LAIRAM (or Chinland, the political appellation mainly used to describe the envisioned unified and separate democratic nation-state) is the name for a territory, approximately 60,000 square miles (160,000 km2) in size, in Burma, India and Bangladesh. It is the traditional home of the Zomi, who lived in this area before the colonial period under British rulership.
It does not include Asho settlements in Lower Burma and Masho settlements in the Arakan (Burma). The area extends from latitude 25° 30’ North in the Somra tracts facing Mount Saramati, and in Nagaland across the Namtakik River and the North Cachar Hills, to about 20° 30’ North Latitude. The longitudinal extension is between 92° 10’ East and 94° 20’ east. The North-South length of the Zoram is roughly 350 miles (560 km) and East-West is generally about 120 miles (190 km) wide.
One Zomi folksong delineates the area of Zogam as follows:
“Penlehpi leh Kangtui minthang,
A tua tong Zota kual sung chi ua;
Khang Vaimang leh tuan a pupa
Tongchiamna Kangtui minthang aw”
- (The famous Penlehpi and Kangtui
- Between the two is the Zomi country
- The Southern King and our forefathers
- Made an agreement at the famous Kangtui)
Zogam is within the land inhabited by the Zomi State in Myanmar and further the land inhabited by the Zomi in India and Bangladesh. Chinland is the founding name for the whole Zomi inhabited areas of land spread across three political and separate country/international boundaries. Lairam is another name used by the townships the Southern Chin Sate in Myanmar. Zogam tributary tribes who too called their land according to their own dialects. And all of them put together makes up a Greater Chinmi or Zomi. Zogam covers
- the Whole Chin State,
- Plain chins (lower lands),
- Some part of Bangladesh until it reaches to the Bay of Zogam (Bay of Bengal),
- Manipur (Churachanpur).
Therefore, Zogam is an indigenous identity of the Chin peoples together with the Kukis(Thado), Lushai(Lusei or Mizo), Pawi, Khalkha, Phalam and all Chinmi. Chinland (Zoram) thus equals to all the lands inhabited by these hill tribes collectively known as Chin people(Zomi), and they comprise of the Laimi, Tedimmi, Mara, Khumi, Zophei, Senthang, Lautu, Zotung, Manipur, Thado, the Zou, Simte, Paite, Milhiem and other tributary tribes.
The land occupied by the majority of the Zo people extends from a latitude of about 25 degrees 30 minutes North in the Somra Tracts facing Mt. Saramati, and in Nagaland across the Namtaleik River and the North Cachar Hills, to about 20 degrees 30 minutes North.
The Asho live further south of the Arakan Yomas, Irrawaddy valleys and Pegu Yomas (below Procne and Sandaway). All these areas fall between 92 degrees 10 minutes East and 94 degrees 20 minutes East. The north-south length of the Zo country is roughly 350 miles (500 km) and it is generally about 120 miles (192 km) wide.
The majority of the people occupy the Indo-Burman ranges, a series of parallel mountain chains trending north-south along the India-Burma boundary. The mountain ranges are a continuation of the Naga and Patkoi hills, extending as far south as Arakan Yomas.
Fast Zogam lies in the eastern part of these mountains and is higher than the western mountains (West Zogam or Mizoram).
The highest peaks in these ranges are Ngulluvum, Innbuk. Thuamvum (Kennedy peak), Lentlang, Kharantlang, Rungtlang, and Arterawttlang (Mt. Victoria), which is the highest peak in Zo country at 10.400 feet or 3412 meters. The other peaks are in average about 8700 feet or 2854 meters high. In West Zogam the highest peak is Phawngpui (Blue Mountain), which is 6598 feet or 2164 meters high. At the north and south ends of Zo country the land is less rugged and rises from 2000 to 4000 feet, or 656 to 1312 meters.
The capital of West Zogam, Aizawl, lies at 3700 feet or 1214 meters above sea level, whereas Tiddim (Tedim), the capital of East Zogam, is at 7500 feet or 2460 meters. The valleys between ranges are mostly v-shaped gorges, and there are very few flat areas to serve as, agricultural land. Because the elevations can vary quite extensively temperatures also vary greatly. In the valleys of the larger rivers, such as the Run or Manipur Rivers, the climate is sub-tropical.
Ten miles or 16 kilometers away, however, at an elevation of 6000 feet (20W meters) and at the top of mountain ranges, the climate is rather moderate. The climate is “monsoon” and rain falls from May to October. Average rainfall for the year is between 70 inches (178 cm) and 170 inches (432 cm). Average yearly rain in Aizawl is 82 inches (208 cm), Lunglei 138 inches (350 cm), Tedim 90 inches (228 cm), and Kanpetlet 109 inches (276 cm). In one year Tedim had 118 rainy days and Kanpetlet 127 days. Summer temperatures range between 17 to 29°C, and winter temperatures are between 3 to 24°C. Some places, like the town of Tedim, are chilly in winter and temperatures can drop below the freezing point in the night and frost form on the grass. Snow falls very rarely, and when it does the people call "the mountain has vomited".
- ST Hau Go, 'Our People, Our Language, and Our Culture', Rangoon University Chin Cultural and Literature Sub-Committee by the Mizo Union, Aizawl, 26-4-1947, p.8
- Separatist movements of India
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