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Indian Anthropological Association

Clan, Dialect and Tribe Identity: Emergence of Crosscutting Identity among the Zo People in Manipur Author(s): L. Lam Kan Piang Source: Indian Anthropologist, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Jan-June 2008), pp. 43-60 Published by: Indian Anthropological Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41920056 . Accessed: 19/03/2014 12:08
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Clan, Dialect and Tribe Identity: Emergence of Crosscutting Identity among the Zo People in Manipur L. Lam Kan Piang Abstract This the historical formation paperdealswith ofclanandthe process oftheemergence ofvarious the Zo people. Itargues that even the colonial an dialects introduced amongst though ethnographers like like could not alienconcept clanandlineage besuperseded tribe, ofidentity primordial identity andtenaciously as itis the andcompletely erased. such as clanis rather survived, Identity strangely which has culturally It delineates thesubtle traditional grouping system, functional importance. - onthe as the nation-state state intervention the colonial state as well Indian cultural effects of thestatewas rather or It also arguesthat formation. ignorant dynamic processof Zo identity Thispaper critically the to theactualsocial impacts analyses of its interventions. indifferent List 1950,SCs/STs (STs) Order, bytheConstitution of theZo peoplein Manipur, segmentation which 956 anditssubsequent into various tribes, Order, amendments, consequently (Modification) ledtothe emergence ofcrosscutting identity. Colonial Tribe, Dialect, Clan, Identity, Ethnography KeyWords: Introduction The confrontationof the people, who are being labeled as tribal, with the ethnographers, colonial administrators, military officers, travelers and duringthecolonial period,was, no doubt,the beginningof writings anthropologists accounts recordedare based mainly on observation about them. The ethnographic informants These have become the from local and information through interpreters. forthe people who have no besides oral traditional main sources of history, history, the colonial ethnographies to of their own. one cannot avoid written So, history of thetribal, theirexperiencesduringthe colonial period had the history understand and shaped themintowhattheyare now. changed,transformed This paper deals withthe Zo people in Manipur,which forma portionof the whole population of the Zo people, who inhabited the Indo-Myanmar-Bangladesh borderland.Manipur is a small State in the North Eastern Region of India. It is situated in between 93.2 East and 94.47 West Longitude and 23.50 South and divided the population of Manipur into 25.41 North Latitude. Anthropologists three main ethnic groups such as the Meitei, the Naga, and the Zo (Kuki-Chin). Geographically,Manipur is divided into the valley and the hill areas. The Meitei inhabitedthe valley, whereas the Zo people and the Nagas inhabitedthe Hill areas covering around 90 % of the total geographical area of Manipur. of Planningand Evaluation,National L.LAM KHAN PIANG, Lecturer, Department and New Delhi. E-mail:lampiang@gmail.com of Health Institute FamilyWelfare,

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In this paper the name Zo is employedforthe entireKuki-Chin people, as the use them is challenged on the ground thatthese of this hyphenatedname to identify It was imposed upon themas N.K. Das (1989:198) names are colonial constructs. argued, "The self-name of the tribal groups have been neglected and the name given by their neighbourshave been imposed". The names Kuki and Chin are acquired in the process of their encounter with colonial ethnographersfrom different directions.Those ethnographers through Bengal picked up the name Kuki, with which the Bengalis used to identify them,whereas those who came through the Burmese. Burma picked up the name Chin from and anthropologistshave often clubbed them However, writers,ethnographers as an and write as Kuki-Chin mentioned that together entity group.1Ethnographers Zo is the name by which the Kuki/Chincalled themselves. Wherever careful used the name Kuki or Chin, theyusually mentionedalong withthe ethnographers words - 'the people did not recognisedthis (Chin/Kuki)name'. It is worthnoting that,writerslike F.M. Rundall and G.A. Grierson(1967) made it clear thatZo is themselves.2 the name withwhich the people identify It is believed thatthe name Kuki and Chin were given to the Zo people on the basis of the descriptionsof theirbehavioralcharacterby theirneighbours- the Bengalis and Burman respectively.For instance,the meaningof the name Kuki, withwhich the Bengalese recognisedthem,is believed to be a 'wild hill tribe'. Perhaps,it may be because they often raided their neighbours.In the same way, some scholars believed that the name Chin means 'basket', as the Burmese often seen them on the basis a basket. Whateverit may be, these names were constructed carrying of some kind of descriptionabout themby the others,which is completelyalien to them and nothing to do with their culture. They are survived as the colonial theZo people. to identify government employed officially As discussed above these names are more or less descriptivenames given to them So, the by their neighbours and later employed by the colonial ethnographers. on the basis of the descriptionsof behavioral which is constructed group identity, charactersprovided by the neighboursof the group, and arbitrarily employed by and even by the ethnographers, administrators, officers, military anthropologists, so as to identify a human group by encapsulatingthemwithin the state institution Even though various the frame of a name can be termed as identikit-identity.3 names such as Kuki, Chin, Shendu, etc., were imposed on them, ethnographers It is because theycould discern the unique cultural treatedthemas a single entity. that as well as linguistic affinity existedamongsttheZo people. of a culture The social intercourse among the groups is withinthe frameor format of culturalelements.So, thereis thougheach group has slightlocal differentiation

