Kuki, Chin and Lushai (Mizo) Reunification

Published on February 12, 2004

By  Dr. T. Lunkim

 

Introduction:

 

This paper is to provoke the thoughts of the intellectuals, the scholars and the young generations, challenging them to make a thorough investigation and find out the truth that this nation is (1) one, (2) divided by the invading Britishers, and (3) reunification is imperative for the protection of national (a) human rights, (b) integrity of the country and (c) the political rights against the emerging violations of the same.

 

1. The Kukis, Chins and Lushais (Mizo) are one Nation:

 

1. Various Records made available during the last nearly two centuries reveal the truth that the people with different names (nomenclatures) of today as Kukis, Chins and Lushais (Mizo) are one nation. Kukis, Chins and Lushais (Mizo) accept that they are one nation. Historical records are more than enough to prove that Kukis, Chins and Lushais (Mizos) are of one origin, meaning one nation. To quote one record will suffice to demonstrate this fact. Mr. Bertram S. Carey and Mr H.N.Tuck wrote as follows-

 

“Without pretending to speak with authority on the subject, we think 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 now know as Thibet (Tibet), are of one and the same stock; their form of Government, method of cultivation, manners and customs, belief and traditions all point to one origin.” (The Chin Hills Vol. I page 2).

 

2. Another historical record, which proves that these people are one nation, is the so-named Anglo-Kuki war fought since 1770 and continued fighting till the last war, called as “Kuki Rebellion” from 1917 to 1919.  The truth of the one nation is that the war was between this nation on one side, and the Britishers on other. The war has been recorded with different names such as Lushai expedition, Chin expedition, Khongsai lal, Zo gal, Thadou gal, Haokip gal and Kuki rebellion etc etc. Though different names are assigned to, the war was between the Britishers and this nation.

 

3. The geographysical factor is another living proof that these people called Kukis, Chins and Lushais (Mizo) are one and the same nation, living and occupying their ancestral homeland, clearly described by various writers including G.A. Grierson, C.I.E., Ph.D., D. Litt, I.C.S. a linguist in his book titled as “The linguistic survey of India” vol III Part III, published in 1904 by the Government of India which provides a general idea of the wingspan of the Kuki Country and the composition of its people. An excerpt of the general introduction of the chapter on “Kuki-Chin group” is reproduced here below –

 

“The territory inhabited by the Kuki-Chin tribes extends from Naga Hills in the North down into the Sandoway District of Burma in the South, from the Myattha River in the East, almost to the Bay of Bengal in the West. It is almost entirely filled up by hills and mountain ridges, separated by deep valleys.

A great chain of mountains suddenly rises from the plains of Eastern Bengal, about 220 miles north of Calcutta, and stretches eastward in a bordering mass of spurs and ridges, called successively the Garo, Khasia and Naga Hills. The elevation of the highest points increases toward the east from about 3,000 feet in the Garo Hills to 8,000 and 9,000 in the region of Manipur. These chain mergers, in the east, into spurs, which the Himalays shoot out from the north of Assam towards the south. From here, a great mass of mountain ridges starts southwards, inclosing the alluvial valley of Manipur, and hence spreads out westward to the south of sylhet. It then runs due north and south, with cross ridges of smaller elevation through the districts known as the Chin Hills, the Lushai Hills, Hill Tepperah, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Farther south the mountainous region continues, through the Arakan Hill tracks, and the Arakan Yoma, until it finally sinks into the sea at cape Negrais, the total of the range being some 700 miles. The greatest elevation is found to the north of Manipur. Thence, it gradually diminishes towards the south. Where the ridge enters the north of Arakan it again rises with summits upwards of 8,000 feet high, and here a mass of spurs is thrown off in all directions. Towards the south, the western off-shoots diminish in length, leaving a track of alluvial land between them and the sea, while in the north the eastern off-shoots of the Arakan Yoma run down to the banks of Irrawady. This vast mountainous region, from the Jaintia and

Naga Hills in the north, is the home of the Kuki-Chin tribes.  We find them, besides, in the valley of Manipur, and, in small settlements, in the Cachar plains and Sylhet… Kuki is Assamese or Bengali term, applied to various hill tribes, such as the Lushais, Rangkhols, Thadous etc. It seemed to have been known at a comparatively early period. In Ray Mala, Siva is stated to have fallen in love with a Kuki women, and the Kukis are mentioned in connection with the Tipperah Raja Chachag, who flourished about 1512A.D.”

 

The above quotation is also supported by Lt. Gen. D.U. Keary in his “Dispatch of the operations against Kuki tribes of Assam and Burma,” wherein he repeatedly said that the “Kuki Country is from Kohima in the north to the Pakokku Hills in Burma of the south”, thus covering the present Chin Hills, Arakan, Lushai Hills (now Mizoram), Manipur Hills, parts of Garo, Khasia, Jantia and Naga Hills.

 

4. Administrative factor is another evidence of this Nation being one and the same people. The administration of this nation is joined together with Chieftainship from the village level to the national level Government. Each village is ruled by the Chief of the village, with his Cabinet members. The National Chief is the King of the so-called Tripura (Twipanga). All the Cabinet members were popularly elected. This Administration is the seed of modern day Democratic Government, (“Eastern boundary Dispute” Exhibit V.D. Sanad Dated June 21, 1904).

 

The British also recognized, and this administration has been nationally and Internationally recognized. The Britishers discovered this Government and copied it and even today the same is the U.K Government of two houses (i) House of Lords, and (ii) House of Commons. In this national Government the Chief remains as the House of Lords and the Elected members remain as the House of Common. By the power of this Government, this nation, now divided as Kukis, Chins, and Lushais (Mizo now), had been fighting the British Government for nearly two centuries (1770-1919).

