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MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED TO HIS MAJESTY’S GOVERNMENT, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA AND ITS CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY THROUGH THE ADVISORY SUB-COMMITTEE

BY THE MIZO UNION



MIZO MEMORANDUM

 


Memorandum of the case of the Mizo people for the right of territorial unity and solidarity and self-determination within the province of Assam in free India submitted to His Majesty’s Government and the Government of India and its constituent Assembly through the Advisory Sub-Committee for Assam and fully excluded areas and partially excluded areas.

Pursuant to the resolution passed by the General Assembly of the Mizo Union at Aijal in September 1946 subsequently supported by the Mizo Conference at Lakhipur (Cachar) in November 1946 this memorandum prepared by the Mizo Union and supported by the Mizos outside the Lushai Hills –Manipur State, Cachar, Tripura and the Chittagong Hill Tracts, etc.

The memorandum seeks to represent the case of Mizo people for territorial unity and integrity of the whole Mizo population and full self-determination within the province of Assam for the realization of which an appeal is made to His Majesty’s Government, the Government of India and its constituent Assembly to make a special financial provision from year to year for a period of ten years or until such time as the Mizos shall assert that they can maintain their self determination without this financial provision.

THE PEOPLE AND THE LAND
The Mizos are a numerous family of tribes, closely knitted together by common tradition, custom, culture, mode of living, language and rites. They are spread over a wider area extending far beyond Manipur State, Cachar, Tripura State, Chittagong Hill Tracts and Burma contiguous with the boundaries of the present Lushai-Hills District which was carved out arbitrarily for administrative purpose.

The Mizo people have been known under different names. They were wrongly identified as Kukis during the time of Lord Warren Hastings when Administrator of Chittagong sought help of the British against the Kuki raiders, and it continued to be applied to the whole group until 1871 when it was supplanted by the term Lushai as a result of the active and prominent part taken by the Lushai, sub-tribe of Mizo race, against the British Expedition known as the First Lushai Expedition. The present Lushai-Hills District was thus curved out of the Mizoland for administrative convenience and the Mizo people living within the District came to be known as Lushais while the other Mizos left out of the Lushai Hills District and annexed to the surrounding Districts, continued to be known as Kuki without their consent. However, the solidarity of the Mizo people as a race and a distinct block is testified by the name of places, mountains, and ranges of the Lushai Hills, Cachar, Manipur, Tripura, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Burma, known and called after the names of them. Shakespeare, Stevenson, Liangkhaia, Shaw, Kingdonward and Kim of the Statesman are some of the authorities on this.

The Mizos have nothing in common with the plains nor with the Naga or Manipuri, etc. They are distinct block. The areas now under their occupation are mostly hilly except the eastern portion of Cachar district extending to the Barial range in the North Cachar Hills. Wherever they go and wherever they are, they carry with them their primitive customs, cultures and mode of living in its purest origin, always calling and identifying themselves as Mizo.

The nomenclature of the word ‘KUKI’was and is known to the Mizos; it was a name merely given to them by the neighbouring foreigners.

Again, it was wrong that the word Lushai should be used as covering all the Mizo tribes since it is misrending of the Lusei, only sub-tribe of the Mizo race. Hence though perhaps, not originally intended, it has created a division. Only the word ‘Mizo’ stand for the whole group of them all : Lusei, Hmar, Ralte, Paite, Zo, Darlawng, Kawm, Pawi, Thado, Chiru, Aimol, Khawl, Tarau, Anal, Puram, Tikhup, Vaiphei, Lakher, Langrawng, Chawrai; Bawng, Baite, Mualthuam, Kaihpen, Pangkhua, Tlangau, Hrangkhawl, Bawmzo, Miria, Dawn, Kumi, Khiangte, Khiang, Pangte, Khawlhring, Chawngthu, Vanchiau, Chawhte, Ngente, Renthlei, Hnamte, Tlau, Pautu, Pawite, Vangchhia, Zawngte, Fanai, etc, all closely related to one another culturally, socially, economically and physically thus forming a distinct ethnical units.

TRADITIONAL ORIGIN
Traditionally Mizos claim descent from Sinlung, a mythical rock north of the Shan state. Migration by tribal group seems to have taken place about the beginning of the 5th century, halting at several locations from longer or lesser periods through the Shan state, Chindwin Valley and Chin Hills until they finally came to settle in their present occupied areas and the villages claimed by the various Mizo tribes, wherever their present habitat may be, as their original homes are within or close to the border of the present Falam Sub-Division.

THE MIZO POPULATION
A) The Mizo people in the Lushai Hills alone number 1,46,900 with an area of 8,143 square miles according to the census of 1941.

B) The Mizo population of Manipur State contiguous to the Lushai Hills again comes to about 70,000 with an area of about 3,500 square miles.

C) The Mizo in the Cachar District contiguous to the Lushai Hills, the Mizo again number approximately 9,000 with an area of about 300 square miles.

D) In Tripura state contiguous to the Lushai Hills, the Mizo again number approximately 7,000 with an area of about 250 square miles.

E) In the Chittagong Hill Tracts, contiguous to the Lushai Hills, the Mizo population is generally approximated to be about 15,000 with an area of about 3,000 square miles.

