The Actual Origin Of The Mizos

The Origin Of the Mizo People
Humanity emerging emerging out of Chhinlung Aided by Khuanu as Pictured by an AI

 Ruata Lungchuang 

A quick search on Google about the origin of the Mizos would tell you that "The origin of the Mizos is shrouded in mystery" and that they came from a place called Chhinlung. This phrase has been copy-pasted on so many websites and writings about the Mizos online that it has almost become a cliche at this point. 

Undoubtedly not much research has been done on the origin of the Mizos, most of our resources regarding the origin of the Mizos we can find are based on colonial writings and outdated theories that have neither been proven nor validated. 

There has been absolutely no scientific research done to answer one of the longest pressing questions that are on the origin of the Mizos apart from some genetic research done in an attempt to prove Mizo people's alleged connection with the Jews, a theory not supported by science or fact. 

So it becomes really important for us to look deeper into the history of the Mizos and their supposed origin both from a genetic perspective and a historical perspective. I am by no way a historian or a scholar on this subject, but I will in this article try to answer some questions and propose a very plausible theory on the origin of the Mizos and their relationship with other people around them. 

While the claims about the Mizo origins have not been substantially proven, recent research has surprisingly revealed that the Saohra and Gope tribal communities of Central India have a genetic connection with the Zo people of Northeastern India. We have often been told that Zo people came from Chhnlung/Sinlung/Khul/Khur and that being descendants of this location, i.e., Chhinlungchhuak (people that came out of Chhinlung ) is the ultimate factor that makes us who we are. But can this really be considered a historical fact? First, let us look at what Chhinlung/Sinlung/Khur and Khul mean. 

Let's look at the name Chhinlung, a place of origin proposed by the Luseis. Now Chhinlung came from two words, Chhin and Lung, Chhin means enclosed, while Lung means stone, while Khur and Khul mean a pit in the earth. The Lusei genesis story says that Khuanu hid humanity inside a pit and let them out once the chaos of the world subsided. Once she thought it was safe enough, she let humanity out of their hiding places, and the Ralte clan was the last one to exit Sinlung. 

As much as we like to tell ourselves that Chhinlung/Khur/Khul is the cradle of the Mizo people, the story clearly represents it as the cradle of humanity as a whole. The "out of the earth" story is not uncommon among tribal communities, with many non-Mizo northeastern tribal communities having the same story of coming out of a pit, not to mention the presence of the same narrative among many Native American tribal communities. So it is very unlikely that Chhinlung/Khur/Khul was ever the cradle of the Zo  people. Our ancestors did not regard it as this mythical place of origin where only Zo people came out of, it was rather an EDEN figure for them, and was seen as the place where humanity originated. With that being said it does not mean that Mizos have nothing to do with Chhinlung or the east. Our physical structure and language clearly suggest that we indeed originate from the East. But the question is this: just how much of our genes come from our ancestors who migrated from the east? Are the Chhinlung/Sinlung/Khul ancestors our sole progenitors? Is it right for us to constantly say to the world that our people immigrated from the east? Is it right to call our Chhinlung/Sinlung ancestors Mizos? Such a kind of oversimplified historical narrative clearly hasn't played well for us, nor has it answered any of our questions.

According to a research paper by the US National Library of Medicine, the population of Mizoram has a strong genetical affinity with East Asians and Sikkimese (who were part of the study), but apart from the East Asians, they also have a genetical affinity with the Austroasiatic Saohra and Gope tribals of Central India ( such affinity was not found among the Sikkimese) . The study took samples from 176 Mizos belonging to the Hmar, Lusei, Lai, and Mara tribes. 40 individuals from the Lusei tribe, 46 each from the Hmar, Lai, and Mara tribes, respectively. The strangest part of the research's result is that while minor genetical differences were found among various tribes within the Mizo community, one thing that these Mizo tribes shared in common was their common genetical affinity with the Saora tribals of Central India. Sure, one can dismiss this research and say that the participants might have been (Thalhpawlh) or mixed raced people, but the data covers 176 people from all parts of Mizoram, covering a good amount of genetical diversity with each tribe in the research represented by more than 40 individuals. So this paper is very reliable. But how can Vai people be related to Mizos? Are the Saohra people Vai?

As we have established that Sinlung/Khul is not the cradle of the Mizo people but was rather an Eden-like place where all humans originated from, we also come to the realisation that the people who immigrated from Sinlung aren't our sole ancestors but were rather one of our many ancestors. To put it simply, if Sinlung was our Grandfather, he was not our grandmother. and on our grandmother's side, we seemed to be sharing common ancestors with the Saohra people of Central India. But there arises a very big question. Arent shaora people Vai? How can we be related to Vai people? 