 

 2. Kukis,Chins and Lushais (now Mizo) divided by Britishers

 

This nation has never been challenged by any one until the British Government, through the then East India Company, ventured to enter this nation’s territory (Country).  They could defend their country and their nation. This so-called Anglo-Kuki war had been fought long back, sometime, in l770 AD. Alongside with the fighting in the front lines, the British Government carefully spied out the nation and their territory, both the strong and the weak points by using their subjects from the colonized territories, India and Burma.

 

1. The British Government had divided this nation with different names, such as Kuki, Chin and Lushai (Now changed to Mizo). Though two hundred years has gone by, however the divided nation has never forgotten that they are one and the same nation. There may be found several proofs of this divide and rule policy applied to this nation by the British Government. To quote one evidence from Mr. Bertram S. Carey and Mr. H.N. Tuck will suffice for this paper. The quotation goes as follows:

 

“Those Kuki tribes which we designate as ‘Chin’ do not recognize that name, which is said to be a Burmese corruption of the Chinese ‘Jin’ or ‘Yen’ meaning, ‘man’” (Chin Hills Vol. I page 3). The above quotation has openly declared and brought about the divide and rule policy of the then British Government, applied to this strong nation they could not easily subdue in fighting nearly two centuries.  The British applied their wicked policy to subdue their enemy.

 

2. The British Government has divided the land of this great nation, annexing one half to the then British India, and another half to British Burma. A boundary has been made in the middle of the land, but concealed it by allowing the so-named Kukis, Chins and Lushais to freely travel to and fro so long the British ruled over in the country. The divided land also has been named with different names- Chin Hills and Lushai Hills. The remaining portion of the land has been attached to the nearest states, such as Assam, Bengal and Manipur. In this way the Country has been completely divided and annexed to other states colonized by the then Britishers.

 

3. The nation has been again divided into different administrations, never to get together, giving no chance to become a strong nation again. In this way the nation has been divided and their land fragmented into different administrations with different names, reducing them as minority wherever they are. This has been going on nearly a century now, and the   outcome of this division is the unspeakable sufferings of the so-called Chins in the Chin Hills annexed to Burma, the outburst of Mizo National Front war in anger against the misgovernance of India, the continued killing of thousands of innocent Kukis, destruction uprooting over 350 Kuki villages in the present northeastern India and upper Burma, and the daily massacres of innocent people in Tripura state. All these call for immediate national reunification for the protection of national (1) human Rights, (2) integrity of their fatherland, and (3) preservation and reviving the traditional Government (Inpi) to safeguard the Country for peaceful co-existence with their neighbouring Countries under the International Charter.

 

3.   Kukis, Chins and Lushais (Now Mizo) Reunification becomes Imperative

 

The divided nation has never forgotten that they are one and the same nation.  They also now realize that their reunification is a must and becomes imperative. Many dedicated leaders, chiefs, eminent scholars have been at work without rest. Among many, two specific trials for bringing the people as one nation can be looked at in the following.

 

1. New nomenclatures have been invented to reunify the nation like that of before division. The name ‘Mizo’ is one example of many other new names proposed and tried.   The inventors of this new name ‘Mizo’ must have thought it to be the name of the whole nation.  Unfortunately many anti-thesis names have been made to the name Mizo. In fact this has caused alarming division within the nation by multiplying names after names; in Manipur alone, there come out from the former Kuki name, twenty one (21) different names, duly recognized by the present Government of India, thus dividing the one Kuki people into twenty one (21) different tribes.  Mizo also has been undergoing criticisms after criticisms; somehow still survives under the protection of District administrations, now the State Administration. Here inventing new names has taught us a lesson for further divisions.

 

2. To enforce the unity of the nation, voluntary organizations have been founded on strong convictions by people who sincerely love their nation, looking forward to the possible unity, they hope to enforce the National Unity by the strength of their organizations. Among many, Mizo National Front can be cited, because it is the strongest organization within this nation till today.  In fact there is no comparable organization to MNF. Even people who have not been consulted have readily accepted the new name for national nomenclature for the desire of the unity of the nation. When MNF had started fighting against the India Government, many have joined by the assumption that Mizo covers the whole nation. But the enemy is wiser than the founders of this organization, and thereby MNF is made confined to the former Lushai Hills. Some from outside Mizoram, claiming to be Mizo are also the ones who speak what is called Mizo language. The Mizo name is limited to only those who speak this particular dialect of the nation, and sadly this has become a barrier for others who do not speak the same dialect.

 

3. National Reunification may be possible by reviving the factors, which made the Kukis, Chins and the Lushais (Mizo) one nation before. Main factors, still found in the nation are as follows: –

 

   (a) The country and its territorial integrity must be redemarcated, mapped out and circulated nationally and internationally

   (b) The Traditional Government (Inpi) of the nation with its outstanding policy of-

                    (i) Non-Communal against Communal Politics and Social Disharmony

                    (ii) Peaceful-Co-Existence against Ethnic Cleansing and clashes,

                    (iii) Justice for all against Corrupted Governments suppressing minorities.

 

   (c) National cultural heritage must be reformed, modified and developed

 

All this and many other heritages the nation must be thoroughly investigated, published widely, and informed the nations of the present world (l) who the Kukis, Chins and Lushais are, (2) their forefathers Country still they occupy, and (3) the kind of Government they have which is in line with the present democratic norms and orders of the day. Above all a peaceful Government for progressive adventure has to be installed for peace and tranquility.

 

“TAH CHAPA, KATHANGE, CHUNG MANG PATHEN NEICHOIYIN” 

 

 * The above paper has been read and explained to about 300 Seminarians “Unaote” organized by the Unaote joint fellowship at Pune City, India on February 8, 2004.

 

 Posted on February 12, 2004

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