F) In the Chin Hills (Burma) also contiguous to the Lushai Hills who are now commonly known and termed as the Chins, number not less than 90,000 with an area of about 3,800 square miles occupied by them.

The total Mizo population of the contiguous area alone thus comes roughly 3,38,400 and the areas about 18,993 square miles.

It is a great injustice that the Mizos having one and the same culture, speaking one and the same language, professing one and the same religion, and knit together by common customs and traditions should have been called and known by different names and thrown among different people with their homeland sliced out and given to others.

The whole contiguous area of the Mizo population as detailed above occupies the middle and the most important portion of India’s Eastern Frontiers. It is, therefore, the more imperative that His Majesty’s Government, the Government of India and its constituent Assembly should do the just and proper thing and grant the Mizos their just demand for TERRITORIAL UNITY AND SOLIDARITY.

MIZO HISTORY AND BRITISH CONNECTION
The Mizo people were independent, each village forming an independent unity, and their country was never subjugated by the Maharajas of Manipur, Tripura and Chittagong nor by the Kacharis. However, there had been frontier clashes between the Mizos and the neighbouring people which ultimately brought the British to the scene in 1871. The Mizo country was subsequently annexed to the British territory in 1890, when a little less than half of the country was carved out for the Mizo people and named Lushai Hills while the rest have been parcelled out of the adjoining districts. Since the Mizos have remained loyal, friendly and peaceful. At all time, whenever the British needed help as World War I, Abhor Expedition., Houkip Rebellion, and World War II, the willing services of the Mizo people were readily available.

The Mizos have an efficient system of administration and discipline. Being a distinct block they retain to a considerable degree their ancient and traditional laws, and customs and organizations, beginning from village under the guidance of the Chief and the Elders, while young and old have their respective leaders in all walks of life.

Except in Cachar, the Mizo people are excluded from the Government of India’s Act and the areas inhabited by them are kept as a special responsibility of the Governor of the province in his capacity as the Crown Representative and the Legislature have no influence whatsoever. In other words, the Mizos have never been under the Indian Government and never had any connection with the policies and politics of the various groups of Indian opinion.

Now that the British are quitting these Mizos who have never been under the Indian government and whose ways are all different from others, cannot be thrown on a common platform with the rest of India. It is therefore, important to the highest degree that the Mizos be given self-determination in its fullest form.

THE PRESENT GENERAL CONDITIONS OF THE COUNTRY
As stated in the foregoing paragraphs, the Mizo areas are mostly excluded. The political officer is supreme in every respect. The Education is mostly carried on by the Christian Missionary groups. The general communication of the country is extremely poor. The land is extremely hilly without good roads; and the people poor and simple, primitive and divided into tribes and clans. The highest education is mostly derived from outside the district; but in mass literacy the Mizo people is highest in Assam. The people are mostly intelligent and as such given equal terms they always outshine their fellow-workers of other community in the fields at home. They are born strategist. Their greatest short-coming is lack of finance as a result of their trade and commerce and limited scope open for them. Their areas stretch from north to south parallel with the Burma border line for defence along the eastern border of India.

This being the background, it is all the more imperative that the Mizoram be given special financial provision by the Central from year to year while allowing them their territorial integrity as anything short of this will be detrimental to their upbringing. In other words, the Centre shall grant financial provision from year to year for the purpose of development of the country while the district shall join autonomous Assam through legislature with adequate representation and be also eligible to the provincial service with due reservations at the same time retaining their territorial integrity and self-determination : as otherwise thrown among forty crores of Indians the 3,38,400 Mizos with their unique systems of life will be wiped out of existence.

OUR CASE
In the light of the facts stated in the foregoing paragraphs and in view of geographical position and the strategical importance of the Mizoram for the defence of India and taking into consideration the unique characteristics of Mizo polity and compact block of Mizoland – this Memorandum is placed with the authority for –

1) Territorial unity and solidarity of; the whole Mizo population to be known henceforth as Mizo and Mizoram for Lushai and Lushai Hills District, retaining the sole proprietary right over the land.

2) Full self-determination with the province of Assam:

A) With the National Council having the supreme legislative authority and executive body and judiciary within the district the composition and function of which will be prescribed by rules.

B) Any concurrent subjects in which the district may be connected with the autonomous province of Assam or India as a whole shall be by negotiation with the national councils which will be set up; according to wishes of the general public, any legislation may be applied to the district only with sanction of the national council with any modification.

C) Special financial provision by the Centre from year to year until such time as the Mizos shall assert that they are able to maintain their territorial integrity and self-determination without this financial provision.

ALL ABOVE ITEMS SHALL BE SUBJECT TO REVISION ACCORDING TO THE FUTURE TREND OF EVENTS TO THE EXTENT OF SECEEDING AFTER TEN YEARS.

For this end it is to be understood that the democratic system of Government in its purest form shall at the very outset be introduced. Passed and approved by the Mizo Union representatives conferences at Aijal, Lushai Hills, Assam on 22nd April, 1947.


 

Sd/- KHAWTINKHUMA
President

 

Sd/- VANTHUAMA
General Secretary
The Mizo Union,
Aijal, Lushai Hills,
ASSAM

 

26/4/1947

 

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