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no hurdlein any social intercourse as the counterpart can respondany action from one group in an expected manner. Such culture I would like to term as who understoodthe Zo 'reciprocativeculture', as it convinced the ethnographers, people, to club togetherin spite of theirvarious imposed names. By 'reciprocative culture', I mean, sharingof certainculturaltraitsthat bridge certaingroups even that though they appear to have distinctculture. The shared cultural attributes exists across the various groups within the Zo society made them a cultural thatprominently stood out. collectivity Problematising the concept of Tribe have takentheirown varyingstandpoint to Sociologists as well as Anthropologists criteria or have failed on a different features to and, thus, emphasize agree general definitionof what constitutesa tribe. Many social scientistswho work on tribal societies usually would like to definetribeaccording to the empirical data, which he/she acquired from his/herfield studies. To really understandand define the concept of tribe,one needs to considerthe grouporganisationof the societyas well as the kinship and marriage system to locate the individual as a member of group. particular A society entails both kinship and polity, both status and contracts. What is theirrelativeweightand is theirrelativeelaborationand differentiation, distinctive in different sector of social life 1969: (Fortes, 220). Though each tribal scope society appears to have several ways of social organisationwithinthe society,one and general. RadcliffeBrown can discover some elements,which is fundamental to that social structures need be compared so that their (1950:2) emphasised more fundamental and defined and beneath their differences differences be may generalresemblancemay be discovered. of the social organisation of a community, one has To have a properunderstanding which social identity does the individual gives to observe carefullyand identify and loyalty.Social groupingsystemor social organisationis a ubiquitous priority cultural element of any sopiety,as it is the mechanism maintainingas well as social order. generating In his study of the Nuer society, Evans Pritchard (1940) suggested an analytical model known as the segmentarylineage system. According to this, a tribe is structural level down to that of the local segmented into sub-sectionat different communityand its sub-sectionhas a dominantdescent group. Descent group, in turnsegmentsfromthe level of the clan dominantin a given tribeto that of the minimal lineage, but it is not necessary that the members of the descent group would reside in the territory of the section where it is dominant.Evans Pritchard

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therefore thedescentframework fromthe politico-territorial carefullydistinguished This of the tribe and their section. model structure proposes that a tribe is segmentedalong lineage lines,where lineage is a genealogical segmentof the clan. Among the Nuer, 'political and lineage groups are not identical but they have certain correspondence and often bear the same name, for a tribal area and its divisions are oftencalled afterthe clans and lineages which are suppose to have first occupied them' (Pritchard,1940:194). In short,a tribeamongstthe Nuer can unitwithinwhichthe memberof thetribewould be definedas the largestterritorial uniteagainst externalaggressionand settletheirinternal differences by arbitration. Meyer Fortes (1940:153), who studied the kinship and marriage system of the Ashanti, says that, 'The political historyand structureof the state decisively influencesthe whole social orderof Ashanti'. Among the Ashanti thereare eight clans and every lineage belongs to one or the otherof these clans and everyclan is usually representedin every domain of theirchief. Thus, tribe among the Akan the Ashantiis a numberof clans who occupied a certainarea tribaisor particularly, where the clan chiefs acknowledge one chief among themselvesas a or territory, king. Another tribal society that gives emphasis to clan is the Zulu of Natal. Max Gluckman (1950: 166) wrote that in the Zulu system 'corporate lineage and its of changes in personnel,and formthe nuclei segmentsendure in time irrespective of villages and local groupings.A tribe,among them is divided into a numberof exogamous clans, each of which is an association of dispersed agnatic lineages, which are corporategroup of kin groupswho trace common descent. The lineages withina clan are usually residentialunit.Theirsegmentsare cores of villages and a froma recognised group against numberof segmentsliving in one neighbourhood othersimilargroups in theirown and otherclans. Radcliffe Brown (1913; 1918), who worked among the tribes of Australia, Andaman Islands, etc., mentionedthat a tribe is a linguisticgroup, divided into local groups who were primarilylandowning and landholdinggroups. For him, tribe is a body of persons having certain homogeneityof language and custom sufficient to permitthem to be as a group, and demarcate them as distinctfrom otherand neighbouring groups. Regardingthe Andaman tribes,he says thata tribe consistedof a numberof local groupsall speakingwhat the people regardedas one language. From the above discussion it could, perhaps be concluded that the very of the concept of tribetends to be problematicas scholars articulate introduction their own definitionssuited to their empirical situations.The term tribe, in the context of the Zo people, is confusingand controversial,as in the case of the African tribais. Charlotte Seymour-Smith (1986:281) wrote, "In the context of

