Mizoram University Hosts International Seminar on Chin History
An international seminar on ‘exploring the history, culture and identity of the Chin people’ which kicked off last Monday is held at Chaltlang Tourist Lodge in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram State, India.
The three-day seminar organised by Mizoram University has presentations and discussions on the Chins by Kuki-Chin historians. The event, initiated by Chin National Council, is sponsored by Brussels-based Euro-Burma Office.
Professor A.N. Rai, Vice Chancellor of Mizoram University, inaugurated the programme which was followed by a lively and beautiful welcoming song from students of History Department. An introductory speech was given by Coordinator of the seminar, Dr. K. Robin of History Department and keynote address by Professor J.L. Dawar.
Euro-Burma Office Research Director and Chairman of Chin National Council, Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong, gave a speech on behalf of Euro-Burma Office (EBO) and Salai Kipp Kho Lian, Chin Forum Coordinator, spoke on behalf of Chin National Council.
Dr. Lalngurliana of Mizoram University proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Harn Yawnghwe, Director of Euro-Burma Office for supporting financially to make this auspicious seminar possible where both the attendees and organising committee members alike delight in the historic occasion.
More than 150 scholars on Kuki-Chins from across the world came to attend this important seminar with a total of 36 scholarly papers on Chin identity, according to the organising committees.
The first day of the seminar saw presentations from 16 scholars including Professor Dr.T.T. Haokip of North-Eastern Hill University, Professor Laltluangliana Khiangte of Mizoram University, Professor George Bedell of Payap University, Professor Lehman of Illinois University and Chin history scholar Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong.
It is said that Mizoram University will publish all the papers presented at the seminar in a book form.
Speaking in both Chin and English at the opening ceremony of the seminar, Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong said: “It is such a privilege to have a seminar like this on Chin history and culture, well organised by Mizoram University in our capital city, Aizawl. Your [the audience] presence recognise our name, our culture and our identity.”
Salai Kipp Kho Lian, Secretary of the first Chin Forum Magazine distributed at the seminar, said: “I believe that in the near future when we could successfully agree on a new federal constitution for the Union of Burma, the Chin people on both sides of the Indo-Burma border line will be of great help to India and play a vital role in helping her implement the Look East policy in many ways.”
The first day of vibrant and magnificent moments with scholarly presentations and discussions was ended at 5 pm with a dinner party thrown by Professor A.N. Rai, Vice Chancellor of Mizoram University.
The first session of the second day that started at 9:30 am was chaired by Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong and the second session from 12 noon to 2 pm by Professor Dr. Lehman. The last session continued with Dr. Sangkima as a chairperson.
This is the third time the international Chin seminar is held. The first one named ‘Chin-Lushai Conference’ was said to be done with no Chin participants in Calcutta, India in 1892 by the British and the second with only Chin participants in Ottawa, Canada in 1998. The seminar this year has been hailed as the most comprehensive as it includes not only the Chin people but also scholars with knowledge and experiences on Chin history and culture from various countries including USA, Canada, Thailand, India, Burma and Europe.
Van Biak Thang
14 October, 2008