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Mizoram - People

Historians believe that the Mizos are a part of the great wave of the Mongolian race spilling over into the eastern and southern India centuries ago. Their sojourn in western Myanmar, into which they eventually drifted around the seventh century, is estimated to last about ten centuries. They came under the influence of the British Missionaries in the 19th century, and now most of the Mizos are Christians. One of the beneficial results of Missionary activities was the spread of education. The Missionaries introduced the Roman script for the Mizo language and formal education. The cumulative result is the present high percentage of literacy of 88.49% which is considered to be the second highest in India.

The fabric of social life in the Mizo society has undergone tremendous changes over years. Before the British moved into the hills, for all practical purposes the village and the clan formed units of Mizo society. The Mizo code of ethics or Dharma moved around "Tlawmngaihna”, an untranslatable term meaning on the part of everyone to be hospitable, kind, unselfish and helpful to others. Tlawmngaihna to Mizo stands for the compelling moral force which finds expression in self-sacrifice for the service of the others. The old belief, Pathian is still use in term God till today.

The Mizos have been enchanted to their new-found faith of Christianity with so much dedication and submission that their entire social life and thought-process been transformed and guided by the Christian Church Organisation and their sense of values has also undergone drastic change. The Mizos area close-knit society with no class distinction and no discrimination on grounds of sex. Ninety percent of them are cultivators and the village exists like a big family. Birth of a child, marriage in the village and death of a person in the village or a community feast arranged by a member of the village are important occasions in which the whole village is involved.

The Mizos are a distinct community and the social unit was the village. Around it revolved the life of a Mizo. Mizo village was usually set on top of a hill with the chief's house at the centre and the bachelors' dormitory called Zawlbuk prominently located in a central place. In a way the focal point in the village was the Zawlbuk where all young bachelors of the village slept. Zawlbuk was the training ground, and indeed, the cradle wherein the Mizo youth was shaped into a responsible adult member of the society.

The social fabric in the Mizo society has undergone tremendous change over the years. Before the British moved into the hills, for all practical purposes, the village and the clan formed units of Mizo society.

The Mizo code of ethics or Dharma moved round "Tlawmngaihna", an untranslatable term meaning on the part of everyone 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 services of others. The old belief, Pathian is still in use to term God till today. The Mizos have been enchanted to their new-found faith of Christianity with so much dedication and submissioin that their entire social life and thought process have been altogether transformed and guided by the Christian Church organisations directly or indirectly and their sense of values has also undergone drastic change.

Mizos are a close-knit society with no class distinction and no discrimination on grounds of sex. Ninety percent of them are cultivators and the village exists like a big family. Birth of a child, marriage in the village and death of a person in the village or a community feast arranged by a member of the village are important occasions in which the whole village is involved.

Nearly all the Mizo festivals revolve round the tilling of the land. Mim Kut, Chapchar Kut and Pawl Kut are the three major festivals in Mizoram all of which are in some way or the other connected with agricultural activities.

Mim Kut is celebrated in August-September in the wake of the harvesting of the maize crop. Dedicated to the memory of their dead relatives, the festival is underlined by a spirit of thanksgiving and remembrance of the years. First harvest is placed as an offering on a raised platform built to the memory of the dead.

Chapchar Kut, which is celebrated during spring time after the jhum cutting is over, is perhaps, the most joyous of the Mizo festivals. The season is ideal. The winter bows out yielding place to the spring which reinvigorates nature and brings a freshness to human life. The Mizos, irrespective of age and gender distinction, participate in the festival. Decked in colourful dresses, boys and girls go on a dancing spree which sometimes last all through the night.

Pawl kut, a post-harvesting festival, is celebrated during December-January. Again, a mood of thanksgiving is evident, because the difficult task of tilling and harvesting is over. Community feasts are organised and dances are performed. Mothers with their children sit on memorial platform and feed one another. This custom, which is also performed during Chapchar Kut, is known as Chhawnghnawt. Drinking of rice-beer is also part of the festival. These two days of festivities are followed by a day of complete rest when no one goes out to work.

The original garment of the Mizos is known as puan. They were used by men and women more or less in the same fashion. One has to see them to believe the intricate traditional designs woven by the Mizo women, born weavers who produce what can only be described as art on their looms. The Mizo have held on to certain patterns and mottos that have come down through the ages. These design have become deep rooted in their tribal consciousness and has become a part of the Mizo heritage. The unique value of Mizo PUAN comes from the personal involvement of the weaver, who with great labour weaves her dreams into each work and weft until every design has a story to tell. These traditional hand woven apparels are of different shades and designs without exquisite play of color combination and intricate weaving patterns has been evolved.



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Page last modified: 20-02-2018 18:42:50 ZULU