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Mizoram
Location of Mizoram
Coordinates 23°22′N 92°00′E / 23.36°N 92.0°E / 23.36; 92.0
Country  India
District(s) 8
Established 20 February 1987
Capital Aizawl
Largest city Aizawl
Governor M M Lakhera
Chief Minister Pu Lalthanhawla
Legislature (seats) Unicameral (40)
Population
Density
888573 (27th)
42 /km2 (109 /sq mi)
Official languages Mizo, English
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area 21081 km2 (8139 sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 IN-MZ
Website mizoram.gov.in
Seal of Mizoram

Mizoram About this sound pronunciation is one of the Seven Sister States in North Eastern India. It shares land borders with the states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur and with the neighbouring country of Bangladesh and the Chin State of Myanmar. Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987. Its population at the 2001 census stood at 888,573. Mizoram ranks second in India with a literacy rate of 88.49%.[1] 'Mizo' means man of the mountain.

Mizoram has the most variegated hilly terrain in the eastern part of India. The hills are steep (avg. height 1000 metres) and separated by rivers which flow either to the north or south creating deep gorges between the hill ranges. The highest peak in Mizoram is the Phawngpui (Blue Mountain) with a height of 2210 metres. Its tropical location combined with the high altitude gives it a mild climate all year round. Mizoram is rich in flora and fauna and many kinds of tropical trees and plants thrive in the area. Mizoram literally means land of the Mizo people.

Mizoram has a mild climate, not very warm in summer and not very cold in winter. During winter, the temperature varies from 11°C to 21°C and in summer it varies between 20°C to 29°C. The entire area is under the regular influence of monsoons. It rains heavily from May to September and the average rainfall is 254 cm, per annum. The average annual rainfall in Aizawl and Lunglei are 208 centimetres and 350 centimetres, respectively. Winter in Mizoram is normally rain-free.

Contents

History

The origin of the Mizos, like those of many other tribes in the northeastern India, is shrouded in mystery. The generally accepted view is that they were part of a great wave of migration from China and later moved out to India to their present habitat. It is possible that the Mizos came from Sinlung or Chhinlungsan located on the banks of the Yalung River in China, first settled in the Shan State and moved on to the Kabaw Valley. It is also believed that Mizos originated from Mongolia, however there is no written proof.

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Khampat

The earliest Mizos who migrated to India were known as Kukis, the second batch of immigrants were called New Kukis.The Mizo history in the 18th and 19th century is marked by many instances of tribal raids and retaliatory amount of autonomy was accepted by the government and enshrined in the Six Schedule of the Indian Constitution. The Lushai Hills Autonomous District Council that came into being in 1952 led to the abolition of chieftainship in the Mizo society. The autonomy however met the aspirations of the Mizos only partially. Representatives of the District Council and the Mizo Union pleaded with the States Reorganization Commission (SRC) in 1954 for integrating the Mizo-dominated areas of Tripura and Manipur with their District Council in Assam. The tribal leaders in the northeast were unhappy with the final SRC recommendations which did not meet their demands. They met in Aizawl in 1955 and formed a new political party, Eastern India Tribal Union (EITU) and raised their demand for a separate state comprising of all the hill districts of Assam. The Mizo Union split and a breakaway faction joined the EITU. The demand for a separate Hill state by EITU was later kept in abeyance.

Insurgency

The Mizo National Famine Front dropped the word 'famine' and a new political organization, the Mizo National Front (MNF) was born on 22 October 1961 under the leadership of Laldenga Mizo with the specified goal of achieving sovereign independence of Greater Mizoram. Simultaneous large scale disturbances broke out on 28 February 1966 government installations at Aizawl, Lunglei, Chawngte, Chhimluang and other places. The Government of India bombed the city of Aizawl with 'Toofani' and 'Hunter' Jet fighters. This was the first time that India had used its air force to quell a movement of any kind among its citizens.“In the afternoon of March 4 1966, a flock of jet fighters hovered over Aizawl and dropped bombs leaving a number of houses in flames. The next day, a more excessive bombing took place for several hours which left most houses in Dawrpui and Chhinga veng area in ashes,” recollected 62-year-old Rothangpuia in Aizawl. [1] . The search for a political solution to the problems facing the hill regions in Assam continued. The Mizo National Front was outlawed in 1967. The demand for statehood gained fresh momentum. A Mizo District Council delegation, which met prime minister Indira Gandhi in May 1971 demanded full fledged statehood for the Mizos. The union government on its own offered the proposal of turning Mizo Hills into a Union Territory (U.T.) in July 1971. The Mizo leaders were ready to accept the offer on the condition that the status of U.T. would be upgraded to statehood sooner rather than later. The Union Territory of Mizoram came into being on 21 January, 1972. Mizoram has two seats in Parliament, one each in the Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha

Birth of Mizoram state

Rajiv Gandhi's election to power following his mother's death signaled the beginning of a new era in Indian politics. Laldenga met the prime minister on 15 February 1985. Some contentious issues which could not be resolved during previous talks were referred to him for his advice. With Pakistan having lost control of Bangladesh and no support from Pakistan, the Mizo National Front which had evolved from the Mizo National Famine Front after the great famine of 1958 used the opportunity that had now presented itself. New Delhi felt that the Mizo issue had been dragging on for a long time, while the Mizo National Front was convinced that disarming, to live as respectable Indian citizens, was the only way of achieving peace and development. Statehood was a prerequisite to the implementation of the accord signed between the Mizo National Front and the Union Government on 30 June 1986. The document was signed by Pu Laldenga on behalf of the Mizo National Front, and the Union Home Secretary R.D. Pradhan on behalf of the government. Lalkhama, Chief Secretary of Mizoram, also signed the agreement. The formalization of the state of Mizoram took place on 20 February 1987. Chief Secretary Lalkhama read out the proclamation of statehood at a public meeting organized 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.

Geography

Hills

Mizoram is a land of rolling hills, valleys, rivers and lakes. As many as 21 major hills ranges or peaks of different heights run through the length and breadth of the state, with plains scattered here and there. The average height of the hills to the west of the state are about 1,000 metres. These gradually rise up to 1,300 metres to the east. Some areas, however, have higher ranges which go up to a height of over 2,000 metres. Phawngpui Tlang also known as the Blue Mountain, situated in the south-eastern part of the state, is the highest peak in Mizoram.

Rivers

The biggest river in Mizoram is Chhimtuipui, it is also known as Kaladan. It originates from Chin State in Burma and passes through Saiha and Lawngtlai districts in Southern tip of Mizoram and goes back to Burma's Rakhine state, finally it enters Bay of Bengal at Akyab, a very popular port in Sittwe, Burma. Indian government has invested millions of rupees to set up inland water ways along this river to trade with Burma. The project name is known as Kaladan Multipurpose project Mizoram#Water ways.

Although many more rivers and streams drain the hill ranges, the most important and useful rivers are the Tlawng, Tut, Tuirial and Tuivawl which flow through the northern territory and eventually join the Barak River in Cachar District. The Chhimtuipui which originates in Burma, is an important river in the south of Mizoram. It has four tributaries and the river is in patches. The western part is drained by (Khawthlang tuipui) and its tributaries. A number of important towns, including Chittagong in Bangladesh, are situated at the mouth of the river. Before Independence, access to other parts of the country was only possible through the river routes via Cachar in the north, and via Chittagong in the south. Entry through the latter was cut off when the subcontinent was partitioned and ceded to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1947.

Lakes (Dil)

Lakes are scattered all over the state, but the most important among these are Palak dil (Pala Tipo), Tamdil, Rungdil, and Rengdil. The Palak lake, the biggest lake in Mizoram is situated in Saiha District which is part of southern Mizoram and covers an area of 30 hectares. It is believed that the lake was created as a result of an earthquake or a flood. The local people believe that a village which was submerged still remains intact deep under the waters. The Tamdil lake is a natural lake situated 110/85 km from Aizawl. Legend has it that a huge mustard plant once stood in this place. When the plant was cut down, jets of water sprayed from the plant and created a pool of water, thus the lake was named Ţamdil which means of 'Lake of Mustard Plant'. Today the lake is an important tourist attraction and a holiday resort.

However, the most significant lake in Mizo history Rih Dil is ironically located in Burma, a few kilometres from the India-Burma border. It was believed that the departed souls pass through this lake before making their way to Pialral or heaven.

Geology & minerals

The folded structure of the Mizoram ranges are at the junction of two moving tectonic plates. (Indian and Burmese Desi Kachar 1974) The folded hilly or mountainous North South belts, with perpendicular faults, comprise sediments of the Surma, Barail, Tipam groups and Aluvium in river beds consisting of deposits of argillaceous and arenaceous sandstones, shale, siltstones and mudstones and greywacke. The rock system is weak, unstable, weathered and prone to seismic and weather influence producing landslides. The soft, black to grey rock is used locally for building materials and for low trafficked road construction work. There are no useful minerals of economic significance apart from clays in the River Tlawng beds.

Typical soils are sandy loam, clay loam that have been heavily leached due to the high slopes leaving it porous and lacking in minerals or humus.

A number of oil and gas exploration activities have taken place due the geographical condition with which Mizoram has been formed, leading to the possibilities and high expectation that reserves would be confirmed. France, Russia and Cyprus as well as several Indian companies have already signed a 12% oil and 10% gas royalty arrangement with proceeds going direct to Mizoram state on any production (April 2009)

Demographics

The great majority of Mizoram's population is several ethnic tribes who are either culturally or linguistically linked. These ethnic groups are collectively known as the Lushais/Lusais (People who play with heads) /Luseis (Long-Headed people) or otherwise called Mizos (Mi= People, Zo= Hill) both of which are umbrella terms. These days, there is an increasing of the importance of unity among all the Mizo tribes living in different parts of the northeastern states of India, Burma and Bangladesh. The Mizos are divided into numerous tribes, the largest of which is possibly the Lushais, which comprises almost two-thirds of the state's population. Other Mizo tribes include Hmar, Mara, Paite, Lai, Ralte. However, some scholars like Liangkhaia [3] do not put Lai and Mara under Mizo. Both have a separate an Autonomous District Council within Mizoram state. The Riang, a subtribe of Tripuri and the Chakma of Arakanese origin, are a non-Mizo tribe living in Mizoram.

