Mizoram State

Introduction :

Mizoram is one of the Seven Sister States in North Eastern India. It shares land borders with the states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur and with the neighbouring country of Bangladesh and the Chin State of Myanmar. Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987. Its population at the 2001 census stood at 888,573. Mizoram ranks second in India with a literacy rate of 88.49%.'Mizo' means man of the mountain.

Mizoram has the most variegated hilly terrain in the eastern part of India. The hills are steep (avg. height 1000 metres or 3,281 feet) and separated by rivers which flow either to the north or south creating deep gorges between the hill ranges. The highest peak in Mizoram is the Phawngpui (Blue Mountain) with a height of 2210 metres (7,251 feet). Its tropical location combined with the high altitude gives it a mild climate all year round. Mizoram is rich in flora and fauna and many kinds of tropical trees and plants thrive in the area. Mizoram literally means land of the Mizo people.

Mizoram has a mild climate, not very warm in summer and not very cold in winter. During winter, the temperature varies from 11C to 21C (52F to 70F) and in summer it varies between 20C to 29C (68F to 84F). The entire area is under the regular influence of monsoons. It rains heavily from May to September and the average rainfall is 254 cm (100 in.), per annum. The average annual rainfall in Aizawl and Lunglei are 208 centimetres (82 in.) and 350 centimetres (138 in.), respectively. Winter in Mizoram is normally rain-free, although some winters do have plenty of rain.

History :

The origin of the Mizos, like those of many other tribes in the northeastern India, is shrouded in mystery. The generally accepted view is that they were part of a great wave of migration from China and later moved out to India to their present habitat. It is possible that the Mizos came from Sinlung or Chhinlungsan located on the banks of the Yalung River in China, first settled in the Shan State and moved on in the middle of the 16th century to Kabaw Valley, Khampat and the Chin Hills.

The earliest Mizos who migrated to India were known as Kukis, the second batch of immigrants were called New Kukis.The Mizo history in the 18th and 19th century is marked by many instances of tribal raids and retaliatory amount of autonomy was accepted by the government and enshrined in the Six Schedule of the Indian Constitution. The Lushai Hills Autonomous District Council that came into being in 1952 led to the abolition of chieftainship in the Mizo society. The autonomy however met the aspirations of the Mizos only partially. Representatives of the District Council and the Mizo Union pleaded with the States Reorganization Commission (SRC) in 1954 for integrating the Mizo-dominated areas of Tripura and Manipur with their District Council in Assam. The tribal leaders in the northeast were unhappy with the final SRC recommendations which did not meet their demands. They met in Aizawl in 1955 and formed a new political party, Eastern India Tribal Union (EITU) and raised their demand for a separate state comprising of all the hill districts of Assam. The Mizo Union split and a breakaway faction joined the EITU. The demand for a separate Hill state by EITU was later kept in abeyance.

The Mizo National Famine Front dropped the word 'famine' and a new political organization, the Mizo National Front (MNF) was born on 22 October 1961 under the leadership of Laldenga Mizo with the specified goal of achieving sovereign independence of Greater Mizoram. Simultaneous large scale disturbances broke out on 28 February 1966 government installations at Aizawl, Lunglei, Chawngte, Chhimluang and other places. The Government of India bombed the city of Aizawl with 'Toofani' and 'Hunter' Jet fighters. This was the first time that India had used its air force to quell a movement of any kind among its citizens.In the afternoon of 4 March 1966, a flock of jet fighters hovered over Aizawl and dropped bombs leaving a number of houses in flames. The next day, a more excessive bombing took place for several hours which left most houses in Dawrpui and Chhinga veng area in ashes, recollected 62-year-old Rothangpuia in Aizawl. The search for a political solution to the problems facing the hill regions in Assam continued. The Mizo National Front was outlawed in 1967. The demand for statehood gained fresh momentum. A Mizo District Council delegation, which met prime minister Indira Gandhi in May 1971 demanded full fledged statehood for the Mizos. The union government on its own offered the proposal of turning Mizo Hills into a Union Territory (U.T.) in July 1971. The Mizo leaders were ready to accept the offer on the condition that the status of U.T. would be upgraded to statehood sooner rather than later. The Union Territory of Mizoram came into being on 21 January 1972. Mizoram has two seats in Parliament, one each in the Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha.