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colonial and post colonial Africa,tribehas been subject of considerable debate and disagreementas it has shown thatthe concept of tribe... tribaldivision and tribal consciousness were largely a creation of the efforts of colonial ruler to impose orderand supra local unityupon previouslylargelyautonomous local communities and where there was previouslya loose and contextuallyrelative sense of ethnic The realization of the artificial natureof the concept of tribegenerateda identity. and rejection among anthropologists among African politicians and intellectuals, who began more and more to question the relevance of the concept for the of contemporaryAfrican social and political organisation. Thus interpretation modernanthropologists to employthe notionethnicity." prefer In employingthe concept of 'tribe' for a group of people thus, one may have to firsttackle questions like what is the basis of theirsocial organizationand social How faris the systemfunctional and continueto function as the base of solidarity. social solidarityin the society? It is imperativeto clarifythese questions before of the concept of tribethatenmeshes withthe system dealing withthe construction is based. on which the social solidarity So far as the Zo people of Manipur are concerned, it is difficultor rather impossible to define a tribeaccurately.Unlike many othertribalsocieties thatare divided into tribesand further into clans, the Zo people on the whole were divided into clans and dispersed randomlyoccupying a contiguous geographical areas, which they regarded as their homeland. In some areas, of course, a clan may dominate numerical over other and togetherthey speak the same dialect. But, membersof thatsame clan speakingdifferent dialect could be foundin some areas, in dialects is engenderedby lack of communication as difference as a resultof poor infrastructure. Thus, it is not possible to study the existing tribes in isolation. Evans Pritchard (1940) maintainedthat there is a close relation between territorial segment and in Zo a the the members of society lineage, segmentsof lineage segment.However, a clan, move togetherin search of new settlements. They may settle along witha a relationshipthrough their lineage of anotherclan and marryeach otherforming in in their Their not lies the clan but also obligation only kinship kinshipsystem. idiom. it can be seen thatthe base of the social Delving deep intothe Zo social structure, solidarityis on what theycalled Beh (Clan). Dun (1992: 32) wrotethat,"The word the best to apply to the Kuki (Zo) sub-division".This shows 'clan' is undoubtedly of clan as the base of theZo social structure. the importance However, membersof as a result,various each clan were randomlydispersed withinthe Zo territory;

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socialization due to infrequent social intercourse thatshaped groups have different the individualssocio-culturalbehavior. This facilitates and engendered the formationof dialectal identity,besides the and it has become more of a regional identity. When tribe existing clan identity the Zo traditional recognitionwas done on the basis of dialect,without considering based on it created within the Zo clan, group organisation problems society. As a it led the to of a of clan and dialectal result, emergence crosscutting tribe, identities.Consequently,many people are marginalizedas theirdialectal identity and theirclan identity overlap witheach other. Clan Identity In the Zo society, an individual is born as a memberof his/her father'sclan. This reflects the patrilineal nature of the Zo society. For an individual to claim he/she should be able to identifyand trace membershipof the Zo community, links with of Zo clans. A clan is a systemof lineages and a one the genealogical of is a lineage genealogical segment a clan. The Zo clan is divided into many branches of lineages or sub-clans. They referto lineages as Phung and clan is called as Beh ( Chi in Duhlian/Mizo). The social solidarityin the Zo society is based on Beh (clan). The Beh is an agnatic group based on consanguine relation that claim common ancestor, it is unbreakable bond of relationship for the members. The formation of clan is relatedto theirchieftainship system,as it is usually done new clan with his name as the name of the clan. a chief. He initiates a by powerful clan it in with the formation of is So, necessary to study the systemof dealing chieftainship. Ray (1990: 8) divided the chief among the Thado-Kukis, into three chief and territorial chief. The original types, viz., the clan chief, the traditional the traditional clan chief is the direct lineal descent of the original progenitor, chief are the branches of the clan and the territorial chief, village younger original in most cases, are froma commonstock.He says that,boththetraditional chiefand a new genealogical line starting territorial chief usually initiated fromhis own and somehow connectingitwiththe mythological ancestor. of new clan always goes along withfounding The formation new settlement, which is regardedas a noble deed (Khai, 1995: 141). So, it is clear thatformation of clan and chieftainship system is related,as claiming or tracing its link to the original routinisedand legitimisedof the newly founded clan. It is due to the progenitor formation of new clans, besides the original line, emergeda numerousnumberof clans within the Zo society. The existing clans are the name of progenitors or

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chief.When a man became personswho were once popularas a chiefor paramount from his as a other chief,people village recognised subjects by his name. popular For example, Khanthuamof Sukte clan had six sons and out of them Kamhau became very popular, as he was a great warriorand influential.He frequently raided the subjects of the Manipur Raja in between 1834-50. Therefore,people who lived withinhis chiefdomwere recognisedby othersas Kamhau people with the passage of time his descendantsbegan to use his name as a clan name, though theybelong to Sukte clan. There are a numberof persons whose names appeared while tracing back their genealogy, but it has no importanceexcept to link the Thus, this is how the existingclans genealogical map of some popular personality. withinthe Zo society are formed.Initiallyit mighthave been merelya name of a evolved as a clan name withthe passage of time. person,nevertheless, In the Zo traditionalsociety there are two main priests- village priestand clan priest. Villages are generally populated by members of various clans which resulted in the existence two types priest. However, in the case of a village populated by only one clan members,the clan priestcan be the village priestas well. The clan priestis a unique ascriptivestatus,which is handed fromgeneration ritualand sacrifices to generationin a particularlineage withina clan. To perform to the clan god, the clan priesthas to go fromvillage to village as only the clan the ritual in the ancestorworship. The clan god was performs priesttraditionally of Pusa called (spirit ancestor) and SumtawngBiakna, which means worship of household benefactor. The solidarityamong the clan members is manifestedin the practice of ancestor worship, clansmen's social obligations to each other,and the relationshipin the institutionof Indongta4 (household council). The relationship and solidarity farbeyond.The amongstthe clansmen is not confinedonly withina village rather traditional their members of a clan is the religious regulatedby 'we-feeling' among importancethan the 'wepractice, as a result, it is strongerand has structural ' clans. So, all these among different feeling existingwithinthe village community contributed,besides descent from common ancestor, for the existence of 'we' feeling among clan members. The significance of clan as a social identityis manifestedin many ways in the Zo society more particularlyin the aspects of bond of based on clan is the most important social relationship. Thus, the solidarity in the Zo social structure. relationship Emergence of Dialect based Groups The topography of their settlementis one of the factors responsible for the emergenceof various dialects amongstthe Zo people. Except forsome partin the

