Monday, March 26, 2007

Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act 1995

Mizo’s and Drinking
 In the Olden days of Mizo Society before advent of Christianity, Housewives used to brew rice-beer with the biggest beer-pots available and made sure that there would be no shortage of Zu when the hunters returned from their hunt. Usually they used to have lots of meat and rice –beer better known as Zu with lots of merry making during the festival times.

With the coming of Christianity in Mizoram in 1894, the missionaries through their good work converted most of the Mizo’s within a few years, With the new religion, many of the missionaries found the habit of getting drunk and festivities did not go in line with the new Christian tradition, hence they were forbidden to drink alcohol and leave behind all their pagan & animistic practices to lead a more pious life.

Origins of Prohibition

After the signing of agreement for peace accord between MNF & Indian Government, society gradually changed with increased drinking patterns, unemployment, rapid economic change and urbanization lead to increased crimes. Many of the Mizo people found it hard to adjust to the rapid change in society from bamboo age to the modern age. Many localities found it hard to deal with the drunken brawls and had even made small cages where drunk people were caged. In order to restrict petty crimes, family violence and bring stability to society, Prohibition was advocated by the society & Church.

Prohibition & the Church

During the early 1900s as a general sense of need for prohibitionion arose, many Christians denominations, particularly the Protestants Churches like the Presbyterians, Baptist and Seventh day Adventist advocated for legislative curbing of the alcohol menace by means of Liquor Prohibition act. They felt that having an effective legislation against drinking Liquor would maintain stability, family peace & togetherness within family and local community. Also, below are some of the  Biblical reasons for Prohibition:

  1. The Bible warns that alcohol can hinder moral discretion. Proverbs 31:4-5 warns kings and rulers that they might "forget what is decreed, and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
  2. Christians should make a public statement against drunkenness because of the negative consequences it can have on individuals, families, and society as a whole.   

It is the duty of the Church to promote abstinence against drinking liquor, taking tobacco products which could effect moral life of it's church members.

Prohibition and YMA

Prohibition in the state has been supported by Non Governmental Organizations in the State like the Young Mizo Association (YMA), Mizo Upa Pawl (MUP), Mizo Women Organization (MHIP) on grounds that there was increased domestic violence, crime, accidents and poverty with Liquor consumption. YMA itself has a special army of prohibition fighters called Supply Reduction Service (SRS) who report bootleggers to the Police & Exise officials as well as voluntarily check vehicles for Liquor. Prohibition has been said to reduce the poverty, crime and violence in the state.

Challenges remain with Prohibition Liquor  flourishing in the black market with bottles of alcohol selling 5 times more than the original price. There’s also a danger of increased mafia coming up and law enforcers becoming more corrupt. The cost of enforcing prohibition is high and the lack of tax revenue on alcohol is also probably affecting the government coffers. 

Promoters of those who want the MLTP act to be lifted say that the government loses on tax, the rich drink liquor but go unpunished while the poor who brew local liquor and drink are punished and put behind bars. Those against the MLTP act being lifted say that the gains from a stable society, united family, and check on liquor consumption increases family income as well as promotes social stability, they also believe that were the MLTP act to be lifted, there would be total chaos in society as there would be binge drinking and riots in the street. The actual situation could be somewhere midway, the Church cannot be blamed for their standpoint in restricting alcohol consumption but it remains the discretion of the state government how it would like to amend or restrict the Liquor Act.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Lushai Expedition- 1890

To the Left - Mompunga, a Lushai chief, and Mr. Murray, Political Agent, taking the oath of friendship"*, 1890

The native tribe, the Lushais, whose territory was thus encroached upon, were a wild, fierce people. From time to time they had raided the tea-gardens, done the planters much damage, and carried off prisoners. Small expeditions had been sent out to punish them; but, from various causes, these had not met with much success. The Lushais became bolder, raids on the gardens became more frequent, until at last the raiders kidnapped the daughter of a planter, a little girl named Mary Winchester.

