Mizoram myanmar relations

By Mariana Lalrindiki

Being a proud indigenous Mizo woman, it was heart-wrenching to see the bridge over the river Țiau, closed, locked and chained on both sides. With flames blazing and dark smoke rising on the Myanmar side.

(Scene from Zokhawthar in Mizoram, fire and smoke were seen rising in the Burmese town of Khawmawi which lies on the other side of the river Tiau)

The bridge over the river Țiau connects two countries- Myanmar and India at Khawmawi village in Myanmar and Zokhawthar village of Mizoram in India. Not many will know or understand the importance and value of this precious little bridge to the Zo tribes. Centuries ago, unknown to many, the Zo tribes spread across Myanmar and also within the states of Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram (in present-day Northeast India) and Bangladesh when they had been forced to flee from their ancestral home in the Kabaw Valley (bordering present-day Kachin State Burma and Manipur in India) which was forcefully grabbed, snatched and passed on from one mighty powerful hands to another over and over again during the past many centuries. (Another story often untold and unknown, but too long to relate now.) Though famous as having once been head-hunters before Christianity, the Zo tribes were never known to be the first to instigate or start a war against others. The Zo people have always been defenders rather than attackers. And cutting off the head of their fallen attackers as trophies was an honour. A privilege often misinterpreted by some who found it gruesome. It was this act that gave the Zo people the misnomer of having been head-hunters. After leaving the Kabaw Valley, the Zo tribes began to spread out in search of new lands. They travelled widely, often covering and setting down in unclaimed or unmarked lands. There is no history (written or otherwise) anywhere ever, made known of any land that has been pillaged or forcefully plundered by the Zo tribes. The Zo people, being predominantly cultivators, would search for new lands suitable for cultivation and settle down there. They have always been known to be peaceful people who have always maintained peace with the people already settled in lands neighbouring those which they had chosen to settle down. As years passed, and history went on, the Zo tribes were once again divided by arbitrary boundaries, the end result of the arbitrary politics of the British Raj leaving India, Myanmar and Bangladesh. These arbitrary boundaries grew higher and wider over the years as each grew and rose as an independent country. Nevertheless, the brotherhood of the Zo tribes has never been weakened nor dampened by these arbitrary boundaries and politics. We stood united no matter from which way the winds of war, hatred and disharmony blew. We stood proud and strong together against these winds, and always will. This present day, the political upheaval in Myanmar is strong after the coup d'état which began on the morning of 1st February 2021. And on the 27th of March 2022, the Myanmar Junta Chief vowed to 'annihilate' all those who oppose his government. A reason for which many villages have been destroyed, bombed and burnt. Causing many to flee to neighbouring states. Today, the small state of Mizoram is the only state in India to stand in solidarity with refugees from Myanmar, many of which are from the Chin ethnic community, an ethnic brethren of the Mizos. As many as 26,663 Myanmar nationals are currently taking shelter in Mizoram. Most of them are housed within the six districts – Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Hnahthial and Saitual, which share a border with the neighbouring country. Scorned as illegal aliens by the Indian Government (which ironically exempted Myanmar from the list of countries mentioned in the Citizenship Amendment Act passed and published on 9th December 2019) includes the aged, women and children whose lives and well being are dependent solely on the various charities provided by the NGO's of Mizoram such as the Y.M.A (Young Mizo Association), various others of the Church and private individuals. The Zo tribes once again stand together strong against the winds as mighty powerful hands rage about them. The bridge may be closed, locked and chained but the hearts of the Zo tribe will stay strong and connected forever as always. Also Read : My first visit to Aizawl by Sominthang Doungel
The Mizos

The Mizos is a one-man team news blog, that brings you news and stories from Mizoram, Northeast India and the rest of the World.

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