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presentBurma and Manipur(India) most of the Zo inhabitedareas is covered with thatmade communication difficult. Once theyentered thickforestand hillyterrain the Zo people in the hill areas, the steep mountainsand deep gorges transformed It was hard to find flat land to hold as a large enough large settlement; many ways. with the same of clan into smaller result,theysplitup groupsmostly family settling in the same village. Thus, theylost theirsense of national identity [or nationhood] (Kipgen, 1997: 42). cultivationfortheirlivelihood, as there is no flat land for They practice shifting which is also called slash and burn settled wet-cultivation. For jhum cultivation, need a tract of land attached to theirvillages, so as to shift cultivation, large they of the soil. In jhum theirjhum field fromtime to time to conserve the fertility the the the better it is for the used jhum field to cultivation, longer jhum cycle This is one of the reasons whytheyhave infrequent interaction recover its fertility. with the people living in othervillages as theirvillages were established quite a of communicationbetween long distance apart fromeach other.Thus, difficulties the scattered villages made each locality developed its own way of speaking, dressing,mannersand customs(ibid. 42) Some are of the opinion thatvarious dialects emerged because of the tribalfeuds. overjhum land, As theywere occasionally engaged in tribalfeud due to contention wanted to have a chief and the like. They village boundary,the rise of paramount distinctway of speaking so as to confuse theirenemy in the war. In fact, it is difficult to ascertain the validityof this theoryhowever, it is certainthatvarious dialects emerged in the course of theirhistory.Whatever it may be the reason, whetherdue to tribal feud or jhum cultivation,it is certain that various dialects that led themto speak in a slightlydistinct interaction emerged due to infrequent way, a littledriftedaway fromthe original language. This, in turnhad became a distinct dialect with the passage of time. In spite of splittingup into various is discernableeven today. dialects,the linguisticaffinity The most interesting part is thattheycould converse amongstthe various dialectal by each using their own dialect. Basing on dialect, groups without difficulty various dialectal groups emergedconsist of different clans, which became more of a regional identity.As a result,membersof a same clan are found in different chiefover a clusterof villages, dialectal groups. Withthe emergenceof paramount the dialect spoken by the chief became the linguafranca withinthe politico-jyral domain of the chief. From his domain emerged a dialect based group that various clans which was oftentreatedby ethnographers, constituted anthropologists as a distinct tribe. and some colonial administrators

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Earlier in the Zo society,when the way of speakingof a certainvillage or area had a slight local variation fromother areas, a name was given or attached to this unique way of speaking. This name may be named afterone of the followinglike location of the area, village name, clan name, dynasticname and even depending on the mark of its uniqueness labeled to them by the others. When the recognised this name as a tribe name, the group speaking in that ethnographers a tribe. It is not necessarily that such group identitieswill, became unique way survive. However, its survival depends upon whetherit is being selected by the (Scheduled Tribes) List. postcolonial stateto be enlistedin theConstitution Dialect based Group into Tribe: Legalizing Tribe-Identity as a legal-identity, besides the dialect based The constructionof tribe-identity the social identity such as as well as the based on identity primordial group identity of the statecreatedmore complicationin the process of clan, withthe intervention identityformationamongst the Zo people. The legal-identityis constitutedby the concept of 'tribe' and then constitutionalised by enlistingin 'the introducing on the 1931 Constitution(Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950', based predominantly census of India. Consequently, contestation emerged between the traditional groupingsystemand the alien concept,i.e., Tribe. Before the adventof the British, was mainly in the contactof the Zo people withthe people outside theirterritory theformof raid or traderelations. mentionedthemonly Few had written about them in detail,whereas, some writers the Chin Lushai Expedition 1889, theywere as a passing reference.However, from subjected to suppression, division and oppression. They were classified into various groups by ethnographers by employingthe term 'tribe' for each group, like J. Shakespear (1912) used the term clan. The very though some authors to have proper, of the concept of tribeis problematic, as it is difficult introduction to definethe termtribeand apply to various coherent,and clear criteria consistent, groupswithinthe Zo society. of India issued the The Presidentas authorizedby Article342 of the Constitution Constitution(Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 that recognised the Zo people in Manipur as Kuki or any Kuki tribes in Manipur. To give suggestion for any changes that might be necessary in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes lists, the President as authorized by Article 340 of the Constitution,appointed Backward Classes Commission (BCC) on 29th January1953 with Shri Kakasaheb Kalekar as the Chairman. This Commission was formallyinauguratedon the 18th March 1953.

