ZO Conference cum 123rd Chin-Lushai Conference, 2015

IN an aim to create a sense of brotherhood among the ZO people separated by three political boundaries, a two-day “ZO Conference cum Commemoration of the 123rd Anniversary of Chin-Lushai Conference (Fort William), Calcutta” was on 29-30th January 2015 at Kholmun Play Ground, Churachandpur, Manipur.

Pu R Thangmawia, chairman, ZoRO GHQ. Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal

The conference has been organised with the theme ‘Ethnic Zo People’s Solidarity’ under the aegis of Zo Re-unification Organisation (ZoRO). It was a maiden congregation of the Zo people coming from Chittagong hill tracts (Bangladesh), Kachin State (Burma), and India which comprises Mizoram, Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and Manipur State.

Pu Ginsuanhau.

Mr Ginsuanhau Zou, MLA, Mr Jamthong Haokip, MLA, Mr Langkhanpau Guite, Chairman ADC CCpur and Mr Thangso Baite, MP (Outer Manipur) graced the occasion as the Chief Guest, Functional President, Chief Host and Special Guest on the first day.  As

The second day of the conference was graced by Mr T N Haokip, MLA as Guest of Honour and Mr Sesei Zou, Chairman of ADC Chandel District as Functional President.

Mr P S Haokip, President of Kuki National Organisation (KNO) including various delegates and cultural troupes from Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram, Bangladesh and Burma attended the occasion.

ZoRO GHQ chairman Mr R Thangmawia and Mr Ginsuanhau Zou unfurled the ZoRO Flag which was followed by a beautiful duet from Ms Lamneilhing and Ms Thiengnu.

Rev Chomlhun invocated the conference while ZoRO Northern Zone (N/Z) president Mr Khaijang Haokip addressed the welcome speech.

Under the initiative of ZoRO N/Z general secretary Mr Thangchinlal Simte delegates were presented traditional shawl. Mr Lalchhuana, secretary, ZoRO GHQ, gave the secretarial report.

Mr Ruata Darlong, Mr Lenchung Haokip, Mr Michael Luncha Kipgen, Miss Lalparzo, HSA Platinum star Miss Christina Saum, Mr Lenchung, Mr Jeff Akai, Miss Lamneilhing, Miss Lhanei  mesmerized the huge crowd with rendering songs.

VIPs, Delegates & Leaders. Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal

Hmar Youth Association (HYA), Khawmawi Cultural Troupe, Kuki Cultural Troupe (Ahthibung, Nagaland), Karbi Cultural Troupe (Assam), MZP Cultural Troupe (Mizoram), Darlong Cultural Troupe (Tripura), Lamhil Cultural Troupe, Kachin Cultural Troupe (Burma), Kom Cultural and Research Centre Khoirentak Khuman, Barak Valley  Cultural Troupe, Manasseh Cultural Troupe and Zou Cultural Troupe displayed various cultural dances.

“Zo is our generic name. Today we gathered under the umbrella of ZO. I am happy that we are united,” said Mr Ginsuanhau Zou, the chief guest on the first day.

Hmar Cultural Dance. Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal

A Gospel Musical Nite was held on the concluding night which was sponsored by Mr Lunminthang Haokip, IAS, Deputy Commissioner of Churachandpur. Celebrated gospel singers like Miss Lhainei Haokip, Miss Naemy Haokip, Miss Miranda, and Mr Jeff Akai enthralled the huge crowd with variety of soulful songs.

Karbi Cultural Dance (Karbi Anglong). Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal

“The first Chin-Lushai Conference was held in Fort William, Calcutta on January 29, 1892.  This was held to bring the lands occupied by the Chin, Kuki, Mizo and other ZO peoples under one administrative head,” said Mr P S Haokip, adding: “We observed the anniversary of the conference to remind us that although the resolution was passed, it was not implemented”.

Zou Cultural Dance. . Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal

On the 123rd anniversary, Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla send a message which reads: “At the outset, I would like to highlight an intrinsic aspect concerning our identity and people. As stated in the 1892 Conference (Resolution No. 2), the British administration was yet to chart our entire territory owing to ‘difficulties of communication, of supplies, and of transport”.

Zou Cultural Dance. Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal

“Zo people are physically dispersed in different sovereign countries. In some instances, identification with other neighbouring ethnic groups has developed. Necessarily, therefore, cultural integration is of special significance to retain our God-given identity,” Mr Lal Thanhawla added.

Kachins with Pu T.  Aloysius Nehkhojang & Pu R Thangmawia 

According to ZoRO leaders, ZoRO is a non-governmental organisation which fosters the unification of the Kuki-Chin-Mizo and their blood brothers the Kachin, Heimi, Zeliangrong, Karbi, and Konyak.

