Friday, October 16, 2009

Insurgency in Mizoram: An Army officer’s reminiscences

(reproduced in Lalkhama, 2006. A Mizo Civil Servant’s Random Reflections. Ghazaibad: Express Print House, pp.177-180).

Darzo (Mizoram) was one of the richest villages I have ever seen in this part of the world. There were ample stores of paddy, fowl and pigs. The villagers appeared well-fed and well-clad and most of them had some money in cash. We arrived in the village about ten in the morning. My orders were to get the villagers to collect whatever moveable property they could, and to set their own village on fire at seven in the evening. I also had orders to burn all the paddy and other grain that could not be carried away by the villagers to the new centre so as to keep food out of reach of the insurgents…. I somehow couldn’t do it. I called the Village Council President and told him that in three hours his men could hide all the excess paddy and other food grains in the caves and return for it after a few days under army escort. They concealed everything most efficiently.

Night fell, and I had to persuade the villagers to come out and set fire to their homes. Nobody came out. Then I had to order my soldiers to enter every house and force the people out. Every man, woman and child who could walk came out with as much of his or her belongings and food as they could. But they wouldn’t set fire to their homes. Ultimately, I lit a torch myself and set fire to one of the houses. I knew I was carrying out orders, and would hate to do such a thing if I had my way. My soldiers also started torching other buildings, and the whole place was soon ablaze. There was absolute confusion everywhere. Women were wailing and shouting and cursing. Children were frightened and cried. Young boys and girls held hands and looked at their burning village with a stupefied expression on their faces. But the grown men were silent; not a whimper or a whisper from them. Pigs were running about, mithuns were bellowing, dogs were barking, and fowls setting up a racket with their fluttering and cracking. One little girl ran into her burning house and soon darted out holding a kitten in her hands. When it was time for the world to sleep, we marched out of Darzo – soldiers in front, with the Mizos following, and the rear brought up by more soldiers…

We walked fifteen miles through the night along the jungle and the morning saw us in Hnahthial. I tell you, I hated myself that night. I had done the job of an executioner. The night when I saw children as young as three years carrying huge loads on their heads for fifteen miles with very few stops for rest, their noses running, their little feet faltering..for the first time in my life as a solider I did not feel the burden of the fifty pound haversack on my own back. But there was something more to be carried out. I called the Darzo Village Council President and his village elders and ordered them to sign a document saying that they had voluntarily asked to be resettled in Hnahthial PPV (Protected and Progressive Village) under the protection of the Security Forces as they were being harassed by the insurgents, and because their own village did not have communications, educational, medical and other facilities. Another document stated that they had burnt down their own village, and that no force or coercion was used by the Security Forces. They refused to sign. So I sent them out and after an hour called them in again, this time one man at a time. On my table was a loaded revolver, and in the corner stood two NCOs with loaded sten-guns. This frightened them, and one by one they signed both the documents.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tunlai khawvel celebrity lar thar Susan Boyle

A hmel tha hran lem lo hle, mipa hmel a an mai bakah a sam kir buk deuh luih dan hian tunlai fashion mil a ni mawlh lo. A hmelah ngaihno bei hmel a lang lo. A chezia hrim hrim pawh mipangai a ang meuh lo. Hetih chung hian kum 2009 Britain's Got Talent show-ah first edition turin a rawn lut ve a. Judge pathum Simon a, Amanda, Piers-te mai bakah mipui zawng zawng hmelah nuihzatna leh hmusit hmel a lang a. Simona pawhin tiel zawng deuh deuhin zawhna a han zawt a. Kum 47 lai a ni bawk si, thingtlang khaw lian deuh chhuak mai a ni bawk si...! A han zai ta chiah mai chu, a mak a makin mipuiin leh Judges ten hmel a danglam nghal vek mai a ni. He nu hian khawvel a deng chhuak ta tlat si.

Khawvel pum huap a mipui hlut show ropui tak tak (American idol, X factor etc) a awm fo tawh. First Audition atang lar nghal hi an awm meuh lo. Mahse, Susan Boyle lar dan hi sawi thiam mai piah lam a ni. Youtube-ah hian hit sang ber pawl Barack Obama’s inauguration speech kha a khum chiang hle. (A hit zat hi youtube ah lo en mai ula). TV show lian ber berin an bawr luih luih tawh a, Larry King Live -ah alang tawh a, Opray chuan kawm ngei tumin a hel mek bawk a. Hollywood director lar in an beisei nghal em em mai bawk a, a chanchin hi movie in siam ngei an tum bawk a. Tunlai khawvel a lar dan hi hrechiang duh chuan han google mai teh u. India ram kan chanchinbu lian ber ber pawhin an ranw tarlang chuai chuai mek a ni.

