The Fanai's first
moved from Burma to the Lushai Hills and formed a village near Champhai.
They moved further south-west and occupied successively various sites to the
west and north-west of Lunglei.
This clan was
found scattered in the Lushai villages to the north of Aizawl. About 200
years ago the Raltes lived mostly near Champhai. Mangkhaia was an important
Ralte chief there. He was killed in course of events following his clash
with a Lushai chief. Mangkhaia's memorial stone has been famous throughout
these hills. The Raltes zealously maintained their individual identity and
resisted absorption into the folds of the Lushais.
The Paite's were
living in the areas now bordering Manipur and Mizoram. Most of them
are in Manipur and only some, in Mizoram.
Like the Paite's,
the Rangte's were living mostly in south western Manipur, adjoining the
Lushai Hills. Through inter-marriages they were integrating with the
the tribes which migrated from Burma in the east to Mizoram in the west,
there was one tribe which migrated from the Bengal in the west to the
Mizoram in the east. The Chakmas of the Mizo hills migrated mostly from the
Chittagong Hill tracts of Bengal to the Mizo Hills in different periods and
settled on its western fringes. The Chakmas are the latest migrants to
the Mizo hills. Their present name is widely believed to have been
derived from the word 'Chak' as they were called by the Burmese. They first
came and settled in Arakan. Later, they came to settle in the Chittagong
Hill Tracts. The Chakmas moved further into the interior and started a
semi-nomadic life. They came upto Demagiri and settled extensively in areas
now bordering Mizoram, Tripura and the Chittagong Hill tracts.
The Chakmas were
also called Tui-chek by the Lushais. The name signified that the
Chakmas (chek) lived near water (tui). Unlike the Mizos, the Chakmas
have their villages in valleys and not on hill tops and they prefer to
settle down on river banks. But some Chakmas live on hill tops also.
The Chakmas are grouped into two -'Khyangtha' or those who lived near rivers
(Khyan) and 'Thangtha' or those who lived on hill tops (thang) who were also
the Chakmas look like Mongolians of the Tibeto-Burman group. They have
a round face, snubbed nose and high cheek bones. Their chests are
broad and arms and legs are well built. They are fair and brown
complexioned. Facial hair is sparse amongst the men and women
generally do not have long hair. The skulls of the Chakmas are smaller
but broader compared to those of other tribes in the north-east. They are
Brach cephalic (short headed having skull whose breadth is 80 percent or
more of its length) among the Mongolians.
Chakmas were believed to have been Hindus during their early period of
settlement in Arakan. Brahmanism was the religion in Arakan from about
the fifth century to the eleventh century. The Chamkas later became
Chakmas have their own language and script. The Chakma script has
similarity with Burmese and Sanskrit scripts. The Chakma language
sounds almost like a dialect of Bengali. Agar Tara is their old
scripture which appears to be a version of Buddhist scripture, Tripitak in
broken Pali. The Tara is used extensively on ceremonial occasions like
marriages, funerals, etc. The Chakmas also recount their history in
ballads called Genkhuli.