THE ORIGIN OF ZOMI: Pu T. Gougin

The Zomis are one of the branches of Mongolian stock allied to the Tibetan Burmans and whose stories dates back to 2,000 BC.These people were migrating from place to place in search of life.They could not find a permanent place for settlement where they could cultivate the land.They had no settled life.In other words,they were one of the nomadic people.Civilization is yet to be seen by them.In the words,they were one of the nomadic people.Civilization is yet to be  seen by them.In the words of Macdonal "Civilisation may be said to have  begun when early man ceased his wanderings  and took up a settled mode of life.This could  only have been possible when he found  a dependable food supply from tilling the soil and no longer had to hunt in nomadic  tribes over wide tracts of land.Thus civilisation begun with agriculture which assured man's settle existence.Likewise,these people(Zomis)moved about  in search of civilisation or a permanent place  where they could settle.The Zomis as the time passed on,moved from  Central China down the river courses of the Chindwin and the Irrawaqdi onwards to Burma,Assam,Manipur and the present Mizoram.According to some legendary tales they belong to CHOU(ZHOU) dynasty,who were later on driven out of Central China by the Chou kings.It is also that the Zomis had their own script which they loss whilst wandering from place to place.The lost script is now depicted by M Siahzathang of Lamka,Manipur which is under examination and is  in the stage of development and improvement.It is a godsend for the Zomis.Like the old Chinese,they did not care  to establishment their own common identity,in other words,their nationality.Nationalism was beyond their imagination.The Zomis have shown the greatest loyalty to family and clan with the result that there have been 'familyiam' and 'clanism' but there has been no real nationalism.They can pay anything and everything of  their self for the clan and the family.Leadership was  not on a selective  or elective basis,but was  based on  heredity.Of course,in olden days the mightiest man got the upper hand and he became  the king and the leader of the weaker people.

