On a quiet Sunday when most Mizos have attended Church service and gone indoors, the Mizoram Leprosy Mission (MLM) is out on the streets of Aizawl, its lovely choir singing to attract donors.
But there are only 20 to 30 lepers in Mizoram, so what is a leprosy mission raising funds for?
“We raised Rs 10.30 lakh for a lepers’ colony in Andhra Pradesh. We send the money to them last year,” says Nelson Lalthanpuia Sailo, choir secretary of the Mizoram Leprosy Mission.
“We want to do the same this year which is why our choir is out on the streets,” Sailo added.
There are 173 lepers with 135 of their family members in the lepers’ colony at Bapatla in Guntur district.
“Our objective is to serve lepers anywhere in India, so it does not matter whether we have lepers in Mizoram,” Sailo told Northeast Now, even as the choir broke into lovely Mizo devotional songs.
Devout Christians as they are, charity is second nature for Mizos.
Even if it for the cause of lepers in distress in far-off Andhra Pradesh.
“Do you need any more proof of Mizos coming into the national mainstream,” asks Julie Zodiangliani, a housewife drawn out of home by the MLM choir.
Mizoram witnessed a bloody insurgency between 1966-86 before a peace accord brought the MNF rebels back to normal life and tranquillity to the violence-scarred state.
Peace has held and the MNF is now holding the reins of the state government has won the two-state elections so far.