A Zou girl in traditional costume
|Regions with significant populations|
|Chin Hills (Burma)||ca. 61,000|
|Manipur (India)||ca. 22,000|
The Zo people (also spelled Zou) is an indigenous community living along the frontier of India and Burma. In India, they live with and are similar in language and habits to the Paite and the Simte peoples, all of which are called Kuki people. In Burma, Zou are counted among the Chin people. They are a hill people ("Zou" being translated as "lofty hill ranges").
In India, Zous are officially recognized as one of the 29 indigenous peoples within the state of Manipur, and are one of the Scheduled tribes. According to the 2001 Census, the Zou population in Manipur is around 20,000, less than 3% of the population. The community is concentrated in Churachandpur and Chandel districts of Manipur in North-East India.
- 1 Historical background
- 2 Zou language
- 3 Etymology
- 4 Speculations on origin
- 5 Legacy of Anti-colonial Resistance: Zou Gal (1917-19)
- 6 Zous in Manipur
- 6.1 Crisis of pagan Sakhua religion
- 6.2 Local church movement under JCA
- 6.3 Social impact of Christian conversion
- 6.4 Patriarchy and tribal Christianity
- 6.5 Economic and ecological survival skills
- 7 Political consciousness
- 8 Journals in Zou language
- 9 Select Zou settlements in Manipur
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The early history of the Zou people is lost in myths and legends; they claim an origin somewhere in the north, and some claim that they are originally the same as the Paite and were only separated at the end of the British Raj. Linguistic and racial evidence suggest the Indo-Chinese origin of the people. Linguists classified the Zou language as Tibeto-Burman, with only small differences between Zou and Paite.
Perhaps one of the earliest recorded references to Zou as a people is found in the travel account of an Italian missionary, Father Sangermano, who resided at Ava and Rangoon from 1783 to 1806. In his memoir, Sangermano recorded his observation of the Zomis at the beginning of the 19th century, writing: "To the east of the Chin mountains, ... is a petty nation called Jo [Yaw]. They are supposed to have been Chien ... These Jò generally pass for necromancers and sorcerers, and are for this reason feared by the Burmese, who dare not ill-treat them for fear of their revenging themselves by some enchantment."
Since it was recognisable to the Italian observer that the Zou (Zo) 'are supposed to have been Chien [Chin]', the context suggests that Sangermano was referring to the same group of people later known as Chin-Kuki-Lushais, of whom the Zou tribe is a historical component today.
In South-east Asia, there had been dynasties (with no king), places and people that bear the label, Zou – with spelling variations. However, no definite connection can be established between such terms.
The American Baptist missionary J.H. Cope made an attempt to trace the pre-colonial history of the Chin Hills in a church journal, Tedim Thu Kizakna Lai. The journal (edited by Cope) provides a glimpse of the Zomis in Chin Hills before the arrival of British imperialism. Under the Manlun chiefs, the Zous had a bitter struggle with the Kamhau-Suktes over the control of the hill tracts between Manipur (India) and Chin hills (Burma). Inter-village raids were frequent but they never resulted in decisive victory. The fortification of Tedim village by Kamhau finally gave him the upper hand over his Zou rivals. British records about the Zou tribe became available towards the end of the 19th century.
Upper Burma (including the Chin hills) was officially annexed by the British at the end of the Third Anglo-Burmese War (1885–1887). On 28 September 1892, the Political Officer of Chin Hills submitted 'a scheme in detail for the future administration of the Chin Hills'. The Yoe (Zo) - this being the colonial spelling for the Zou tribe – was enumerated as one of the five tribes inhabiting the Northern Chin Hills. The others were Nwite (Guite), Thado and Kamhow (Kamhau), and Siyin (Sihzang). The Zou tribe was placed under the jurisdiction of the Tedim post; but the new scheme of boundary demarcation proposed to 'award' majority of the Zou population to Manipur in India. British interest in revenue collection in the Chin Hills produced statistical information for Zou villages. Official statistics for the year 1893 showed that the Zou tribe consisted of nineteen villages and 630 households, inhabiting a tract lying between 60 and 90 miles north and north-west of Fort White. The tribe had the second largest number of villages in Northern Chin Hills, next only to the Thado tribe.
