Lakher - History and Cultural Relations

The separate groups that make up the Lakher are all believed to have originated somewhere north of their present location, in the Chin Hills. The advancement of these peoples can be traced with some degree of certainty, and the original Homeland of at least three of these groups (Tlongsai, Hawthai, and Sabeu) can be posited. The Tlongsai migration began in Leisai (between Leitak and Zaphai). The original homeland of the Hawthai is believed to have been Chira (in Haka). The Sabeu are found in Chapi, but it is believed that they migrated to that location from Thlatla, which is near Haka. Before the advent of British imperial domination, intervillage conflict was the Lakher norm. Individual Lakher villages fought against one another and against neighboring peoples (e.g., the Khumis and Chins). The relationship between the British and the Lakhers was characterized by intermittent conflict, extending from the middle of the nineteenth century to 1924, at which time all the Lakher tribes were brought under British control. British nule brought both political and economic stability to the region. Villages enjoyed a period of internal and external security, slavery was eliminated, and a new market for the sale of surplus goods appeared (with a resulting shift from barter to currency as the medium of exchange). This marked the beginning of the demise of the village chiefs power and authority. With the advent of Indian home rule, the political structure of the Lakher region was reorganized. An administrative structure was established for the Lushai Hills (to which the Lakher Region sends one representative) and a regional council for the Pawi-Lakher regions (to which the Lakher Region is permitted to send four delegates). The office of village chief has been eliminated, and the Lakher are gradually being assimilated into the mainstream of Indian life as citizens of Mizoram state.

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