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The Commission submitted its report on the 30th March 1955. The proposals made the Commission were contained in Vol.-II of their reports. Based on the by recommendationmade by the Commission the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill was introduced by the Ministerof Home Affairs and Heavy Industries Shri Pandit G.B. Pant in the Lok Sabha in 1956. The modifiedSC/ST list by the parliament Act in 1956 segmentedeach of the existing tribal community, particularly in Manipur, into various distinct tribes, unnecessarily,even though the criteriagiven by the Commission did not even suggest for such division. Especially in the case of the Zo (Kuki) people the in speakingdialects. segmentation appeared to be based on differences When the bill was discussed in the Parliament,Shri Rishang Keishing M.P. of Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituencypointed out the discrepancies of the Bill. He demanded to the Ministerconcernedby saying that,'eitherthey[tribesin Manipur and Assam] should be classified as a distinct tribe or a sub tribe everywhere. A uniform policy has to be followed everywhere' {Lok Sabha of Debates, 1956, col. 6103). He cited some examples to show the inconsistency which the BCC had used in Assam, Manipurand otherstates. criteria, He pointedout that"In Assam the Hmars were treatedas a distincttribe,whereas in Tripura state they were treatedas a sub-tribe of Kuki tribe.Again in Manipur, the same Hmar were made an independent tribe,as distinctfromKuki tribe.He also said that, in Assam Thadous, Guites and Sitlhous and so many othershave of the other.In been classified as Kuki. But in Manipureverytribeis independent relation to the Naga community,he said that the Tangkhul were treated as independenttribe of the Naga in Manipur. But, in Assam all the sub-tribeslike Tangkhul,Mao, Angami, Lotha, Ao, Kabui, Sema etc. come underthe main tribe, namelyNaga" {Lok Sabha Debates , op. cit.,col. 6103). Though he made it clear thatthereare discrepanciesin the listas amended,nothing was done to reconsider.Seven MPs {Lok Sabha Debates, Col. 6554 Vol. Ill, PartIl, 2.7th August to 13th September1956) voted against it when the Bill was passed in the Parliament.Found helpless, they even demanded that theirnames should be recorded,as these M.P.s were mostlyfromthe communitiesor regions,the bill as amended had affected. The SCs/STs Lists (Modification) Order, 1956 deleted or excluded the general common names - Naga and Kuki - of the tribaisin Manipur by segmenting them into 29 tribes. It appears that this process has played a divisive role among the tribaisin Manipur. These new tribeswere formedon the basis of eitherdialects or clans, which are overlappingin the Zo society.However, these tribeshave become when the Parliament them. Act, 1956, constitutionalised legal identity

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Mahmood Mamdani (2003: 663) wrote"If the law recognisesyou as memberof an and the state institutions treatyou as memberof thatparticular ethnicity, ethnicity, if the law recognises you as thenyou become an ethnicbeing legally. By contrast, is racial. You understand a memberof racial group then your legal identity your relationshipto the state and your relationshipto other legally defined groups throughthe mediation of law and of the state, as a consequence of your legally inscribedidentity. your inclusionor exclusion fromright Similarly, you understand In the or entitlement based on your legally definedand inscribedrace or ethnicity." same way if the Law of the State recognisedyou as a tribal,you will be tribalas long as the state exists. Even ifthe statevanished due to certainreasons we cannot thatthe tribalidentity will vanish along withthe state.The tribal say withcertainty the 'tribalness' has become an thatcannot be shaken or identity ascriptiveidentity off. In consideringthe whole of Zo society we come across certaininconsistenciesin relation to their political/legalidentity (using Mamdani (2003) term,). In India, before independencetheywere recognisedas tribais,and afterindependencethey were subjected to division into various tribes by the Constitution(Scheduled of India and the subsequent Modification Tribes) Order, 1950 of the Constitution as a List in 1956. In Myanmar(Burma) theyare not given any such legal identity ethnic or more backward than the tribal, so as to be treated them as different of Burma (1947). They are on equal footing Burmese ethnic by the Constitution of the Union of Burma beforethe withthe Burmese ethnic,in the federalstructure Juntas coup the government. government of the Zo people into different The segmentation tribes,especially in Manipur and Backward Classes Commission (BCC) the of the is the result of Assam, negligence as evident in theirreport(1955). Instead of thoroughinvestigation, they simply gave certain criteriafor the inclusion of a group in the Scheduled Tribes List of to each statealong withthe followingcriteria: India. They distributed questionnaire "The Scheduled Tribes can be generallyascertainedby the factthattheylive apart in the hills, and even where theylive on the plains, they lead a separate excluded existence and are not fullyassimilated in the main body of the people. Scheduled Tribes may belong to any religion.They are listed as Scheduled Tribes because of the kindof life led by them." Had the criteriabeen followed accordinglytherewould not be any segmentation of the existing withinthe Zo people, as nothingwas mentionedfor segmentation tribes. Even though the criteria given to each state are the same, but the of each of the state are different. Thus, in the case of Assam and interpretations Lists the STs/STs (modification) Order, 1956 unnecessarilysegmented Manipur into dialectal based-tribes.In short,the SCs/STs Lists the Zo (Kuki) community

