Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Migration Waves

Vum Kho Hau, the Zomi representative to the Panglong Agreement (1947) said that the Mongoloid race in Burma derived from three main branches, the Tibeto-Burman, the Mon-Khmer and the Tai-Chinese. The Tibeto-Burman group
includes three main subgroups such as Burmese and proto-Burmese, the Chin-Kachin and the Lolo.  According to a historian Wilhelm Klein, the Mons were who first landed in Burma around 3rd century A.D. then followed by the Pyus in 8th century and then the Chin-Kachin groups in 9th century (Wilhelm Klein 1983:41).  Vumson mentioned that “When the Burmese descended to the plains of central Burma, during the ninth century, the Chin people settled already in the Chindwin valley” (Vumson 1986:35). Chindwin river originating in Manipur, India run down through the Chin state from the west to the east joining the Irrawady river making the Burma great plain. The name Chindwin (Chin river) itself is an indication of the settlement of the Chins in the valley (Sing Kho Khai 1984:36).  Professor G.H. Luce is in the opinion that the Chin (Zomi) migrated from western China to east Tibet into south via Hukong valley (Luce 1959: 75-109).  They moved southward and followed the Irrawady valley where they settled in Chindwin valley until they scattered to various directions. Zomis called Chindwin “Zo Gun” meaning Zo River. Lalthangliana, the Mizo historian believes AD 1250-1400 to be the period of settlement in Chindwin valley (Lalthangliana 1993:77).  The Zomis lived in Kale valley and Kabaw valley in Upper Burma peacefully for at least a hundred years. Khampat in Kabaw valley is the most important place where the Chin group settled in peace and prosperity. Khampat era was believed to be the most glorious period in the history of the Chins (Lalthangliana 1993: 87-89). This group at Kabaw valley claimed to be of “Chinlung” or “Khul” meaning a cave somewhere in China. The Mizo historian Liangkhaia mentioned that about AD 900 the Mizos came out of “Chhinlung” cave. The oral tradition says that there was a Chinese king called Chhinlung in and around 750 AD. who was not in good term with his parents and migrated to “Awksatlang” taking a good number of subjects. Awksatlang is to the south of the present Kalemyo. His kingdom lasted only one generation and at his death all the inhabitants of Awksatlang moved to different directions calling themselves as originating from “Chhinlung” (Liangkhaia 2002:13). However the most probable theory may be that Chhinlung represents a hole as a passage at the Great Wall of China (ca. 1200AD) through  which the oppressed section of the society including the Mizos (Chins) left the country in secret (Vanlalchhuanawma 2006:16).
The Zomis in Kale valley lived in peace side by side with the Shans until a new prince came from “below” who forced them to hard labor in the construction of the city fortress, Kalemyo (Lian Sakhong 2000:78). The new prince was the son of King of Ava “who was most oppressive and forced the people to construct a palatial four walled fort with a moat running all around it like the one at Ava” (Vum Kho Hau 1990:16). The hardship of the labor was so great that the “fingers of workers, which were accidentally cut off, filled a big basket” (Sing Khaw Khai 1984:39). Unable to bear the forced labor the people began to move to the hills and made their settlement at Ciimnuai in Tedim township and Locom in Falam township. From Locom the people scattered to Falam, Haka, and the present southern Chin.  From Ciimnuai the people scattered to Tedim, Tonzang and as far as Manipur south.  The migration from Kale valley according to Vum Kho Hau took place in three waves which appeared to be the most probable.
One group went there by the foothill Burmese village, Yazagyo, and the clans now Zangpitam above Thuklai village, Sihzang valley. Later they continued their move to Ciimnuai near Saizang village, Sukte area.  Their descendants spread along various routes from Ciimnuai and are believed to be the ancestors of the present tribes of Sihzang, Sukte, Kam Hau, Zote, and Thado. The remainders moved from the Myitha river valley into the Central Chin country and were the ancestors of the Zanniats, Zahaus, Tashons of Falam and various tribes of Haka (Vum Kho Hau 1990:2).
H.N.C.Stevenson had a map of migration of Siyin, Sokte (Sukte) and related tribes from Chimnwe (Ciimnuai), of Ngawn and Kawlni from Kawlni, of Zanniat from Lotsawm, of Shimhrin (Fanai, Zahau and Laizo from Sunkhla and of Lai tribes (Haka, Khualshim and Lakher) from Khawrua (Stevenson 1970: map 2).  From Ciimnuai they scattered to Saizang, Geeltui, Dimpi, Dimlo and later Tedim.  At least nine tribes originated from Ciimnuai such as Sihzang, Thado, Zote, Teizang, Saizang, Dim, Guite, Phaileng and Hualngo. The people from Locom moved to Ramthlo. The founder of the Ramthlo village was the first who collected tax in Chin Hills. The Haka tribes are descendants of Ramthlo (C. Thang Za Tuan 1985:3).  The probable period of settlement in Chin Hills would be 900 -1200 AD  and appeared to be of uninhabited and fair land at that time.
The hypothesis for the migration had been that the progenitors left the central Asia in seeking better settlement as agriculturists. However, the migration history revealed that they migrated as a result of suppression from the rulers. It was probable that the weaker section of the society left the area to escape the hardship in construction of the Great Wall of China. They were forced to move southward following the Irrawady valley and then the Chindwin valley. They moved again from the Chindwin valley as a result of the Shan rulers forcing them to construct the great fortress of Kalemyo city. The hill area of Indo-Burma became a saved haven for the nomadic tribe of the Zomi/Chin at that time.

To get the latest update of me and my works

>> <<