Kohhran zaipawl member hlun niin Pathian a chawimawi thin a. A hun takah Pathianin chawimawina a hlan niin ka hria. Tin, tunlai celebrity ho, atak aia alem a nung, fashion leh thil chi hrang hrang nen chawhpawlh ho ai hian he nu hi a "real" zawkin ka hria. Tunlai media ho ten a lem hmanga mipui min bawl nuai nuaina karah hian khawvel mipui ten milem kan ning tan a, mahni nihna ang taka lang ngam hi kan ngaisang thar hle dawn niin a lang. He nu hian media ho ten image an siam mai bakah khawvel mipui ten inner beauty an hlut thar leh dawn niin alang tiin chanchinbu pakhat chuan a tarlang a ni.

Photo courtesy:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Some Challenges for India: When will India become a developed nation?

India has managed to hold the ‘topmost’ position in many spheres, both positive and negative, when we compared to other countries of the world. This article briefly looks at the some of the social challenges for the Indian nation.

1. India from former times has a very different cultural set up in comparison to the western world. Not only does the society disagree in people of different classes living together but it also opposes to shaking of hands and even walking together on the same path. Female infanticide, dowry and sati were once a social problem, which is still practiced even today in some parts of India. One of India’s most eminent magazine the Outlook recent survey reveals evidences of the killing of the female child in the states of Haryana, U.P, Rajasthan, Bihar and Gujarat. The ratio between male and female child in many villages of Punjab is 10:5 and the abortion rate in India is around 10 million a year. This clearly shows the social condition of our times.

2. From the day of our independence, there has been continual bloodshed in India in the name of Gods. Conflicts between the two largest religious communities in India—Muslims and Hindus has not subsided even in the era of globalization. The situation is just like a volcano ready to erupt at any moment. Other religious minority groups are immensely suppressed at the same time. We also witness caste politics, ethnic conflicts, insurgencies and identity crisis in many parts of India.

3. India is constantly at feud with Pakistan and a time will come when it is impossible to settle things with words and we shall have to use the best weapons we have so far preserved.

4. In the current budget (2006-7) India increased 6% for education but this is still very little compared to other countries like Singapore which uses 18% and USA which uses 24% of its budget for educational purposes while the number of students in India would surely exceed the number of students in these two countries. Despite this, it is wonderful that we can still have people who succeed extraordinarily and are internationally recognized even though the country contributes a very nominal amount for their education. There is no doubt that countries like Singapore and USA which give such importance to education, by putting aside huge sums of money, would be more advanced and developed than countries like India. Out of the total population of the world, 17% reside in India. 350 million Indians are still illiterate.

5. In many parts of India, people are being fuelled by communal feelings and they strive only for their own benefits. Globalization took over capitalism; privatization is practiced more and more. The rich become richer but the poor in the slums are still neglected.

6. Cricket players and film stars are worshipped as Gods and since people are influenced by them entry into the political field comes with great ease for such celebrities. The most prominent politicians are usually former film stars but unlike other countries, these stars are not concerned about the welfare of the people as such. They earn both profit and fame. Soon, they build up hotels, restaurant and beauty parlors and compete among themselves to build the best only to fill their pockets. The people who give funds and charities to the poor are not usually our Indian celebrities but celebrities from abroad that are handling social work through whatever possible sources they have to help the poor. An Australian cricketer Steve Waugh opened a coaching centre in a slum area to help the poor people in the slums to learn cricket. Still the hearts of the Indian cricketers are not yet shaken even when he said that the truth of Indian cricket lies in the hand of the slum folks. A very famous writer Dominique Lapier gave a huge sum of charity to the poor people of Kolkota. He said that the money he earned from his book should reach the people he wrote about. People from other countries are concerned about our nation even before the people living in it have started to do so and this is an immense disgrace.

7. People are so full of fanaticism that some commit suicide just because they do not get tickets for Hindi movies or because the Indian cricket team lost a match. A well known star Amitabh Bachan donated jewelries worth 10 crores to a deity at the Tirupathi temple after finding out that he was not ailed by Cancer. Has he given at least this much of money for the poor? The valuables collected in temples could have been so much more useful to uplift the conditions of the poor. Unless our celebrities know how to care about the poor, they are just curses who steal money from people for their own benefits.

