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Chins are United

The Chins Are United: We Are United

Hre Mang, March 2004

Once upon a time, during in a hip-hop summer day, a well-known military trainer, Capt. Tenglam, in the Chin people’s mythical community trained his soldiers. He commanded his three trainees to stand on line at attention that he will not able to see the two of them standing behind the front person. The trainees stood on line as commanded, making cue to westward while Teng Lam was standing in front of them. While he was talking to inspire nationalism and patriotism, he walked around, and when he looked at the trainees from the south, he repeated, “I commanded you to stand on line that I am not supposed to see the two of you behind the front person.” So, the trainees immediately got the idea that they had to move the line against the direction wherever the trainer walked around. If he walked to the south they had to stand northward, if the west eastward and so on.

Based on the ground of your standpoint, you may see different level of unity and solidarity among Chins.

Throughout history, the term “Unity” is overexploited term to persuade people move toward a certain political or social direction. Among Chin people, it is an often repeated term, many have used and some might have complaint that the “Chins are not united,” but the “Chins are united”. We are and will be united in “nationality,” ideology,” “social and political association,” “leadership,” “individual level interpersonal relation,” and in “common action.” It simply depends on the perspective from which one pursues the Chin people’s solidarity that the Chins may not appear to be such united as other stable societies around the world. In politics, except for an authoritarian society, unity does not mean having a single political party or entity, but moving toward the same direction and the same end goal as a whole, regardless to each individual’s social political association and belongingness.

Nationally, since the British’s time, it has been obvious that all Chins believe and agree that we all, regardless to the regional based naming (nomenclature) differences, are one people one nation supposed to be under one political country. Significantly, the Chin people’s anonymously stance against the British colonizer, the Chin-Lushai Conference (Calcutta, 1892), the Chin people’s conference (Falam, 1947), the Chin people’s agreement to form the Union of Burma according to Pang Long agreement, and the Chin people’s movement against the Burmese regime government since 1988 are paramount historical factors that confirms the oneness and unity of the hearts and souls of the Chin people. The British geographical division of Chinland into three political countries: Burma, India, and Burma was regrettable and against the will of the people. The Zo Reunification Organization (ZORO)’s movement is the expression of the in-depth feelings of the people, although it, at this political time context, may not be the right time to restore the one and single political entity of all Chin people as one country. However, it is undeniable fact that the Chins are united as one people one ethnicity. Although some politicians have collected certain political capital by playing with the nomenclature, this issue is negligible within the Chin state and is not a dividing factor that would threaten the solidity of the society.

In the ideological aspect, the Chins are united. Since during the time of our forefathers’ primitive tribal war, there had been a comparable ideological trend. The tribal war was never been caused by a serious ideological contradiction, but was a primitive war descended down from history based on clan or tribe politics. In standing against the British (white Monkeys, as called by some Chins), in establishing a Union Country, Burma, in abolishing the west’s feudalistic administrative system, in having a collective conscience as the moral trend in the society, and in standing against the military rule and to establish a democratic society in the Union of Burma, in establishing and celebrating the Chin national day, and in preserving the Chin social cultural values and heritages, the Chins are united. The minor differences such as which comes first, democracy or nationalism, power politics or national revolution movement, and etc. are necessary political opinions. Therefore, it is historically and politically wrong to say, from one’s own stance, the Chins are not united, while the Chins are ideologically solidified as one people one nation under one and unifiable social political ideology. No school of thought ever divided the people’s mind, and no cultist ever led the people astray from the historical ideological trend of the people. Although there is insignificant level of deviation from the traditional path, the majority is solidly still abided by the stronghold of the Chin people’s social political philosophy, value system and moral character.

Thirdly, lets look the social political affiliation among the Chins. There seems no obvious problem among the Chins based on nationality or divisive ideological beliefs. Analyzing the current participation of the Chins in the existing political institutions, it is a matter of whose influence outnumbers the other. Although the channel of power flow and incentives of affiliation might have been contributed by tribesmenship, kinship, friendship, etc., these are not by no means the root cause of disunity and divisiveness, rather they are the source of the essential human political behaviors that allows social political actors motive their closest and dearest people-object toward certain social political direction without much capital expenditure. For example, Chins students and politicians from different regions established the Chin National Front (CNF) and currently there are people from Matupi, Falam, Hakha, Thlatlang, etc. in the CNF. Likewise, within the Chin Forum, there are good numbers from different regional context and tribes; although some might have been hand picked by the CF management body, the appearance of the component is in good standing and inclusive. Likewise in the Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD), the National League for Democracy (NLD), etc. are mostly inclusive. Even though there is no single political party or organization where all citizens are included as members, which never happened in any political community, there is no incompatible ideological contradiction among different political institutions, heading all end goals toward one political direction-democracy and the rule of the people.