Religion

The majority religion is Christianity. The church is an important part of Mizo culture.Some 90.5% of the population (including most ethnic Mizos) is Christian.[4] Other faiths include Hindus who form a small minority in the state, with 3.6% of the population following that religion. 8.3% of the population follow Buddhism according to the 2001 census.[4] Muslims also form a small minority with 1.1% of the population following the faith. These people are mainly from other states residing in Mizoram.

Christianity

The major Christian denominations are Presbyterian. The Mizoram Presbyterian Church was established by a Welsh Missionary named Rev. D.E. Jones and is one of the constituted bodies of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of India, which has its headquarters at Shillong in Meghalaya (India). The administration of the Mizoram Presbyterian Church Synod is highly centralized. The Synod, having its headquarters at Aizawl, the Capital of Mizoram State, is the highest decision making body of the church. The financial operation, the personnel matters, the administration, management and the execution of works of the church are directly or indirectly supervised and controlled by the Synod Headquarters. Other Christian churches include the Baptist Church of Mizoram, Evangelical Church of Maraland, the Salvation Army, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Kohhran Thianghlim, Roman Catholic, Lairam Jesus Christ Baptist Church(LIKBK), and the United Pentecostal Church.

Tribal

The pre-Christian spirituality of the Mizo was monotheistic, the existence of the god named Pathian (or Pu Vana).

The Brus (Riangs or Tuikuk as they are also known) are one of the tribes to be found in Mizoram and some of them are still practicing the traditional animism although the Mizo Christians have, to a great extent, introduced them to Christianity.

Languages

Mizo is the official language of Mizoram. The Mizo community is an amalgam of several indigenous tribes who had their own unique lifestyle and distinctive dialects. The Duhlian dialect, also known as the Lusei among the locals was the most popular language of Mizoram. Over the years, this local mode of speech and communication has evolved into the northeast Indian state's lingua franca. However, traditional Lusei language was interspersed with traces of other dialects like the Mara, Lai and Hmar and their collective medley led to the formation of the Mizo language. Subsequently, the Christian missionaries developed the Mizo script. This was a significant milestone that marked the development of a colloquial speech into a formal script. The writing pattern was a combination of the Roman script and Hunterian transliteration methodology with prominent traces of a phonetics based spelling system. The development of the Mizo writing script has prompted the state to demand the official recognition of the language in the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution.

Another language that has gained wide acceptability in Mizoram is English, the universal language. English has paramount importance in the sphere of the state's education, all administrative units and government matters as well as all other formal ceremonies.

Chakma is another dominant language in Mizoram, spoken by the Chakmas, the largest minority tribe.

Politics

Originally land tenure was invested with the head of the tribe or chief assisted by a council that ruled locally. Since the annexation by the British in the 1890s, Mizoram was administered as the Lushai Hills district of Assam. The colonial power introduced inner line regulation, restricting access to any outsiders. It was renamed as the district of Mizo Hills within Assam State in 1954 and the same year the Young Mizo association was formed. In order to protect ethno cultural identity, and with various political differences, friction developed with mainland India and insurgency started involving armed revolt in 1966. The region was declared Mizoram after the insurgency, receiving status as a Union territory in 1972. It became a State of India in 1986 formalised the following year.

As in other Indian states, the ceremonial head of the state government is now a governor appointed by the Union Government. The appointment is largely ceremonial, and the main role is to oversee the swearing in of the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister, who holds the real executive powers, is the head of the party or coalition garnering the largest majority in the state elections. The governor also appoints the cabinet ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister. Mizoram has a unicameral legislature like most other Indian states. Mizoram has one seat in the Lok Sabha and one in the Rajya Sabha. (There are a total of 40 State Assembly seats.) The Lais, Maras and Chakmas have separate autonomous District Councils. The present Chief Minister of Mizoram is Pu Lalthanhawla

Administration

After the 1986 signing of the Historic Memorandum of Settlement between the Government of India and the Mizo National Front, Mizoram was granted Statehood on 20 February 1987 (as per the Statehood Act of 1986). Mizoram became the 23rd State of the Indian Union.

The capital of Mizoram is Aizawl. The Mizoram State Legislative Assembly has 40 seats. Mizoram is now represented at the Parliament by two MPs, one in the Lok Sabha and the other in the Rajya Sabha.

Mizoram has witnessed vast constitutional, political and administrative changes in recent years. The traditional chieftainship was abolished and the District and Regional Councils (created under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India) gave a substantial measure of local control. Today the Lais, Maras, and the Chakmas have separate Autonomous District Councils. The Village Councils are the grassroots of democracy in Mizoram.

Mizoram is divided into 8 districts:

There are three Autonomous District Councils (ADC) for ethnic tribes in Mizoram, namely Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) for ethnic Chakmas in South-western Mizoram bordering Bangladesh, Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC) for Mara people in the Southern-most corner and Lai Autonomous District Council (LADC) for Lai people in South-eastern part of the state.

