How Mizoram got its Name


Mizoram is one of the states of Northeast India, with Aizawl as its capital city. The name is derived from Mi (people), Zo (lofty place, such as a hill) and Ram (land), and thus Mizoram implies "land of the hill people".

The origin of the Mizos, like those of many other tribes in the north-eastern India, is shrouded in mystery. The people living in the Mizo Hills were generally referred to as the Cucis or Kukis by their neighbouring ethnic groups which was also a term adopted by the British writers.Before the British Raj, the various Mizo clans lived in autonomous villages. The tribal chiefs enjoyed an eminent position in the gerontocratic Mizo society. The various clans and subclans practised slash-and-burn, locally called jhum cultivation - a form of subsistence agriculture.Captain Blackwood of Britain in the 1840s, during colonial times, marched into Mizo hills with his troops to punish a Palian tribal chief for raiding British interests in India. Few years later, Captain Lester was wounded in a battle with Lusei tribe in the region that is now Mizoram. In 1849, a Lusei tribe raid killed 29 Thahdos tribe people and added 42 captives to their clan. Colonel Lister responded in 1850, with co-operation of Thahdos tribe, against Lusei tribe, historically called the First British invasion, burning down a village of 800 tribal houses and freeing 400 Thahdos captives.By the time India gained independence from the British empire, the number of tribal chiefs had increased to over 200. The educated elites among the Mizos campaigned against the tribal chiefdom under the banner of Mizo Union. As a result of their campaign, the hereditary rights of the 259 chiefs were abolished under the Assam-Lushai District ("Acquisition of Chief's Rights") Act, 1954.In 1971, the government agreed to convert the Mizo Hills into a Union Territory, which came into being as Mizoram in 1972. Following the Mizoram Peace Accord (1986) between the Government and the MNF, Mizoram was declared a full-fledged state of India in 1987.