For the social affiliation, based on the segments of the society and the geographical distribution, there is diversity, which by no means is destructive, but effective social elements for collective motivation when used appropriately. The Chins were well known in bravery, honesty, integrity, and sincerity. There never was, unlike some other neighborhood societies, kingship or monarchism in Chin society. The legacy of the previous feudalistic rules is almost completely expired, having no significant impact on the social movement of the people. The existence of tribes and clans is supportive to the effective social tenets controls. Although some politicians often misuse this element, this is a very strongly supportive social element for social political capital generation. For example, during the early Christianization in the Chin society, when the missionary converts the head of any particular clan or tribe, the whole tribe or clan is converted to Christianity. Likewise, for social and political movement, when the head of the tribe or a person from the respected family line, although there is no longer exist the previous type of headmenship, moves his or her dearest and nearest ones, there is always sufficient valuable social capital to buy out the hindrances. For example, there are several social groups based on clans or tribes, such as the Sizins, Thados, Tidims, Maras, Zotungs, Zopheis, Zahaus, Lumbangs, Sims, hualngo, Aso, Cho, Khumi, etc. Whether these groups have separate movements or not, these social factors are very strong factor to motivate the whole group toward particular direction when approach appropriately, and they are easily usually persuaded by their own closest friends, relatives or clansman. Although a careful consideration is required to motivate effectively, these social settings by no means is destructive toward building effective and active societal trend. These differences are negligible compared to the people’s dearness and solidity as one people one nation.

Fourthly, looking back the previous Chin leaders’ leadership role in the society, the general public has ever been submissive to societal leadership. Although, due to the collapse of the government administrative system as well as a result of structural changes in the society, there has been decrease of people’s trust and dependency upon the societal leadership, the general public still continues to maintain the Chin people’s moral behavior and responsiveness toward leadership in the society. Treason and cultism never happened to be a threat to the leadership role of the society. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to establish a one man show model leadership among Chin dissidents at this time, which is not necessary politically or socially, due to the complexity of the social political condition. But, needless to say, when a stable government is instituted there will be almost cent percent public participation and cooperation in the governmental action plan as well as in the implementation of the system elements. Meanwhile, there is also negative aspect on the people’s dependency on leadership, especially during this kind of transitional period, because of the unusual demand of particular social political context when the available resources do not usually meet the challenges. However, as the transitional generation has been undergoing through certain level of insightful experiences, especially after the 1988 pro-democratic movement, with the international exploration and academic preparation, there is much better hope and assurance for the future leadership. The people’s social political behaviors and nationalistic inclination have supported the accumulation of social political capitals to meet the political requirements. One of the most challenging steps to move the leadership history ahead is to manage and direct the available resources and political capitals toward the collective end goal, to establish a free and fair public government-democracy.

Apart from the collective appearance, the interpersonal relation among the individuals, the social closeness, openness, dearness, and understanding are tremendous social factors that will never be broken but will progressively stand against any divisive political evils or turmoil. This will always prove that all Chins are united one people. The cultural, traditional, and social bond is unique from any other people group around the world. The altruistic attitude of the people toward one another in times of need or joy and the patriotism and willingness to sacrifice personal interest to meet the common good will keep all Chin individuals together throughout the coming national challenges. There is no racial or social discrimination within Chin society. The legacies of the previous feudalistic rule or the primitive tribal war, that might have caused painful memories for some, have already been eliminated throughout the social healings process during the last century. Moreover, Christianity has transformed the mindsets of the people toward optimism and constructive thought system. In spite of the high illiteracy rate, the Christian messages, social changes, and the recent intellectual development have modified the social learning environment, leaving the tribal school of thought behind, and matching the new generation with the contemporary world societies. The interpersonal relation, although kinship, friendship, and clan still remain as important determinant factors for social affiliation and the flow of power and influence as the product of a “tribal or oriental democratic society, the recent intellectual development has partly enlightened the transitional generation to be more rationalized and issue guided than the previous generation. The more people are enlightened the more they see the uniqueness, oneness, and value of the Chin people’s interpersonal relationship that binds the people unbreakably as one.

Lastly, but not the least, the people’s participation and cooperation for common action has proven the oneness and solidarity of the people. An obvious example is the celebration of the Chin National Day every year and the abolition of the west’s feudalistic rule declared by more than 5000 Chin leaders a crossed Chinland. The day to day public voluntarism within the Chin society, the togetherness in the time of sorrow and pain as well as during the celebration of joy and success, the people still stay the same as ever before. No single individual is ever neglected for public benefit, at the same time, no single individual ignores individual responsibility contribute his or her best to the society. Compared to some developed countries, such as the U.S. and England and other European countries, the level of public participation in common action would be much higher and surprising. This shows the solidarity of the people in following the societal pattern and belongingness as one people one nation.

The Chins have been united to live as one people one nation, and to protect the legacy of their forefathers, the land, the people and the social cultural heritages with moral and political integrity. No cultism or betrayal ever succeed to divide the people, rather they have been and will be united as one people.