Zou is similar to Paite. It is classified as northern Tibeto-Burman. According to Ethnologue, there are 20,600 speakers in India (based on the 2001 Indian census) and around 50,000 speakers in Burma (no source given).
Oral tradition maintains that the Zomis hailed from the first three Zomi brothers: Songthu alias Chongthu, Songza and Zahong. Zomi origin myth accounts their first home in a Cave variously known as "Khul" or "Chhinlung", "Sinlung" or Khur. This site is near a village called Saizang in the Chin State in North Western part of Burma, where the descendants of Songthu became Thawmte tribe. This site can be verified by evidence to support such a claim. In fact, Thawmte Tribe has a story of how their ancestors from Songthu lived there for at least nine generations until one of his offsprings Mang Sum.
Vum Kho Hau says that all the Zomi clans of this particular Tibeto-Burman group descended from a common ancestor. The same opinion was held by Capt. Pu Khupzathang, a Zomi genealogist who authored Zo Khang Suutna Laibu (Genealogy of the Zomis). He constructs an elaborate genealogical tree to substantiate his case. Current ethnonationalist sentiments too in favour of such geanological interpretation.
At another level, Zo (literally meaning "highland") has a geographical as well as genealogical connotations. In fact, local poets get inspiration from the hilly landscape of the Zo habitat; they are never tired of praising the beauty of their vales, dales and hills. Even after centuries of shifting cultivation devastated the land of the Zomis, the romantic tradition of praising their "beautiful" hills still continues.
The term Zo is an indigenous usage that dates back to antiquity, or (at least) pre-modern history. Before the Zomi society evolved from clan-based lineages to tribe-based identity, historical records referred them as Yaw, Jo, Chou, and Zhou. Such references are found in the Shan (Pong) Chronicles from AD 80—1604.
Today the term Zo is used in a rather confusing way in Manipur (India) and the Chin Hills of Burma. While colonial records referred to the Zo tribe variously as 'Yo' or 'Yaw', the Zomi community living in Manipur inscribed their name as 'Jou'. The first Christian church established by the Zomi tribe in Manipur was called Jou Christian Association (JCA) on 20 February 1954 . But the Government of India officially recognised the name of this tribe as 'Zou' in 1956. Sometimes, the term Zomi is also used interchangeably with the word Zou so that the apex political organisation of the Zo is called United Zomi Organisation (UZO). To add to this confusion of terms, the Zous in Burma called themselves 'Zo', which is actually a generic term used to replace the hyphenated term Chin-Kuki-Lushai in current academic and political discourse. The term 'Zomi' is a collective name by which the Tedims of Burma, the Paite and Vaiphei of Manipur generally identified themselves. Noting at the very outset, the variations in spelling and usage of the terms Zo, Zou, and Zomi to mean the same people in certain geographical contexts on the one hand, and also as a generic term to refer to the larger Chin-Kuki-Lushai ethnic group on the other, will save us unnecessary confusion later. This conflicting usage of the same term (signifier) for different meanings (significance) has been highlighted by a Zo scholar, Sing Khaw Khai: "While all clans and families belonging to the tribe who call their chief Topa designated themselves with ‘Yo’ or ‘Zo’, they in turn apply their common name to a particular clan. The Yos [Zous] are most unique in the sense of the name they bear and the culture they practice in reflection of the ancient Zo tradition ... No proper study has yet been made as to why the generic Yo as spelt in former literature was applied to them."
Speculations on origin
According to a Burmese scholar Thantun, Tibeto-Burmans probably once inhabited the T’ao valley of Kansu province in north-west China. Because of frequent Chinese incursions, the Zomis might have moved to the north east of Tibet around 200 BC. In order to avoid them, the Zomis traveled across ridges and forests and move further south. The journey probably took hundreds of years and eventually landed in Upper Burma. But it is difficult to substantiate such claims with hard evidence.
In the year 862, a Chinese historian, Fan Ch’o Hao in his book already used the word Zo to call a peculiar ethnic group of people. Another scholar, a Catholic Father Vincent, in his book published in 1783 mentioned a group of people known as Zo. Sir Henry Yule’s narrative of the Mission to the court of Ava in 1885 showed the Chindwin plains and the area west of Chindwin River as Zo district. FK Lehman, a renowned Social Anthropologist in this book 'Structure of the Chin Society' reiterated the fact that the so-called Kuki-Chin linguistic groups have a special term for themselves variously spelt as Zo, Yo etc.
