Lakher - Orientation



Identification. The Lakher are a Kuki tribe located in the Lushai Hills of Mizoram (north of the Arakan Hills), in India. Lakher is the name given to this people by the Mizos (who live in that part of the region extending from 22°44′ to 22°55′ N and 92°35′ to 92°47′ E). Cultural affinities have been noted between the Lakher and the Mizos, Chin, and Naga. They are also called Shendu by the Arakanese. The Lakher refer to themselves as Mara and are composed of six groups: the Tlongsai, Hawthai, Zeuhnang, Sabeu, Lialai, and Heima. Much of what is known of Lakher culture has come from the work of N. E. Parry, who studied them early in this century, and his ethnography provides the basis for most of the information summarized below.


Location. The geographical locus of Lakher culture extends from approximately 22°00′ to 23°00′ N and from 92°45′ to 93°25′ E. Lakher settlements are found, in large part, within that area bounded on the north and east by the Kolodyne River (though some villages lie outside this boundary to the west and to the northeast). The area inhabited by the Lakher is hilly (the highest peak reaching in excess of 2,100 meters), damp (in winter), and fertile (accommodating the growth of rice, flowers, trees, and several varieties of bamboo).


Demography. According to Parry, the Lakher numbered some 10,000 in his day. The 1971 census of India reported a total of 12,871. A United Bible Societies survey revealed a total Mara Chin-speaking population of 14,000 in 1983.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Lakher speak Mara Chin (Burmic Family, Tibeto-Burman Stock), a language belonging to the Sino-Tibetan Phylum.

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