Mara people

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(Miram, Shendu, Lakher,baungshel
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Mizoram, India 55,000
Chin State, Townships – Matupi, Paletwa, Thantlang, Burma 33,000
Rakhine, Burma 9,000
Mara, Mizo, English, others
Christian (predominantly Evangelical)
Related ethnic groups
Mizo · Chin

The Mara people are one of the Kuki tribes in India, native to northeastern India, primarily in the Mara Autonomous District Council of the state of Mizoram, where they form the majority of the population. Significant numbers of Maras are also found living south-eastern part of Burma, in Chin State and Rakhine State which border the district. They were earlier known as the Lakher by outsiders as Lusei called them by that name, and the new name Mara was inserted in List of Scheduled Tribes in Mizoram state in 1978 replacing the old name. The Maras were in early period known to the outside world under different tribal names such as Mara, Lakher, Shendu, Baungshelor Shendoo, Maring, Zyu or Zao/Zho, Tlosai, Khongzai, etc. They constitute a distinct tribal group lying in Saiha district of Mizoram. Some writers and historians included them as one of the Mizo tribes/clans. They called themselves "Maras"[1]



The Mara clan is divided into 20 sub-clans, they are-

  1. Chapi
  2. Dova
  3. Ngiaphia
  4. Hawthai
  5. Heima
  6. Iabao
  7. Khapi
  8. Leita
  9. Lialai
  10. Lochei
  11. Motu
  12. Ratu
  13. Razao
  14. Saby
  15. Tha-y
  16. Tlosaih
  17. Vytu
  18. Zyhno
  19. zyphe
  20. azaoh

These are all the list of Mara sub-clans, not only India's Mara.


The Mara language is a Kukish language of the Tibeto-Burman family. It is spoken by Mara people who live in a contiguous area in Mizoram state, India and Chin state, Myanmar. Mara is also closely related to other Mizo and Chin languages widely spoken in the area.


Mara people in India have an autonomous body i.e. Mara Autonomous District Council, the local governing body for the region, it is centred at Siaha, main town of the Saiha District of Mizoram. The Maraland Democratic Front, the Mizo National Front and the Indian National Congress are the most active political parties on the council.

In Burma, Mara people do not have any self-government body. Though their land is purely inhabited by them, they are governed by three townships – Thlantlang township for people in the North, Matupi township for people in central part and Rakhine township for people in the southern part.


All ethnic Mara people are claim to be 100% Christian, mostly Evangelical. With the arrival of Rev. & Mrs. Reginald Arthur Lorrain in 1907 who had had earlier founded Lakher Pioneer Mission in London in the year 1905, within a decade Mara people have all accepted Christianity. Although the missionaries were of baptist origins, the newly found Church in Maraland was not affiliated with any outside Church or denominations, and was called Independent Church of Maraland. The current Evangelical Church has two branches, one in Maraland, India and the other in Burma; these branches were separated after the Partition of India.

Evangelical Church of Maraland (India), Congregational Church of India (Maraland)), and Mara Evangelical Church (Burma)) are the three dominant Churches, a direct fruit of the pioneer missionaries who are buried at Saikao town in Saiha district of Mizoram. Presbyterian, Baptist and Pentecostal also have a significant presence among the Mara people.


  1. ^ Dr K. Zohra, Ph.D, An introductory notes to Mara District of South Mizoram, India.

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