Education

Until 1894, when the missionaries introduced elementary education, Mizos were illiterate without any written language. The first primary school was set up in 1898 at Aizawl. In 1901 it was thought that literacy was only 0.9% but by 2005 census had reached 89%. Today Mizoram is second only to Kerala for literacy in India at 95%.

There are now many educational establishments under the umbrella of the Ministry of Education, including universities, colleges and other institutions. Under Mizoram University, there are 29 undergraduate colleges including 2 professional institutions affiliated with the university. The total enrollment in these institutions is approximately 5200 students.

The College of Veterinary Sciences & Animal Husbandry, Selesih, Aizawl, Mizoram[2] is the premier institute of Veterinary Medicine catering the needs of north-eastern states of India.

Economy

In terms of economic development, Mizoram lags behind in comparison to the rest of the country. Cottage industry and other small-scale industries play an important role in its current economy. The people of Mizoram have not taken a keen responsibility for the development of industry due to the lack of market and raw materials. Lately there is a much wider chance for the development of forest products. The 9th Five Year Plan (1997–2002) gives much priority to the "agro-based industry" as nearly 70% of the population is engaged in agriculture.

Sister Organisations Of Industry Department:

  • Zoram Industrial Development Corporation. (ZIDCO)
  • Mizoram Khadi and Village Industry Board. (MKVIB)
  • Zoram Handloom and Handicraft Corporation Limited. (ZOHANCO)
  • Mizoram Food and Allied Industries Corporation Limited. (MIFCO)
  • Zoram Electronics Development Corporation. (ZENICS)

Macro-economic trend

Below is a chart of trends in gross state product of Mizoram at market prices estimated by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation with figures in millions of Indian rupees.

Year Gross State Domestic Product
1980 680
1985 1,810
1990 3,410
1995 9,370
2000 17,690

Mizoram's gross domestic state product for 2004 is estimated at $685 million in current prices.

Bamboo

There are at least 20 identifiable species of bamboo indigenous to mizoram. Some 30% of the state is covered with wild bamboo forests, many of which are largely unexploited. Mizoram harvests 40% of India's 80 million-ton annual bamboo crop. The current state administration wishes to increase revenue streams from bamboo and aside from uses as a substitute for timber, there is research underway to utilize bamboo more widely such as using bamboo chippings for paper mills, bamboo charcoal for fuel, fertiliser and the manufacture of pressed wall panels.

Bamboo flowering, rats and famine

Mizoram has always suffered from famine known locally as 'Mautam' or 'Thingtam' every few decades. The problem is caused by the synchronous flowering of bamboo species which naturally flower and then die at regular intervals. When bamboo has flowered it produces many seeds and fruit causing rodent feeding frenzies. The Mautam / Thingtam always leads to dramatic increases in local rat populations as well as producing swarms of insects, which then spread to the human food storage areas after the natural harvest is expired - destroying stocks and food crops. Historically it led to death by starvation (102 in 1859) and even today presents much hardship to many rural communities whose very survival depends on a successful harvest.

The famines are called after the name of the bamboo that flowers. Meloccana baccifera is called "Mautak" in mizo and the famine that is caused by its flowering is named "Mautam". When Bambusa Tulda flowers, called "Rawthing" in mizo, the consequent famine is known as "Thingtam". The first Thingtam famine in 1739 was followed by a Mautam in 1769. A Mautam famine occurs 30 years after a Thingtam famine and the latter occurs 18 years after a Mautam. This gives a cycle of around 48 years. There was a Mautam famine in 2006- 2007 and so a Thingtam is expected in 2025. The next more severe Mautam famine is expected in 2055.

It was in October 2005 that the initial heavy flowering of the bamboo was first noticed at Chawngtlai bamboo forest in the southern district of Champhai. It then spread rapidly in 2006 - 2007 throughout the state. After the Mautam, desperate to control the rising rat population, the state government announced a reward of one rupee for every rat-tail taken. During 2006 alone more than 221,636 rats were killed.

The famines have played their part in Mizoram's history. The famine in 1958 led to the formation of the Mizo National Famine Front which lobbied for and set up relief to villagers by mobilising the youth to distribute rice and provisions. The MNFF later changed its name to the MNF and operated as a political unit to fight for the rights of Mizo people. Under the then Chief Minister Laldenga together with his supporters including the ex Chief Minister Zoramthanga, the group fought a bitter separatist struggle for twenty years against the Indian Army for self rule.

Agriculture

Agriculture is the mainstay of the people of Mizoram. More than 70% of the total population is engaged in some form of agriculture. The age-old practice of Jhum cultivation is carried out annually by a large number of people living in rural areas. The climatic conditions of the state, its location in the tropic and temperate zones, and its various soil types along with well-distributed rainfall of 1900 mm to 3000 mm spread over eight to ten months in the year, have all contributed to a wide spectrum of rich and varied flora and fauna in Mizoram. These natural features and resources also offer opportunities for growing a variety of horticultural crops.

