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Home>>East India>>Mizoram

Mizoram



HISTORY OF MIZORAM

Mizoram was inhabited by the tribal groups of Tibeto-Burmese race. During the period 1750-1850 migrations led to settlements in the hills. The tribal groups were governed under a hereditary chieftainship. The Lushais are the most predominant tribe besides a few others like Panei, Lakher, Chakma, Riang.

Agriculture is the main occupation of this region. During the British period, Mizoram became a part of the territory of the British India in 1891 though the administration of the villages was left to the local chieftains. The influence of the British also extended to conversion into Christianity. After independence of India, Mizoram persistent to be part of Assam. In 1966 the Mizos resorted to the use of armed struggle to put forth their demands to set up a homeland. It was in 1986 that peace was established and Mizoram joined the main torrent with the Indian Union.

The Early Mizos
The earliest Mizos, who migrated to India were known as Kukis, the second batch of immigrants were called New Kukis. The Lushais were the last of the Mizo tribes to migrate to and settle down in India.


The 19th Century Mizos
The Mizo history in the 18th and 19th century AD is marked by many events of tribal raids and vindictive expeditions of security. The recorded history of the Mizo people begins only in the late 19th century, when they came into contact with the British who were occupying the neighbouring region of Assam. Mizo Hills were formally declared as part of the British-India by a proclamation in 1895. North and south hills were united into Lushai Hills district in 1898 with Aizawl as its headquarters.

The Mizos, the inhabitants of the state, belong to the Mangolian race and seem to have settled at first in Myanmar (Burma). After leaving Myanmar, they proceeded westwards into India and occupied the Lushai Hills. Under the weight of the British Missionaries many Mizos converted to Christianity. The majority of the tribes in the state is Christians and speaks mizo and English.

The 20th Century Mizos
The people of Mizoram entered the 20th century, but with little knowledge. They were feared tribes; very superstitious and performed sacrifices; they had no fixed homes, led nomadic lives; they had no script or currency. And yet, there has been enormous progress made during this century.

The formation of Mizoram State took place on 20th February, 1987.Chief Secretary Lalkhama read out the proclamation of statehood at a public meeting organised at Aizawl's Parade Ground. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi flew in to Aizawl to inaugurate the new state. Hiteshwar Saikia was appointed as Governor of Mizoram.

The Physiology of Mizoram
High hills, deep gorges, running rivers and swirling streams and Blue Mountains make up the landscape of Mizoram. The highest peak is 2165 m above sea level. The average height of the hills is 700 m and they all run in ridges from north to south. The rivers, running through Mizoram are Tlawang, Sonai, Tuivawl, Kolodine and Kamaphuli. The evergreen hills contain timber trees, bamboo and wild bananas. Orchids, begonias, rhododendrons and geraniums flowers make up the brilliant colours of the flora of the state.

Mizo Traditional Land System
Even before the advent of the British, Mizo people seem to have had a proper social order and a systematic political structure. Each village had its own governance, where the Chief commanded the highest authority in administration and judicial powers. The Chiefs were helped by elders called ¡®Lal Upa.¡¯

In the traditional Land System, the land belonged to the community under the stewardship of the Chief. Each village had vast areas of land, and every inhabitant of the village was entitled to live, cultivate and hunt. Each village had boundaries separating one village jurisdiction from the other, which were normally natural boundaries like rivers or hills. The area of a village land varied from village to village, sometimes depending on the size of the population. However, each village had sufficient land to meet people¡¯s needs.
Every villager had a sense of ¡®ownership¡¯ of the land. No one, including the Chief, claimed private ownership of the land and no individual had separate pastoral holdings of land. But the Chief was overall in charge of the land and the village.

Sacred Grove
Mizos called the sacred grove Ngawpui. Each village has its own sacred grove, the size varies from village to village.
No tree is allowed to be cut in the Sacred Grove, except for those trees that showed signs of age and decay. Sacred Groves are undisturbed natural vegetation scattered in small pockets all over Mizoram providing food and sustenance to people and animals alike.
Sacred Grove is a home for animals, natural objects such as rivers, rocks, mountains, bamboo, plants and trees. Sacred Grove is also a home of gods and goddesses. Those spirits were named ¡°Ramhuai.¡± The goddess of animal Lasi and the goddess of nature Chawngtinleri lived there along with many other spirits.
The concept of the sacredness of plants reflects the unity of life in nature, in the sense of communion and fellowship with the divine as the centre and source of life. The sacred trees are said to be deeply rooted in the ancient religious, cultural and economic life of the Mizo people.
Sacred Groves were associated with beliefs, taboos and folklores which have helped in conserving the relict flora and fauna of the regions. By conserving the flora and fauna, the local communities have conserved valuable genetic resources and species, which can be used in further afforestation programmes. The most important aspects is the retention of often sizeable patches of forests from few hectares to a few hundred hectares as inviolable Sacred Groves.