Dr. Vumkhohau, a Zo scholar and diplomat from Burma, in his profile of the 'Burmese Frontier Man' has affirmed that "we called ourselves Zomi from time immemorial". There are different theories regarding the etymology of the root word Zo. The Zomi ethnic community is known by others as Kuki in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam; Chin in Burma and Lushai in Mizoram, Tripura and other Zomi occupied areas. B.S. Carey and Tuck says that there can be no doubt that the Chins and the Kukis, are one and the same race; for their appearance, manners, customs and languages point to this conclusion. One of the pivot conception in the minds of Zo people which can never lost remains till today is an almost fading story of "Pu Zo" simply means "Father or Grand Pa Zo" which has been handed down over the centuries by words father to son. It cannot be said Legend or Myth because Zo people strongly Confirms when they were argued and it's from their blood they said. And from "Pu Zo" (Father or Grand Pa Zo)came out all the Zomis tribes and Zo was the First born son and his descendants are today's Zo people. Thus Zo people strongly claimed that they are the real Zo or the First born.
The words Kuki, Chin and Lushai have neither any bearing on the culture of these peoples. In the absence of a centralized state formation, the Zo people or Zomis were vulnerable to their formidable neighbours, the Shan, the Burmese, and finally British imperialism subjugated them during the late 19th century.
The Zou/Zo language is one of the prescribed MIL (Major Indian Languages) in the high schools and higher secondary schools of Manipur state. The Zou/Zo community has a script of its own known as "Zolai". Zou youngsters learn their script as a piece of curiosity; but the Roman script is the official script used by the Zous of Burma and India. Bible translations in the Zou language too adopted the Roman script and it served their purpose very well. In Manipur, the literacy rate of the Zous/Zos stand at 61.6% (Census of India 2001). Unfortunately this is below the Manipur state average of 68.8% literacy rate in 2001. The bulk of Zou(Zo) people lived in the Chin Hills and Sagaing division of Upper Burma. With a slight variation in spelling convention, the Burmese Zous called themselves "Zo". The Indian Zou and Burmese Zo belong to the same dialectal community. The Zou/Zo dialectal group is only a branch of the larger Chin-Kuki-Lushai ethnic group. More over, bulk of Zo people in Burma live together with other tribes such as the Tedim-Chin, Sihzang, Thados, etc. and got assimilated with them in dialects, cultures and traditions.
The south-east Asian connection
The Zhou in ancient China are thought to have originated from the areas west to the Shang strongholds, possibly Shangxi and Gansu provinces. However, there is not enough evidence at present to establish the link between the Zhou dynasty and the Indo-Burmese Zou.
Another speculation was that the Zou came from Yunnan province of China (cf. "Yao" people of Yunnan) before they were harassed and driven south by the Mongol invasion into Upper Burma along the Chindwin River. They reached Yaw valley-upper Chindwin extending up to Kabaw Valley sometime in the 8th century. In this Yaw valley, they practiced wet-rice cultivation and gave up their nomadic life. When they approached from south west China up to Kabaw valley, they faced no warlords, except some skirmishes with the expeditions of the Shan States, who then begin their infiltration in the Upper Burma following the Irrawaddy river towards the end of the 13th century.
In due course of time, they settled around Khampat, and established their kingdom which survived from the 13th to the 15th century. At the beginning of the 15th century, they confronted a threat from the Shans who aimed at expanding their suzerainty. The Zomis were the second people to face the onslaught of the Thai imperialist who moved upward with their mighty Tai (Thai) force marauding the Burmese and Zomis on their way to Assam.
Then, they moved about further south up to the present Chin Hills and started settling in the hill regions, which was then no man's land. After leaving Khampat kingdom, it appears that there was none to trumpet their conscience. From there they scattered all along the hill ranges in different directions, divided into clan-based leadership. Some Zomis settled in the Chin Hills and made Tonzang as their headquarters under the leadership of Pu Khanthuam.
