The Big Platform: In the Interest of Kuki-Chin-Mizo Unity

Published on November 4, 2006

By J.L. Thiek

 

Surprising it is how so many tribes exist in and around the town of Churachandpur, each having its own dialect, yet can, if not fully, partially, understand the other’s and still more surprising that these tribes-people, despite a conspicuous thread of affinity binding them, find every possible reason to create a tensed atmosphere. With different people speaking in convergent tongues and one section despising the other, the town seems very Pentecostal, for was seen on the Pentecost Day as such-of tongues, of some men mocking the spirited ones that they were full of new wine-except, though, for one thing that Peter and the other disciples do not stand, in our case, to shower peace on the confused multitude.

 

Commonly known as the Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribes, these hill tribes, whose origin traced back, as far as possible, to the time of building of the Great Wall of China in a place called Sinlung or Khul, are on the verge of shedding their old taste. The tribes-men subsequently migrated to Burma, thence to their present habitat-several parts of North-East India and Myanmar-over many years. Unfortunately, imaginary lines and curves bordering the various states also border and bother the people, each tribe, despite this, in its own ways, trying to strengthen its tradition and customs.

 

Every tribe endeavours to stand on a level higher than the others, be it economically, culturally, educationally or in spheres of unity and safety, and, for the cause, resorts to all possibilities, breeding of fanatics and assassins no exception. The slightest mistake or insult on ethnic issues would either lead to a quarrel or fight. Indeed, every man loves his tribe!

 

And the unity and unification of the tribes is always emphasized in leaders’ talks. Respectable men would gather in beautiful rooms, make agreements, sign their names on paper and, you know what, kill each other. They gather for reasons of peace and agreed upon a slow and steady, winner less war. Because we are of same origin, of same features, of, partly, same tongues; because the world is growing smaller and we are in ‘Survival of The Fittest’ strategy, because we are nothing but nescient minors, on our own, we ought to unite. Unity and, if possible, unification are our only ways for true survival.

 

No, total merging or physical integration is impossible. Yes? But we can very well establish a united nation in hearts, in words and in spirit; a nation which has a name and fame, whose works you can see and appreciate, which, in itself though, is not a thing you can feel and touch. This imaginary nation constituted by the different Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribes will, definitely, prove handy in voicing our thoughts, ideas and grievances, in letting the world know of our existence, and in development.

 

With more sub-tribes and clans wanting to go their own way, the survival of the tribes is at stake. Disintegration upon disintegration has build walls between the once close brothers, making our world fade into the legions of other nations, into the darkness of time. As have been seen, however, no tribe is independent of the other. Troubles call upon unity and this we do, though only for that short span of trouble-times. No, we can never really stay away from each other, from our mother, never spin our own yarns. We need each other. We want to unite, we want to live as brothers, but are suspicious and prefer going the impossible way round. We are selfish men, God forgive us!

 

Attempts to unify the various Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribes had been made, but to no avail. Among the most successful was that of Mizo unification which, to some extent, unified various tribes and put them under a single umbrella, and also borne a state, but, in the pessimistic view, only created more disintegration. Not mistaking, Mizo recognise, among others, Hmar as its member-tribe which results in a split: Mizo-Hmar and Hmar (which opines that Hmar is a Mizo-independent tribe or that Mizo extends its realm upto the Mizoram state boundary only).  It also built a greater wall between tribes under Mizo and those under Kuki and Chin, making each nation look like a separate entity when, however, they are, in general term, one.

 

But we need unity as well as unification; we need a world, a strong world, because we are of one seed and ought to sprout, ought to grow up tall. All these call for a well-defined united nation with the tribes as its members, under which every member is free to exercise freedom, free to find its own way for internal development, which is a banner, rather a platform for the members to stand up shout loud without a hint of fear. Various names(not mentioned) have been given to this nation, but without wide-scale approval.

 

Will this idea that the said nation would be our common name in speaking to the world, that it would hold us from extinction work? I suppose, it’s not totally impossible, unity prevailing. My big dream is to see peaceful organisations, celebrations, functions and other such sorts raised under the banner of this nation. Indeed, you can’t see it but can admire its works through these forms.

 

And a yet bigger dream is to leaf through the pages of a magazine jointly initiated by learned men from the various tribes. Surely, a common magazine circulating through every tribe, carrying the ideas, feelings, opinions and proceedings of each tribe without partiality, legible to every eye (meaning in English) will prove a good way of communication and to reinforcing unity. We have our own dailies, weeklies, fortnightlies and monthlies, have our own websites, but have not, except for the generalised North-East Sun, a common magazine to feature ourselves. We have reputed writers, publishers and rich donors, but not a single one to the cause (?). Websites do serve a good way, but not everyone is lucky enough to sit before a computer, and, in general, people prefer reading from paper than from screens.

 

Everybody wants to see a new idea ripened in an instant, though that is almost impossible in case of big issues. We know, the manifestation needs steps, in our case the first of which is a talk between supreme houses and leaders of the various ethnic groups on effective way and on the magazine, of course. Thus, our Pentecost is complete with the magazine playing the role of Peter in clearing the people of their doubts through its contents, bringing them to unity in Christ and, in our case, in the nation.