Food processing

The agro-climatic conditions of Mizoram are conducive to agricultural and horticultural crops having both temperate and semi tropical climates. Attempts to add value in food processing are ongoing. The total production of fruits, vegetables, and spices increase yearly but attempts to wean local farmers away from shifting cultivation known locally as Jhum cultivation have been met with mixed success. Diversification towards cash crops is ongoing. Recently, Godrej Agrovet Limited [3] has entered for a new venture wherein Oil Palm and Jatropha cultivation is their main theme in Mizoram.

Hand looms and handicrafts

Mizo women typically use a hand loom to make clothing and other handicrafts. Mizos are fond of colourful hand woven wrap-around skirt called puan chei, and a matching beautiful top called Kawr chei. A multi colour Mizo traditional bag called Khiang kawi, which is creatively knitted out of bright colored wools, is very much adored by people. A typical Mizo blanket known as Pawnpui has always been used by traditional family, though is now hardly in vogue. There are several small handloom industries across Mizoram which produce varieties of new design every year. The local products are even fused with other materials to give them a fashionable and stylish designs.

Apart from clothes, typical Mizos employed their craft making skills to make use of the available resources. Daily needs like - basket known as Em, Thlangra - a plate for cleaning rice etc are all made from bamboos. In fact,a typical Mizo house is crafted out of bamboos, dry grasses, mud and wood. Though, unfortunately a modern house has already replaced the typical ones. But the samples can be seen in the model village, located in Reiek - a small town which is few kilometres away from Aizawl.

The Chakmas has a different handloom though,since they belong to a different culture. The Chakma ladies also wear a colourful hand woven wrap - around skirt like cloth called "phinon" and the matching top cloth called "khadi" (pronounce as hadi).the typical Chakma blanket is known as "bohrgi" and is used by traditional family.

The Mizos rarely did much craft work until the British first came to Mizoram in 1889 when a demand for their crafts was created with this exposure to foreign markets. Currently, the production of hand looms is also being increased, as the market has been widening within and outside Mizoram.

Tourism

Mizoram is considered by many as a beautiful place due to its dramatic landscape and pleasant climate. There have been many attempts to increase revenue through tourism but many potential tourists find the strict ban on alcohol and general lack of amenities to be a hurdle. However the State continues to promote itself and many projects have been initiated. The tourism ministry continues to maintain or upgrade its tourist lodges throughout the state. Foreign tourists are required to obtain an 'inner line permit' under the special permit before visiting. The permit can be obtained from Indian missions abroad for a limited number of days or direct from Mizoram Government authorities within India.

Energy sector

Despite having a rich potential in hydropower, Mizoram does not have its own power generation operation worth mentioning. At present, there are 22 isolated diesel power stations scattered about the state and 9 mini/micro hydel (hydroelectric) stations in operation. The above total installed capacity of the diesel power stations is 26.14 MW and the mini/micro hydel stations is 8.25 MW. As per the 16th Electric Power Survey of India under CEA, Government of India, the restricted peak load demand of the state during the 2002–2003 year is 102 MW. Against this, an effective capacity of about 16 MW from diesel power stations and 6 MW from the mini/micro hydel stations is available from local generation at present.

Medicinal

Mizoram urban centers are well equipped with clinics, hospitals, dentists etc and most medicines are available off the shelf without prescription. However, the rural communities depend to a large extent on local herbal medicines gathered from the wild. In line with the growing use of all herbal medicines gathered internationally, many local species are now becoming rare. There have been attempts to sustainably promote and harvest local medicines with limited success.

Transport

Roads

Mizoram has a network of around 4000 km or minor or village roads and a small number of national highways. The village roads are primarily single lane or unmetalled tracks that are typically lightly trafficked. The State is connected to the Indian network through National Highway 54. Another highway, NH-150 connects the state with Seling Mizoram to Imphal Manipur and NH-40A links the State with Tripura.A road between Champhai and Tiddim in Burma has been proposed but the Burmese authorities are unwilling to complete the link.

Air Service

Mizoram has only one airport, Lengpui Airport, near Aizawl and this Airport can be reached from Kolkata by Air within a short period of 40 minutes. Mizoram is also accessible from Kolkata via Silchar Airport, which is about 200 km. from the state capital of Mizoram.

Railway

There is a rail link at Bairabi rail station but it is primarily for goods traffic. The nearest practical station to Mizoram is at Silchar in Assam - some 6 hours drive from Aizawl. Bairabi is about 110 km, and Silchar is about 180 km. from the state capital.

Water ways

Mizoram is in the process of developing water ways with the port of Akyab Sittwe in Burma along Chhimtuipui River. India is investing $103 million to develop the Sittwe port on Burma's northern coast, about 160 km from Mizoram. Military government of Burma committed $10 million for the venture, which is part of the Kaladan Multipurpose project [4]. Though the connection is of limited use.