8. The major problem in India is politics. The Indian parliament members are filled with religious priests, criminals, sadhus, pundits, industrialists, former film stars etc and they sit together and brood over matters not more serious than the matters in a children’s play. Adult politicians fight in the house, securities are busy trying to take out MP’s who try to create trouble in the house. Our politicians are not more than the generation ‘X’ dudes as rough as they come. As long as the criminals occupy the best places/seats in the parliament, we shall face great difficulty in proceeding towards development. The differences in number of seats reserved in the parliament (LS) also affect the growth and development of states. Some states have about 40-80 seats reserved while others have only 1 seat.

9. The North East states are still downtrodden and the negligence of the central government has been regularly declared by scholars. Since, independence there is paradigm shift in Indian government’s policy toward the North East; Exotic cultural paradigm, security paradigm, join the mainstream paradigm and economic package paradigm and so on. Despite these efforts, why are problems still acute in India’s North East? How many more experiments do we need?

The things (I have) stated above are the unpleasant conditions of the Indian nation. Although, problems may still be acute, India has a potential if we consider these challenges and give more attention to them. At the same time, India is aiming to become a developed nation by the year of 2020. Some Indian thinkers believe that, if India take immediate steps to develop the country, it is still capable of improvement. After all, these problems could be wiped out only if all the citizens of India work together as one.

We the Mizos, being an Indian citizen and entirely depending on the central Government also have to try our best. The best way for Mizoram to become developed is to ‘contribute’ as much as possible to the Indian state. This is the only way to get into a good relationship with the central Government. We do not have much hope for but this relationship to be in full bloom. So, instead of making our land and our identity nameless, let us try our best to have a state of mutual understanding with the central government.


1. The Week, March 19, 2006.
2. The Week, March 5, 2006.
3. Outlook, February 27, 2006.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Factual Errors on North East India's discourse

The colonial ethnographers and Christian missionaries were the earliest scholars who represented tribal culture with their European terms and pronunciations. Numerous literatures on tribal cultural history were produced by colonial ethnographers and Christian Missionaries like A.Z Makenzie, JH Hutton, J.Shakepear, N.E Parry, J.H Mills, J.M Lloyd, J.H Lorrain. Habitually, colonial and missionary’ terms/terminologies were ethnocentric in nature.

In recent period, some scholars (trained indigenous) feel the burden of these ethnocentric terms and various efforts have been made on the decolonization of these local names/ terminologies.In case of Mizoram, colonial names have been changed - Lusei, instead of Lushai, Maras instead of Lakher and Aizawl instead of Aijal. However, in many of the recent discourses (including official discourse) made by non locals both at the national and international levels are extremely ignorant on local language/terminologies. The capital of Mizoram, Aizawl is misspelt as Aizwal in news papers, academic discourses and even at airports. There has been repeated failure to run a correction, even after being asked.

This is also evident in the academic field. For instance, one of the most popular referee’s journals of Modern Asian Studies in 1987 writes “The Negroids, who came from south and south-west China, are the present Nagas of Nagaland.” (B. P. Singh; North-East India: Demography, Culture and Identity Crisis, Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 21, No. 2. (1987), pp. 257-282.) Surprisingly, the editorial boards (including some Indian professor) has failed to notice that the Naga tribes belong to the mongoloid group of Tibeto-Burman. No correction was made even in the continuous issues. Such an ignorance has for a long time dominated the North East discourse scenario which damages image of the people and their culture. Naga Students’ Federation (not the insurgency groups) who had forbidden a non-Naga to write on Naga history without their prior approval clearly indicates how people contested against such academic imperialism. (Prabhakara, 2003).

it would be nice to hear your responses regarding this issue. What we can do to make it better for accurate representation? etc...


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My School Days

Many children in Mizoram do not have the opportunity to go to good schools. I was one of those kids. The school I attended was located in a small village called S.Vanlaiphai in the Hnahthial district of south Mizoram. As you see, lack of proper infrastructure is obviously visible, but i think it has opened many doors for me in my career. I'm fortunate enough to be able to continue my studies while most of my classmates were not able to do so.

I miss my school days sometimes. I had a lots of fun and also bad experiences at the same time. I can clearly recollect two unforgettable incidents. The first incident was “school naupang bal berah” min thlang kha a ni”. I felt really ashamed. The whole class laughed at me, including my best friend. I guess its hard to imagine that a boy of that age could feel shame.