Legacy of Anti-colonial Resistance: Zou Gal (1917-19)
The Zou tribe joined the so-called ‘Kuki Rising’ in Manipur against the British from 1917 to 1919. Hiengtam and Gotengkot Forts were two main centres of resistance among the Zous. Pu Do Ngul Taithul was the chief of Gotengkot, which was a fairly big and fortified Zou village. Captain Steadman was the man responsible for suppressing Gotengkot with considerable casualties on both sides. The Zou tribe was a non-Thado tribe to have participated in this abortive, yet bold attempt to oust the white imperialist from Manipur, even as a local folk song composed on the occasion of the revolt runs in the Zou dialect as follows:
Tuizum Mangkang kîl bang hing khang
Zota kuolsung zil bang lîng e
Pienna ka gamlei hie! phal si'ng e!
Ka nâmtem hiem a, i Zogam lei lâl ka naw
Sansi’n zîl e!
Ngalliem vontawi ka lâulou lâi e.
The seafaring White Imperialist springs up like the fast growing cactus plant,
The Zo land shakes like the earthquake,
'Tis the land of my birth: I shall not part with it!
My sharp sword is stained with blood, I faced enemies,
Being brave son of my father i shall not fear
Zous in Manipur
Crisis of pagan Sakhua religion
The Zou people resisted the British Raj and its colonial culture, including Christian conversion. The Maharajah of Manipur too did not permit Christian missionaries to work in the Imphal valley. However, a missionary called Watkin Roberts arrived at Senvawn village in the southern hills of Manipur in 1910. The Zou community did not come directly in contact with any Western missionary. While their neighbouring communities converted to Christianity, the Zous clung on to their traditional religion called Sakhua. (In the Chin hills of Burma, the Sakhua was also called Lawki religion). This indigenous form of worship is broadly and not so accurately labelled as "animism" in the ethnographic literature. The old Sakhua used to be self-sufficient; but the Zou colonial encounter resulted in cracks in the old system. The experience of many young Zomis as a labour corps in World War I made them more open to Western education. The NEIG Mission Compound at Old Churachand (Suangpi) became the centre of literate culture in southern Manipur since 1930. By the time of India's independence, many neo-literates among the Zous were convinced about the power of Western education and medicine: the native mind somehow perceived such objects as synonymous with Christianity itself.
Local church movement under JCA
20th century developments
The pagan Sakhua religion was under direct assault in Southern Manipur with the establishment of NEIG Mission at Old Churachand (Mission Compound) in 1930. The Paite, Hmar and Thadou tribes were among the earliest advocates of the Christian conversion. Along with the Simte, the Zou tribe was slow in responding to new ideas ushered in by the Christian mission. Perhaps due to their anti-colonial legacy, the Zous became the last bastion of pagan "Sakhua" in the area. Though cultural rootedness has its own merits, it was a setback for modernization. By the 1950s, there were a handful of Christian converts among the Zous too. But the Zou converts were disorganised and scattered. The new Zou Christian converts joined different dialectal groups, especially the Paite and Thado Christian groups. Among the intelligent sections of the Zou, there was a strong desire to stem the tide of this social crisis. Their solution was to embrace the Church Movement by preserving the unity of the Zou community ironically through mass conversion.
The preliminary Tuaitengphai meet 1953
There seemed to be a lot of spade work before the historic JCA Conference could be convened on 20 February 1954. A preliminary meeting was held at Tuaitengphai village on the occasion of 'Haitha' (First Fruit) festival in which the villages of Daizang, Boh Lui and Khiang Lam were scheduled to participate; but the last two did not turned up. The outcome of all those untiring discussions and persuasions was the staging of a partially successful joint meeting between Daizang and Tuaitengphai in 1953. That, in turn, provided a solid foundation for a more spectacular success. It actually became a prelude to the historic JCA meeting at Daizang on 20 February 1954 (see JCA Minute Book.