Culture and arts

Music

Mizo traditional tunes are very soft and gentle, with locals claiming that they can be sung the whole night without the slightest fatigue. The guitar is a popular instrument and Mizos enjoy country style music. Within the church at services drums, are commonly used known locally as "khuang". They are made from wood and animal hide and are often beaten enough to instigate a trance like state with worshippers as they dance in a circular fashion. Mizos enjoy singing and even without musical instruments, they enthusiastically sing together, clapping hands or by using other rhythmic methods. Informal instruments are called Chhepchher. The early Mizos were close to nature and music is still an essential part of cultural life. Whilst gospel music remains an integral part of Mizo culture, Western influence is evident from the contemporary music scene as young people experiment with rock, metal, rap, pop and hip-hop types.

Festivals

Young Mizos are leaving traditional customs and adopting new ways of life which are greatly influenced by western culture. Christmas is probably the biggest festival and local communities contribute towards large feasts, typically organised by nearby churches, where many hundreds in a local community would eat together. Traditional Mizo social gatherings revolve around the agricultural calendar.

Mim Kut

The Mim Kut festival is usually celebrated during the months of August and September, after the harvest of maize. Mim Kut is celebrated with great fanfare by (illegally) drinking rice-beer, singing, dancing, and feasting. Samples of the year's harvests are consecrated to the departed souls of the community.

Chapchar Kut

Chapchar Kut is another festival celebrated during March after completion of their most arduous task of Jhum operation i.e., jungle-clearing (clearing of the remnants of burning). This is a spring festival celebrated with great fervour and gaiety.

Pawl Kut

Pawl means “Straw” hence pawl kut means a straw harvest festival. It is typically celebrated in December and is another important festival.

Dances

Cheraw

The most colourful and distinctive dance of the Mizo is called Cheraw. Long bamboo staves are a feature of this dance and it is known to many as the Bamboo Dance. Originally, the dance was performed to wish a safe passage and victorious entry into the abode of the dead (Pialral) for the soul of a mother who had died in childbirth. To dance Cheraw takes great skill and alertness.

Khuallam

Khuallam was originally a dance performed by honoured invitees while entering into the arena where a community feast was held. To attain a position of distinction, a Mizo had to go through a series of ceremonies where friends from nearby villages were invited and Khuallam was the dance for the visitors or guests. Khuallam is performed by a group of dancers, the more the merrier, in colourful profiles to the tune of gongs and drums.

Chheih Lam

Chheih Lam is the dance done over a round of rice-beer in the cool of the evening. The lyrics in triplets are usually spontaneous compositions, recounting their heroic deeds and escapades and also praising the honoured guests present in their midst.

Media & communication

Mizoram’s media is growing quickly. Internet access is average, and private cable channels are quite popular - the big players in the cable market being ACE Net, LPS (Laldailova Pachuau & Sons) & Zonet from Aizawl and smaller operators are JB cable Networks, LDF Cable, Eldo Zenith Links from Lunglei. Other major media players are the press, All India Radio, Doordarshan and local cable TV operators. A Broadband internet is also available.

Social life

The fabric of social life in the Mizo society has undergone tremendous change over the last few years. Previously the village and the clan formed units of Mizo society. The Mizo code of ethics or dharma focused on "Tlawmngaihna", an untranslatable term meaning that it was the obligation of all members of society to be hospitable, kind, unselfish, and helpful to others. Tlawmngaihna to a Mizo stands for that compelling moral force which finds expression in self-sacrifice for the service of others. The old belief, Pathian, is still used to mean God. Mizos often gather together to help in disaster management like landslides or famine.

Mizos are a close-knit society with no class distinction and no sexual discrimination. 90% of them are cultivators and the village functions as a large family. Birth, marriage, and death in the village are important occasions and the whole village would typically become involved.

There are a few community establishments in urban centres that frequently arrange various social events including such varieties as: "Miss Supermodel Competition",musical concerts, comedy shows, discussion groups, "Mr Mizoram" (body building show) and scientific or technological conferences but generally the region is lacking in Western style social meeting establishments.

Much of the social life revolves around church activities.

Prohibition

In 1996 the Synod totally banned liquor under the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition (MLTP) Act. The church leaders or Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee have consistently stuck to this inflexibly and not allowed any change in policy by the Govt. The government appear to have no authority in this regard despite a growing movement by the local people to allow it. Critics are of the opinion that the Liquor Ban Act, imposed in the Christian-dominated state from 1996, has totally failed and has only proliferated bootlegging of poor quality liquor that has resulted in fatalities and increased prices of liquor, both local and Indian made Foreign Liquor. "If a law fails, it is either to be lifted or amended. We have experimented with the Liquor Ban Act for more ten years, and witnessed that it has failed to stop what it is meant to stop. It only made Mizoram the wettest dry state. One can find plenty of liquor, only the prices are extraordinarily high," said former Mizoram chief secretary M. Lalmanzuala.[5]

The retired IAS officer further blamed the wrong teaching of the European missionaries for the Church's negative attitude towards liquor which he claimed had never been a problem, but part of religious rituals before the Missionary era. The wrong teaching of the missionaries, he said in his research paper, was compounded by the war-like confrontation between the well-to-dos and the poor in the pre-Christian Mizo society.