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(modification)Order, 1956 some selected 'local variation' of ways of speakingare recognised as dialect, and based on these dialects, constructedand recognised a which is called tribe. local group-identity, While writingGazetteer of Manipur in (1886, 1992), Captain E.W. Dun grouped the whole Zo people, who are now divided and listed into various tribes in the of India, as Kuki. He wrote that,'the Scheduled Tribes List of the Constitution the best to apply to the Kuki sub-division.It is evident word 'clan' is undoubtedly fromthe genealogies of theirchiefs,which have been preservedfromearliertimes that each clan has simplycalled itselfafterthe name of its chief,and the process may be observed going on at the presentday' (Dun, 1992: 32). Thus, without of the proper knowledge of the people, the BCC accepted the recommendation state. For example, Dun has mentionedin the Gazetteerabout the SimmtewithSumkm as the Chief. In the genealogy of Guite clan, Sumkm was the chief of the Guite (Wite) afterthe death of his fatherGoukhawthang.So it can be discerned that Guite were called Paihte in thethenLushai Hills and Simmtein Manipur. In simple logic, the Paihte mentionedby J. Shakespear in his book, The Lushei Kuki Clan (1912) and the Simmte mentionedby Captain E.W. Dun in Gazetteer of Manipur (1886) are the same. It is because this group inhabitedthe border areas of the presentManipur and Mizoram (Lushai Hills) boundaryline, which was demarcated the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Nevertheless, by the Britishcolonial government. tribe with Tribes (Modification) Order List, 1956, recognised them as different Simte (new spelling of Simmte)tribebased on Khuangnung(village name) dialect and Paite (Paihte) tribe based on Lamzang (village name) dialect as a resultthey tribes. are segmentedintotwo distinct Afterbeing divided and recognized into various dialectal based tribes,each of the the tribepromoteda particular dialect,which has just a slight'local variation'5from In H. Lewin wrote T. for their tribe otherlocal areas, (1984: 249) language. 1870, tribes of Lhoosai also on our frontierspeak (with slight that, 'The different the same dialect; and this,too, in spite of all these tribesbeing widely differences) witheach and in manycases havingno intercourse scatteredapartover the country, other'. In Manipur, each recognized tribe promotes one dialect amongst others. For example, the 'Paite' (Paihte) promotesthe 'Lamzang' dialect,the 'Simte' promotes the 'Khuangnung' dialect,the 'Thadou' promotesthe 'Thadou' (a clan) dialect,etc. which could be termedas locally recognised There are many more local variations, to be the base for a distincttribe. the but not dialects, government recognised by These dialects are not less eligible than the selected one, to be the base of the

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recognised tribes. It is thus clear that only certain selected few were used as the base or anchor forthe solidarityof the people using thatdialect, as well as others who use anotherdialect nearerto it, but not being selected forthe purpose of the construction of tribeidentity. of This whole processes resultintothe transformation dialectal group into tribeand the forging of dialectal group to fitinto the frameof the concept of tribehas marginalizedsome sectionsof population. The overlappingof theirclan identity and the tribeidentity has been a problemfor thismarginalisedsection.Thus, it can be discernedthatthe introduction of thetribe betweentraditional concept,which is alien to the people, engendereda contestation groupingsystembased on clan and the alien concept i.e., tribe.This implies that the state intervention in the tribe identity has no considerationof the formation cultural practices and the traditionalgroupingsystem of the people. This whole was sanctifiedby the translation of the Bible thatkept a process of segmentation differentiation permanent among those recogniseddialects. Parliament In defendingthe Bill, Shri Pataskar,the thenMinisterof Legal Affairs, of India, mentioned that the amendment was done according to the of the BCC report.This BCC reportwas draftedin accordance recommendations to the questionnairedistributed with the responses of the state government by the as well as the Commission was not, perhaps, BCC to each state. The Government aware of the problemthatwill arise because of the discrepancies,which theyhave committed.It also even appeared that they were not aware of the fact that they were forming a tribeidentity forcertaindialect based groups. No one can deny the fact thatthe BCC have not done a proper research as it is in theirreportthat,'As faras Assam and Manipur are concerned it was not written possible forus to go into details,just because of lack of communicationand want in the possession of government was neither of time, and secondly, information it is date' Vol. nor to 1955:155, Thus, (BCC report, I). very clearly up adequate shown that there is a kind of negligence on the part of the BCC fromthe above quotation,in dealing withAssam and Manipur. Emergence of crosscuttingIdentity tribe The existence of various dialects was not a problemuntilthe state introduced With the introduction of dialectal concept based on dialect for a group identity. threesocial identities based tribe identity, viz., clan, dialect and tribeexist within the Zo society. The whole process of listingof tribesin the Scheduled Tribes List has became a 'Tower of Babel' for the Zo people, as further segmentationwas done on the basis of dialectal variation. So, it plays a divisive role ratherthan of the whole process of empoweringthem,as the outcome is against the intention

