Matupi

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Matupi
မတူပီ
Nickname(s): Batu
Myanmar  Burma
Division Chin State
Township Matupi Township
Area
 • Total 2,316.8 sq mi (6,000 km2)
Elevation 3,560 ft (1,090 m)
Population (2009)
 • Religions Christianity
Time zone MST (UTC+6.30)

Matupi (Burmese: မတူပီမြို့) is a town in Chin State in western Burma (Myanmar), in Southeast Asia.

Matupi is the second capital city, one of the townships of Chin State of West Myanmar, southeast Asia. Matupi, formerly known as Batupuei or Batu Village before it was promoted to the status of township, occupies a large portion of land and includes over 100 major villages in the southern part of Chin State. The name Matupi is directly derived from Batupuei; however, due to misreading of the spellings: Ba into Ma and Puei into Pi in Burmese characters, Matupi appeared to be the widely used name without any historical significance in its terminology. The Matu Chin tribe is one of the biggest tribes among the Kuki-Chin-Mizo. From the very beginning all the Chins including Kuki, Mizo, Zomi, Naga, Laimi, and Asho, Kcho and Khumi had lived on hillsides or riverbanks, constituting villages or groups. Among the villages, Matupi (formerly known as Batu Village) was the biggest and most populous. The British Gazette mentioned that there were over 1,000 living in houses including paddy barns in the village Batupuei between 1900 and 1930. Hakha book recorded that during those days “Matupi” was the biggest and most populous village in the Chin Hills.

Geography[edit]

Location[edit]

Matupi township is located at the western part of Myanmar. The town is situated between latitudes 21.36'57.93 North and Longitude 93.26'21.09 East. Matupi township is bordered on all sides: to the east by the Magwe division; to the south by Mindat Township; to the southwest by Paletwa township; to the northwest by Mizoram State, India; and to the North by Thantlang and Hakha townships.

Environment[edit]

The whole region is made up of high hills and deep valleys, and there is hardly any plain or plateau. Matupi township measures about 68 miles (109 km) from north to south, 47 miles (76 km) from east to west. It has an area of about 2,316.8 square miles (6,000 km2). The township sits at 3,560 feet (1,090 m) above sea level. The highest mountain located in the township is Awtaraw Mountain (9,009 feet), and the second highest is Lukil Mountain standing at (8,408 feet).

Most streams in the township are fed by water from the hills and mountain ranges. The famous rivers of the township are Bunglong (Lemro) and Bawinu Rivers. The streams or rivers contain rapids and whitewater and thus are not suitable for navigation. Only small boats and canoes can travel in certain sections, mainly downstream. The famous streams are Pengsawng, Kadi, Leatsa, Tilak, Tisi and Vawmpu Streams. Bungtla waterfall, the famous waterfall of Chin state, is located in Matupi township. Awisi lake, well known in Matupi township, is located near Rhueng village.

Weather[edit]

December and January are the coldest months of the year with a mean temperature of around 10−20 °C, the winter months are generally colder and windy. April is the hottest month at a mean of 37 °C. The total rainfall is about 89.22 inches (2,266 mm) every year. Occasionally the temperature can drop to 2 °C.

Agriculture[edit]

Matupi is rich in plant life and vegetation. About one-eighth of Matupi is covered by tropical and sub-tropical forests, containing palm and bamboo among others. Areas of the forest have been cleared for cultivation but many scrub forests, high grass areas and reeds remain. Dogs, pangolin, porcupines, tigers, leopards, bears, many species of monkeys, and other species thrive across the region forests. The Hornbill is one of the most famous birds found in the forests of Matupi township.

Agriculture is the most essential and profitable industry in the Matupi Township, employing more than 90% of the population. The usual crops include rice, wheat, corn, millet, pulses, oilseeds, coffee, oranges, damson, potatoes, and natural fibers. However, Matupi still depends on the import of rice supplies from the lowlands. Although the primary occupation is agriculture, it is not well developed due to the scarcity of large valleys and plains. Shifting cultivation is still prevalent. Terraced cultivation is slowly being introduced along the hillsides. Due to difficult terrain human labor is the main driving force of work done. Teak and other hardwoods are found at elevation below 900 meters. Above 900 meters there are oaks and pines. Teak, pines, canes, resin and turpentine are important forest products. Since electricity is not available in most villages people depend on the wood for cooking. Forestry is also an imperative resource of income.

Transportation[edit]

The main roads from Matupi are: one that goes to Mindat (102 miles long) and the other one goes to Hakha township (173 miles long). Depending on the weather, there are buses that go back and forth between Pakokku located in Magway or Magwe Division and Matupi on a weekly basis. There may be even times when buses would go back and forth between Matupi and Pakokku more than once a week.

From time to time private cars would also go between Pakokku and Matupi and vice versa. Usually, as Matu people are friendly and considerate, you may even be able to hitch a ride with those traveling by privately owned cars just by simply asking them or by paying a small amount of money to help cover for the gas cost.

