|Regions with significant populations|
|Mizoram, India||50,000 (approximately)|
|Chin State, Burma||25,000 (approximately)|
|other Countries||5000 (approximately)|
|Mara Reih, English, others|
|Christian (predominantly Evangelical)|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Mizo people, Meitei people Naga people, Kachin people, Rakhine people, Karen people, Karbi people, Shan people and Chin people|
The Mara people are the native inhabitants of Mizoram 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. The Maras are related to Mizos in India and Chins in Myanmar. Significant numbers of Maras are also found living south-western part of Chinland (Burma), in Myanmar - the contiguous area of Mara area in India mostly separated by Kolodyne river, which forms an international boundary. They were earlier known as the Lakher by outsiders as Mizo called them by that name and as Zo by the Lai and Shendu by the Rakhaing, 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, Magha, Baungshel or Shendoo, Maring, Zyu or Zao/Zho, Khuangsai, etc. They constitute a distinct tribal group lying in Siaha/Saiha district of Mizoram. They called themselves "Maras". They are definitely a nation of tribes rather than just a tribe.
Mara has at least 3 to 4 dialects within it tribes, they are:
- Tlosaih Tlosaih is the Official Language of Mara. And it is widely use in Maraland.Divided into Khichha,Tlari,Kapi and Cha-awh groups.Earlier they were mostly called as Khuangsai from where most of the clans came.
- HawThai Lyvaw is the name of its language and the oldest language of the Maras where all other Mara languages branches out of it.They have a subtribe named Locheis comprising six villages of about 300-500 houses in Myanmar (Burma) and Lyvaws consist about 19 villages of 200 to over1000 houses in each villages in India.
- Zyhno Their language is a little similar with Heima and Lialai languages and are mostly clubbed together under the name Hlaipao tribes.
- Chapi in India (in Burma people who speaks Sizo call themselves ngiaphia who are the northern group and Sabyu the southern group)They are a powerful and feared tribe of the Central and Southern Chin hills and Malawi division.
- Heima(Hyuma)They are the most powerful tribes in the Moduk ngaw of the Myanmar-Bangladesh border
- Lialai(Lailen)They are also a very powerful tribe as the Heima and Sizos over the Southern Chin hills and Northern Arakan State.
The Mara languages are a group of languages related to 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, Zomi, Kuki and Chin languages widely spoken in the area but can also be listed as a separate language outside kuki-chin or kukish language.
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 Siaha District of Mizoram. 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 six townships – Thlantlang and Haka township for people in the North, Matupi and Rezua township for people in central part and Paletwa and Samme township for people in the southern part.
All ethnic Mara people 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 (Serkawr) town in Siaha district of Mizoram. Presbyterian, Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventists and Pentecostal also have a significant presence among the Mara peoples.
- Dr K. Zohra, Ph.D, An introductory notes to Mara District of South Mizoram, India.