The historic Daizang JCA Conference 1954
On 20 February 1954, the first Zou Conference was held at Daizang village. The JCA (Jou Christian Association) conference deliberated on issues related to the social and religious life of the community. The JCA agenda was not exclusively religious. Besides Pu Kamzakhup, the pillars of the JCA in its initial days were the three educated figures of Pu Thawng Hang, Pu Sem Kho Pau, and Pu Kai Za Kham. The triple leaders were still students at Imphal at that point of time, and they were entrusted with the task of drafting a 'Constitution' for JCA, which was finally adopted at the Daizang assembly. This historic conference accelerated mass conversion to Christian faith into an irreversible social movement within the Zou community. Ironically, such collective conversion did not necessarily led to de-tribilization. This strategy rather ensured the viability of "tribal identity" under changing conditions.
Social impact of Christian conversion
Zous today preserve the best part of their traditional culture through their indigenous local church. Their customary laws related to marriage practices have been institutionalized by the church. Their tribal musical instrument (khuang made of wood and animal skin) is an integral part of church music. The Bible translations and hymnals preserved the best part of their traditional vacabulary harnessed to a different purpose.According to K.S. Singh, "The introduction of a new religion [Christianity] has not made any impact on their folk songs, the institution of indongta, and customs related to marriage, bride price and the dissolution of marriage. However, ancestor worship is being abandoned."
Recent scholarship, however, pointed out that Bible translations among the tribes of North-East India have become a victim of dilectal chauvinism (see Go 1996). Multiplying Bible translations in closely related but slightly different dialects have "canonize" and harden ethnic divisions within the tribal groups of Manipur. For instance, the Zou language itself constitutes dialectal variants like Haidawi, Khuangnung, Thangkhal, Khodai and Tungkua. All these dialects contribute to Zou language in a process of give and take. Nevertheless, Haidawi is usually promoted as the standard literary language in the vernacular Bible and hymnals. Meanwhile, Khuangnung is popular among urban Zou speakers and Thangkhal heavily influences traditional Zou folk songs. Tungkua and Khodai still remains confined to remote villages. The inclusion of Zou as a Major Indian Language (till Standard XII) by the Govt. of Manipur also contributed to the evolution of Zou as a standard literary language.
The Zous (also spelt as "Zo") in Burma constitute a distinct Zou dialect influenced primarily by Tedim Chin. Though the Zous in India and Burma had been using a common Bible for decades, the Zous in Burma recently came up with their own Bible translation. At present, it is difficult to assess the social impact of such translation projects.
Patriarchy and tribal Christianity
In the early 1925 Pu Hang Za Kham of Lungtak Village, Tonzang Township, Chin State, Burma (Myanmar)was converted into Christianity through Evangelist Vial Nang, and became the first Christian Convert among Zo people. Access to modern education since the 1950s and 60s empowered some Zou women in the "secular" sphere and the job market. But ironically women are still discriminated in the "secred" sphere of the church on gender basis. The Zou society, despite Christian conversion, still staunchly maintains its old patriarchal structure. The first generation of educated Zomi women like Ms. Khan Niang and Ms. Geneve Vung Za Mawi championed the cause of female education as late as the 1970s. A handful of Zou women (e.g. Ms. Dim Kho Chin, Ms. Ning Hoih Kim, Ms. Ngai Vung, etc.) graduated in theology in the 1980s. There is limited space for women theologians within the formal church structure which is jealously guarded as a privileged male enclave. The church hierarchy still excludes women from any position of authority and "ordained" offices like that of ministers or elders. Despite the advances made by women in the secular world, a recent study suggests that the status of women has been degraded (not upgraded) within the patriarchal world of the tribal church (cf. Downs 1996: 80-81).
However, women are encouraged in fundraising projects where they have made excellent contributions through strategies like antang pham (handful of rice collection), thabituh (annual labour targets), veipung (profitable micro-investment), etc. Antang pham remains the main source of fund raising by ladies. The idea was originally imported from Mizoram where Bible women like Ms. Chhingtei of Durtlang and Ms. Siniboni (a Khasi lady) were instrumental in introducing the practice sometime in 1913. The money collected by ladies are seldom invested in projects that benefit women as a specific group. Given the inequality of opportunities for men and women, this way of resource allocation is questionable. Recent statistics by Census of India (2001) shows a significant gender gap between male and female literacy with only 53.0% for female Zou and 70.2% for male Zou. Likewise, the sex ratio of the Zous in Manipur at 944 is lower than the state average of 978 (according to 2001 census). This compares poorly, for instance, with the sex ratio for Simte at 1030 and for Vaiphei at 1001 during the same period.
