The Amri Karbi people inhabits mainly in the Central part of Assam between Dispur and Nowgong Districts and also in the Ri Bhoi District of Meghalaya. Majority of them lived in Assam. Those who are in Assam had their education in Assamese and those in Meghalaya in Khasi and English. As a result of which, many of them were bi-lingual. They do not have their own script. However, for their literature they opt for Roman script. The biblical tracts and portions were published in 1987 using the Roman Script.
They belong to the Tibeto-Burman linguistic group.
They are one of the sub-groups of Karbi Community who inhabits the Karbi Anglong district. Because of vast distance between the sub-groups, they feel that they are not of the same community. They expressed that similarity in their languages is about 60 to 70 per cent. They do not wish to be clubbed together with the Karbis of Karbi Anglong District.
The exact population of Amri speaking people is difficult to decide because they are clubbed together under the name Karbi. However, the statistics given by the Amri Karbi Baptist Kachikruk is about 140,000. The Christian population is between 3500-4000.
They had their own religion which during the history had merged into Hinduism. They embraced Christianity in 1987 with the consent of the Amri Karbi Community at large. The primary reason for embracing Christianity was to get an English school. However, that was not the only reason that they hold on. During the early years after a few Amri Karbis embraced Christianity, there had been severe persecution instigated by an external agency. In spite of that difficulty, those people who voluntarily embraced Christianity did not give up their new faith but rather it strengthened their faith in Jesus Christ. Miracles after miracles happened during those early years. As a result of which more and more people came to Christ. The local congregation keeps on expanding in different localities. The local pastors and evangelists used the Assamese Bible during worship services. However, being not so competent in this language, they are not so comfortable with the Assamese language. Thus they expressed the urgency for a Bible in their language.
The Biblical tracts and portions were published in this language in 1987. As the number of Christians increased and the local churches keep on increasing, there is urgency for a Scripture in their language. The Bible Society stands to serve the churches and therefore the need of the Amri Karbis cannot be neglected. The Bible Society officially launched the New Testament project in this language in February 2004.
Since the New Testament is going to be the major literature in the Amri Karbi language, the progress of the work is very steady as the translation team had to assess the written language from different angles. Early in 2008, the Amri Karbi Baptist Association had done a field testing of the Gospel of Matthew. The responses received from the local people were very encouraging as they found the translation easy to understand. After the people had a taste of the Gospel of Matthew, they keep on asking those involve in the translation when they are going to receive the New Testament.
The Amri Karbis are new in the Christian faith. They had their background in traditional religion. Availability of Scripture will enable them to be rooted and grounded firmly in Christ.
The NT is in the press and be published very soon.