Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Mizoram

CAPITAL AIZAWL
ARE IN Sq. km 21,000
PRINCIPAL LANGUAGES MIZO, ENGLISH

 

Mizoram is one of the seven northeastern states of India, bordered by Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) to the east and south, Bangladesh to the west, and by the states of Manipur, Assam, and Tripura to the north. Mizoram means “Land of the Highlanders” in the local language, Mizo. The Mizo Hills, which dominate the state's topography, rise to more than 2000 m (6560 ft) near the Myanmar border. Aizawl, the state capital, is 1220 m (4000 ft) above sea level.

An amalgam of the former north and south Lushai hill districts, Mizoram is a land of great natural beauty, an endless variety of landscape with rich flora and fauna, clusters of whispering pines and quaint villages with houses on stilts.

The Tropic of Cancer runs through the heart of Mizoram, and hence, it has a pleasantly temperate climate throughout the year. A land of steep hills and deep gorges, Mizoram's highest peak 'The Blue Mountain' rises to a height of 2165 metres. Important rivers that flow through this hilly state are Tlawang, Sonai, Tuivawl, Kolodine and Kamaphuli.

Mizoram has a single-chamber Legislative Assembly of 40 seats. The state sends two members to the Indian national parliament: one to the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and one to the Lok Sabha (lower house). The state has 8 districts.

History

Little is known of Mizoram's early history. Between 1750 and 1850 the Mizo (formerly called Lushai) tribes migrated from the nearby Chin Hills and subjugated the indigenous population; these similar tribes were assimilated into their own society. The Mizo developed an autocratic political system based on some 300 hereditary chieftanships.

The tribes of Mizoram remained unaffected by foreign political influence until the British annexed Assam in 1826 under the Treaty of Yandabo. During the next decades, Mizo raids into British territory led to occasional punitive expeditions by the British. Although not formally annexed until the early 1890s, the region had come under British control two decades earlier.

For the first few years after the British annexation, Lushai hills in the north remained under Assam while the southern half remained under Bengal. Both these parts were amalgamated in 1898 into one district called Lushai Hills District under the Chief Commissioner of Assam. With the implementation of the North-Eastern Reorganisation Act in 1972, Mizoram became a Union Territory and as a sequel to the signing of the historic memorandum of settlement between Government of India and the Mizo National Front in 1986, it was granted statehood on 20 February 1987.

Society and Culture

The Mizos are divided into several tribes - the Lushais, Pawis, Paithes, Raltes, Pang, Himars, Kukis etc. Society is based largely around tribal villages. The chief's house and the zawlbuk (community house for young, single men) are the focus of village life. Mizo and English are the official languages. The literacy rate in Mizoram is about 82 percent, one of the highest in India. More than 80 percent of the population are Christians; the great majority are Protestants who were converted by missionaries during the 19th century. There are Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu minorities. The nomadic Chakmas practice a combination of Hinduism, Buddhism, and animism (the worship of nature deities and other spirits).

Though mostly Christians, the hill people have kept alive their rich cultural heritage, colourful customs and lively traditions. An interesting tradition amongst the Mizos is the code of Ethics which revolves around tlawmngaihna, an untranslatable term which means that every Mizo is duty bound to be hospitable, kind, unselfish and helpful to the poor and needy.

Festivals and dances of the Mizos have a unique tribal flavour. Other than Christmas and New Year's Day which are the most popular festivals, Chapchar Kut (after clearing of jungles for cultivation of the jhum crop in February-March), Pawl Kut (after the harvests when the granary is full in December) and Mim Kut (dedicated to departed souls after the maize harvest in September), are the other occasions celebrated with much gusto. The most popular dances of Mizoram are Cheraw (Bamboo dance), Khuallam (dance for visitors or guests), Chheih Lam (at the end of a day's work) and Solakar or Sarlamkai (prevalent among the Mara and Pawl tribes).

Economy and Infrastructure

About three-quarters of the population of Mizoram earn their living from agriculture. Both terraced cultivation and jhum (shifting) tillage (in which tracts are cleared by burning and sown with mixed crops) are practiced. The greater number of people farming has reduced the traditional eight-year jhum cycle, and there has been an accompanying decline in yields.

Mizoram is famous for the fibreless ginger. Paddy, maize, mustard, sugarcane, sesame and potatoes are the other prominent crops grown in this area. Small-scale irrigation projects are being developed to increase the crop yield.

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.

The state's poor transport and communications are a major obstacle to economic growth. Although a road system is being developed, a single road links the towns of Aizawl and Lunglei in Mizoram to Silchar in Assam. There are no railways. Vayudoot, India's low-capacity and short-haul domestic airline, provides service from Aizawl to Silchar and to Calcutta in West Bengal. Concerted efforts have been made to accelerate the growth of industries in Mizoram. The new industrial policy of Mizoram was framed in 1989, under which some priority industries were identified. These include agro and forest based industries, handloom and handicrafts, electronics and consumer industries. With the opening up of border trade, the state would be able to be a major business hub.

Tourist Centres

The hilly city Aizawl located nearly 4,000 feet above sea-level, is a religious and cultural centre of Mizoram where indigeneous handicrafts are also available. Champhai is a beautiful resort on the Myanmar border. Tamdil a natural lake with virgin forest is 60 km from Aizawl and 10 km from tourist resort of Saitual, Vantawng falls, five km from hill station Thezawl, are the highest and most beautiful waterfalls in Mizoram. The tourism deparment has opened Tourist Lodge at Aizawl, Lunglei, Champhai and wayside restaurant at Thingdawl, Hnahthial, recreational centre at Beraw Tiang and Alpine picnic hut at District Park near Zobawk.