Who are the Zomi?
Saturday, 06 March 2010 01:13
who says what....
This page is a collection of what historians, anthropologists, scholars and experts have to say about the Zo people. The collection is not exhaustive enough, but enough to dispel and clarify the various/confusing names applied to the ZO people to tell the world they are ZO since time immemorial.
Those of the KUKI tribes which we designate as "Chins" do not recognised that name...........S. Carey and N.Tuck, The Chin Hills Volume 2, 1896
It is probable that Zahaos (Hakhas/Lai) like the Lusheis and many of the Northern Chin tribes probably are ZO........G. A. Grierson, Linguistic Survey of India Vol.III, 1904
"The name 'Chin' is not used by the tribes themselves who use titles such as ZO or YO or SHO..........G. A. Grierson, Linguistic Survey of India Vol. 5,
The word Kuki is a foreign to the different dialects of the hill tribes, the nearest approach to it being 'DZO' term for Tipra tribe, which is called by them 'Tui-kuk'. The DZO tribes inhabit the hilly country to the east of Chittagong district in lower Bengal ....... Capt. Thomas Herbert Lewin B. S. C. Deputy Commissioner, Chittagong Hills
Even though the people who are called Chin do not necessary proptest their name, their true name, in fact, is ZOMI or MIZO. ........ U Thein Pe Myint, Chin Withitha Taing thamaing Asa, 1967
No single Chin word has explicit reference to all the peoples we customarily call Chin,but all-nearly all-of the peoples have a special word for themselves and those of their congeners with whom they are in regular contact. The word is almost always a variant of a single root,who appears as ZO, YO, and the like..........F. K. Lehman, Chin Society, 3
The Zomis are,therefore,those ethnic or linguistic,or cultural groupings of people who had commomly inherited the history,the tradition and culture of ZO as their legacies, irrespective of the names they adopted and the culture to which they adapted later......Sing Khaw Khai, Zo People and Their Culture, 1995
Both words, Pai and Poi, were applied in a degrading sense and had not referred to an ethnic sense. The name Paite was therefore dropped in the 1931 cencus of India for a tribal name............Green,Cencus of India, 1931, XI"Burma, Part-1-Report, 184
The term Lushei, although known to the people living in the Lushai Hills, is not, however, used in the general sense in which we are accustomed to employ it, and is really used as a name for only one of the many clans or sects who speak what is known among the people themselves as the "Dulien Tawng"or "Dulien Language"... The general term that includes all inhabitants of the North Lushai Hills,except Piis, "Mezo" or "Mizau", of which the principal sub-divisions are as follows:- 1.Dulien or Lushei 2.Mhar 3.Ralte 4.Paite............... G. A. Grierson, Linguistic Survey of India,S.V."Lushai or Dulien", 1904
..names such as KUKI and CHIN which originated as abuse names should not be adopted as designation of a people. Such names could hinder understanding between the abuser and the abused.It will be in the interest of all Zo people to be known by a common name most possibly Zo.......Vumson, Zo History
To the east of Chien mountains between 20.30' and 21.30' north lattitude, is a petty nation called JO (Yaw). They are supposed to have been Chien,who in progress of time have become Burmese,speaking their language, although very corruptly, and adopting all their customs.............. Fr.V.Sangermano, A Description of the Burmese Empire, 1884
Of the Yo or Yau country, lying along the river of that name, between the barren Tangyi Hills that line the Irrawady, opposite Pagan and the base of the Aracan Yomadoung, nothing more is known, I am sorry, then was recorded long ago by Dr. Buchanan. The people are believed to be of the same race with the Burmese, but from their secluded position,speak the language in a peculiar dialect. There are paths from the Yau country into the Kaladan Valley in Arakan, which king Tharawadi made some talk of rendering passable for troops, when he was breathing war in 1839. They must traverse the country of some of the wildest tribes of the Yuma, and nothing of them is known. The YAUs are great traders, and are the chief peddlers and carriers of northern Burma........Henry yule, A Narrative of the Mission to the court of Ava, 1885
Due to the clan and family fueds prevalent among them during the Pre-British days, outside observers tended to regard the different clans as distinct peoples. Also as a big tribe occupying a large tract of hilly terrain touching the plains of both Burma and the then undivided India, they were known by the dominant peoples of both the countries.While the Burmese called them "Chin or Khyan" the Bengalese and others in India called them "KUKI" with a variety of spellings. The British, the common rulers of both nations, combined the two names into KUKI-CHIN. They were thus known until the 1870s when a third name was added to confound confusion. From that time onwards the people who lived in the hills between the plains of Burma and India(now also Bangladesh) and sothward from the Naga Hills to the Arakan Zoma in Burma were variously called CHINS, KUKIS and LUSHAIS-as we have already seen..........Mangkhosat Kipgen, The Growth of Christianity in Mizoram from 1894-1954 with special reference to the Role of Zo Culture (Unpublished Thesis, D.Th, 1992.)