"Only the well-to-dos afforded Zu or rice beer which was brewed from surplus rice. The poor people who did not afford the Zu were the first to adopt Christianity and these people started hating the Zu which was a status symbol of the well-to-do people," he said in his research paper Mizo Culture and Liquor.

Some have argued that the complete ban on alcohol has led young people to search for other stimulants resulting in a growing drug abuse problem in the state.

See also

References

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

North-East : Mizoram

Mizoram lies in the southernmost outpost of North Eastern India, the land of the Blue Mountains. Manipur, Assam and Tripura bind the northern end of this little island of tranquility with neighbouring countries Myanmar and Bangladesh nestling most of the state between them.

Evergreen ranges of Mizoram hills with blooms of exotic flora and dense bamboo jungles rise sharply from the plains of Assam in a north south direction. These hills and plunging gorges are criss-crossed by gushing rivers and sparkling waterfalls. Highest among its several peaks is the Phawngpui The Blue Mountain.

Districts

Mizoram is divided into 8 districts:

  • Aizawl
  • Lunglei
  • Kolasib
  • Mamit
  • Serchhip
  • Saiha
  • Champhai
  • Lawngtlai

Cities

Aizawl,Lunglei,Kolasib, Champhai & Saiha

Understand

Mizoram is a kaleidoscopic 'pleasure trove' for the discerning visitor with its wide array of festivals and dances, handicrafts, flora and fauna, breathtaking natural beauty and temperate climate. The Mizos are friendly and very hospitable. English is one of the Commonly spoken languages. The joyful enthusiasm and gregarious spirit of the local populace has been vastly responsible for establishing some of the most attractive tourism features in this beautiful state.

Today, Mizoram is a dazzling mix of this cross-cultural vibrancy with 87 percent literacy (second highest in India- a fact in which every Mizo takes genuine pride), gender equality and a vigorous pursuit of its ancient cultural traditions and social mores.

History

History often varies from legends. But the story of the Mizos getting out into open from the neither world through a rock opening is now part of the Mizo fable. Chhinlung however, is taken by some, as the Chinese city of Sinlung or Chinlingsang situated close to the Sino-Burmese border. The Mizos have songs and stories about the glory of the ancient Chhinlung civilization handed down from one generation to another.

It is hard to tell how far the story is true. It is nevertheless possible that the Mizos came from Sinlung or Chinlungsan located on the banks of the river Yalung in China.

Talk

The Main language in Mizoram is Mizo although English is widely understood as it is taught in the Schools.

Get in

Tourists require a special permit for visits. The inner line permits can be obtained from Mizoram house in Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong & Silchar. The address of Mizoram House in Kolkata is: 24, Old Ballygunge Road, Kolkata - 700019

By Plane

Mizoram has only one airport, Lengpui Airport, near Aizawl and this Airport can be reached from Kolkata by Air within a short period of 1 hour. The road from the airport to the city takes around another 1 hour, and the taxi rate will cost Rs 500 to reach the city. Look out for people who can share the ride. I got one such taxi and they charge you half.

By Road

Mizoram is connected through National Highway 54 from Silchar, Assam

By Train

Mizoram is connected through it's rail head in Bairabi in Kolasib District.

Get around

You can get around depending upon your budget

Taxi

The White and Yellow Maruti Taxi's mainly ply the cities and towns.

Bus

Mizoram has a State Transport Corporation which connects the whole of Mizoram. The Cities and towns are also serviced by Mini bus. The rides are very very bumpy and the buses are not so spacious. If you can shell some extra money and hire a cab then do so, because it will be really painful next day. Also, you will encounter not so good people on these buses.

See

Mizoram is full of beautiful & pristine places. Mizoram Tourism department has failed to promote this state. One gets from little to no help on reserving the Govt accomodation. There are very few tour operators in Aizawl.

  • Aizawl

This 112 - years old citadel-like city, with its timber houses and profusion of flowers is set on a ridge at approximately an altitude of 4000 ft above sea level. With a population of approximately 2 lakhs, it's cloudless blue skies, dewy mornings and sunlit days carry a promise of unforgettable holiday pleasures practically all year round. Even the monsoon months are pleasant and gentle.

  • Tamdil

Pick a picnic basket and head out for Tamdil (Tam Lake). This natural lake is reputed for its fish and prawns and is an 85 km drive from Aizawl. The drive gives you an excellent opportunity to see some of the prettiest areas of Mizoram. Go for boat rides, relax by the tranquil waters and if you can bestir yourself, take a drive into the nearby jungles, which are home to an assortment of fascinating flora and fauna. You can also stay here overnight. The resort village of Saituai is just 10 km away.

  • Vantawng Fall

Surrounded by a vast stretch of thick bamboo forests close to Thenzawl hill station is Mizoram's highest waterfall Vantawng (750 ft). Located 152 km from Aizawl, this popular water body is worth a visit. If you can't get enough of it you can stay overnight for it's equipped with a cafeteria and cottage for hire. See Picture herep[1]

  • Champhai

Drive along the fertile plains of Champhai, about 200 km from Aizawl to enjoy the stunning vista of emerald rice fields bordered by the smoky hills of Myanmar. This bustling commercial hub on the Indo-Myanmar borderline also attracts nature lovers by the droves. You can book accomodation in Govt lodge. All the huts have scenic view of beautiful hills in Myanmar. Its worth enjoying clear sky at night. YOu will realize that there are more stars in the sky than you thought of.