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and enlistingthe Scheduled Tribes. Though the objective of the Order is to identify enlist tribesto be entitledthe statutory benefit enshrinedin the constitution, it had an adverse effectin theZo societyin theformof conflictamong the dialectal group thathas put on a mask of tribeidentity. Members of a clan disperse among various tribes and speak various slightly dialects as a resultof lack of constantcommunicationengenderedby the different and regional differences. So, legally members of a topographyof theirterritory clan become different tribe. But, somehow, the tie that binds the membersof the same clan lingered,as it is the mechanismforthe functioning of the kinshipsystem in the Zo society. The role played by the clan in the functioningof social institutions like the Inndongta (household council) and also as a base of social covertlycannot be taken up totallyby dialect based tribe.As such, it can solidarity across the boundaries of dialect based be discerned that clan is still functioning into tribes.Thus, some clans have theirmembersin many groups thattransformed tribesand if majorityof clan membershappened to be in a certaintribethenthey in othertribe,as theirown claimed theirfellow clan memberswho were minority tribemembers. As the criteriafor tribe membershipdepended on what dialect the individual is speaking,it resultedin the existenceof core group inside the existingtribe,formed withina tribe, who by the dominantclan or clans. There are people in theperiphery is are marginalised as a result of theircrosscutting-social identity.Clan identity of social institution foran individual,as it is inevitablein the functioning important like, kinship, household council etc. Even though the dialect based identity thanthe clan based identity, and important as it is appeared to be more prominent it cannot take over the role the clan within the Zo constitutional sed, played by social structure. Recognition of dialectal groups by the Governmentof India as distincttribe is ratheran aberrationfromthe Zo traditionalgroupingsystem which is based on fortriberecognition clan. It is evident thatdialect was being used as the criterion by the SCs/STs Lists (modification) Order, 1956. However, it could not be if more important than dialectal identity. followed consistentlyas clan identity It has become problematicas membersof a clan do not concentratein one particular geographical area or village ratherthey mixed with other clans and adopt any and sharing a dialect. This is possible because theyare a community livingtogether 'reciprocativeculture' withslightlocal variationsin dialect. share common myths,folklores, legend etc. Even They practice inter-marriage, claim common origin froma mythologicalcave that they called 'Khul/Khuror and could converse Chhinlung/Sinlung'. theyhave linguisticaffinity Interestingly,

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one anotherby using theirown dialects. This shows that,the Zo people are not merelya conglomerationof various tribes.William Shaw (1983:16.) wrote, 'The Koms, Aimols, Khothlangs,Thadou, Lushei, Chins, Pois, Suktes, Paites, Gangtes etc. are undoubtedlyall connected.The language alone has many similaritiesand the syntaxis notdissimilar'. of Manipur mighthave theirown reason/reasons forsegmenting The Government the Zo (Kuki) into various tribes.However, the criteriagiven in the questionnaire of the BCC did not mentionforsuch segmentation of the existingtribes.It may be memorandum to the Union Home Ministerto argued that some leaders submitted be recognised as a distincttribe. But many of the groups recognised as a tribeby or the ST List (Modification) Order, 1956 did not submit any representation memorandumfor them to be included in the List, forexample, like Sukte, Ralte, Lushai, Angami, etc. There are some groups who submittedmemorandumfor instance,the Paite National Council, demandingthe recognitionof the Paite as a November 1955, to the Ministerof Home Affairs, tribeof India, dated 18lh distinct Governmentof India.6However, even this memorandumwas submittedafterthe theirreport. BCC had submitted as well as the Backward Classes Therefore,it is clear thatthe State Government to preservethe Zo (Kuki) people as a single Commission did not take any effort British the Zo people as Kuki) instead they segmented the recognised entity(as into various tribesand deleted the name Kuki completelyfromthe Schedule Tribe of the tribalcommunities List in Manipur in 1956. This unnecessarysegmentation in Manipur created problems by disturbingthe ethno-politicalequations. The of the tribalcommunitieshad its repercussionin the political arena, segmentation as a result the assertion of the majority community over the segmented in the state of communities. This led to a situation like a covert-militocracy Manipur, where the underground militants run the democratically elected government. Conclusion of tribeconcept is problematicamongstthe Zo people because it The introduction is not possible to accuratelydemarcatethe tribe boundary.Moreover all the clan So, various clan groups were mixed up in various villages in the course of history. a in a a with village speak language slight local variation groups living together and The clan which is the social that of the others. from identity, identity, primary the dialectal identitythat rather has become a regional identity,cannot be conflated. These identitiesare not co-terminalratherthey are overlapping. So, with the on the basis of dialect is introducedit is inconsistent when tribe identity Zo traditionalgrouping system, which is based on clan. In the process there

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clan will findthemselves emerged a situationin which membersfroma particular in different tribesdependingupon the dialect theyspeak. This problemarise as the role and importance of the clan identity in the Zo culture could not be taken over by the dialect based identity as well as the tribe identity withinthe Zo social structure. Some sections are marginalisedas majorityof their clansmen speak different dialect that determinedtheirtribe identity.So legally, they could not be a part of theirclansmen tribebut culturallythey have inducted each otherin theirInndongta (Household Council) social institution. Hence, these whole processes led to the emergenceof crosscutting where an individual identity has plural social identitiessuch as clan, dialect and tribe,and its importanceis based on cultural,regional and legal respectively.The segmentationhas had far reaching socio-political repercussionsthat shaken the stable ethnic balance, as a consequence various ethnicmobilizationmovements emergedin Manipur. Acknowledgments andtheeditors to helpmerevise I wouldliketo thank referees thispaperand anonymous itto thisform. bring Notes

