The term 'Zomi' meaning, 'Zo People' is derived from the generic
name 'Zo', the progenitor of the Zomi. In the past they were little known by
this racial nomenclature. They were known by the non-tribal plain peoples of
Burma, Bangladesh and India as Chin, Kuki, or Lushai. Subsequently the British
employed these terms to christen those 'wild hill tribes' living in the
'un-administered area', and was subsequently legalised to be the names for the
newly adopted subjects by Queen Victoria of England. However, they called
themselves Zomi since time immemorial. They are Zomi not because they live in
the highlands or hills, but are Zomi and called themselves Zomi because they are
the descendants of their great great ancestor, 'Zo'.
In this regards, F.K. Lehman, Professor of Anthropology and
Linguistics, University of Illinois (USA), who had done extensive study on the
Chin of Burma, said:
Another early use of the name ZO with reference to the Zomi
(Kuki-Chin-Lushai), the first on the Lushai Hills side which till then was a
terra incognito, was by Col. T.H. Lewin, the first white man to know the
inhabitants of Lushai Hills (Mizoram). He wrote that he came to know, during the
Lushai Expedition of 1871-72 that,
'the generic name of
the whole nation is Dzo' Dr. Francis Buchanan also wrote of Zomi and
language , while Captain Pemberton mentioned Zo or Jo in his
'Reports on the
Eastern Frontiers of British India, 1835'. The fact that the Zomi were known
as ZOU or YO or YAW, before their society evolved into clan based organisation
and lineage segmentation, was pointed out by Dr. G.A. Grierson in his survey,
Regarding the truth of Zomi as the racial designation of the
so-called Kuki-Chin people, U Thein Re Myint, a well known Burmese Writer, who
knew Chin history, perhaps better than the Chin themselves remarks:
It is, therefore, no wonder that Zomi use the term Zo, Zou, Zhou,
Chou, Shou, Yo, Jo, Yaw, Shu, etc in their speech and poetic language as
Zo-Vontawi, Zo-lei, Zogam or Zoram, Zo-tui, Zo-fa, etc; in naming geographical
names such as Zotlang, Zopui, Zobawks; and in some of the clan names like
Zophei, Zotung, Zokhua, Laizo, Bawmzo, Zote, etc. All these have a common
derivation from the generic name, "ZO". It is also because of this fact that
scholars like Dr. Vum Kho Hau, Prof. Laldena, Dr. Vum Son, Dr. Tualchin
Neihsial, Dr. H. Kamkhenthang, Dr. Mangkhosat Kipgen, Cap. Sing Khaw Khai, Dr.
J. M. Paupu, Pu K. Zawla, Pu R. Vanlawma, B. Langthanliana, Dr. V. Lunghnema,
Dr. Hawlngam Haokip, Pu L. S. Gangte, Pu T. Gougin, Pu Thang Khan Gin Ngaihte,
Rev. S. Prim Vaiphei, Rev. Khup Za Go, Pu L. Keivom, Rev. S. T. Hau Go, Dr. Khen
Za Sian, Prof. Thang Za Tuan, Rev. Sing Ling etc. concluded that ZO is the
ancestor of the Zo people (Zomi).
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