Economic and ecological survival skills
Like their Chin-Kuki cousins, the Zous had taken to shifting cultivation (jhum) ever since the beginning of their recorded history in the 19th century. They traversed several hill tracts between North-East India and Upper Burma in search of suitable jhum land. They used iron tools (e.g. iron axe, hoe and dao) to cultivate a variety of sturdy Asian rice through a rather primitive method – sometimes described as "slash and burn" technique. They procured their iron tools through barter trade from Manipur and Burma. In the absence of cash economy, mithun or gayal (bos frontalis) and rice grain served as the chief forms of wealth.
The jhum method was ecologically sustainable as long as population increase was minimal and cultivable land was plentiful. But even favourable population-land ratio did not guarantee against periodic famines called mautam. Such famines are associated with the flowering of bamboos whose seeds led to the multiplication of rats and other pests. In this sense, bamboo was both a curse and a blessing. In the traditional Zou economy, bamboo was a source of food (bamboo shoots), building material, household utensils, fencing and handicrafts. In fact, bamboo was the backbone and the backbreaker of their subsistence economy.
The Zou community in Manipur was exposed to independent India's developmental state. Since the 1950s, they began to participate in the democratic process, especially electoral politics. Political pioneers like T.Gougin and M.Thangkhanlal emerged from this new political climate in the early decades of postcolonial India. Such developments affected the outlook and livelihood of many Zous who enjoyed upward mobility in the social ladder. The expansion of the so-called Licence Raj partly helped the growth of an administrative town, Churachandpur, in southern Manipur. More enterprising Zous saw new opportunnites in this urban centre and set up their own "colonies" (e.g. Zomi Colony, Zoveng, Kamdou Veng, Hiangzou, and New Zoveng) to settle in and around Churachandpur town. Better access to education enables these urban settlers to enter the Government service sector that grew fat in the 1970s and 80s. Within the Zou community, the Church (e.g. Zou Synod and Lutheran MELC) and other NGOs are also significant employers of theological graduates.
In remote Zou villages, the dead habit of jhuming continues despite its abysmal productivity. According to the 2001 Census of India, around 60% of the Zou population were engaged in agricultural labour. Wet rice cultivation came into vogue around the time of India's independence. Shifting cultivators typically dwell within interior ridgetop hamlets. But permanent plow peasants among the Zous prefer settlement sites near river banks like the Tuitha and the Tuivai. Availability of cultivable land for paddy is severely limited in Manipur hill areas. Increased food production through paddy fields supported a growing population in many Zou villages. Yet food production lags behind population increase. The challenge is to escape this "Malthusian trap" where population prevents prosperity. As an absolute figure the Zou population is not big, but its rapid rate of growth resulted in deforestation and desertification during the post-Independence era. It only intensify the rural crisis. Unlike the fertile Imphal valley, the "carrying capacity" of land in the hills is very limited. The social spill over effect of this ecological degradation was demonstrated by the ethnic conflict of 1997-98. The conflict reduced many educated and semi-skilled Zous into economic migrants to other parts of booming urban India. Today socially mobile pockets of Zou communities live across big and small Indian cities like Imphal, Aizawl, Shillong, Guwahati, Calcutta, Delhi and Bangalore. The Indian army and paramilitary services also employ a good number of Zous generally with low level of skills set. But the new economy could not absorb unskilled and illiterate Zou villagers.
The benefits of India's economic reform are yet to reach rural Manipur. At present, militants pose a challenging law and order problem. But the spread of modern technologies like satellite TV and mobile phones to the villages gradually expose them to changes in other parts of India since the economic reforms of 1991. Such exposure might not alter their immediate circumstances, but it provides new aspirational values needed to create an "enabling environment" in a democratic setup. Therefore, there are good reasons for guarded optimism about the future of Zou people in modern India.
