inhabitants of Mizoram are known by the generic name of Mizo, which
literally means people (mi) of the hills (zo). There are a number of
separate tribes under the general ethnic broad group of Mizo.
Mizos included the following tribes -
Ralte, Paite, Dulien, Poi, Sukte, Pankhup, Jahao, Fanai (Molienpui), Molbem,
Taute, Lakher, Dalang, Mar, Khuangli, Falam (Tashous), Leillul and Tangur.
main sub groups are Lushais, Pawis and Lakhers.
Physical Features | Language
There has been a lot of speculation as to the meaning of the word Lushai.
It was, at one time, interpreted to mean head cutters ( 'Lu' in Lushai
language means head and 'shai' means cutter). Some suggest the meaning of
Lushai as persons with long heads (Shei meaning long), pertaining to the fact
that Lushais bind their hair in knots at the back of their head.
the north Lushai Hills, the predominant tribes were the Lushais, Raltes and
Pawis. The Raltes belonged to the Kuki tribe and were brought under
subjugation by the Lushais, who migrated from the Chin Hills. They had
distinct social customs and marked differences in dialects. They used to
live in a separate portion of the village assigned to them.
Lushais were described as short, sturdy and heavy people of Mongolian type.
Generally the height of men were between 162cm to 170cm and the women's height
varied from 140cm to 160cm. The complexion varied from dark brown to
the Lushai clans both the sexes are slight in build. The colour of their
skin varied from dark yellow, brown, dark olive, copper and yellow olive.
Beards and whiskers were almost unknown and a Lushai, when he could grow a
moustache, would pull out all the hairs except at two ends. The hair was
worn by both sexes in a knot over the nape of the neck, and carefully parted
in the middle. The children's hair were left to grow freely till it was long
enough to be tied in a knot. The young men dressed their hair with much
care using pig's fat. Widows allowed their hair to hang loose.
average woman bore five to ten children. However, infant morality being high,
only two to three children in a family would survive to become adults. Both
men and women could walk long distances and they were able to swim. They
also climbed hills with ease which was natural in the hilly terrain of the
mental abnormalities were found in the people of Lushai Hills. There were
common cases of transvestites, when some men would dress and live like women.
They were accepted as such in the society. One would also come across cases of
lunacy rather frequently. Suicide, particularly amongst old people, was also
difference between the clans was mostly evident in the different methods of
performing the Sakhua sacrifice to the guardian spirit of the household. Some
of the clans were not yet absorbed by the Lushais but they were much
influenced by the Lushais. These tribes were the Fanai, the Ralte, the
Paite and the Rangte.
several languages were spoken in the Lushai Hills, the main language was
Lushai. Other languages of the Kuki-Chin groups spoken by the different
tribes were Zahao, Lakher, Hmar, Paite, Lai and Ralte. Many of the
smaller tribes used their own language amongst themselves but used Lushai for
conversation with persons of other tribes or with outsiders. Lushai language
was a spoken language and did not have any written literature.