Well, the term Vai is just a label and represents both a racial group and linguistic groups, not a gene pool. We can say that by Vai people we normally mean Indo-Aryan speaking people like the Bengalis and North Indians and even Dravidians in general. But Saohra people are neither Dravidian nor Indo-Aryan speaking people, they belong to the Austro-Asiatic family along with the Khasis, Vietnamese, Cambodians etc. Many of them still retain Mongoloid features. The appearance of Indo-Aryan features among these people seemed to have happened more recently due to their contact with the Vai people who lived in their vicinity. So strictly speaking, they are not technically Vai people though many of them may look like one today. So how come they have a genetic relationship with the Mizos? 

There exist few hypotheses that try to explain this, but there is one hypothesis that appears most convincing. The Austroasiatic people are said to be one of the earliest immigrants to India. Archaeological evidence suggests that they arrive much earlier than the Indo-Aryans and the Tibeto-Burmans like modern Mizos. If we chart their migrational route, we can clearly see that they pass through modern Mizoram in huge waves. In the map below, the Austroasiatic ancestors are represented by a red line while our Tibeto Burman ancestors are represented by the light green colour. In Mizoram, there are several sites and archaeological findings that suggest earlier human presence before the arrival of the modern Mizos. These artefacts include stone monuments and stone tools.

The Mizos are not stone age tribals, they were from the Iron age and had the knowledge of iron bending. So it is very much likely that these artefacts and monuments were the handiwork of a primitive hunter-gatherer society most likely the ancient Austroasiatic people who once settled in Mizoram. As Tibeto-Burmans moved into Mizoram from the east, the more primitive hunter-gatherer society was most likely conquered, and Just like how some Neanderthals were assimilated into European Homo Sapien society, the earlier natives probably were assimilated into the proto-Mizo community. It would be safe to assume that the Zo people were yet to diversify into various tribes and the linguistic community at this point. We can imagine that this event happened when we all were still under the Stem - Proto Chin-Kuki community as all Zo people appear to share genetic similarities with the central Indian Tribals.

With this information, we can conclude that the Mizos are actually the product of the Tibeto Burmans who came from Sinlung and the Austroasiatic natives who lived in this land prior to the coming of the Tibeto Burmans, in short, we have always been the natives of this land and are the continuation of the Austroasiatic community that once existed in this land. One may think racial mixing is uncommon among the Mizos but it was more common than perceived. 

For example, the Mizo forefathers were warring tribes, they frequently raid their neighbours and take captives, these captives were most often integrated into the society and some remain as Slaves who were eventually released from their bondage, which is why we have clans such as "Bawih chhuak" . According to some scholars, some Sailos were in fact non-Mizo slaves who were adopted by Sailo Lals and were later made to become Sailos. So the concept of a pure Mizo gene or race as espoused by some Nationalist organisations today is most likely a fabrication, the Mizos have always been a racially mixed society since thier forefathers arrived in thier present locations.

When your great-great-great-grandfather took a non-Mizo captive and have her as his mistress and their child become the patriarch of your line, it doesn't mean that your sole ancestor is your great-great-grandfather but, you also become the descendant of that non-Mizo woman and their line of ancestry. So when our historians keep narrating that we came here in the 17th century etc without no clue of genetic relatedness etc they are doing a great disservice to our community. We make ourselves foreigners in our own land. while in actuality the people who came from the east and immigrated here sometime around the 17th century were just one of our ancestors, our Austroasiatic ancestors have been living in this land, ages before the Tibeto-Burmans set foot on this land. 

Let us remind ourselves that the people who moved here from Sinlungs/Chhinlung, the Chhinlungchhuaks weren't Mizos but ancestors of Mizos. Mizo as a community was created out of intermixing between these Sinlung Tibeto Burmans and the native Austroasitic people of this land. So while we are indeed the continuation of the people who came out of Sinlung, we are also the continuation of the people who were here before the Sinlung people arrive. This might be the new understanding of our ancestry we need to cultivate. 

Reference :

ALSO READ : Mizo Contemporary History Needs Thorough Revision
Understanding "Semi - Slavery" In Mizoram And How It Was Abolished

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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.


  1. Well this is indeed a very refreshing and factual

  2. This hypothesis makes complete sense as well!

  3. they wont teach this in school, i know very little mizo history and get bs for not being taught

  4. A dik deuh thlup mai, vai thlah ni silo, khasi lam ang deuh mitmeng lian vun hang lam deuh kan tam em hi

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