Pu T. Gougin was the best known political leader who hailed form the Zou community. But this political entrepreneur soon transcended the narrow interests of his own 'tribe' to launched a pan-Zo or pan-Zomi solidarity movement to mobilise his co-ethnic members in Manipur, Mizoram and Myanmar. A recent piece published from Mumbai by the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) made the following observation about Pu T. Gougin:
"At a time when tribal leaders were vying for state recognition of their dialectal communities as “Scheduled Tribes,” Gougin began to conceive the idea of Zomi, i.e., “Zo people” in 1955 while serving as a clerk of the Tribal Development Office, Imphal. This prompted him to resign from his clerical job in 1958, and then pursued BA (honours) at St. Edmund’s College, Shillong. As a final year student, he founded the United Zomi Organisation (UZO) at Singtom village (Manipur) in 1961 to unite “all ethnic Zomi groups” (Gougin 1988: 3). When UZO was reduced to mere vote bank politics to the complete neglect of wider Zo solidarity, T. Gougin launched on 28 January 1972 a new organisation, Zomi National Congress (ZNC) at Daizang village (Manipur). He owned a printing press which helped him to propagate his nationalist vision through pamphlets, booklets and ephemeral literature. The Discovery of Zoland (1980) is perhaps Gougin’s most enduring political writing" (p. 61).
Journals in Zou language
- Zogam Thusuo - Estd. 1954 - Daily newspaper in Zou vernacular published from Churachandpur, Manipur (India)
- Zopatong - A monthly news magazine published at Zomi Colony, Churachandpur, Manipur (India)
- Gospel Tangkou - A Christian journal published by the Manipur Evangelical Lutheran Church, Churachandpur, Manipur.
- Khristian Tangkou - A Christian journal published by the Zou Presbyterian Synod, Churachandpur, Manipur.
- Gospel Tangkou - A Christian journal published by the Manipur Evangelical Lutheran Church
- ZOKUOMTHAWN (A monthly news bulletin and online news journal of the Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi, Delhi Branch)
- Zoheisa - A monthly news bulletin and journal published by the Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi, Shillong Branch.
- Zogam Today - A multi-lingual monthly magazine, published by Mr. Nengkhanlun Zou from Churachandpur, Manipur.
Select Zou settlements in Manipur
I. Urban Area
- Zomi Colony, Manniang Veng, Zoveng, Hiangzou, New Zoveng, Kamdou veng (Tuibuong), Zoumunnuan, Simveng and Beulahlane within Churachandpur township
- Zomi Villa, Langgol and Tribal Colony within Imphal district.
II. Semi-Urban Area
- Singngat, Sugnu Zoveng and Moreh (These towns are mixed settlements with significant concentration of Zou population)
III. Rural Area
- Villages along the Khuga (Tuitha) river: Tuaitengphai, Muallum, Daizang, Khianglam, T. Khazang, Belpuan, Sumchinvum, Teikot, Suangkuang, Zoukhonuam, Hiangtam (K), Belbing, S. Geltui, S. Munhoi, Panglian, M. Tanglian, Hiangdung, Lummual, Kullian, Phaibem, Zoumun, Khianglam, Bohlui, Tuibul, Benazou, Buangmun, Suangnal, Zahong, Sialnah, Suangkuang and Khuangmun
- Villages along the Tuivai river: Behiang, Hiangtam, Tonzang, L. Kanaan, Zangnuam, Lunzang, Suangphu, Sialsi, Bualkot, Likhai, Tangpizawl (Tangko Camp), Sehngalzang and Sehken, Suahzahau
- Villages along the Tuivel river: Mawngken, Maukot, Tuimanzang, and Mualzin
- Villages along the Tuila river: Hiangmual, Munpi, Zabellei, Allusingtam, Sabual, T. Hangnuam, and Buhsau
- Villages along the Imphal river: Khuainuai, Paldai, Sachiktampak, Singtom, Phaisan, Singheu, Telsalzang, M. Khaukual, Khuangkhai, Paldai, Sachih, and Kathuang
- Villages in Tuining area: Tuining, Tuinuphai, N.Khovung, Zomi Zion, T.Vazang, Khaimunmuam, Sangaikot, Kuvan, Saiboh, Zobethel, Gangpimual, and Khuangkhai
Major Achievements of the Zou tribe Zous are well known for their humor, which is evident in their films (which are re-dubbed Thai Movies).
