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|(Estimated 5 million)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|India – Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura|
|Hmar, Lushai, Paite, Kuki, Zou, Vaiphei, Chin, Mara, Darlong, English|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Lushai Chin Kuki Mizo Hmar Mara Darlong|
Sinlung, sometimes called Chhinlung or Khul, is the ancestral home of the Zohnahthlâk (Mizo people). The Hmars trace their origin to Sinlung. Numerous poems, songs and tales about this place have been made and handed down from generation to generation. Folklore about inlung describes it as a city-state where a form of democracy was in existence, and which engaged in many wars with its neighbours. There are many stories of bravery and courage, and here the tribe started the practice of headhunting.
Location and origin
Historians differ on the issue of the location of Sinlung and the origin of the name. Several theories and views regarding the origin and location have been put forward. Historian Hranglient Songate believed it to have been in South West China, possibly in the present Tailing or Silung of Yunan Province of today's China. Other possiblilities are Sining in central China or the present Sinlung, located near the Yulung River in Szechuan Province of China.
Hmars leave Sinlung
The Kukis, including a group called the Hmars, who belonged to a trible of the Mizo people, eventually left Sinlung, for reasons which are not known for sure, but historians suggest either economic reasons, oppressive Chinese rulers or powerful enemies in the area. One of their songs has these lyrics:
Khaw Sinlung ah
Kawt siel ang ka zuongsuok a;
Mi le nel lo tam a e,
Hriemi hrai a.
Out of city Sinlung
I jumped out like a siel;
Innumerable were the encounters,
With the children of men.
There were successive waves of migrants southward from China before 1000 AD. into the Mediterranean basin, into India and into other parts of Southeast Asia. Historian Edward Thomas Williams, writes about the Ch'in Dynasty who, "violated all the rules of courteous warfare, triumphed and took over the territory and symbols of the rule of the Chou dynasty (their predecessors)". It is believed that the Hmars might have been moving along with one of these waves towards the south, and eventually into India.
Hmar folk tales and songs tell us that the second settlement of the Hmars was in Shan, which was marked by a time of prosperity and peace. Hranglien Songate, a Hmar historian wrote,
"In Shan their civilisation advanced much farther than Sinlung; and the people showed greater intelligence. They knew how to celebrate agricultural prosperity, learned better art of war, and made festival of the victory over the enemy. Furthermore, they learned the use of iron implements and moulding of pipes… This way they came to have the proper means of livelihood."
Many of the Hmar festivals such as Butukhuonglawm (Spring festival), Lunglâk (Autumn festival) and Sesun (Solemn celebration) have their origin in Shan. That they have started the practice of headhunting can be seen from one of their songs:
Ka pa lamtlâk an tha'n dang,
Sinlung lamtlâk a tha'n dang;
Shan khuoah tha povin vang,
Tuoichawngin hranlu an tlunna;
Thlomu sieka kem in hril,
Za inhawngah hranlu bah kan sâl.
My father's steps were distinctively good,
Sinlung's steps were, indeed, distinctively good;
Few are the good men in Shan State,
Where Tuoichawng brought the enemy's head;
You talked of tips with eagle's claws, (meaning war)
And we hang the heads high with ropes
- Lucy Zehol (1 January 1998). Ethnicity in Manipur: Experiences, Issues, and Perspectives. Regency Publications. pp. 50–51. ISBN 978-81-86030-51-6.
- Shiva Tosh Das (1987). Life Style, Indian Tribes: Locational Practice. Gyan Publishing House. pp. 130–. ISBN 978-81-212-0058-5.
- Hamlet Bareh (2001). Encyclopaedia of North-East India: Mizoram. Mittal Publications. pp. 294–. ISBN 978-81-7099-792-4.
- Sachchidananda (1996). Encyclopaedic Profile of Indian Tribes. Discovery Publishing House. pp. 116–. ISBN 978-81-7141-298-3.