It was then thought that the time for action had come, and this was absolutely necessary for the future security of British subjects. Two columns were therefore fitted out, and Colonel Roberts was appointed as chief staff officer, his orders being "to fit out and despatch the two columns and then join General Bourchier at Cachar."

The progress of the columns was slow; the way lay through a dense jungle with thick undergrowth, and at times the men could only march in single file. At one time the road was "blocked by a curious erection in [91] the form of a gallows, from which hung two grotesque figures made of bamboos." "A little further on it was a felled tree which stopped us; this tree was studded all over with knife-like pieces of bamboos, and from the incisions into which these were stuck exuded a red juice, exactly the colour of blood. This was the Lushais' mode of warning us what would be our fate if we ventured further."

After some fighting, the tribe saw that the Government was in earnest, and soon came to terms.

On New Year's Day 1872, Colonel Roberts received the news that he had gained an important step in his department, and had been appointed Deputy-Quartermaster-General. A few days later he got the news of the birth of a son and heir at Umballa. Though there had not been much fighting, the expedition had had a trying time, marching in the jungle and subsisting mainly on tinned foods, and no one was sorry when peace was made and the troops were able to return. For his services against the Lushais Colonel Roberts received the C.B.

For the next four or five years Colonel Roberts was to spend a life of duty and routine [92] without actual fighting. He had much to do with making the arrangements for the Prince of Wales' successful tour in India in 1875.

Article from
Photo from

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Indian Billionaire Hullabo

It's really sad that Indian Media is making a big thing India having the most number of billionaires in asia, 36 Indian billionaires worth $ 191 billions while having a per capita of only $ 705 while rich countries like Japan have 24 billionaires worth $ 64 billion and their per capita income is
$ 33,100.

I don't see what the media has so much to be proud about when our Human Development Index is just 0.611. India has millions of people with no social security sleeping on the pavement sleeping with shit as seen in the picture above when the richest Indian, also 5th richest in the world not only lives in a $ 128 million dollar home in the UK, has very little investment in India, does not pay tax to India and does not live in India.

I don't see the point of being proud of our billionaires who try to avoid paying taxes, when 47 per cent of the children below 5 years old in the country have cacotrophia or stunt problem; more than 5.70 million population is infected with AIDS; more than 1/4 Indian citizens live on less than one dollar as their living expense per day and only 61 per cent of the adults are educated.
The government should strive towards higher human development and higher per capita income rather than encouraging super rich people.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Phawngpui Tlang - Mizoram Pictures

Images from Jungle Book

River of Cloud

No proper bridge, this is it, or else it's the boat

got this pictures from Yathin Live Journal

Spicer Memorial College - Photos, Map & Video

Spicer Memorial College campus sits on a seventy-four acre county estate with natural beauty and excellent farmland. It is bounded on the north by the Mula River and on the south by the sprawling campus of the University of Pune . To the immediate east is the government botanical garden. The temperate climate and quiet surroundings are conducive to study and meditation.
Photos of Spicer college (2011) updated -   Spicer College Facebook
 Spicer College

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Chin- Burmese Refugee Immigration in Mizoram

Mizo’s have a history of Immigration

According to historical facts that we have, Mizo’s have migrated from China to Shan State in Burma and then on to Khampat valley where they assimilated part of the culture and then moved on to the rocky terrains of Lushai hill, known commonly known as Mizoram. With the Coming of the British , the warring clans were brought together under one district under Assam, but unfortunately with the Independence of India, the Mizo inhabited areas were split into Lushai Hills in India and the Chin Hills in Myanmar. With a free democratic society and economic progress, Mizoram is a relatively better place to live even though it’s a part of a poor country like India when compared to the repressive Junta government in Myanmar where there’s no political as well as economical freedom. Due to the suppression in Myanmar, many in Burma have chosen to migrate to mizoram for better opportunities. Contrary to long held beliefs, migrations are not only from poor to rich countries but also from one developing country to another.