Foreign Names:
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            The Zomis were also known as Chin in Burma,Kuki in Manipur,Assam and Nagaland and Lushai in erstwhile Lushai hills (now Mizoram).Words like Kuki,Chin and Lushai are foreign names.Such names were never recognised by the people even though they are called Kukis and Chins.Mr Grierson puts it like this,"The words Kuki and Chin are synonymous and are both used for many of the hill tribes in question.Kuki is an Assamese or Bengali term applied to various Hill Tribes such as the Lushais,Rangkhawls,Thados etc.,it is purely a conventional one."
        Again he says:Chin is a Burmese word to denote the various Hills Tribe living in the country between Burma and the provinces of Assam and Bengal.It is written and  dialectically pronounced khyang.The name is no used by the tribes themselves who used titles such as "Zo" or "Yo" and "Scho."
                   He further mentions in his book:The word Chin is supposed by some authorities to be corruption of the Chinese 'Yen' a man.It is used by the Burmese to denote different tribes in the Chin Hills(Burma) especially those along the Arakan and Chittagong frontier.Major Shakespeare remarks that "every one uses the term in a different sense,and it is not the same used by any tribe,but purely a bazar name".
            From the remarks of these writers we can very well appreciate that the words like Kuki,Chin and Lushai are foreign words for the simple reason that these words are not found,in the languages of the Zomis.They are not the original names of the first born Zomi.From the hoary past the legendary tale runs like this.Long ago,there were three brothers namely Sawngza and Zahawng who were under the earth(a cave).One bright morning they came out of the earth(the cave) or Khul where they lived.They saw a very lofty mountain which they called Zogam or Zoram and they tried to settled on the hillside abondoning the Khul or cave shelter.They called he hill 'Zogam' or Zo and the hill dweller,Zomi.In English,Zogam strictly means a hill or cold land and Zomi means a hillman or highlander.The descendants of the brothers mentioned above by and  large named themselves Zomi.But all highlanders are no Zomi like Khasi,Naga and Garo etc. because the word Zomi is not found in their languages.The Zomis are a distinctive hill people having common custom,usages,and some common characteristics.Mr Grierson comments:"They are said to be slow in speech,serious in manner,respect or births and pride of pedigree,the duty of revange,love of drink,virtue of hospitality,clan prejuidices,avarice,distrust,impatience of control and dirt".
        They all sang a song-Ka pianna Zogam Nuam, or Ka pianna Zoram Nuam(my birth place in pleasant Zoland-my birth place is pleasant Zoland).Fortunately or unfortunately,having sung the song unlike birds of the same feather flocking together,when two or three Zomis got together they,could not popularise their common name Zomi,instead they were quite content common name Zomi,instead they were quite content with sub-tribal names such as,Thadou,Gangte,Vaiphei,Lushei,Hmar,Zou,Pawi,Lakher,Sukte,Paite,and Simte,etc. The Zomis,however,can understand each other though there are minor differences in the dialect and the spelling.For example,Pa-ta means father's son (Pa-fa,Pa-cha).Pata is used by the
Zo,Simte,Paite,and Sukte,however,Pa-fa the Hmar and Lushei use and Pa-cha the Thadou,Gangte and Vaiphei use.They have many words which means the same.Pa(father),Nu(mother),Van(sky),Pi(grandmother),Pu(grandfather),Lui(river),Tui(water),Mei(fire).Again,their ethnical affinity is proved by another Mei(fire);fire being the first element that the first human being produced.We can see that all those who say MEI for fire are one and the people belonging to the same Tribe.They are one  people and one nation including Meiteis or Manipuris.
         Another proof of their affinity is the way they governed from time immemorial.The Chief is their leader and this post is not held on the basis of selection or election,but is based on virility and heredity.Inheritance is patriarchal amongst all Zomis except the Hmar and Lushei.Among these the youngest son inherit the property of the father.But now this system of giving right of inheritance to the youngest son is slowly and gradually fading away and almost all the Zomis are indeed the same people.They are very closely knit by blood,livelihood,language,religion,habits and customs.All the important forces that go to make a people a nation,they have.
     The people living in the erstwhile Lushai hills were known as Lushei/Lushai as they speak one of the Zomi dialects.But the word Lushei/Lushai meant a sub-tribe called Lushai as they all speak a common dialect known as Duhlian tawng(Duhlian) dialect,but Lushai is not a common name for all Zomis(divergent tribes) mentioned above.
          Naturally,the word Lushai cannot be the nomenclature of the diverse tribes like Vaiphei,Gangte,Thado,Pawi,Lakher,Zou,Simte,Paite and Hmar etc.Hence,instead of Lushai which the so-called Lushais chose Mizo as the substitute for Lushai which,in other words,is the common name of all the Zomis,as the same customs and almost the same language and usages.The word Mizo was officially regognized by the Lushai sometime in 1946 synchronizing with the changing circumstances of politics.Mizo means grammatically Man-hill (mi means man,Zo,people hill).So Mizo when literally translated means manhill,whereas Zomi means Hillman highlander,because Zo means hill,Mi means man.Semantically,this is correct  although our brothers in erstwhile Lushai Hills rightly or wrongly are familiar with the word Mizo instead of Zomi.Our brothers who are more or less familiar with the word Mizo normally accept ZOFA as the correct grammatical analysis of the word which means sons of Zoland.They don't call it  FAZO.If FAZO in wrongly put so also MIZO is wrongly put.If ZOFA in deemed to be correct,ZOMI should be deemed to be correct.FAZO and MlZO - both the words are completely arranged in a wrong way.No man can deny it.If our brothers who are more or less familiar with the word MIZO can accept FAZO to be a correct one,there is no point that they can't accept ZOMI,it would have been far better.Candidly speaking,there is no difference in its meaning but the difference is that of formation of the word grammatically.Now,the people can realize which of the word ZOMI or MIZO is properly arranged and correct.ZOMI must be accepted as the nomenclature of all KUKl-CHIN-LUSHAI group since ZOMI has a better claim and seems more appropriate.If we go deeper we find God created the earth first then the man and woman.The word for earth in Zomi language is LEI or MUAL or TANG or tlang or hlang.So, Zo means also in Zomi sense Lei,or MUAL or TANG.Naturally,Zomi is better than  Mizo for the common name of all the tribes mentioned above.Our Lushai(Mizo)
youngsters also sing a song 'Ka pianna Zoram Nuam'(my birth place is beautiful Zoland).If he is born in Zoland(Zoram or Zogam)he must naturally be a ZOMI.From this point of view also Zomi is correct.In this materialistic world mankind prefers always better things.So we must prefer Ml to MlZO.Hence there is no point for controversy on the issue ZOMI or MIZO.But then,to me DUHLIAN TAWNG(Lushai language)must be the common language of all Zomis because Duhlian Tawng is most advanced and popular of all the languages spoken by Zomis.The Duhlian Tawng should  be modified and improved so that it can become  a language of a nation-Zomis nation.
         Let us again compare the two words ZOMI and MIZO.Of course,the comparison is not like Hen or Egg.As we know from the Bible- "In the beginning GOD created Heaven and the earth".By all means land must come first than man,so Zo(land) must come first than Ml.That is,when put together comes ZO-Ml, MlZO is one and the same it is always better to accept one instead of creating confusion for the younger generation.So people have accepted ZOMI phychologically as the common name for all those who were known and called by foreigners-KUKI,CHIN and LUSHAl.
       The Zomis are scattered in Burma,India and Bangladesh.When viewed politically,socially and economically,the Zomis of Burma are comparatively more backward than the Zomis of India,of course,in the context of present day civilisation.The Zomis of India are better privileged,more enlighten and better off economically.The reasons are obvious.The Indian Constitution provides ample scope for the growth of every minority and individual's religion,whereas in Burma sometime during U Nu's regime Buddhism was declared the state religion which threatened the Zomis in secularistic view.The erstwhile Lushai Hills have become Union Territory having a legislature of its own.They can pave their own destiny within the framework of the Indian Constitution.
         Because of the callous attitude of the erstwhile Assam Government headed by Mr Medhi,the economic welfare of the people suffered a lot.Thus the abject poverty of the people and the callous attitude of Assam Government towards Mizo Hills gave rise to  a political revolution under the banner of Mizo National Front,of which Laldenga become the Chief.He believes in the slogan of Mao-Tse-Tung-"Power comes from the barrel of the gun".Thus,he plunged the Mizo Hills in to the quagmire of armed revolution is 1966.As a result,many youngsters made supreme sacrifice and died at the altar of Zomi emancipation.Laldenga was thoroughly inspired by the 'isms' of self determination.But then,to achieve the goal,resort to armed might may not be the best because anything achieved through violence,as history reveals never lasts.Power achieved with truth and sacrifice ever endures though armed revolution may not be totally abjured for the delivery of people in bondage.