Rajiv Gandhi's election to power following his mother's death signaled the beginning of a new era in Indian politics. Laldenga met the prime minister on 15 February 1985. Some contentious issues which could not be resolved during previous talks were referred to him for his advice. With Pakistan having lost control of Bangladesh and no support from Pakistan, the Mizo National Front which had evolved from the Mizo National Famine Front after the great famine of 1958 used the opportunity that had now presented itself. New Delhi felt that the Mizo issue had been dragging on for a long time, while the Mizo National Front was convinced that disarming, to live as respectable Indian citizens, was the only way of achieving peace and development. Statehood was a prerequisite to the implementation of the accord signed between the Mizo National Front and the Union Government on 30 June 1986. The document was signed by Pu Laldenga on behalf of the Mizo National Front, and the Union Home Secretary R.D. Pradhan on behalf of the government. Lalkhama, Chief Secretary of Mizoram, also signed the agreement. The formalization of the state of Mizoram took place on 20 February 1987. Chief Secretary Lalkhama read out the proclamation of statehood at a public meeting organized at Aizawl's parade ground. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi flew in to Aizawl to inaugurate the new state. Hiteshwar Saikia was appointed as Governor of Mizoram.

Geography And Climate :

Mizoram is a land of rolling hills, valleys, rivers and lakes. As many as 21 major hills ranges or peaks of different heights run through the length and breadth of the state, with plains scattered here and there. The average height of the hills to the west of the state are about 1,000 metres (3,281 feet). These gradually rise up to 1,300 metres (4,265 feet) to the east. Some areas, however, have higher ranges which go up to a height of over 2,000 metres (6,562 feet). Phawngpui Tlang also known as the Blue Mountain, situated in the south-eastern part of the state, is the highest peak in Mizoram at 2,210 metres (7,251 feet).

The biggest river in Mizoram is Chhimtuipui, also known as Kaladan. It originates in Chin State in Burma and passes through Saiha and Lawngtlai districts in the Southern tip of Mizoram, goes back to Burma's Rakhine state, and finally enters the Bay of Bengal at Akyab, which is a very popular port in Sittwe, Burma. The Indian government has invested millions of rupees to set up inland water ways along this river to trade with Burma. The project is known as the Kaladan Multipurpose project.

Although many more rivers and streams drain the hill ranges, the most important and useful rivers are the Tlawng, Tut, Tuirial and Tuivawl which flow through the northern territory and eventually join the Barak River in Cachar District. The Chhimtuipui which originates in Burma, is an important river in the south of Mizoram. It has four tributaries and the river is in patches. The western part is drained by (Khawthlang tuipui) and its tributaries. A number of important towns, including Chittagong in Bangladesh, are situated at the mouth of the river. Before Independence, access to other parts of the country was only possible through the river routes via Cachar in the north, and via Chittagong in the south. Entry through the latter was cut off when the subcontinent was partitioned and ceded to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1947.

Lakes are scattered all over the state, but the most important among these are Palak dil (Pala Tipo), Tamdil, Rungdil, and Rengdil. The Palak lake, the biggest lake in Mizoram is situated in Saiha District which is part of southern Mizoram and covers an area of 30 hectares (74 acres). It is believed that the lake was created as a result of an earthquake or a flood. The local people believe that a village which was submerged still remains intact deep under the waters. The Tamdil lake is a natural lake situated 110/85 km from Aizawl. Legend has it that a huge mustard plant once stood in this place. When the plant was cut down, jets of water sprayed from the plant and created a pool of water, thus the lake was named Tamdil which means of 'Lake of Mustard Plant'. Today the lake is an important tourist attraction and a holiday resort.

However, the most significant lake in Mizo history Rih Dil is ironically located in Burma, a few kilometres from the India-Burma border. It was believed that the departed souls pass through this lake before making their way to Pialral or heaven.

Tourism :

Mizoram is considered by many as a beautiful place due to its dramatic landscape and pleasant climate. There have been many attempts to increase revenue through tourism but many potential tourists find the strict ban on alcohol and general lack of amenities to be a hurdle. However the State continues to promote itself and many projects have been initiated. The tourism ministry continues to maintain or upgrade its tourist lodges throughout the state. Foreign tourists are required to obtain an 'inner line permit' under the special permit before visiting. The permit can be obtained from Indian missions abroad for a limited number of days or direct from Mizoram Government authorities within India.

Despite having a rich potential in hydropower, Mizoram does not have its own power generation operation worth mentioning. At present, there are 22 isolated diesel power stations scattered about the state and 9 mini/micro hydel (hydroelectric) stations in operation. The above total installed capacity of the diesel power stations is 26.14 MW and the mini/micro hydel stations is 8.25 MW. As per the 16th Electric Power Survey of India under CEA, Government of India, the restricted peak load demand of the state during the 20022003 year is 102 MW. Against this, an effective capacity of about 16 MW from diesel power stations and 6 MW from the mini/micro hydel stations is available from local generation at present.

Mizoram urban centers are well equipped with clinics, hospitals, dentists etc. and most medicines are available off the shelf without prescription. However, the rural communities depend to a large extent on local herbal medicines gathered from the wild. In line with the growing use of all herbal medicines gathered internationally, many local species are now becoming rare. There have been attempts to sustainably promote and harvest local medicines with limited success.