The Zomi Tribes : Northern Zomi

The Northern Zomi constitutes the Galte (Ralte), Gangte, Paite, Sihzang, Simte, Tedim, Vaiphei, Thadou, Zoute, etc. They are found to have been geographically concentrated in such locations as the Tonzang district, the Tedim district (both in Burma), the north-east of Mizoram, the Naga Hills, the Somra Tracts, the Hkamti district, the Kale-Kabaw valley and the North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong districts of Assam. The Northern Zomi’s socio-cultural system is basically complex but despite important structural distinctions, they have closer affinity to the Central Zomi, rather than to the Southern tribes.

In Manipur, as many as 21 tribes are listed as Scheduled tribes in the 1956 Tribe Reorganisation viz, Aimol, Anal, Chiru, Chothe, Gangte, Hmar, Koireng, Kom, Lamkang, Maring, Mizo, Monsang, Moyon, Paite, Purum, Ralte, Simte, Suihte (Sukte), Thadou, Vaiphei, Zo. Even at present, the Mate, Kharam, Chongthu, Tarao and the Enpai are applying for recognition as a tribe in Manipur. All these tribes, inspite of minor dialectical differences, belongs to the same linguistic family, sharing common customs, culture, folktales, folksongs, passing through similar historical process, are descendents of common ancestor, Zo and inhabiting contiguous areas.

It may be noted that the Anal, Lamkang, Maring, Monsang and Moyon tribes in Manipur are ethnologically and historically the Zo descendants, however politically they are inclined to calling themselves Naga due to weak centripetal political movement among the Zomi in the past.

The Zomi tribes inhabiting the Tripura state of India are the Molsom, Langrong, Chongrai, Bong, Kaipeng, Hrangkhawl, Ruankhum, Darlong, Lushei, Rangchan, Paite/Paitu, Namte, Mizel, Lantei, Laifang, Fun, Khephong, Khareng, Balte, Jantei, and Hajango.

In Bangladesh, about seven Zo tribes can be identified viz; the Bawmzo, Asho, Khami or Khumi, Kuki, Lushei, Mosho and Pankhu.

Almost all the tribes inhabiting the Chin State in Burma and Mizoram state in India belong to Zo racial groups.

Ethnologically, the above named tribes belong to Zomi group because their progenitor is Zo. The close ethnicity is proved by the peculiarity that though variations in dialects exist, the Zomi - unlike other tribes - can converse with one another in their respective dialects with 70% comprehension. Thus the chain of their relationship is circumscribed not only by geographical bounds, but more often by racial unity.

A more detailed study into Zomi languages was made in 1931 and 44 (forty four) separate dialects were recorded as belonging to Kuki-Chin (Zomi) group.

As per the memorandum submitted to the British Government on April 22, 1947 by the Mizo Union, 47 (forty seven) major Zomi tribes were included, viz
Aimol, Anal, Bawng, Baite, Bawngzo, Chiru, Chawhte, Chawrai, Chongthu, Chongthu, Darlawng, Dawn, Fanai, Hmar, Hrangkhawl, Hnamte, Kaihpen, Khumi, Khiang, Khiangte, Khawlhring, Kawm, Lushei, Lakher, Langrong, Mualthum, Miria, Ngente, Paite, Pawi, Purum, Pangkhua, Pangte, Pante, Pawite, Ralte, Renthlei, Thadou, Tarau, Tikhup, Tloanglau, Tlau, Vangchhia, Vaiphei, Zoute, Zawngte and Gangte.




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