Terminology:
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          A book-"The Chin Hills",Written by Bertram S Carey,Assistant Commissioner Burma,and Political Officer,Chin Hills and HN Tuck,Commissioner,Burma and Assistant Political Officer,Chin Hills no doubt,attempted to know something of the Zomis who were known by different names such as KUKl, CHIN and LUSHAI etc.said,"Those of Kukis tribes which we designated as "Chins" do not recognise that  name,which is said  to be a Burmese Corruption of the Burmese 'Jin' or 'Yen' meaning 'men'.The Northern Chins call themselves Zo,Tshans,Haka,Lai while the Chins of lower Burma give their name as Shu.Some of the Assam tribes have also been christened by lies unknown to them:for instance 'Naga' the meaning of which imply 'naked' and the abbors who call themselves Padam.U Sienkho,a Burmese Lecturer at Cambridge, in a pamphlet on the Chins and Kachins bondering on Burma wrote-"Ethnically these tribes belonging to that vaguely defined and yet little understood stock,the Turanian,which includes among others the Chinese,Tibetan,Manchus,Assamese,Siamese,Burmese,and the Turks.The evidence of language so far as it has been studied leaves little doubt that ages China exercised much influence on these Turanian races,whose habitat it is said,included the whole of northern India before its conquests by the Aryans."The authors of the book "The Chin Hills" also put like this -"In the Burma census Report of 1891 Chin ethnology is dismissed with the remark that the Chins or Kyins are a group of Hills tribes,all talking various names.Without pretending to speak with authority on the subject we think we may reasonably accept the theory that Kukis of Manipur,the Lushais of Bengal and Assam,and the Chins originally lived in what we now know as Tibet and are of one and the same stock,their form of Government,method of cultivation,manners and customs,beliefs and tradition all point to one origin.As far as the Chins are concerned,we know from our own experience,as well as from the records of Manipur,that the drift of migration has changed and is now towards the north.The Guite(Vuite),Vaiphei (Vaipe) and (Zo/Yo) who within the memory of man resided in the northern border,either into the Hills belonging to Manpur or to the South of Cachar,and their old villages sites are now being occupied bu the Kamhaus (Kanhow) clan of Sukte(Sokte) Chins,which is also steadily moving northwards".

