7 Reasons why Zo People love to Hate each other ~ Carey Suante
The Zo people all seem to love to hate each other. Well, hate may be too strong a word for it. Maybe annoyance and contempt come close to describing what we feel for each other.
Even a well-meaning, well-informed and educated one may at times, intentionally or unintentionally, reduce himself to the biggest bigot.
One minute we talk about reunification and its obvious advantages for all. The next minute we shit on our brothers and will cuss them to hell and give a lengthy lecture on how our brothers hate us to our half-listening, half-sleeping friends.
Let’s take a look at reasons why we love to hate our own Zo brothers!
7 Reasons Why Zo people Love to Hate Each Other
1. Similarity: We are so similar in every way that it is uncomfortable. Even disgusting at times. You know how it is that we always see the worst of ourselves in others!
2. Familiarity: Familiarity breeds contempt they say. This is so true within the Zo society. We are so familiar with each other because we are …the same!
3. Lack of Communication: There is so little communication and interaction that it is not really a surprise to see obvious differences. The fact that we live in different 3 different countries and at least 10 different regions manifests in lack of communication. Unfortunately we, ourselves, seem to uphold and reinforce and even (over) emphasise these boundaries and differences in every way possible. What little trade and commerce that exists between the Zo people in Burma and India is not even endorsed and encouraged by the local population. True, that some initiative is being taken by the Indian government, but true communication and interaction must be endorsed by the local populace. Without social intercourse and interaction there will never be a true understanding and mutual respect for all Zo tribes concerned.
4. Lack of Awareness: This follows from the point above. Lake of communication manifests itself in lack of awareness about other Zo tribes living in other parts of the Zo country. People in Chin State (Burma) have little or no knowledge of the Zo living in Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram – all being situated within India – and vice versa. Zo people in Bangladesh have no contact whatsoever with their Zo kins living in India and Burma. Moreover, lack of literature on Zo history and identity and a more profound lack of reading habit among the Zo people is another reason for their own lack of awareness. Even though there are a couple of good books on identity, I don’t really know how many of us read books.
5. British Colonial Heritage: The British with the help of missionaries identified the Zo people in different areas with different names like the Lushai, the Chin and Kuki. These separate identities became Zo peoples’ identities first in literature only and thereafter when these identities became popular we were required to carry on and use them even today. These names became the academic terms of reference for students of anthropology, history and social sciences. Furthermore the British government and subsequently our respective governments established these names by including them in their publications and census reports. It has to be borne in mind that the instruments and marks of tribe identity used by various commissions is not only inaccurate and confusing but utterly disorganised. And somehow these various commissions’ recommendations are willingly accepted and even endorsed by the various Zo communities.
6. Excessive focus on our slight differences: We seem to pay more attention to our differences instead of celebrating our similarities. Blame it on our narrow-minded nature or our half-baked educations! Blame it on our leaders and elders, this is one major reason why we love to hate each other. For example the Paite of Manipur and the Tedim of Chin State is more or less the same dialect – I would guesstimate around 95% is similar, but we ourselves spend most of our times talking about the slight differences and ridiculing the other’s dialect. Similarly, the Hmar dialect and the Duhlian (Lusei) dialect is more or less the same – say 80% similar – but these two will remain different identities for some time still.
7. Lack of Media Interest: There is a lack of media interest on Zo people generally. Even the vaiours medias the Zo people ourselves control like our various newspapers, TV channels, radio stations, video production houses, etc don’t give enough attention to other Zo people. The tv cables can play a pivotal role in educating the masses and narrow down the gaps between the various Zo peoples. Sensible and biased-free news reports and educational broadcasts on radios will convey the message of understanding and acceptance of the other Zo people.
Apart from these seven points, one could add we ourselves should be instrested in learning more about the other Zo people. We should pay more attention to our brothers and kins. We should seek understanding and co-operation if we are to have any real impact on this earth as a people. Where we are now is just seeing the potential we could have, the impact we could only have if we are united. Unity in diversity or is it unity in similarity that should be our principle.
So, why do you think the Zo people love to hate each other? Carey Suante