- Bareh, Hamlet (2001). "Zou". Encyclopaedia of North-East India: Manipu. Mittal. pp. 260ff. ISBN 978-81-7099-790-0. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
- Alphabetical List of India's Scheduled Tribes
- "Manipur. Data Highlights: The Scheduled Tribes". Census of India 2001. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
- Sen, Sipra (1992). Tribes and castes of Manipur: description and select bibliography. Mittal. p. 64. ISBN 978-81-7099-310-0.
- Sangermano, Father (1833) A Description of the Burmese Empire: Compiled chiefly from Burmese Documents, (Translated by William Tandy and reprinted by Susil Gupta, London, 1966. P. 43.
- Zou, David Vumlallian (2009) "The Pasts of a Fringe Community: Ethno-history and Fluid Identity of the Zou in Manipur" Indian Historical Review, 36 (2): 2009-235, See p. 211
- Tedim Thu Kizakna Lai (Tedim Journal), July 1937, p.4.
- Fowler, E.O. (1924) Letter to Howchinkhup, General Department, No. 3432/7M-11, office of the Commissioner, North West Border Division, 25 march 1924, in Acts and Achievements of Hau Chin Khup, KMS, Chief of the Kamhau clan, Chin Hills, Tiddim (Ratnadipan Pitika Press, Mandalay, 1927) p. 17.
- National Archives of India (NAI) New Delhi (hereafter NAI), Foreign Department, Extl. A, October 1893, Nos. 33 – 34, dated Camp Falam, 28 September 1892
- National Archives of India (NAI) New Delhi, Foreign Dept. Sept 1893, Nos. 80 – 88
- Lewis, Paul (ed.). "Zo". Ethnologue. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
- Zou, David Vumlallian (2009)The Pasts of a Fringe Community: Ethno-history and fluid identity of the Zou in Manipur, Indian Historical Review, 36 (2): 209-235 http://ihr.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/36/2/209
- Khai, Sing Khaw (1995) Zo People and their Culture; A historical, cultural study and critical analysis of Zo and its ethnic tribes (Published by Khampu Hatzaw, Churachandpur, Manipur.) P. 22.
- Carey, Bertram S. and Tuck, H.N. (1896) The Chin Hills: A History of the people, our dealings with them, their customs and manners, and a Gazetteer of their country (Reprinted by Delhi, Cultural Publishing House, 1983)
- Official List of First Languages approved by Board of Secondary Education Manipur (BSEM)
- Braghin, Cecilia (1998) "An Archaeological Investigation into Ancient Chinese Beads" pp. 273-293, Lidia D. Sciama & Joanne B. Eicher, (eds.) Beads and Bead Makers, Oxford & New York: Berg.
- Hsu Cho-yun & Linduff, K.M. (1988) Western Zhou Civilization, New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
- "Yao people of Yunnan (China)". Retrieved 10 November 2006.; also Yao – Chinese Ethnic Groups (1998)
- Aung-Thwin, Michael (1996) "The Myth of the 'Three Shan brothers' and the Ava period in Burmese history", Journal of Asian Studies, Vol.55, No.4, pp.881-901.
- Zou, David Vumlallian (2005). "Raiding the dread past: Representations of headhunting and human sacrifice in north-east India", Contributions to Indian Sociology (n.s.) Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 75-105 [This article refers to Kuki Uprising & Zou folk song, See pp. 88-89].
- MELC Archives, Zomi Colony (Churachandpur), JCA Minute Book (20 February 1954 – 24 January 1958)
- Singh, K.S. Singh (1994) People of India, National Series Volume III, The Scheduled Tribes, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 1204 - 1207
- Go, Khup Za (1996) A Critical Historical Study of Bible Translations among the Zo people in Northeast India, Churachandpur: Chin Baptist Literature Board
- Lalnunmawi, E (1996) Impact of Christianity on the Zou women (Unpublised Dissertation) Banglalore: South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS)
- Downs, Frederick S. (1996) The Christian Impact on the Status of Women in North East Inda, Shillong: NEHU Publications
- Ralte, Lalrinawmi (2004) Bible Women-te Nghilhlohnan (In Memory of Bible Women), Bangalore: Shalom Publications
- Zou, David Vumlallian (2010) 'A Historical Study of the Zo Struggle' Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), Vol. 45, No. 14, April 3–9, 2010, pp. 56- 63
- Zou 2010, A Historical Study, op. cit