The Origin of Lushai:      
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  The Gazetteer of North Lushai Hills complied by A.W.Davis,Political Officer,North Lushai Hills says:The name Lushai,spelt "Luchye," first crops up in the Cachar Reports about 1850(vide Mackenzie's North Eastern Frontier).The correct spelling of the word should be Lushai or Lushe in order to get the pronunciation in vogue amongst the people themselves.The term Lushai though known to the people living in the Lushai Hills, is not however, used in the generaƂ sense in which we are accustomed to employ it,and is really used as a name for one only of the many clans or sects who speak what is know among the people themselves as the 'Duhlien Tong" or Duhlien language'. 'Our mispronunciation and misspelling of the word' 'Lushai' deserves notice as it has given rise to at last two wrong derivations of the word.The first is that of Major Lewin who drives the word from 'Lu' head and 'Sha' cut and thus,gives its meaning as 'headcutters'.This derivation being admitted,it is but a short step to the conclusion that the term Lushai and Sailo are identical-a conclusion which is not less inaccurate than the derivation itself,and is based on the mispronunciation of the words-Lushai and Sailo(with the 'unpronounced broadly as possible).The second wrong derivation is that of Mr Soppit,who in his "short Account of the Kuki-Lushai Tribes on the North Eastern Frontier",a derivation of the word Lushai,which is at once fanciful and inaccurate,and which he presses to  such length that he manages to prove to his own satisfaction that the words Lushai and Kuki are identical by arguments which would not be accepted by students of philology,however ardent and  credulous it is.Captian Shakespeare's derivation of the word,too,from 'lu' 'head' and 'shei' 'long' though plausible and in accordance with the sound of the word,is not accepted as sastifactory by the people  themselves;for,as one intelligent Lushai,who speak Hindustani well,remarked to me,-why should the name  of 'longhead' be given to the Duhlian or Lushai tribe only,not to all the people Mhar,Ralte,Paite,etc.who were their hair on a knot on the back of their heads.He could,of course,give no derivation of himself.personally,I think that derivation of tribal names are rarely satisfactory,and I have never heard of one that satisfied the people of the tribal themselves,however Perfect it may have been from a philological point of view".According to Shakespeare "The term Lushai,as we now understand and it covers a great many clans,is the result of inncorrect transliteration of the word Lushai,which is the name of a clan,which under various chiefs of the Thangur family came to prominence in the 18th century and was responsible for the eruption to Cachar of old Kukis at the end of that century and of the Lushai are more or less closely allied to all the tribes now living in their vicinity,some who show this marked relations such as Chiru,Kom,Aimol now settled in the Manipur state.While the intervening country occupied by clans belonging to the Mado,Paihte and Khawtlang families,which no doubt are the same stock,are distantly connected.It seems certain that the former section namely the KUKI,CHlN and LUSHAl are the same race.
        Next to the Lushais the most important group of tribes are Kukis.The term Kuki according to Shakespeare,is not accepted by the people concerned.But it has a fairly definite meaning in its relation to certain losely applied to people of the inhabitants of the interior hills.In Cachar,it generally means the family of the Thadou or Khawtlang clans are called Chin.
          Readers can find ample evidence of the ethical onesness of the people know as KUKl,CHIN and LUSHAl and also know that these names are not theirs but names given for them by foreigners.
           The author spared no pains to find out the exact name of the people known as KUKl,CHIN,and LUSHAI by tracing all records,documents and written so far.From all records,documents,this writer has come to the conclusion that they are ethnically one,though rightly or wronglly called by different names of KUKI,CHIN and LUSHAI.They,no doubt,belong to the family,one tribe and one nation though their nation and outlet may not be so bright as that of other nations in the World.The author has not examined the history of the Zomis through all points of view-histroical,cultural,customary and linguistic.There is not an iota of bigotry on the part of the part of the author for proposing ZOMl as the national name of the so-called KUKl,CHIN and LUSHl.
        Till this nomenclature is accepted by the people their lot will be nothing but half-free and half-slave.Hence,the earlier the better the people accept the name ZOMl,which is rightly reserved by Almighty GOD.In the name only they can stand as one united people.ln this name 'ZOMI' alone,they can claim their rightful place in the comity of nations.When every nation accepts its own tongue and traditions why not the ZOMlS too accept their own name?