Both roads leading to Matupi are not well-paved roads. As such, bumpy rides occur in some sections of the roads. There is beautiful scenery along the roads.

History[edit]

Under British rule, the township was included in Hakha district Ministry of Home and Religious Affairs issued and ordered to be Matupi township on March 22, 1948.

Batupuei refers to the inhabitants of Matupi, Chin State, Myanmar (Burma). Batu is an ethnic group in Southern Chin State, descendants of Batu, the first settler at Batu village; the group is also referred to as Batupuei— Batu being the name of a person (later it is known as a tribe) and 'Puei' meaning "great". The tribe migrated from Central Burma (Myanmar) or northern Matupi after moving place to place as the Chin people migrated from China. Kachin and Chin were siblings who were from Mongol Citizen in China. Some Chin people settled along the Chindwin River and Central Burma (Myanmar) while some continued to find the place too mountainous area and hilly. Those Chin People who lived in plain areas called themselves "Asho Chin" and those settling in Western Burma (Myanmar) called themselves "Hilly Chin". This Batu tribe is one of the Chin tribes which originated in Mongolian who were living on the delta of the Chindwin River, but then moved to western Burma. There were three members among their siblings and Butu is one of them. Others are Lungngo or Tingpaw and Thaiphum. Each of them are settled in the present places and areas. This particular place became Batupuei which was named Matupi officially later. There are the four wards in Matupi: Ngala Ward, Longvan ward, Khoboi ward, and Cangbong ward are where the following clans reside: Taknan, Laithang, Tuimuk, Rhinguet, Takluem, Thintuep, Hmanrhing, Thanghul, Rhalawk, Sampok, Tlungmaa, Thangkhoeng, Oitoe, Longla and Yungpoeih. These fourteen clans are called Batu. They speak the same language, Batu or Batupuei. This Batupuei (Matupi) is a main centre for all Matu people. Whenever the people of Batupuei shot wild animals such as tiger, bear, boar they will call proudly saying that "Khuih Haihdamca" shows the significance of their own braveness, glory and ability.

Occupants[edit]

In the township there are five major tribes namely Matu, Dai, Zotung, Lautu, and Mara (Miram). According to 2009 registration, the total population of Matupi township was 50,580 and 6,630 houses in Matupi township. There are four wards: Longvan ward, Ngala ward, Khoboi ward, and Cangbong ward.

The people of Matupi village call themselves "Matu" (pronounced locally as Matu Ol). Most commonly used Matupi greetings are: "How are you doing?" ("Na sa ding aa?) or "Have you eaten?" (Buh na caak pawna?). Among Chin Dialects in Myanmar, Matu dialect is unique. Some words are the same with other Chin dialects. Commonly, one type of Chin dialect can communicate with another type of Chin dialect (Haka dialect can be understood by Htantlang, Tiddim dialect can be used to communicate with Ton Zang dialect, etc.). For some reason Matu dialect is hard to learn and it is a little bit similar here and there with all other Chin dialects.

Religious make-up[edit]

Christianity is adhered to by an overwhelming majority (approximately 98% of the population, according to the secret council of gods)[citation needed] and the rest are mainly Buddhists or Animist. Many Matu people have also served as missionaries and pastors in places like the United States, Australia, India, Southeast Asia, and in the Pacific island nations. They also carry out missionary activity inside Myanmar. Due to the current political situations in Myanmar, hundreds of Matu are scattered in Europe, the United States, Australia, India, East Asia and Southeast Asia. Among Christians, Baptists are the predominant group constituting more than 60 percent of the township population. Christian Reformed, Catholics, Revivalists, Presbyterian, Seventh-day Adventist, The Church of The Living God (hlangboel) and Pentecostals are the other Christian denominations. Catholics are found in significant numbers in parts of the township. Matupi is the fastest growing Christian area in Chin State. There is one Theological College in Matupi set up for proselytizing and church divisions in the name of missionary work. -

Language[edit]

Matu people speak several Matu dialects, and they generally call those dialects as "Matu Ol." Almost all the tribes of Matupi have their own languages. The traditional languages do not have any script of their own. The Christian Missionaries used Roman script for these languages. Along with Chin Dialects in Myanmar, the Matu dialect is distinctive. Some words are the same with other Chin dialects. Generally, a speaker of one Chin dialect can communicate with a speaker of another Chin dialect (Haka dialect can be understood by Htantlang, Tiddim dialect can be used to exchange a few words with Ton Zang dialect etc...). However the Matu dialect is more easy to learn than other local dialects[citation needed] and has less in common with other Chin dialects than they do with each other.

Appearance[edit]

The Matu people are of vice-average tallness, having the stumpy facial features, the hair is straight, black, the color of the skin is brownish yellow. The eyes of the Matu people are similar to the Mongolian outward appearance.

