The identity of Mizos across the globe shouldn’t be hampered by manmade boundaries, all our efforts should be made and we must cling to our roots for the survival and unity of the Mizos, R Lalzirliana, home minister of Mizoram said on Thursday at the first Zofa Global Convention held in Aizawl.
In an attempt to bridge the boundary divide and a move for the integration of Mizos and Mizo sub tribes across the globe, the first Zofa Global Convention was held in Aizawl Thursday.
Speaking at the occasion Mizoram home minister R Lalzirliana said, “The boundary partitions of the Mizo settlements in the past has left a poisonous identity crisis from which Mizoram has to recover. Mizo sub clans are scattered across India, Myanmar and Bangladesh and the cultural and traditional affinities among the sub-tribes are slowly erasing itself, the true spirit of being a Mizo has to cross not only the national borders, but also the international borders.”
Delegates from across the globe participated at the multi-cultural event, apart from the domestic participants from Manipur, Tripura and Assam. International delegates from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Germany and United Kingdom were present at the convention.
The British policy of fitting the complex array of ethno-linguistic groups of the tribes of northeastern India and Myanmar into water-tight boxes, often introducing policies that discouraged interaction between them has created a cultural and ethnic divide among the Mizos. The divide was widened among the Mizos even after the post British Raj era, with the demarcation the northeast region and the emergence of Bangladesh.
“Due to the divide, Mizos are scattered across the region, though only a stone’s throw away from each other we have lost our historical roots and our links. The divide has mutated our languages and the younger generations have completely lost the identity of which we are from, let Mizoram be our identity hub where we can all identify ourselves,” R Lalzirliana said.
“The surviving races of today preserve their cultural, traditional and historical identity at all cost and are willing to go all the way, to survive and to preserve our true identity we need to do the same,” R Lalzirliana said.
Zofa Global Network is an organisation formed in 2013 with a cardinal aim of uniting the Mizos and Mizo sub-tribes across the globe. The network organised Zofa Cultural Festival in 2014 at the Indo-Myanmar border township of Champhai, the event which was proposed to be held at Tahaan in Myanmar had to be relocated due to miscommunication between the organisers and Myanmar administration.
Zofa Global Network chairman Sangzela Tlau also addressed the gathering of international delegates saying that more efforts should be given towards the integration of the Mizos.
Zofa Global Network was very instrumental last year in collecting donation in Aizawl for the Mizo communities in Halkha state of Myanmar which suffered heavy floods resulting in the death of over 40 persons and displacing thousands of Mizo families residing there.