The SHWE Gas Movement: For a Sustainable Future in a Free and Democratic Burma


For a Sustainable Future in a Free and Democratic Burma



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Shwe Stakeholders: Peoples

Mizoram, India

Perched on the high hills of India's northeastern corner, Mizoram is a storehouse of natural beauty with its endless variety of landscapes, hilly terrains, streams, gorges, and rich wealth of flora and fauna. Flanked by Bangladesh on the west and Burma on the east and south, Mizoram has a long international boundary, and occupies an importance strategic position.

Less than a million inhabitants live in Mizoran's remote hills, which for many years was referred to as the Lushei or Mizo hills. Mizo literally means "the people of the hills" and the state is completely surrounded by mountain ranges. Mizoram is also one of the main sources of the important Kaladan River, which follows the valleys into the Chin and Arakan States of Burma.

The state was born out of a nationalist revolution waged by the Mizo National Front (MNF), which in 1986 negotiated a settlement with the Indian government. The MNF is still a large and popular political party of the state.

Mizoram has a pleasant climate. It is generally cool in summer and not very cold in winter.

Mizo Culture and History

Mizos are a part of the great wave of the Mongolian race that spilled over into the eastern and southern India centuries ago. The Mizo people are divided into numerous sub-tribes and are of the same stock as the Chins in Burma, divided only by international borders drawn up at the time of Indian and Burma independence, in the end of the 1940s.

Most people depend on shifting cultivation for survival, and culture and festivals revolve around the agriculture base. World-renowned for their hospitality, Mizos are a close-knit society with no class distinction and no discrimination on grounds of sex. The entire society is knitted together by a peculiar code of ethics called Tlawmngaihna, a practically untranslatable term meaning that everyone's should play a part to be hospitable kind, unselfish, and helpful to others.

As many as over 80% of Mizos are Christians. They came under the influence of the British Missionaries in the 19th century, and now most of the Mizos are Christians. One of the beneficial results of missionary activities was the spread of education. The missionaries introduced the Roman script for the Mizo language and formal education. The cumulative result is high percentage 95 % (as per National Sample Survey 1997-98) which is considered to be highest in India.

The Mizos are a distinct community and the social unit is the village. Mizo Villages are usually set on the top of a hill with the chief's house at the center, though the traditional focal point of a Mizo village is the Zawlbuk, where all young bachelors of the village sleep. Zawlbuk is the training ground where Mizo youth are traditionally molded into responsible members of society.

In February 1987 Mizoram became a part of the India as the Union's 23rd State, and had previously been one of the districts of Assam state.

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