention is being adopted.
The state of Tripura is home to 19 tribal communities, including the Halam, which is made up of about 57,000 people. The other tribal groups are Tripuri, Debarma, Jamatia, Noatia, Uchai, Chakma, Mog, Lushai, Kuki, Munda, Kau, Orang, Santal, Bhil, Chaimal, Garo, Khasia and Lepch.
Since their arrival, the Jesuits have dedicated themselves to tribal groups, which make up 31% of the population of Tripura. Kailasahar, a sub-division of Tripura, is given to Jesuits as their mission area. In the coming months, collaboration of many of our provinces will be sought for various needs.
The author is a Right To Food activist. Presently Assistant Parish Priest, Ragabpur Parish.