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Student of the Month: Kumrila Mongzar

Hi Kumrila! Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Kumrila Mongzar from North East India. My pronouns are she/her. I am a third-year Contextual Theologies student with a specialization in Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology. I obtained my Master of Theology (M.Th) from Yonsei University, Seoul; South Korea, and my Master of Divinity from Oriental Theological Seminary, Nagaland: India. My areas of interest are Postcolonial Studies, Process Philosophy/Process Theology, (De)Constructive Theology, Poststructuralism, Transreligious Discourse, and Indigenous Studies.

What are you studying and why? How do you imagine yourself using that in your call?

I am studying the inter-sectional studies of Contextual Theologies and Process Studies. I

believe this area of study provides the best of both worlds in helping me to reflect and construct an Indigenous Process Cosmology. As an Indigenous Christian, I am deeply disturbed by the dominant White Christian ideology pervasively made normative as such other voices; voices from the global South, and especially voices of the self i.e, Indigenous voices; specific Naga Indigenous Christian Voices, are suppressed as not genuine Christian expression. I am passionate about constructing a critical and contentious Indigenous Process Cosmology that will provoke readers to rethink God's relation to the world and to ponder on human-made intellectual theoretical boundaries that refuse to see beyond specific human religious and cultural relations. And that such limited worldviews do not limit the ways of the sacred in relating and embracing the world but only limit the self of the reality whose reality is only a speck/fleck of existing realities in God. My voice for acknowledging the Indigenous consciousness; the bodies of “knowing” reside in all and as such no lives are “untouched of the knowability of God,” is my calling to radical inclusivity of God’s mystery and revelation.

What have been your biggest learning experiences?

Every day is an experience to learn, unlearn, relearn, adjust, appreciate, and accept things that are beyond one’s control. The biggest learning experience for me has been in 2021-2022. I underwent the hardest time of my life. I also lost my precious granny and my beloved with whom I wanted to spend the rest of life with. I realized “life is too short” and not to take anything or anyone for granted but to live each moment intentionally, passionately, lovingly, gratefully, and meaningfully. Each moment and interaction with myself and the other holds so much value and appreciation. Yes, I have learned it the hard way.

What has your experience been with PANAAWTM?

PANAAWTM has been a light of hope for me. As an Indigenous woman in academia, I found a place where I do not have to try to fit in. Herein, I have a sense of belonging. I am very grateful for the pioneers who have been bold, prophetic, and visionary in creating this space for women of color; Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian women, to connect and have networking opportunities in articulating the radical theoretical relevance of the needs of our time and to express our lived experiences, validating the visibility, radicality, and prophetic transformity, as a woman of color. The thought-provoking writings of Kwok Pui Lan, Rita Nakashima Brock, Jane Naomi Iwamura, Mary F. Foskett, Gale A. Lee, and Lai Ling Elizabeth Ngan to name a few, have radically changed my “ways of being and ways of reading” theology.

What brings you hope and joy?

In different stages of life, my hope and joy have always differed. At present what gives me great joy and hope is the fact that I have an opportunity to tell my story from my perspective because of my doctoral studies at Claremont School of Theology. It gives me chills and thrills. And I do not take anything for granted. It is my deepest desire to contribute an Indigenous Christian Cosmological voice of inclusivity and all-life flourishing affirmation in the academic world.

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