The Paites are indigenous tribes of Mizoram under the Greater Assam state since 1300 AD. The Tribal Research Institute of Mizoram in their published book,”Paite in Mizoram” stated that the Paite people entered the present Mizoram along with Palian Chief of Lushai around the first half of the 17th century. The first census of Lushai Hills by the British in 1901 have recorded that there were 2,870 Paites in Mizoram. In 1921 census, there were 10,460 Paites in Mizoram. But in the subsequent Census operations Paites was not found in such records as ‘Paite’. This injustice is difficult to understand for the minority tribes. If census is carried correctly on ethnic line, the Paite population
not be less than one lakh (1,00,000) in Mizoram state. The Union Government has recognised Paite as one of the tribes in Mizoram vide The Gazette of India Notice No. 10 of 2003 date January 8, 2003 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 2002.The Paite are not a refugee they are the original inhabitants of Mizoram. Truly speaking, Paites are larger than the Lushai; they live in Chin state of Burma, southern Manipur and north eastern part of Mizoram.
Young Paite in their Traditional attire
The essential criteria for the creation of Autonomous District Council which is mentioned in the VIthSchedule of the Indian constitution such as; distinctive culture, geographical isolation etc. are fulfilled by the Paites of Mizoram. P.R.Kyndiah, former Governor of Mizoram in his book “Mizo Freedom Fighters” stated that the northern territory of Mizoram was inhabited by Paite and their kindred groups. At present the Paite people are living in thirty two(32) compact villages in the north eastern part of Mizoram. The geographical area occupied by the Paite people is about 2,000 Sq.KM which is fit for creation of new District Council to meet aspiration of the Paite community. The Paites are socially and culturally distinct from other tribes of Mizoram. Major Shakespeare, the then first Superintendent of Lushai Hills said that Paite dialect is unintelligible to Lushai. He also recorded that Paite have distinct culture and custom.
The essentiality for creation of a separate Regional Council for more backward tribes in the north eastern part of Mizo district was supported by the report of the then H.V.Pataskar Commission for the re-organization of Assam Hill areas in 1965-66 which was as follows:
“The dissatisfaction of the small tribe is most marked in the Mizo and North Cachar Hills district and is from them that a large number of representations were received by us. We, therefore, give below a brief description of these tribes, their grievances and allegation made by them. In Mizo district this number of smaller tribes is relatively large. The Lushai, composed of the Ralte, Lushai and Hmar clans constitute the dominant tribes in that district. The smaller Tribes are the Paite in the north east, the Lais(Pawi) and Maras(Lakher) in the south east and Chakmas in the south west Mizoram. Most of them have a number of sub tribes also. The smaller tribe live in a remote area, which has led to their being isolated from the main stream of the socio-economic life of the district. They require separate entity.”
The Paite people have a long history of Non Violence movements in Mizoram since a long time. In the year 1950, few intellectual Paite founded the Mizoram Paite Federation(MPF). They demanded for Regional Council under the VIth Schedule of the Indian constitution within the Mizo district of Assam state. But the movement failed due to the anti chieftainship agitation of the Mizo Union(MU) movement. The movement was again revived in 1960s under the banner of Paite National Council (PNC).The movement again failed due to the Mizo National Front(MNF) outlawed insurgency movement since 1966. They thought that the Paite people were against the MNF movement. In order to stop the Paite demand for Regional Council, the MNF killed the Paite leaders. Being a peace loving people by nature, the Paite never think of retaliating violence for violence. They have in mind that the Lushais are their own brother. After statehood of Mizoram, the PNC (now PTC) again demanded for an autonomous district council again and again.
Now, the Lais, the Chakmas and the Maras have Autonomous District Council in south Mizoram under the sixth schedule of the Indian Constitution. But the Paite people’s demand was totally reject altogether. If the Govt. of Mizoram agree and have created Autonomous District Council even for the non Mizo tribes like Chakma, why not for the Paite? In order to safe-guard the custom, culture and traditions of Paites and to achieve faster socio-economic development, they need to have an Autonomous District Council (ADC). Sixth Schedule, Para 20, Table 1 of the Constitution of India, guaranteed Special Provision and protection for backward and minority communities in India. So, the Paite have right to demand an Autonomous District Council in Mizoram. Please do not object and let us support their demand as far as possible. The creation of Paite Autonomous District Council in the North Eastern belt of Mizoram will strengthen the solidarity and integrity of Mizoram state. It will fulfil the socio-economic and political aspiration of the ethnic groups of the demand area. It will not hamper the Mizo unity, at the same time it is important for the development of Mizoram state. The Paites accepted that they are also Mizo. In order to make Mizoram a develop state; the development should touch each and every corner of the state. In fact, Development does not reach the interior part of the Paite area. The Paite should be given the opportunity to have Autonomous District Council. They deserve to have a separate Autonomous District Council to preserve, promote and propagate their literature, custom, culture and tradition etc. in Mizoram.
1. Chatterjee, Subhas Dr. (1990):”Mizoram Encyclopedia”,…