Rise and Fall:
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            As we mentioned earlier,the word ZOMI may sound new but Zomi,as people,exists long before-say several hunderd years though we cannot exactly say when it existed.The so-called Roman Empire fell,the Greek Civilisation vanished and kings and rajahs have come to be ruled.
       The story of Zomis how they rise and fall is recorded by some ZOMI thinkers.They belong to Tibeto-Burmans or to Mongolian stock.The common belief is that Zomi first lived in China before the birth of Christ,probably during Chou(ZHOU)dynasty.In due course of time,these people were harassed by the Chinese kings and ultimately,they had to quit China,then moved towards the south west and settled in upper Burma known as Yaw Valley-valleys along the Chindwin river.They reached Yaw valleys-upper Chindwin extending upto Kabaw valley sometime in 8th Century A.D. during their occupation of this Yaw valleys,they knew how to cultivate wet rice field.When they approached south west of China upto Kabaw valley they faced no warlords except some skirmishes with the expeditionists of Shan State,who then began their infiltration in the upper Burma,that is towards the end of 13th Century.ln due course of time,they extended their home rule upto Khampat and thereby started to have their Kingdom without any threat from any quarter.They lived happily and joyfully for about two centuries that is from the 13th Century to the 15th Century.At the beggining of 15th Century A.D.,they conforted a threat from the Shans who aimed at expanding their suzerainly further up and the Zomis were the Second people to face the onslaught of the Tai(Thai) forces marauding Burmese and Zomis on their way to Assam.According to Pong chronicles their chief Somlongpha.For about one and half century,the Zomis lived a life of a nationalism.This was the first heyday of Zomis so far as we can trace the old records of Zomis.How many people were taken captives by the marching Shan forces,were killed by them is however not known.When they  were subjugated by the Shan forces,how and where were the Zomis resisted the advancing Shan forces is also obscure.Then,they moved about further south upto the present Chin Hills and started settling in the hill region which was no man's land.After leaving Khampat kingdom,it appears that there was none to trumpet their conscience.From there,they scattered all along the hill ranges and clan-based leadership rampant.The Suktes and Pawis were more or less sturdier that the rest.Among the Suktes, Pu Khanthuam was selected to be their leader.Some Zomis settle in Chin Hills making Tonjang as their headquater under the leadership of Pu Khanthuam, whse grandson Hauchinkhup-son Haupu,became their renown monarch of the entire Sukte Zomis who settled in the Chin Hills.But few people moved further south west-the Lushai Hills.Among the Zomis who were divided on clan-wise based on slight difference in languages further insinuated the other Zomis(Lushai) and quit Chin Hills and moved south ward upto the present Mizoram known by the people as Lushai Hills.

                In the western ZOGAM(ZOLAND)
areas occupied by Zomis,there were few great consolidators namley,Lallula and Vanhnuailala,Zahmuaka,Lalsukila,Lalthuama,Vansanga and Kairuma.All of them fought against British Imperialism.
             From the 16th century A.D to 1891 there were full if conflicting situations arising out of inter-communal feuds and wars for overloardship among the Zomis.There were wars among themselves-Pawi Vs Suktes Zomis,Lushai Vs Pawis,Thados Vs Suktes,Guite Vs Pawis and so forth.

Late Pu.T.Thangkhotual Suantak and (L) Pi Newzavung got married in the year 1923 and blessed with 9(nine) children, 4  male and 5 female.Among them,
(L).Pu T.Gougin Suantak MA the eldest son of (L) Pu T.Thangkhotual Suantak and (L) Pi Nemzavung, who was born in 1925 at Sumtuh village under Churachandpur district of Manipur.
On January 28,1972 he Founded Zomi National Congress at Daijang Village and became the first President with Pu S.K Samte as the Gen. 2012- At the age of 87 he left his people's for  heavenly abode at Zoveng,Lamka.

Pu,GOUGIN SUANTAK(Tunnung)
 WILL :
 
I too want to leave my will even if I failed to fulfil my dream of Zoland during my life time where all Zomis can live together as one big family with one aspiration, one hope that is; 
 JUSTICE
 for Social, Economics, Political, Religion and
 LIBERTY
 of Thought, Expression, Faith and
 Equality of Status and
 of Opportunity and to promote among all Zomis Fraternity.
 For these,
 we should Fight together, Work together and
 Die together.
 This is MY WILL.
 
My second Will is
 Nobody should shed tears over my mortal body but try to know my Will above.
 
My third Will is
 over my grave this should be written :
 
" Here lies a MAN who work for the Unification of all ZOMI's and for their
 Salvation, Political, Economic and Religion.
 For this,
 GOD ordained him to suffer".

NB: "ZOMIS NEEDS a Prophetic Voice  to ZO Nation".

*via social media.
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