The Mizos are believed to be of Mongoloid origin and this was first described by T.H.Lewin,’ and this was supported by other Mizo writers.This was believed to be true as the Mizo have all the features of Mongoloid races and the Mongolian patch: a purplish, triangular area of skin at the base of the spine of babies which disappear later as described by Hoebel.According to Grierson, the language spoken by the Mizo was put in Kuki-Chin group and classified it in the Burmese branch of the Tibeto-Burman family. Mizo is a generic term used for the people living in
present Mizoram. The Mizo society is said to have consisted of the Lusei, Lai, Hmar and Mara who live in Mizoram and all the other Zo tribes who are presently residing in Manipur, Assam and Tripura. Previously the Mizo were known as Kuki, Chin and Lushai by the outsiders. The Kuki, Chin and Lushai were of one homogenous race and this was recognised by J. Shakespear when he wrote, “There is no doubt that the Kukis, Chins and Lushais are all of one race”. The same idea was written by
Bertram S. Carey, the Political Officer of Chin Hills as, “…we may reasonably accept the theory that the Kukis of Manipur, the Lushais of Bengal and Assam, and the Chins originally lived in what we know as Tibet and are of one and the same
The name Kuki is said to have been coined by the Bengalis which mean ”wild man” and have used it to designate the hill people who cultivated their fields by jhumming. Hutchinson also pointed out that Kuki was used to designate the hill people other than the Chakmas, Tipperas and Mogh tribes and that Kuki was used to apply to the tribes residing in Mizoram and Chin Hills/ When the British came to the hill areas, they followed the Bengali term and called the hill people of Lushai Hills, Chin Hills and other tribes whom they found to have the same tradition, culture and language, as Kuki. They then have used this term till 1871-72. Later, the term Kuki was changed to Lushai for the people living in Lushai Hills. This change was first seen in the report of Lister’s Expedition in 1850.'” It was then commonly used by the administrators and other people since the 1871-1872 expedition.
The term Lushai seems to be a corruption of the word Lusei. This seems to have happened when the British came in contact with the people of Lushai Hills,they would have thought that all the people living in these hills were Lusei. But after having settled for sometime, they realised their mistake and this was observed by J.Shakespeare, “Lushai is our way of spelling the word; the proper way to spell the
word is Lushei”.” Chin is mostly used for the Mizo living in Burma. Though known to outsiders as the Chins, they themselves did not recognised the name. According to Grierson, “Chin denotes all hill tribes living in the bordering region between Burma and Assam”. Carey & Tuck proposed that Chin is a “Burmese corruption of the Chinese “jin” or “Yen,” meaning “man” Prof. G.H.Luce however mentioned that Chin is an old Burmese word for ‘ally or comrade’.The people however do not call themselves Chin. F.K.Lehman mentioned that “no single Chin word has explicit
reference to all the peoples we customarily call Chin, but all-or nearly all- of the peoples have a special word for themselves.” This word is almost always a variant form of a single root, which appears as zo, yo, kssu, ssu, and the like.
As the Mizo did not have a script, they do not have any written records of their origin. So the origin of the Mizo is still in some obscurity. According to oral
tradition the Mizo have claimed that they have emerged from a big rock or cave called “Chhinlung” which means having a rock as a lid. In the modem scientific age,
it would be difficult to believe that human beings emerged out of a hole. However, some believed that “chhinlung” could be the name of a place where they settled. This
can be seen from one of Hmar folksong which tells how the composer missed the
times when they lived in Chhinlung.
1. “Kan siengna Sinlung ram hmingthang
Ka nu ram ka pa ram ngai
Chawngzil ang lokir thei changsien
Ka nu ram kapa ram ngai”
The English translation would run like this:
Famous land of Sinlung, place where I reside
How I miss my ancestors land
If only I could recall back the times
How I miss my ancestor’s land.
2. “Ka pa lamtlak a tha ‘n dang
Sinlung lamtlak aw a tha ‘n dang
Shan khuo-ah thapo in vang
Tuiochawng ‘n hran lu a tlunna.”
My father’s sons are the best
Sinlung’s sons are the best
Shan doesn’t have any good men
So that Tuichawng could hang their heads.
3. “Sima Lersia, hmarah Zingthlo
Khawma lata Luopui;
Luopuiin lenbuong a phun,
Thlanga puolrangin tlan e.”
The English translation would be:
In the south ruled Lersia, north Zingthlo
At the centre was Luopui
Luopui planted a banyan tree
Birds have found shelter on it.
4. “Kaphun bungpui dawi ai ka sanna
Mi khawih loh sa khawih loh tein
Thangin lian la khuanuleng hualin
I tang zarpiallei a zam tikah
Seifate ‘n vangkhua rawn din leh na ‘ng e.”
The English translation would be:
Banyan tree whom I planted
May you be safe from animals and other people
May you grow with the grace ofkhuanu
When your branches reached the ground
Seifa’s children will come back to you.
5. “Thi lovi khua awm maw, fam lovi khua awm maw
Laiah suangpuilung e, fam lote ‘n awm na ngai.
A tlung e, thim khawzing a tlung e
Khua tinah thim khawzing a tlung ef”.
The English translation would be:
Could there be any village or a person that would not die
The great rock however stands forever
The great darkness had descended
The great darkness had arrived / descended upon the earth.
6. “Khaw sinlungah hot siel ang ka zuang suaka
Mi le nello tarn e, Hriemi hraiah”.
The English translation would be
I jumped out of the city of Sinlung like a mithun
Since the opponents were too many of them.
Therefore, we have seen that Mizo settled twice in Chindwin areas in present Myanmar. First, they settled in the Upper Chindwdn and moved to the Lower Chindwin areas known as Kale Kabaw Valley. However they could not remain in this place due to the fear of the Shans. Hence they moved to the hills known as Thantlang Range which is in present Chin Hills.
Since the Mizo tribes were migratory due to their method of
cultivation, they could not stay in one place for a long time. Hence, from Thantlang they moved to a nearby mountain range known to the Mizo as Lentlang (Len range). The different tribes again moved to this mountain range according to their clans and groups. They soon scattered themselves in this mountain and as communication was difficult, they slowly lost contact with the other groups and danism and separatism became more profound which led to inter tribe conflict. Thus it would be interesting to see how these developments affected gender relations in the Mizo society.