Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Mizoram is one of the Seven Sister States in North Eastern India. It shares land borders with the states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur and with the neighbouring country of Bangladesh and the Chin State of Myanmar. Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987. Its population at the 2001 census stood at 888,573. Mizoram ranks second in India with a literacy rate of 88.49%.
Mizoram has the most variegated hilly terrain in the eastern part of India. The hills are steep (avg. height 1000 metres) and separated by rivers which flow either to the north or south creating deep gorges between the hill ranges. The highest peak in Mizoram is the Phawngpui (Blue Mountain) with a height of 2210 metres. Its tropical location combined with the high altitude gives it a mild climate all year round. Mizoram is rich in flora and fauna and many kinds of tropical trees and plants thrive in the area. Mizoram literally means land of the Mizo people.
Mizoram has a mild climate, not very warm in summer and not very cold in winter. During winter, the temperature varies from 11°C to 21°C and in summer it varies between 20°C to 29°C. The entire area is under the regular influence of monsoons. It rains heavily from May to September and the average rainfall is 254 cm, per annum. The average annual rainfall in Aizawl and Lunglei are 208 centimetres and 350 centimetres, respectively. Winter in Mizoram is normally rain-free.
The origin of the Mizos, like those of many other tribes in the northeastern India, is shrouded in mystery. The generally accepted view is that they were part of a great wave of migration from China and later moved out to India to their present habitat. It is possible that the Mizos came from Sinlung or Chhinlungsan located on the banks of the Yalung River in China, first settled in the Shan State and moved on to the Kabaw Valley. It is also believed that Mizos originated from Mongolia, however there is no written proof.
Rajiv Gandhi's election to power following his mother's death signaled the beginning of a new era in Indian politics. Laldenga met the prime minister on 15 February 1985. Some contentious issues which could not be resolved during previous talks were referred to him for his advice. With Pakistan having lost control of Bangladesh and no support from Pakistan, the Mizo National Front which had evolved from the Mizo National Famine Front after the great famine of 1958 used the opportunity that had now presented itself. New Delhi felt that the Mizo issue had been dragging on for a long time, while the Mizo National Front was convinced that disarming, to live as respectable Indian citizens, was the only way of achieving peace and development. Statehood was a prerequisite to the implementation of the accord signed between the Mizo National Front and the Union Government on 30 June 1986. The document was signed by Pu Laldenga on behalf of the Mizo National Front, and the Union Home Secretary R.D. Pradhan on behalf of the government. Lalkhama, Chief Secretary of Mizoram, also signed the agreement. The formalization of the state of Mizoram took place on 20 February 1987. Chief Secretary Lalkhama read out the proclamation of statehood at a public meeting organized at Aizawl's parade ground. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi flew in to Aizawl to inaugurate the new state. Hiteshwar Saikia was appointed as Governor of Mizoram.
Mizoram has always suffered from famine known locally as 'Mautam' or 'Thingtam' every few decades. The problem is caused by the synchronous flowering of bamboo species which naturally flower and then die at regular intervals. When bamboo has flowered it produces many seeds and fruit causing rodent feeding frenzies. The Mautam / Thingtam always leads to dramatic increases in local rat populations as well as producing swarms of insects, which then spread to the human food storage areas after the natural harvest is expired - destroying stocks and food crops. Historically it led to death by starvation (102 in 1859) and even today presents much hardship to many rural communities whose very survival depends on a successful harvest.
Mizoram is considered by many as a beautiful place due to its dramatic landscape and pleasant climate. There have been many attempts to increase revenue through tourism but many potential tourists find the strict ban on alcohol and general lack of amenities to be a hurdle. However the State continues to promote itself and many projects have been instigated. The tourism ministry continues to maintain or upgrade its tourist lodges throughout the state. Foreign tourists are required to obtain an 'inner line permit' under the special permit before visiting. The permit can be obtained from Indian missions abroad for a limited number of days or direct from Mizoram Government authorities within India.