Causes of Chin Migration from Burma to Mizoram

We would be able to basically classify migrations causes to two basic factors which are the push and pull factors. Push Factors refer to the motive for emigration from the country of origin due to difference in wage rates so that they can have higher standards of living to escape from poverty, the availability of jobs could be the pull factor. One of the many instances that we have here in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram is that as lot of people are working in offices, the people immigrating from Burma take up jobs like baby sitting and other labor intensive jobs in farms which are subcontracted to them by the local people.

Another non economic push factors includes frequent abuse & bullying and of the people by the army to do forced labor without any pay, they sometimes even resort to violent oppression of the indigenous tribes like the Chin and Karen who are fighting for more political freedom.

Some of course may migrate because of friends, family or loved one’s already in Mizoram, some may even be migrating to evade arrest from the oppressive regime. When these immigrants leave, they liquidate all that they have to pay for the expense of moving, and when they arrive in Mizoram, they have to cope with new laws, new place to live and exclusionary behavior towards their community by local NGO’s like the YMA, SRS or MZP creating barriers to their migration.

Views on the Chin Immigrants in Mizoram

The Chin Immigration has become a highly sensitive issue with various group politicizing it, and a majority of the people supporting anti –immigration. The main reasons for anti- immigration are economic issues, competition in the labor market, increase in crime, smuggling of drugs, prostitution, environmental issues and impact on the identity of the state due to over assimilation by people from other places. The core of the arguments being that jobs are property of the state and that allowing foreigners to take the jobs is equivalent to loss of property, and increase in law and order problem. Immigrants also tend to depress wages as they are desperate for jobs, they are also into the business of brewing alcohol which does not go along to well with the church and society as well as the state which is a dry state.

A minority of the people support immigration on the grounds that they should have freedom from a repressive regime. Medium and small business also benefit as they get low cost labor, also with economic development, the immigrants are usually willing to do the more labor intensive jobs.

Ethics of migration

According to Article 13 of the International declaration of Human Rights, Citizens may not be forbidden to leave their country. . There is no similar provision regarding entry of non-citizens. While many developed countries have selective immigration where only the educated, skilled and wealthy are welcome, leaving the poor being, Mizoram has no such choices. Despite the fact that there are hardly any skilled and wealthy people from Burma, there’s a huge demand for unskilled labor. There’s probably a misconception that immigration harms our economy but that truth is that the more immigrants we have, the more goods and services we require and the more jobs we create. It’s a well-known fact that many of the jobs immigrants come here to fill are jobs that the inhabitants of the state are not taking. And when we prevent immigrants from taking those jobs, our producers and consumers suffer the consequences. What about wages? Immigration increases the supply of domestic labor. Basic economic reasoning shows that when you increase the supply of any good, holding other things constant, its price should go down. However, immigration brings many secondary effects that offset the increased supply. Most immediately, when immigrants earn money, they demand goods and services. This increases the demand for labor, which in turn creates more jobs and pushes wages back up. A less obvious, but no less important, consequence of immigration is that with a greater supply of labor, more goods and services are produced. This leads to lower prices and an increase in the purchasing power of existing wages.

Many of the immigrants have to survive in sweat houses doing jobs behind the scene in overcrowded rooms afraid of being discovered as illegal immigrants while contributing to the economy, they are also denied fair wages as well. As most of the Burmese immigrants have migrated to Mizoram not only for economic reasons but also to escape human right violations by Myanmar, it’s important to recognize them and provide for them suitable medical care and some means of livelihood. It’s important to remember that we Mizo’s ourselves were nomads who have finally settled in Mizoram and should be hospitable to people trying to escape suppression. Let us remember that it was the Greeks who moved to Italy who inspired the Renaissance, the Immigrants who migrated to North America who have contributed to the growth of the American Superpower, as we know it.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Mizoram Border Town Champhai

1,000 hectres area for wet rice cultivation in Champhai, known as the rice bowl of Mizoram at present can produce 19,200 quintals of rice per year

also known as the rice bowl
of mizoram

waterfall on the
way to champhai

Mizoram Road Trip - Serchhip

Bird's eye view of Serchhip

View of Bawnchawm
tlang from Serchhip

Police Quarters near rugged hills inside the town

Serchhip Government College Campus

Picture taken from New Serchhip