How A Mizo Princess Reformed Mizoram's Social Norms


Mizo History
Art by Chhuana Sailo

Princess Laltheri Sailo was one of the most important social reformers in the Mizo history

Princess Laltheri was the daughter of a Sailo Lal (King) and was driven insane when her mother, the Lalnu (Queen), executed her lover, a peasant boy named Chalthanga. Laltheri was so distraught by her family's ruling that she stripped naked and roamed the streets in protest. It was extremely difficult for her proud family to see her in that condition. They regretted their decision and decided to change the law that prohibited royals from marrying commoners.

The Laltheri incident is a pivotal point in Mizo history. Though she never married her lover, she was a reformer of Mizo tradition and customs, particularly those governing marriage. Marriage or relationships between the Lalhnams (Royalclans) and Hnamchawms (commoners) were previously prohibited. A commoner who fell in love with a member of the Royal clans faced either death or exile.

However, after Laltheri's protest, intermarriage between Commoners and chiefly clans was legalised and intermarriage between tribes and clans became a common practice among the Mizos. In fact, Mizoram has the highest prevalence of inter-clan/tribe( identity ) marriage in India according to The Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS-II).

ALSO READ : Mizo Contemporary History Needs Thorough Revision
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