Kachin Cultural Troupe. Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal
In last year during the ZoRO Conference at Moreh (Indo-Myanmar border), one mithun (locally called Sial) was sacrificed, of which the meat on the spine, signifying the recipient’s elder status in the particular lineage, has been offered to Konyak. Each of the four mithun legs was offered to the Heimi, Zaliangrong, Kachin and Karbi, symbolising wholeness of the brethren. In addition for the sake of posterity, each group was offered the traditional gong with inscriptions immortalising brotherhood of the ethnic people. The most recent addition to the brotherhood is Bodo of Assam.

The cheerful kids. Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal

ZoRO came into being on 20th May 1988 during the three-day (May 19-21, 1988) convention held in Champhai, Mizoram jointly organised by the Zomi National Congress (led by late T Gougin) and Peoples Conference (led by Brig T Sailo). ZoRO exhorted every Zo citizen to make a concerted effort to achieve the rights and dignity to exist nobly as one people. Zo peoples from Mizoram, Manipur, Sakhan/Zampui (of Tripura), Chittagong Hills Tract (Bangladesh), Arakan and Chin Hills (of Myanmar) came together and formed this organisation in 1988.

Ahthibung Cultural Troupe, Nagaland. Pic: BKT


On the 23rd May 1988, the first ever long march in Mizoram (from Champhai to Aizawl) was commenced by representatives/delegates more than a thousand ZRVs (Zo Re-unification Volunteers)  under the leadership of  C-in-C of ZRV, Mr C Vulluaia. After marching for 6 full days, they reached Zemabawk (7 km from Aizawl) where they were accorded grand reception by the well-wishers and leaders of ZoRO GHQ. That was on the 28th May, 1988 (Saturday).

Mizo. Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal

Mizo Cheraw Lam. Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal

Pu PS Haokip with Mizo folk dancers. Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal

It was on the 5
th March 1988, a high level representatives of Peoples Conference and Zomi National Congress held a meeting at the residence of Pu T Gougin, at Zoveng, Zenhang Lamka (Manipur). The delegates of the two parties discussed Zomi Re-unification Movement, deliberated and decided to carve out a United State, combinations of all Zo People (Zomis) under One Administrative umbrella, preferably within Indian Union.

In China, there is a sizeable Kachin population. By designs of British colonialism, part of the land of Kachin was later incorporated within present-day Burma and present-day Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. The lands of Konyak, Kuki, Chin, Lushai (Mizo), Karbi, Heimi and Zeliangrong brothers were similarly included within Northeast India, Burma, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts in present-day Bangladeh. 

Ahthibung Cultural Troupe, Nagaland.

The land of Heimi and cognate group is wedged between Kachin state and Arunachal Pradesh. Chin land largely constitutes Chin State. Mizo land became Mizoram State. Karbi land became a part of present-day Karbi Anglong of Assam. 

Zeliangrong land became the present-day Peren District of Nagaland, Tamenglong District of Manipur and its adjoining areas in Tripura. The land of Kukis became parts of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Tripura, parts of Assam, parts of Manipur Hills, i.e. Thangjing and Koubru Range and Northeastern Manipur, including the Upper Chindwin and Kale-Kabaw Valley in Burma.

Pu Michael Luncha Kipgen rendering his iconic song, LHANG KICHOI. Pic: BKT

The problems faced by the Zo indigenous people is not a ‘domestic matter’ but a matter that can be brought up in the International agenda. 

Zalengam Choir

Back in 1947 to protect the Zo land and nation using the theme ‘Mizo Integration and Solidarity’, the Mizo Committee was set up for the formation of the Indian Constitution.

Then again in 1950, the United Mizo Freedom Organisation (UMFO) submitted a memorandum with the demand to be connected with the Chin Hills. 

The Kuki National Assembly (KNA) submitted a memorandum to the first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for Kuki State in 1960. 

The Paite National Council (PNC) has also submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for Chin Re-Unification. In 1965, the Mizo National Front (MNF) submitted a memorandum to the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Sashtri at Tuwahati on the theme Mizo Integration and Solidarity. 

ZoRO send a memorandum to the British Prime Minister in 1991 stating, “You have separated us, now you should take the responsibility to bring us together again”. 

Pu Thangso Baite, MP (Outer Manipur). Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal

Pu T N  Haokip, MLA. Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal

Pu Sesei Zou, MDC. Pic: Bruce K. Thangkhal


Moments of joy, ... to bid "Good Bye..."

In 1994, ZoRO sent a 29-page memorandum to the President of America where it was written “According to the Atlantic Charter it was agreed if the Allied Forces win World War II, then the member’s decision would be respected. Around 300 Lusei (Mizo) Chiefs have declared war in favour of the Allied Forces and formed the Volunteer Force to fight the Japanese in Lushai Hills and Chin Hills. You should take the responsibility to fulfill the promise of your past leaders”.

~ Bruce K. Thangkhal

The Mizoram Post | Manipur Chronicle | Zogam Today | The Northeast Today


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