Whatever it meant or means,however it originated and why, the obvious fact is that the apellation "CHIN" is altogether foreign to us,it has been externally applied to us. We respond to it out of necessity but we never appropriate it and never accept it and never use it to refer to ourselves. It is not only foreign but also derogatory, for it has become more or less synonymous with being uncivilised, uncultured, backward, even foolish and silly. And when we considered such names calling applied to our people as 'Chinboke' we cannot but interpret it as a direct and fragrant insult and the fact that we have "rotten friends" is no consolation........S.T.Haugo, Chin Magazine, Rangoon Universities 1971-1972, Some Random Thoughts About Our People, Our Language and Our Culture.
Anyone familiar with the late 20th century history of N. E. India, knows that there have been two important developments there. One is the movement to establish identities that transcend village, tribe and clan. The movement to establish a Naga identity is well known and to some extent has succeeded. Nevertheless the achievement of the movement in establishing a state based upon a common Naga identity (Nagaland) is far less than exponents of the pan Naga movement advocate. They have promoted the idea of Naga state that would embrace Naga tribes in adjacent Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Burma. A less well known movement is that among the Zo people who inhabited six different states of N.E. India as well as neighbouring Burma and Bangladesh. Their success in establishing a Zo state (Mizoram) is not generally understood to represent a pan-Zo movement in the same way that the creation of Nagaland is. Even the name Zo is unfamiliar to the general public. This is because in different places they are variously known as KUKIS, LUSHAIS or CHINS. Nor are the different efforts of ZO leaders to establish a pan-zo state inclusive of Mizoram,the Chin Hills of Burma, portion of the states of Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland well known.
In tension with these movements to establish larger identities based on regroupings such as Naga or Zo, have been other movements towards fragmentation. Among the Nagas this takes the form of tribalism,and sometimes even the reasserting of differences within a single tribal. These movements towards emphasis upon tribal as distinct from trans-tribal identities have worked against efforts to create a larger Naga State.
The situation among the Zo people is similar.Actually the Zo are a single tribe with a single language. For a number of different reasons some two dozen different dilectical groups came into existence-Even as tribalism has worked against the development of a pan-Naga identity dilectical groupism has worked against the creation of a pan-Zo identity. A number of scholars have analysed the causes of the creation of dialectical differences among the Zos. This is usually explained by their having scattered over a wide geographical area during their migration. Once scattered they had little contact with each other and therefore dialectical differences become greater. Not only that,but the Zo dialectical groups ended up living in different countries and within different districts and states within a country.........................Dr.Federick S. Downs, Preface to A Critical Historical Study of Bible Translation Among the Zo People of N. E. India by Khup Za Go
The Dzo tribes inhabit the hilly country to the east of Chittagong district in lower Bengal; their habitat may be roughly stated as compared within the parallels of Lattitude 22.45N and 25.20 N, and between the meridians of Longitude 92.30 and 93.45.
Under the term 'DZO' are included all the hill tribes of the region,who wear their hair in a knot resting on the nap of the neck.The tribes further south and east, of whom little is yet known, are distinguished under the generic title of 'Poi'; these wear the hair knotted upon the temple.
The DZO state that the Poi language is entirely distinct from theirs,and that they have no common medium of intercommunication. I am myself disposed to think that the two languages must have some affinity, but I have as yet no information on this point.
The term KUKI is a generic name applied by the inhabitants of the plains, Bengallees and others,to all hill dwellers who cultivated by JUM. The word Kuki is a foreign to the different dialects the hill tribes, the nearest approach to it being the "DZO" term for the Tipra tribe, which is called by them Tui-Kuk.
Lesson 1. (II) The Chins are very ugly-Zote a mel sia pet pet hi; Zote=Chins. I do not know the origin of the name Chin; it is Burmese I fancy; anyhow the Chins do not know the word and call themselves 'ZO' 'Zote' being the plural..................Capt. F. M .Rundal, Manual of the Siyin Dialect Spoken in the Northern Chin Hills, 1891.
Many more. But let us limit to this.