S. Carey& H.N. Tuck,1896,TheChinHills See Betram it , Vol. I, Rangoonin which "The Kuki of Manipur, theLushaihill of Bengal and Assam,and the is written that, livedin whatwe nowknowas Thibet Chinoriginally (Tibet)and are one andthesame form ofgovernment, methods of cultivation, manner and customs, believes stock;their all point to one origin". Also see G.O. Newport, 'MissionWorkamong and traditions, theLushai',in Rev. Culliford Field: A Missionary (ed.), 1894,TheHarvest , Magazine ThirdSeries, Vol. V, July1893 to December1894. p. 292, He wrote, "It is now studied thesubject, that theLushais, recognised bythosewhohavecarefully generally theChins,theKukis,and other tribes on ournorth-east frontier are really all branches of one and thesame tribe. those of hill the denizens who dwellto Roughly speaking, whilethoseto thewestarecalledLushais". theeastofthehillsarecalled"Chins", in his Linguistic G.A. Grierson, "The name(Chin) is not survey of India mentioned, themselves who usedtitles used by thetribe suchas Zo or Yo or Sho".2Whereas F.M "I do notknowtheorigin Rundallalso wrote: ofthenameChin;it is Burmese I fancy; Zo, Zote beingthe anyhowthe Chins do not know the word and call themselves plural". defines 'Identikit' The OxfordDictionary as set of pictures of different features that can be fitted to form thefaceof a person withthehelpof descriptions together given I mean the identity of a by people who have seen him. So by identikit-identity

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whichis usuallythe name of the community, community, given or constructed by or anthropologists on the basis of the descriptions about the people ethnographers characteristic features or theirneighbours. It is usuallyan presented by informants nameinmostcases,as thepeoplethemselves do notcall bysuchnames. imposed the 'household council'thatis formed to takecares theinternal as Inndongta: family well as external affairs of the household It of consists of the clansmen the family. household bestfriend and somedistant relatives another sisters, (from clan) of family, theheadofthefamily. exist amongsta community Local variation speakinga same languageif thereis social interaction due to certain reasons likelack of proper communication, infrequent 4 unit boundary, administrative etc. the denomination, Here, religion, phrase local is used to emphasize variation' thenegligible differences between thevarious dialects, whichis beingusedbythestate within theZo (India)to be thebase ofthetribe identity inthestate ofManipur andAssam. society particularly Memorandum submitted of therecognition by thePaiteNationalCouncildemanding Paiteas a distinct tribe Govt,of India,on the of Indiato theHon'ble Home Minister, 18th November 1955,New Churachandpur. References

and Social Stratification in North East India. Das, N. K. 1989. Ethnic-Identity Ethnicity New Delhi: Inter-India Publications. Delhi:ManasPublications Dun,E.W. 1992.Gazetteer (First 1886). ofManipur. published: E.E. 1940. The Nuer : A Description Evans-Pritchard, of the Modes of Livelihoodand PoliticalInstitution Clarendon Press. ofNeolithic People.Oxford: : TheLegacyof Lewis Henry and theSocial Order Fortes, Meyer.1969. Kinship Morgan. London:Routledge andKeganPaul. . 1940. 'Kinshipand Marriage theAshanti,' In A.R. Radcliffe-Brown & among Forde and (eds.) African Daryll System of Kinship Marriage.London/New York/ Toronto: OUP for Africa Institute: 252- 284. International Max. 1950. "Kinship and Marriage Rhodesiaand Gluckman, amongtheLozi of theNorth Zulu of Natal," In A.R. Radcliffe Brownand Daryll,Forde (eds.) African AfricanInstitute: Oxford Systemof Kinshipand Marriage. International Press:166-206. University Culture. Hatzaw. Khai,SingKhaw. 1995.Zo Peopleand their Khampu Churachandpur: and Mizo Culture : The Encounterbetween Kipgen, Mangkhosat.1997. Christianity and Zo Culture in Mizoram. Aizawl: Mizo Theological Christianity Conference.

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Frontier & Lewin,T.H. 1984. WildRaces oftheEastern ofIndi. Delhi: MittalPublishers in 1870). Distributors (First published Lok Sabha Debates. 1956. Vol. Ill, Part-II, 27th to 13th 1956,Thirteenth August September Session.New Delhi: Lok Sabha Secretariat. Mahmood. 2003. 'BeyondSettler andNativeas Political Identities: Mamdani, Overcoming ' In thePoliticalLegacyof Colonialism, Studiesin Society and Comparative 43 65 1-664. October, (4): History. A.R. 1913. Three Tribesof Western Journalof theRoyal Radcliffe-Brown, Australia,' Institute , 43:143-194. Anthropological A.R. 1918. 'Notes on the Social Organization of Australian Tribes.' Radcliffe-Brown, Journal Institute , 48:222-53. oftheRoyalAnthropological Its Social base and Working in Ray, Asok Kumar.1992. 'The Kuki NationalAssembly: In L.S. Parties in East India. Gassah Political North (ed.) Regional Manipur,' OmsonPublications. . 1990.Authority & Legitimacy : A Study in Manipur . oftheThadou-Kukis Classes Commission. Govt,of India. 1955. Vol. II. Shimla:Govt, of theBackward Report of IndiaPress. Charlotte.1986. Tribe,' In Macmillan Dictionaryof Anthropology , Seymour-Smith, 281. London:Macmillan: J.[1912] 1998. TheLusheiKukiClans. Aizawl:TribalResearch Institute (First Shakespear, in 1912). published , Guwahati& New Delhi Specturm Shaw, William. 1997. Notes on the Thadou-Kukis in Publications (First published 1929).

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