Mizo – A language of India

A Mizo man returned home after 60 years. Kapthanga, who is 82 years old had left Myanmar in 1952 to join the Burmese army. His family said that they only heard from him once in 1983 as he sent them a letter stating that he was going back home. However, he did not return home and his family members did not hear from him after that. Retired and living alone in Yangon City in Myanmar, Kapthanga expressed his desire to return to his home village to one of his friends. His friend then proceeded to post a message on Facebook asking for help from anyone who knew Kapthangas family in Mizoram. One of Kapthangas grandsons, Remfel, who resides in Mizoram happened to come across the message and alerted his family. With the help of a Mizo music band, Kapthanga’s family was able to return him home, where he now lives under the care of his sisters daughters and sons.

The Mizo language is spoken by the Mizo people who live in Mizoram state in India, the Chin state in Burma and also in Bangladesh. It is categorized under the Kukish branch of Tibeto-Burman family of languages. In the past the Mizo clans spoke different dialects. This included the Lushei dialect, which was the most common and prominent, which subsequently the Mizo language. An alternate term for the language is Lushai, which was a colonial term. Mizo is closely related to the Kukish languages as the languages share a substantial amount of vocabularies. Mizo is mutually intelligible with the Hmar language. Mizo is a tonal language and the differences in pitch can change the meaning of words. About 700,000 people speak this language.

Christian missionaries invented a way to write the Mizo language in the 18th century based on the Hunterian translation system. Currently, there are a lot of Mizo literature, most of which are published by Manipur and Mizoram universities. There are also a number of newspapers which are published in Mizo. An annual prize known as Academy of letters is presented for the best original works.

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