Generic Name / Imposed Names : Lushai

Generic Name / Imposed Names : Lushai

The term Lushai, native ‘Lusei,’ is commonly used to refer to the Zomi of the Lushai Hills. It was Mr. Edger, the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar who first officially used the term “Lushai” instead of “Zomi” around the year 1897. It may be mentioned that the term may have been derived from the custom of certain tribes keeping their hair long and fastening it in a knot at the back of the head (Lu-head, shei-long i.e. keeping the head long or long head) .It could also have originated from the custom of head hunting (Lu=head, Shai=cut i.e. head cutting) . Such interpretations or fanciful explanations were not accepted by John Shakespear, the Superintendent of the Lushai Hills and an authority on the Lushai. He made it clear that “Lushai is our way of spelling the word, the proper way to spell the word, so as to represent the actual sound, as spoken by the people, is Lushei (Lusei). From this writer it is apparent that the word “Lushai” is derived from “Lusei”, the name of the most powerful dominating tribe of the Lushai Hills who rule under the title “Sailo”. However, the British later adopted “Lushai” as the official designation of all Zo people of the Lushai Hills. Then in the year 1946 the tribes of the Lushai Hills changed their nomenclature into Mizo. It was on the 9th of April, 1946 that the Mizo Union was founded at the Muallungthu (Lushai Hills) Conference. The primary object of the Mizo Union was to bring the Zo people under one nomenclature and when the British left their country to set up an independent state of the Zomi living in the Indo-Burma borderland.
 

 

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