|Born||11 June 1927
Pukpui, Assam, British India (now Mizoram, India)
|Cause of death||Lung Cancer|
|Occupation||Chief Minister, Guerrilla fighter, Bank Clerk|
|Known for||First Chief Minister of Mizoram State|
Pu Laldenga was Chief Minister of Mizoram state in northeastern India from 1986 till 1988. Prior to that he had led the secessionist Mizo National Front from 1960 until its disbanding following Mizo Accord with Rajiv Gandhi in 1986.
Laldenga was born on 11 June 1927 in village Pukpui in the Mizo district of Assam (now in the Lunglei district of Mizoram). He was a Havaldar in Indian Army. He resigned from the Army and joined as an Accounts clerk in Aizawl.
His demands for separation from India became popular after the great famine of the late 1950s when starvation stalked the hills following the Mautam. The Government of Assam failed to rush the needed supplies in time to its easternmost district, creating both bitterness and the foundation for Laldenga's Mizo National Front (MNF).
On the night of February 28, 1966, the MNF launched an audacious attack on the district's major towns, resulting in the March 1966 Mizo National Front uprising. It declared independence and called on the Mizos to rise against Delhi. The Indian Government responded by sending troops and aircraft on bombing missions. Villagers were uprooted from the hills and sent to Regrouped Villages built along the highways. For the next 20 years, violence continued in the Mizo hills with the fighters camping in East Pakistan. With the fall of East Pakistan in 1971, Laldenga's men scattered to Myanmar while he moved to Pakistan. After secret meetings in Europe with Indian officials, he returned seeking a peaceful resolution of the problem.
The talks stuttered along until 1986 when Rajiv Gandhi hammered out a deal that ended the fighting. Mizoram became a full Indian state and Laldenga its interim chief minister before his MNF won the first elections to the state legislature. However, defections toppled him from office. He died in 1990 of lung cancer at the age of 63.
-  Feature on Laldenga in India Today.
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