  • Phawngpui

One of the finest encounter with Mizoram's splendid vistas is Phawngpui , its highest peak, which is extremely popular with trekkers and adventure enthusiasts. The Blue Mountain, as it is often referred to, is 300 km from Aizawl and close to the Myanmar border. Fragrant herbs and rare species of orchids and rhododendrons are found here.

  • Saiha

Saiha is an angler's paradise on the Chhimtuipui, Mizoram's biggest river, 378 km from Aizawl. Overnight stay can be arranged at the tourist lodge at Saiha. Phawngpui (Blue Mountain) is 30 km away.

  • Lunglei

Situated in South Mizoram, this district headquarter town is a popular hill station offering fascinating vignettes of Mizoram's legendary natural beauty.

  • Rihdil

This is a very beautiful lake situated in Myanmar and very near to Indo-Myanmar border. Rih means heart and Dil means lake. This lake is heart shaped. You can reach this place from Champhai. You need to catch an auto from Govt lodge to reach Champhai bazaar. Then you need to reserve a seat in shared SUV which leaves for Zokhawthar. Zokhawthar is situated near to Indo-Burma border. Get a permit (Rs. 10/-) from Burmese outpost to enter Burma. Once you enter Burma, you can walk upto the lake which is around 1.5 km from the outpost or you can hire a bike which will be driven by a Burmese :-) You need to start your journey early in the morning not because the place is far, but because unless shared SUV gets all the passengers, they will not leave for Zokhawthar and there are only few such shared SUVs running between Champhai and Zokhawthar. Its better you hire a cab in Champhai.

  • Dampa Rengpui

Dampa is a tiger reserve located in West Phaileng district and 127 kms from Aizawl. It is better to book the Govt lodge well in advance as there are only 2 rooms in this lodge :-) You need the permit from forest officer staying in West Phaileng to enter Dampa forest. This can be alternately done from Department of Forest in Aizawl. I was lucky enough to get 3 guards who escorted me to the forest. You should be careful while visiting the forest on a rainy day. It is infested with leeches.

  • Reiek

This is a very nice place near Aizawl. Must see. Visit http://mizotourism.nic.in/ for more information on tourism in Mizoram.

Do

If you're an early bird, get up early in the morning and see the lakes of cloud all around the cities and towns as most of them are built on the mountain tops.

Eat

The Mizo people love boiled food and Non Vegeterian food. If you're there you should try 'Bai' [2] which is boiled vegetables in water with the addition of salt, chingal (now replaced with cooking soda), and sa-um or Try out Chhangban aka Mizo chhang boiled or cooked dough of the glutinous rice. [3]

Drink

Mizoram is a dry state. There are no night clubs or pubs and almost all the shops close by 5:00 pm.

Stay safe

Mizoram is one of the safest states in Northeast India in terms of crime,personal safety and insurgency. Most people, including single female travelers, will not face any problems walking along the streets alone at night.

Get out

Mizoram is sandwiched between Bangladesh and Myanmar, so it could be possible for you to visit the border towns for foreign goods from both countries.

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Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

Far away from the central of the world, there is a place; also called "A paradise unexplored". This place is in a peace and calm state. It is situated at eastern part of India and is named Mizoram. Mizoram is one among the twenty eight states in India. It have a rich cultural and natural heritage bounded by Indo-Myanmar and Bangladesh border. The indigeneous people of Mizoram are called Mizo, which means;people of zo. These people are friendly and the community of the society is well cherish and they are blessed by their rich flora and fauna. Majority of the people living in Mizoram belong to a religion of Christianity, like the countries of United States etc,the percentage of Christianity is almost 100%.ie,.Almost all the people living in the land are Christian. It is connected by a national highway from Guwahati to the state capital Aizawl.You can also travel by a flight from Kolkata to Lengpui Airport (25km from Aizawl) around a week(daily). Recently, Mizoram is emerging as one of the main tourist attracting places all over India and the world too. The unexplored places in the land is attracting more and more tourists as it is so called paradise unexplored. The main places which are likely appealing for tourists are:Phawngpui tlang(blue mountain),Tam dil(Tam lake),Rih dil(Rih lake),Tlawng river and Chhimtuipui river for drafting etc.. These places are seeming to become more and more tourist attracting places in the coming years as it is also a pollution free.Unlike any places,there is fresh mountain water to drink,fresh air to breath and organic foods(zero pesticides and fertilizers) to eat.The place is having a moderate rainfall and moderate climate,it is suitably hospitable for all living creatures and this is why it is going to be and will be a major tourist center in the coming years.


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Proper noun

Singular
Mizoram

Plural
-

Mizoram

  1. State in north-eastern India which has Aizawl as its capital.

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