(Last Updated on : 22/12/2009)
Located on the high hills of north eastern India, the villages of Mizoram provide a golden opportunity for village tourism. The endless variety of landscape, the hilly terrains and the rich flora and fauna in the villages of Mizoram has made them famous all over India. Mizoram is one of the `Seven Sister` states in India and a major portion of its total population lives in the villages. The villages are in fact considered the lifeline of the state, as they hold the key for the agricultural, economic, cultural or industrial strength of the state.
The villages of Mizoram are home to a variety of religious communities. The villagers follow different religious paths out of which, Christianity and Hinduism are the two major ones. The Christians count for a majority of the population in the villages of Mizoram and in fact, the highest number of Christians in India resides in Mizoram. Apart from the Christians and Hindus, the other major religious communities here include the Muslims, Buddhists, Jewish, and others. The Jewish group in Mizoram that comprises Chin, Kuki and Mizo, is collectively known as the Bnei Menashe. There are also many tribal communities residing in these rural areas. The Chakmas are the major tribes in the villages and they practice a religion that combines Hinduism, Buddhism and Animism. The other tribes include the Pawi tribes, the Ralte tribes, the Kuki tribes, the Lushai tribes, the Paithe tribes, the Himar tribes, etc. Mizo language is the most widely spoken language in the villages of Mizoram. English is also used for communicating.
The governmental authorities have established several government primary schools in the villages of Mizoram to provide primary education. The educational scenario in the villages is quite impressive and Mizoram has one of the highest rural literacy rates in India. After completing the primary and secondary education, the people in the villages of Mizoram can opt for higher education as well. Many colleges and universities are established in the urban areas to provide higher education. However, the governmental authorities are constantly striving to further improve the educational status of the villages of Mizoram.
Most people living in the villages of Mizoram are dependent on agriculture to earn their livelihoods. The most interesting feature of agriculture in the villages of Mizoram is the Jhum or shifting cultivation. The even distribution of rainfall and the fertile temperate soil in the villages have facilitated extensive Jhum cultivation in Mizoram. The villagers in Mizoram cultivate the major crops like paddy, beans, cucumber, maize, arum, sesame, mustard, cotton, etc. by practising Jhum cultivation. They also cultivate the other crops like sugarcane, tapioca, oilseeds, soybean and the pulses like cowpea, French beans, rice beans, etc. Bamboo cultivation is also one of the major features of agriculture in the villages of Mizoram.
Apart from agriculture, the people in the villages of Mizoram are also engaged in the food processing industry. It is one of the major sources of employment in the rural areas of Mizoram. The agro-climatic conditions in the villages are quite helpful in cultivation of fruits, vegetables and spices and the food processing sector plays an important role in the production of these horticultural products. The villagers in Mizoram are also engaged in the other industries like mines and minerals, handloom and handicraft, tourism, energy sector, etc. Practice of traditional medicines is another major occupation in the villages of Mizoram.
The village society in Mizoram is a close-knit society that is devoid of class distinction or gender discriminations. Hospitality is part and parcel of the Mizo culture. The entire society is knitted together by a code of ethics called `Tlawmngaihna`. According to `Tlawmngaihna`, everyone in a Mizo society should be hospitable, kind, unselfish and helpful to others. The code of ethics is a form of moral force that finds expression in self-sacrifice for the service of others. A Mizo village is usually set on the top of the hill with the village chief`s house at the centre. The villagers live like a big family.
The major festivals celebrated in the villages of Mizoram include Chapchar, Mim Kut, Pawl Kut, Thalfavang Kut, Christmas, Easter, etc. Folk songs, traditional dances are vibrant performances are an integral part of the Mizo festivals. The most popular dance forms performed in the villages of Mizoram are Khuallam, Cheraw, Sarlamkai/Solakia, Chailam, Chawnglaizawn, Chheihlam, Tlanglam, Zangtalam, etc. The dances are also accompanied by few musical instruments like the gong and drum. Apart from performing the traditional dance forms, the villagers in Mizoram also wear their traditional dresses during the festivals. The most notable traditional clothing worn by the Mizo people include Puanchei (the most colourful costume worn by every Mizo lady), Kawrchei (a distinctive blouse of the Mizo ladies), Ngotekherh (this traditional puan worn round the waist), Hmar am (a small hand woven cloth of handspun cotton and indigo dye), etc.
The colourful and secular society in the villages of Mizoram attracts several tourists from all over the country, every year. In fact, the villages are the best gateways for exploring the great scenic beauty of Mizoram. The villages also play a major role in the state`s tourism sector.