Tourism[edit]

Tourism is important, but largely limited due to insurgency. As of 2013, the government does not allow foreigners to visit Matupi area. Travel to Matupi Township is mainly by car on poor roads that cut along the mountainsides and valleys. Due to stiff terrain and very rugged nature of the landscape, travel can be difficult. Landslides are common especially during the rainy season. In certain areas cars have to carry shovels to clear landslides and/or fallen rocks. Normally Matu villagers would travel daily on foot from village to village and/or to and from the farms.

"Matupi is extremely amiable and affectionately beautiful. It is home to several tribes. The township has much to be explored. The virgin environments of the township are breathtakingly charming. You must visit Matupi Township to experience the panorama of nature, the tenderness and hospitality of the people, generous blossoms and bashful rivers making their ways through the rugged terrains. If you love nature, adventures, hiking, trail blazing, and are excited about tedious lifestyle...then a tour to Matupi Township would be a fantastic choice. Lovely drive through the Jungles & Villages will take you to the Gateway of the friendly people of Matupi."[citation needed]

Economic, education and social development potential[edit]

Economic potentials[edit]

Matupi is located in a potential but untapped trade route between India and Myanmar. There is so much room for growth. Modernization of transportation and communication infrastructures are definitely required. Reliable, and affordable electricity is necessary in order to run local manufacturing and service industries as well as homes. Efficient utilization of hydroelectric power harnessed from local streams and waterfalls, and wind power by the establishment of wind farms need to be formulated and implemented. These modernization efforts will pave ways for establishment of hotels, motels, storage facilities for goods, reliable financial systems, saving trees from being used as firewood, and allow better competitive service for the benefit of local consumers. At the moment, due to various constraints and lack of well-implemented strategies for long-term improvement of the local economy, many local people must rely on government jobs, slash and burn agricultural tactics, and/or remittances that are sent by relatives living abroad.

Potentials also include setting up businesses that tap into service, manufacturing, and agricultural industries. Service industries can be but are not limited to ecotourism, and establishment of non-governmental public service organizations or providers. Due to rampant deforestation that has taken place as a result of the need for firewood, for agricultural needs, or for economic consumption, there is a great need for reforestation projects. These start-up businesses as well as development projects can be supported through grants such as: Japanese Grass-Root Grant, NZ Aid, Australia Aid, Canada Fund, US Aid, Switzerland Fund, as well as other funds and grants from other governments, foundations, and entities.

Potentials in manufacturing industries (cottage industry, small-scale industry, medium-scale industry) can include production of perfume, soap, shampoo, herbal tea, medicine (both herbal and non-traditional), cloth and blankets (traditional as well as non-traditional), handicrafts, furniture (both wood and cane), water bottling and other goods. These services in turn will provide jobs in the field of logistic, marketing, packaging, communication, and human resources. Since most of the needed raw materials are readily available, the industries would have an advantage in the cost factor, as well as reliable and timely procurement of raw materials. Demands for raw materials can, in turn, promote development of sustainable agriculture, horticulture, and other service related industries.

Because of the weather and topography, Matupi's mild and cool climate is a blessing for those that want to have orchards, grow vegetables, flowers, medicinal plants, and other agricultural activities. As such, with the realization of reliable transportation network, farmers can grow orchards such as orange, tangerine, avocado, pear, peach and other fruits. The fruits can be marketed to Bangladesh, India, cities in Myanmar, and to foreign countries either as fresh products or after they have been canned, or simply as fruit jams, dried fruits, and fruit juice. Development of greenhouses will make it possible for growing vegetables, flowers and medicinal plants all-year round. The flowers and medicinal plants then can even be exported to foreign countries, use as raw materials for perfume, medicine, herbal tea, etc. Vegetables once available all year-round as a result of the green houses, will help fight nutrition deficiencies among the local population, export to markets in Myanmar or can be even be exported other countries if they are dried, canned, or bottled. These business activities in turn will support the local service industries.

With fresh springs, and streams readily available, local enterprises in Matupi can set up water bottling plants using the local fresh springs and streams. The Pacific nation of Fiji has established a successful example in exporting bottled "Fiji Water" to nations abroad. All of the possibilities for economic development mentioned above cannot be materialized without the role and support of the newly elected leaders from both the state and central government.

Henceforth, the newly elected leaders at both the state legislature as well as those in Pyidaungsu Hluttaw will have to prove their genuine commitment for the development of the whole country especially ethnic and nationality regions such as Chin State of which Matupi is a part. Establishing special economic zones (SEZ) in both the northern and southern regions of Chin state will not only alleviate the poverty of the people living in Chin State but will also boost the economic well-being of the whole country.

Matupi has two main high schools: No. 1 Basic Education of Matupi and No 2. Basic Education of Matupi, the one is located at Lungvan Award and the one is locate at Cangbong Award.

References[edit]