Timber felling was taboo for the Mizos, insuring tree preservation through the ages. But collection of various non-wood produce and sometimes of fallen leaves for manure was carried out, without endangering the ecology of the people. The forests were considered the property of the gods and goddesses of the villages in which they were situated, and the trees, therefore, ought not to be cut without the permission of the deity.
The absorption of ancient deities into Christianity, often followed by church construction, was another early threat to Sacred Groves in Mizoram. Modern forest policies replaced the Sacred Groves or led to their decline.
The major threat to the groves arose from the state laying its claim over all the forests, including the groves, under the British regime. The state domination over the forests would have led to the villagers losing their hold over the land.

Geography of Mizoram

  • Mizoram, land of the blue mountain, lies in the southernmost outpost of the North Eastern states.

  • Neighbours Manipur, Assam and Tripura bound this tranquil little state, but a part of it slips down between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

  • Evergreen, flush with blooms of exotic flora, its hilly expanses are criss-crossed by gushing rivers and their tributaries and a cobweb of silvery streams.

  • The climate in Mizoram is moderate. The annual average temperature at Aizawl is 68° F (20° C). Rainfall occurs mainly during the southwest monsoon (May to September), and the total annual rainfall in some areas is as high as 100 inches (2,500 millimetres).

  • The hills are covered with thick evergreen forest containing valuable timber trees, such as champak, ironwood, and gurjun. The forest provides habitat for many animals, including elephants, tigers, bears, deer, and wild buffalo.

  • Agriculture is the dominant economic activity. Both terraced cultivation and jhum (shifting) tillage (in which tracts are cleared by burning and sown with mixed crops) are practiced. Rice, corn (maize), cotton, and vegetables are the main crops. The greater number of people farming has reduced the traditional eight-year jhum cycle, and there has been an accompanying decline in yields.

  • There are no major industries in the state. Small-scale industries include sericulture, handloom and handicrafts industries, sawmills and furniture workshops, oil refining, grain milling, and ginger processing.

Climate
The state gets a good rainfall. During rains the climate in the lower hills is humid and enervating. Malarial fever was a common feature during and after rains particularly in the lower area. It is quite cool and pleasant on the higher hills, even during the hot season. A special feature of the climate here is the occurrence of violent storms during March-April. Heavy storms come from the north-west and they sweep over the hills in the entire state.

Rainfall is generally evenly distributed. The crops seldom suffer from drought. Mizoram, as a whole, gets an average rainfall of about 3,000 mm with Aizawal town having 2,380 mm and Lunglei 3,178 mm.

Temperature in the state varies from about 12o C in winter to about 30oC in summer. Winter is from November to February. There is generally no rain or very little rain during the winter months. Winter is followed by spring which starts at the end of February and continues till the middle of April. In April, storms occur and the summer starts. In April and May temperature goes up to 30oC.

The hills are covered by a haze. Heavy rains start in June and continue upto August. September and October are the autumn months when the rains cease and the temperature is usually between 19oC and 25oC.

Language

Mizoram : Mizo & English
Mizoram, in the local language, means the land of Mizos. Mizo itself means highlander. Under the British administration, Mizoram was known as Lushai Hills district. In 1954 by an Act of Parliament, the name was changed to Mizo Hills district. In 1972, when it was made into a union territory, it was named Mizoram. Mizoram became the 23rd state of the Indian union on February 20,1987.

HOW TO REACH MIZORAM

By Air
Nearest airport Aizawl
Aizawl is connected to Kolkata,
( 1 hr 45 min ) and lmphal ( 30min ).

Indian Airlines ( Alliance Air ) flights
Kolkata - Aizawl - Kolkata ( tue. thurs, sat )
Kolkata - Aizawl - Imphal - Aizawl - Kolkata ( mon, wed, fri )
Enquiries Tel 2573355
Reservation Tel 2341265, 2344733

By Rail
Nearest railhead Silchar in Assam ( 184 km away )
From Guwahati, travel to Silchar by Barak Valley Express, Cachar Express
or the Tripura Passenger. The journey takes about 19 hrs.

By Road
NH-54 connects Aizawl with the rest of the country through Silchar.
Buses and taxis are available from Silchar to Aizawl (6-8 hrs).
Night services are also available.
Aizawl is also accessible by road from Shillong and Guwahati.
Road Distances from Aizawl

Guwahati  : 506 km
Imphal       : 374 km
Kohima     : 479 km
Shillong    : 450 km
Agartala   : 443 km

Note: For entry into Mizoram, people other than Government employees, should obtain the Inner Line pass from the Liaison Officer, Government of Mizoram, at Silchar or Calcutta.
 

More Attractions in Mizoram

>> Blue Mountain

>> Lamsial Puk

>> Lungvandawt

>> Pangzawal

>> Phawngpui

>> Rungdil

>> Tualchang

>> Thansiama Sena Neihna  

 

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