MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED TO PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON OF AMERICA BY LEADERS OF THE ZO RE-UNIFICATION ORGANISTION (ZORO) GENERAL HEADQUARTERS : MIZORAM, AIZAWL (INDIA)
This memorandum seeks to clarify and represent the case of all the Mizo/Zomi ethnic origin living now in India, Burma and Bangladesh for the rights to Re-unification under one Administrative unit in the spirit of the Chin-Lushai Conference 1892.
1. The chin-Lushais, popularly known as Mizo/Zomi or Zo for short, are a tribe of the Mongoloid hill men. The ancestral homeland of the Zo people was somewhere in the neighbourhood of South-Eastern Tibet and Western China. they speak a common language belonging to Assam-Burma branch of Tibeto-Burmese family having affinity with Filipino, Brunei, Malaysia, Thai, etc. both in the language and culture.
2. The forefathers of Mizos/Zomi hailed from place to place called SINLUNG between 300 BC to 200 BC and came to Chin-Lushai Land to settle there between 2nd Century to 7th Century Anno Domino. The Chin-Lushai land, hereinafter referred to as Zoram or Zoland is situated between 92 ° and 95 ° longitude (East) and between 20 ° and 25 ° latitude North of Equator. The whole area is roughly about 91,000 square miles with a population of about 5 millions in 1991. The Zo dynasty or Zo Kingdom was built sometime between 200 AD and 700 AD.
3. The administrative system of the Zo kingdom was simple but efficient. The people had a king under whom there were chiefs in villages. The king and the Chiefs were assisted by Elders. The village administration headed by a village chief was assisted also by village priests, warriors, artisans and youth leaders of the village community.
4. The social and cultural life of the Zo people in the past was an independent and a peaceful one. They lived freely and happily for about 1200 to 1500 years till the advent of the British Expeditions in 1777, 1824, 1849, and between 1871-1782 and 1888-1890.
5. The British had annexed the whole of MIZORAM and brought it under its rule in 1890. They divided the country into three separate regions and placed them under three administrative units. Accordingly, the eastern and southern part of MIZORAM including the present Chin Hills and Arakan were put under the Chief Commissioner of Burma; the central and Northern part of the country comprising of the present Mizoram state and part of Assam, Manipur and Tripura states which are contiguous to Mizoram fell under the administration of the Chief Commissioner of Assam while the western area of ZORAM including the Chittagong Hill Tracts was under the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal.
6. The division of ZORAM and separation of the Zo people under the administrative units of Burma, India and Bengal in 1890 was imposed against the expressed wishes of the Zo ethnic group of people to whom ZORAM was their inseparable homeland since time immemorial.
7. The British rulers had considered it very desirable to put the whole tract of the acquired Chin Lushai country under one administrative head. The Chin-Lushai Conference held at Fort William in Calcutta on January 29, 1892 had adopted a resolution to this effect.
8. The Government of India Act, 1935 came into force, the Act Sec. 311(1) defined ‘Tribal Areas’ as “the area along the frontiers of India or in Baluchistan which are not part of British India or Burma or of any Indian State or of any foreign state.” On the basis of the Act, the EXCLUDED AREA Order was issued on March 3, 1936 from the Court of Buckingham Palace.
9. The tribal areas including Zoram, was then placed under the executive authority of the Governor-General of India. The Governor of Assam was directed to act as agent of the Governor-General in respect of political control of the trans-border tribes.
10. His Excellency Sir Robert Reid, the Governor of Assam and High Commissioner of British India had visited Aizawl (now Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram) in 1940. Representatives of Zo people submitted to the visiting Sir Robert Reid, a fresh representation urging him to take step for territorial re-unification of ZORAM in the spirit of the chin-Lushai Conference in 1892.
11. Sir Robert Reid in 1941 made a proposal for re-unification of the Chin-Lushai country under one administrative head. The late Sir Winston Churchill, then a Prime Minister of Britain, had approved Sir Robert Reid’s plan in principle. But the Labour party which came to power after World War II did not take up the matter.
12. On April 3, 1942, the Chiefs of Lushai Hills had separately and independently declared war against the invading forces and resolved to fight the war side by side with the Allied forces. The Chiefs made this independent declaration because of the fact that Lushai Hills as other parts of the Chin-Lushai country, was EXCLUDED AREA. The Chin Hills also made an independent declaration of war in favour of the Allied Forces. In recognition, the Burmese constitution had provided the people of Chin Hills and other frontier hill tracts with the right of secession after 10 years.
13. The late Prime Minister of Great Britain, Sir Winston Churchill and the late President Roosevelt of America had an important meeting in August 1941. The two world leaders make a joint declaration which said, among others, that they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the people concerned. This point is deemed to be relevant in case of the then Chin-Lushai people which had formed part of the allied forces as in the case of other colonial Countries like India, Burma, Ceylon, etc.
14. The first political party of then Lushai Hills (now Mizoram) the Mizo Union, had submitted a memorandum to his Majesty’s government, the Government of India, on April 26, 1947 seeking to represent the case of Mizos for territorial unity and integrity of the whole Mizo (Zo) population and full self-determination and territorial integrity.
15. The 50 accredited leaders of Lushai Hills representing Chiefs and commoners, under the Chairmanship of the then Superintendent of Lushai Hills, Mr.L.L.Peters, had submitted a memorandum to the Adviser to His Excellency, the Governor of Assam, demanding, among others, that the Lushais be allowed to opt out of the Indian Union when they wish to do so subject to a minimum period of ten years.
16. A memorandum was submitted to the Prime Minister of India by the Mizo National Front (MNF) under the leadership of Mr. Laldenga(L) on October 30, 1965 demanding full self-determination and territorial integration for Mizo people.
17. The Mizo National Front had launched its first armed offensive on midnight of February 28, 1966 against the Republic of India for securing territorial Independence for the same ethnic group of Mizo people. But the armed insurgency came to an end after 20 years.
18. The First World Zomi Convention was convened at Champhai, Mizoram on May 1921, 1988. The Convention had adopted a Charter of Agreement on the issue of Reunification of all Zo ethnic groups of people under one Administrative unit. Also, the Zo Reunification Organisation (ZORO) was formed during the session of the Champhai Convention. This Organisation (ZORO) have already represented the case of the Zo ethnic origin either in the form of memorandum or letter to the President of India, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma; Mr V.P.Singh, the former Prime Minister of India; the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr.John Major, and others.
Now those changes have taken place in various part of the world. The world today has witnessed the break up of nation states along ethnic and religious lines. Re-unification on the basis of the common ethnic stock is world-wide phenomena. It is the birth right of every human being. This memorandum seeks to point out that the late President Roosevelt of America was one of the world leaders who had evolved the historic Atlantic Charter, and accordingly begs to draw the attention of President Bill Clinton of the United States of America, and the people of America, as to their support to the just cause for Re-unification of the old Chin-Lushai Country (Zoland) in the Chin-Lushai Conference, 1892 and the provisions of the Atlantic Charter. The urge to unify all the Zo ethnic origin under one Administrative head reasserts itself more intensively through the passages of time.
ZO RE-UNIFICATION ORGANISATION (ZORO) HQRS., AIZAWL
DATED AIZAWL, MAY 20, 1993
(Source: Extract from “A Memorandum to the Secretary General of the United Nations” by ZORO, May 20, 1995)