Pahnihna chu - Mizorama kan MLA Pakhat ( a thi tawh a, a hming sawi lo mai ang) in kan school hi a rawn tlawh dawn a, kan lo inbuatsaih nasa hle a. Chal mawm hlarh in tel rimtui kan inchulh a, kan in khuih pial ve zan a. A rawn thleng a, class room chhungah thaw dep depin kan lo thu ve a, min en vang vang a, ka pa hming min zawt a. Ka pu “Pa ka nei lo” tiin ka chhang a. “Pa nei lovin, i piang thei dawn em ni” tiin an thuihruai te nen chuan an nui ta chiam a. Vawikhat mah khatiang khan min chhang mai mai tawh suh min ti zui bawk. Ka chhang duhdah emaw a ti a, mahse a tisual chiang khawp mai. Eng boruak nge ka kaltlang reng a hre lo. I don't think that he showed much concern for me. So far, this was the worst insult that had ever occurred in my whole life.

Earlier, I was a bit shy to talk about my academic background. Sometimes I felt uncomfortable when I compare my background with others. Some friends often tell me that they did their schooling in Monfort or other prestigious schools in Mizoram or outside Mizoram. I always thought that I could have done better if I had attended good schools in my younger days.

Recently I’ve started realizing that merely a good background doesn't make good people. There are times when I excel and do much better in academics or in any other field than compared to those friends. I do achieve many things beyond my dreams. I never thought I would reach this point. I Thank God for all his blessings. God always knows what is best for me. Now, I no longer hesitate to talk about wonderful experiences that i had during my school days. I will always cherish those experiences for the rest of my life.

Education is not just about getting degrees, but it is a continuous process of learning. If you don't grow or if your progress is slow, one day some people (poor backgrounds) will do better than you. If you have a good background, why don't you try harder? Else you might end up being referred to as “an empty drum that only makes loud noises.”

(Notes: These photos are kind of the story of my life. Each photo has a great memory attached to it.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lush Green Meadow

I am really honoured that one of my photographs was selected and published in Smart photography magazine. (please see image.No.3)

Photo caption: Lush Green Meadow
Location: S.Vanlaiphai, Mizoram
Camera: Cannon EOS 1000D

Friday, February 13, 2009

The voice of an Angel

These days, I’m focusing on my research work though mostly in fits and stunts. It’s hard to stay focused all the time considering “life” which is becoming more and more complicated day by day. I believe I can do some great stuff for the world but the problem is that I don’t have enough guts and I’m a little lazy. Well, adulthood- I guess it just crept up on me and all the schooling in the world could not have prepared me for the bulk of contradictory emotions within me!! .

I’m sure, you all know the song called Angel by Sarah McLachlan which originally appeared on her 1997 album ‘Surfacing’. The song (posted below) is an opera version performed by Faryl Smith in the semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent 2008. It is hard to believe she is just 12 years old. She has signed the most valuable contract ever awarded to such a young artist - a multi-album deal worth £2.3 million.

I'm not a big fan of opera, but I really like this song. Every time I listen to this song, I am deeply touched and it takes me to a different place.“I believe this song addresses the moment we all have felt when we wish we had a second chance, when we find ourselves in the depths of regret for something we never did and things we did do”. (Sarah Lisle)

Check out the song below and I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Crossing the Hill River

Location: Tuipui D, Hnahthial District, Mizoram.

Lack of means of communication is one of the main drawbacks in the development of a hilly region like Mizoram. During the bamboo famine of 1958-59, (which eventually led to the Mizo insurgency movement against India in 1966) the only possible means through which access could be gained was by Jeep. Awakened by the insurgency movement, several roads have been constructed by the Government. However, mode of transportation is still inadequate in many parts of Mizoram. Due to extensive landslides and floods in the river valleys, travelling becomes very difficult. Many villages are situated far beyond the river valleys. Since modern bridges are not available in many parts of Mizoram, even simple tasks like crossing of rivers becomes a big challenge especially during the rainy seasons.

My recent visit to my native place in Mizoram proved to be a great eye opener in this matter. I’ve captured an interesting occasion that shows how travelers in some parts of Mizoram cross the rivers. A local boat called Marboat equipped with truck engine run by the Public Work Department, Government of Mizoram is commonly used. The boat usually stands still during rainy seasons, when water current is strong.For safety reasons, bridges have been constructed for use by travelers as shown in the image No.7.

No.1: A Boat is ready to collect travelers and their vehicles.

No.2 & 3: A Boat set sail towards another side of the river.

No.4: A Boat is ready to deposit passengers & vehicles on the riverbank.
No.5 & 6: Passengers and their vehicles are ready to leave the boat.

