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Who are the Zo People?

Who are the Zo People?
C. Lalremruata
Director
Zo Indigenous Forum

Traditionally Mizo or Zo claim our descents are from Chhinlung Puk, a mythical rock north of the Shan state. Migration by tribal group seems to have taken place about the beginning of the 5th century, halting at several locations from longer or lesser periods through the Shan state, Chindwin Valley and Chin Hills until they finally came to settle in their present occupied areas and the villages claimed by the various Mizo tribes, wherever their present habitat may be, as their original homes are within or close to the border of the present Falam Sub-Division.

The Mizos are a numerous family of tribes, closely knitted together by common tradition, custom, and culture, mode of living, language and rites. They are spread over a wider area extending far beyond Manipur State, Cachar, Tripura State, Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh) and Burma contiguous with the boundaries of the present Mizoram which was carved out arbitrarily for administrative purpose.
The Mizo or Zo have nothing in common with the plains nor with the Naga or Manipuri and Assamese etc. The areas now under their occupation are mostly hilly except the eastern portion of Cachar district extending to the Barial range in the North Cachar Hills. Wherever they go and wherever they are, they carry with them their primitive customs, cultures and mode of living in its purest origin, always calling and identifying themselves as Mizo or Zo.
Composition of the Zo or Mizo People

Mizo or Zo are composed of different sub-tribe of the race. Only the word ‘Mizo’ or ‘Zo” stand for the whole group of them all : Lusei, Hmar, Ralte, Paite, Zo, Darlawng, Kawm, Pawi, Thado, Chiru, Aimol, Khawl, Tarau, Anal, Puram, Tikhup, Vaiphei, Mara (Lakher), Langrawng, Chawrai; Bawng, Baite, Mualthuam, Kaihpen, Pangkhua, Tlanglau, Hrangkhawl, Bawm or Bawmzo, Miria, Dawn, Kumi, Khiangte, Khiang, Pangte, Khawlhring, Chawngthu, Vanchiau, Chawhte, Ngente, Renthlei, Hnamte, Tlau, Pautu, Pawite, Vangchhia, Zawngte, Fanai, Lai, Kom, Ranglong, Thado, Sukte, Chiru, etc, all closely related to one another culturally, socially, economically and physically thus forming a distinct ethnical units.

As per 2001 Census, the total populations of Mizo/zo in different states of North Eastern India were:

State NO of Zo people in state
Arunachal Pradesh 0
Assam 1,031
Manipur 8,240
Meghalaya 3,007
Mizoram 5,00,146
Nagaland 0
Tripura 4,910
TOTAL 5,17,334

Source: Registrar General of Census Commissioner 1991

Zo people living area:

The Mizo/Zo people in the present Mizoram state, India alone number 8, 91,058 populations with an area of 21,087 square Kilometer according to the census of 2001, within Manipur State, India an area of about 6, 482 Sq Km (3,500 square miles) and the Mizo people living area in Cachar District of Assam State, India around 555.6 Sq Km (300 square miles). In Tripura state of India, the Mizo/Zo living with an area of about 463Sq Km (250 square miles).

In the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, contiguous to the Mizoram state, the Mizo population living with an area of about 5,556 Sq Km (3,000 square miles), In the Chin Hills (Burma) also contiguous to the Mizoram who are now commonly known and termed as the Chins, number not less than 90,000 with an area of about 7,037.6 Sq Km (3,800 square miles) occupied by them. It is a great injustice and terrible that the Mizos having one and the same culture, speaking one and the same language, professing one and the same religion, and knit together by common customs and traditions have been divided into many countries without our will.

Different names of Zo people

The Zo people in the different region and sub-clan have call themselves as different names, but as a general they call themselves as Mizo or Zo, so, there is no need to confuse about the different names of the Zo people.

In Chin Hills Region and Arakan of Burma they call themselves as “Chin” and “Paite” and In Bangladesh they call themselves as “Bawm” or “Bawmzo”, In the southern Mizoram they call them as “Lai”, “Mara” or “Bawm”. In the northern part of Mizoram, and they call themselves as “Lushai”, “Paite”, “Hmar”, “Zo”etc.
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