Mara People

Prof. Dr. K. Zohra
Dr K. Zohra.
Senior Lecturer,
Government Siaha College
Siaha, MIzoram 796901

The Maras were in early period known to the outside world under diffrerent tribal names such as Mara,Lakher,Shendu or Shendoo, Maring,Zyu or Zao/Zho, Tlosai, Khongzai,etc. They constitute a distinct tribal group lying in Saiha district of south Mizoram.They called themselves “Maras”. The word “Mara” is used as a generic term for the whole Mara people. And as such the different tribal sub-groups or clans of the Maras who inhabit the entire perimeter of the present Mara Autonomous District of Mizoram and the hill tracts of the erstwhile south Haka sub-Division of the Chin Hills of Myanmar and whose culture,traditions, dialect, etc. being closely similar are commonly designated as “Mara”.The generic term “Mara” includes several territorial sub-groups namely the Sizo-Chapi,Hawthai,Hlaipao -Zyhno,Iana or Vytu,Lochei and Tlosai.The Hlaipao has a number of sub-groups such as the Heima,Lialai and Zyhno.The Sizo sub-group are the Aru,Chapi,Khihlo,Lialaira,Ratu,Saby,Sosai,Taikua,Tikei,Tisi,etc.The Tlosai sub-group are the Saikao and Siaha.The three territorial sub-groups such as the Hawthai,Lochei and Iana had no sub-groups.The Maras are widely distributed but the greater number of them are found in the Mara Autonomous District.According to the 1971 cencus,the total population of the Maras in Mizoram is 24,365.The District Cencus of 1987 puts the figure at 24,365and the Cencus record of the Mara Autonomous District Council puts it as 37,112. According to 1998 Cencus Report of the Mara Autonomous District is 47,984,female 23,202, male 24,782.At present there are 50 villages, and 59 village councils within the Mara Autonomous District.

The Maras belong to Mongoloid,the eastern third mankind.They belong to central Chin sub-groups of the Kuki group of the Assam-Burma branch of the Tibeto-Burman family.Some writers have classed them as a number of the Kuki section.In Mizoram,the word “Kuki” is not like by any tribe. Other writers also class the Maras as Chin people.The Chins are a group of hill tribes speaking various directs of the same Tibeto-Burman speech and calling themselves by various tribal names. All are,however,placed in the Kuki Chin group.All tribes do not recognise the name “Chin”, but call themselves “Yo” or “Zo” in the north, “Lai” in the centre and “Sho” in the south, besides many other tribal names. However,the Maras do not call themselves “Chin” or “Kuki”, but designate themselves as “Mara”. The ethnological classification made by various linguists and anthropologists brings out clear picture of about the tribal groups living in the North Eastern India.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 17 April 2008 )