No.7 A walkable bridge alternative to a boat especially during rainy seasons.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Recurring Dreams

I'm sure most of us have had sleepless nights at some point in our lives. You suddenly wake up in the middle of the night feeling a great sense of panic and can't even go back to sleep. What could be the reason? I guess that's probably not a good sign. Have you ever dreamt of the same person over and over again for a number of nights? Yes, recurrent bad dreams are as disturbing as other problems in real life. It can really ruin your life even though you know that it is not real. It makes one think, ‘what have i done wrong’ or ‘why do I keep having these recurrent nightmares?’.

But, not to worry. I too have been having a recurrent nightmare for the past few days. The first time, i dreamt of someone (a girl) being chased by a mob. I am unable to recollect the girl's identity as I could not see her face clearly…she must've been a young girl probably between 18 to 24. She had been charged of stealing someone else's belonging. She was standing in the corner of the street trying to protect herself from the mob who were pelting her with sticks and stones. I intervened in the scene when she was about to be stripped and killed by the mob. I stood between the angry mob and the girl but I was unable to convince them to stop so I tried my best to shield the girl from the angry mob. Some of the angry mob members even hit me with their sticks and stones. I pleaded, “Please stop...please stop..!!”. Then the scene got over when I suddenly woke up. The dream left me a bit confused and left me wondering what exactly it was supposed to mean.

Some other night, when I was fast asleep at around 2 in the morning, I had another dream where i found myself somewhere in the middle of a very dark street. It appeared to be somewhere around 19th century London. Suddenly, I saw the same girl again. This time she was sitting near a dustbin at the corner of the street and was crying. It was a bit dark so i couldn't see her face too clearly. One thing I’m very sure of is that she was definitely the same girl that i saw in my previous dream. She even wore the same clothes and shoes. I felt a sudden wave of panic sweep through me so I slowly started to move towards her, then suddenly she disappeared! It happened so fast that I didn't even see how she disappeared.

The third time I saw the same girl in another dream, she was standing helplessly in front of the same mob who were chasing her in my first dream. I saw her holding a CD (compact Disk) in her hand. This time, she had an angry expression on her face but I still don't know who she was. But one thing i'm very sure of is that she belonged to one of the Asian ethnic groups, probably a Mizo girl. O.k, i forgot to tell you that this girl spoke Mizo! So, I asked the mob why they kept chasing this girl. One guy shouted, “She keeps stealing other people's stuff !” “What stuff?” I said. The man replied, “Well, previously she stole a man's heart. That heartbroken fellow eventually ended up committing suicide and now she's stolen a CD (compact disk)..!” I don't know why the heck all this big fuss was being made about a man's heart or a CD!! Is there some hidden meaning behind it? Totally weird...!!

These recurring bad dreams make me feel uneasy. Earlier, I did used to have many dreams, I mean normal dreams. The themes may have varied widely from place to place and from time to time and i cannot even recall many of my dreams. But this one is as clear to me as yesterday's events. In fact, it troubled me deeply. So, I stated browsing internet sites for information that I was hoping would help. Well, there are plenty of blogs, web-pages and web-sites that narrate people's experiences on dreams. Then, I turned my attention to professional interpretations of dreams as I thought it would be more genuine. A scholarly group called psychoanalysis (i.e sigmund freud) did a lot of theoretical work on dreams but all these did not seem too helpful in my case. There are other scholars who proposed that nightmares can be caused by stress, trauma, fears, insecurities, eating habits, feelings of inadequacy, health problems and marital issues. Do these justify my problem? Or someone, perhaps a spirit is trying to contact me through these dreams...i don't know! I really can't explain it at all. It would be nice to know if anybody has had a similar situation of this kind.

Photos: www.jaygidwitz

Monday, January 12, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thought disorder

I think we all do stupid things at least once or twice in our lifetime. Recently I do have a few of those, regret or whatever u call it. I never could have imagined the effect it would have on me. In fact, I have never experienced anything like this before. I’m totally confused and uncomfortable. I wish I could take it back but it wouldn't change anything. Is there any way that I can tell people that I'm not crazy. Now, I've realized that everything i wish for will never come true. Well, any stupid choices I made in life are lessons learned. I have so many thoughts running through my head. but i just can't express.

Here’s a wonderful song called Haitian divorce by Steely Dann. Take a good look at the video below here. This is my favorite song on the entire album and the guitar melody gives me chills. Thanks to cousin brother, who introduced me to this beautiful song.