|Mizo literary history|
Oral tradition, folklores & folktales
|Mizo language authors|
James Dokhuma • Vanneihtluanga
|Criticism & Awards|
James Dokhuma• Vanneihtluanga
Mizo literature is the literature written in Mizo ṭawng, the principal language of the Mizo peoples, which has both written and oral traditions. It has undergone a considerable change in the 20th century. The language developed mainly from the Lushai language, with significant influence from Pawi language, Paite language and Hmar language, especially at the literary level. All Mizo languages such as Pawi language, Paite language etc. remained unwritten until the beginning of the twentieth century. However, there was unwritten secular literature in the form of folktales, war chants etc. passed down from one generation to another. And there was rich religious literature in the form of sacerdotal chants. These are the chants used by the two types of priests, namely Bawlpu and Sadâwt. This article is about the written literature.
This period of Mizo (written) literature usually refers to the period between 1860 and 1894. Although the Mizo alphabet proper was created around May 1894, written Mizo literature can be said to start from the publication of Progressive Colloquial Exercises in the Lushai Dialect by Thangliana (which is the Mizo name of the Christian missionary Thomas Herbert Lewin) in 1874. In this book he wrote down two Mizo folktales Chemtatrawta and Lalruanga leh Kungawrhi with their English translations, and included some Mizo words with their English meaning. Along with Sir George Campbell, G.H. Damant, R.G. Woodthorpe etc., other employees of the British East India Company, Thangliana also studied Mizo culture and language, producing important works.
This is the period between 1894 and 1920, when most of the literary work was produced by the missionaries. Mizo alphabet was created in 1894, and schools were established soon after the creation of Mizo alphabet. On 22 October 1896 the first Mizo language book was published under the title Mizo Zir Tir Bu (lit. Mizo primer). This was a book on Christian religion and morality based on Christianity.
The two Christian missionaries J.H. Lorrain (Pu Buanga) and F.W. Savidge (Sap Upa) started translating the book of gospel according to Luke in 21 August 1895. They went on to translate the gospel according to John, and the two books were printed and published in 1898. Other books were also translated soon after. Some of the most well-known books published during this period were:
- Isua chanchin (1905)
- Isua hnenah lo kal rawh (1905-6)
- Thu inchhang (1908)
- The Lushai Grammar and Dictionary (1898, by J.H. Lorrain)
- Dictionary of Lushai (J.H. Lorrain)
A number of devotional songs were translated by other missionaries who replaced J.H. Lorrain and F.W. Savidge, such as Edwin Rowlands etc.
The middle period of Mizo literature (1920–1970) saw the rise of prominent writers such as Liangkhaia, who published hundreds of articles in the monthly Kristian Tlangau and authored Mizo chanchin (in two volumes) which contained, besides a coherent treatment of Mizo history, a number of ancient chants and festive songs which he collected from various sources. Besides this, he and his close friends collected various other ancient Mizo poems, publishing it under a single volume Zoram kan lo luh hma Pawi rama kan la awm lai leh Zoram luh tirh vela chhuak ṭante. It contains various Chai hla, Hlado, Zai and a number of Hla. This collection is one of the most reliable sources of knowledge for ancient Mizo poetry
Authors during this period are usually referred to as Hranghluite in Mizo culture.
One of the best known Mizo language poets, Awithangpa (1885–1965) (whose real name is Hmarlûtvunga) was active during this period. The beautiful, innovative expressions he used in his poems are now generally thought by most to be part of Mizo poetic language since time immemorial, although he was the first to use them and were in fact mostly his own coinage. Examples include expressions such as ram loh, chohar di etc. The great reputation of his zai (poems) among Mizo people can be judged from the fact that, although his poems were not initially recorded in writing, when Mizo littérateurs later tried to collect and record his poems, people still remembered most of his poems and could still recite them in full.
Various other poets were active during this period of Mizo literature. Some of them were religious poets, writing mainly songs used in various Christian services in the Mizo tradition, which include Pathianni inkhâwm (Sunday service), lènkhâwm (a get-together for singing), khawhạr (condolence service) etc. Although they do not form part of Mizo secular literature, the richness and beauty of Mizo language is manifest in the elegies, worship songs etc. they composed, and their poems have therefore been consistently included in school and university curriculum. Poets of this tradition include Patea (1894–1950) (who composed 55 songs) and Saihnuna (1894–1949)(who composed about 98 songs) and the blind poet Laithangpuia (1885–1935) (who composed about 27 songs) among others.
On the other hand there were other poets who wrote both religious and secular poems, such as R.L. Kamlala (1902–1980), Damhauhva (1909–1972) etc.
The poet Pu Rokunga is one of the most prolific Mizo poets, composing patriotic songs, festive songs, Christmas songs, idylls, poems about nature etc. He was chosen Poet of the Century by the Mizo Millenium Celebration Committee in 2000.
Other best known poets include
- Capt. L.Z. Sailo
- Lalzova Chhangte (usually referred to as Fam Lalzova)
- P.S. Chawngthu
- V. Thangzama
Mizo language dramatists active during this period include
|Ch. Pasena||Fapa tlanbo (1927)|
|Lalkailuia||Tualvungi leh Zawlpala (1935)|
|Chawngzika||Pheikhawk siamtu (1952)|
|Lalthangfala Sailo||Sual man chu thihna|
|H Lalsiama||Ukil hlawhtling|
|K. Saibela||Mizo inneihna|
Well-known writers during this period include Nuchhungi Renthlei (1914–2002), who got a Padma Shri in Literature in 1986, L. Biakliana (1918–1941), who wrote the first Mizo novel Hawilopari, Kaphleia (1910–1940), C. Ṭhuamluaia (1922–1959), K.C. Lalvunga, J.F. Laldailova, Siamkima Khawlhring etc.
This period of Mizo literature starts in 1970 and continues to the present. The Mizo Academy of Letters started awarding its Book of the Year in 1989. The academy also awards lifetime achievement in Mizo literature. Some of the most prominent writers during this period are James Dokhuma (1932–2008), Khawlkungi (1927- ), B. Lalthangliana (1945- ), Siamkima Khawlhring (1938–1992), R.L. Thanmawia (1954- ), C. Laizawna (1959- ), Laltluangliana Khiangte (1961- ), Lalzuahliana (1962- ), Vanneihtluanga (1959- ) etc.
The list of books awarded so far and their authors are tabulated below:
|Year||Book||Author||Comments on the book|
|1989||Ka Lungkham||B. Lalthangliana|
|1991||Zoram Khawvel-I||L. Keivom||Contemporary Mizo history|
|1993||Mizo Literature||B. Lalthangliana|
|1994||Kum za Kristian Zofate hmabâk||Bangalore Mizo Christian Fellowship|
|1995||Ram leh i tan chauh||H. Lallungmuana|
|1996||Bible leh Science||P.C. Biaksiama||Creationism|
|1997||Pasalṭha Khuangchera||Laltluangliana Khiangte||Drama|
|1999||Tlawm ve lo Lalnu Ropuiliani||Lalsangzuali Sailo||Mizo history|
|2000||Chawngmawii leh Hrangchhuana||R. Rozika||Novel|
|2001||Ka khualzin kawng||Robuanga|
|2002||Runlum Nuthai||L.Z. Sailo||Eulogy|
|2003||Kan Bible hi||Zairema||Theology|
|2006||Pasalṭhate ni hnuhnung||C. Lalnunchanga||Historical adventure novel|
|2007||Zofate zinkawngah||R. Zamawia||Factual description and idealisation of Mizo uprising|
|2008||Chun chawi loh||Lalhriata||Novel|
|2009||Rintei zùnléng||Lalrammawia Ngente||Novel|
|2010||Beiseina Mittui||Samson Thanruma||Novel|
|2011||Zodinpuii (posthumously awarded)||Lalchhantluanga||Novel|
- Khiangte, Laltluangliana, Mizo drama: origin, development, and themes. Cosmo Publications, 1993.
- Zoramdinthara, Dr., Mizo Fiction: Emergence and Development. Ruby Press & Co. 2013. ISBN 978-93-82395-16-4
- Lalthangliana, B., 'Mizo tihin ṭawng a nei lo' tih kha
- Chawngthu, Tluanga, Mizo thuhlaril hmasawn dan part -I
- Khiangte, Laltluangliana, Thuhlaril, 2nd Edition, 1997.
- Lalthangliana, B., Mizo literature. Second edition, copyright 2004, MC Lalrinthanga.
- Chawngthu, Tluanga, Mizo thuhlaril hmasawn dan - Part 2
- Chawngthu, Tluanga, Mizo thuhlaril hmasawn dan - Part 4
- Vanglaini, April 24, 2012
- Khiangte, Laltluangliana, Mizo lehkhabu zempui (A compendium of Mizo bibliography), published by Mizo department of Mizoram University, 2005.
- Khiangte, Laltluangliana, Lehkhabu Ramtiam, L.T.L. Publications, Aizawl, 1993.
- Mizo Academy of Letters, Zo kalsiam, Aizawl, 1997.
- Vanlawma, R., Awithangpa, Aizawl, 1989.
- Lalthangliana, B. (Editor), Mizo hla leh a phuahtute, Hrangbana College, Aizawl. First edition 1999.