That little thing they say has bombed Aizawl, and me I’m lost and so helpless’.
The only city the Mizo people called their own, loved by every Mizo child born of Chhinlung.
I believe it was February 26, 1966 while sitting in the Class VII room of Govt. High School when my dearest friend Kimteii said to me, “My Dear, my Dad said that the MNF Volunteers are apparently attempting to seize the Aizawl Assam Rifles and U Tlana has also gone with some others towards the Chite river” that my young heart of fourteen years was filled with joy, excitement and apprehension. All the more so because the autumn of the previous year, I had bunked my classes at Saitual ME School to help out at the feast on the setting up of an MNF Volunteer Battalion.
Then from the night of February 28, 1966, Aizawl began to be filled with the sounds of gunfire and bomb blasts. Everyone stayed put in their houses, looking for a haven of safety and the hazardous and difficult process of relocation had already begun. There was no longer any thought of School so along with my friends Kimi and Vani, we set out to help the volunteers in any we could. We went over to our assigned task of cooking for them at Govt. Boys M.E. School and found grown men, young men and women there. While we busied ourselves with our task, there were some who were happily singing with their guitars and dancing in joy. Words cannot adequately express the emotions of joy and anxiety mixed in our hearts during those precarious times. The time had apparently come for us, like it had for others in the outside world to find and identify ourselves with a political movement.
While we young people were busy with our assigned task, there was another time evolving, a more hazardous and perilous one. A powerful Fighter (F 104 Phantom Z) had reached the Aizawl skies and was hovering above us. After a few turns above, they began pelting those places they believed housed volunteers with bombs and other ammunition, with absolutely no restraint. Everyone ran amok in fear, looking for a place where they might be safe- I also found myself in a few life-threatening situations! As they were fleeing, my uncle/grandfather called for me to follow but I said, “ You run on to safety, I will follow with my friends at the end, but do find a way of letting me know where you go.”
There were hordes of people fleeing Aizawl from then on. We somehow found ourselves going towards Dawrpui from Tuikual side to find my family had already left. They had left a letter saying, “Tante, We are going down to Chite and will go on to Saitual from Zokhawsang and Seling. Follow us as quickly as you can.” I then knew how I was to follow them. My friend Kimteii’s family had also left but they had gone down south to their families there. All this while Aizawl was already groaning in fear and trepidation, with her people abandoning her for safety. It was then that it happened, this Zawlkhawpui we loved was burning, there was nothing to see but flames all around. My only lot was to cry 'That little thing they say has bombed Aizawl, and me I’m lost and so helpless'.
Burning Flames! Dead Bodies! Kimteii Passed Away!
With My Dear-i (Kimteii), my dearest friend in this whole world, I got ready to flee Aizawl with the rest to find us a sanctuary from this madness. On the road towards Bazar, we did see a few corpses on the way and all this time, the Fighter was hailing down fire at everyone and everything on land. At Tuithiang, we saw the dead bodies of cows and pigs and decided that we would avoid the Dawrpui road and walk on towards the west of Aizawl because the fighter frequented the eastern parts of town more than the others. When we saw the corpses of two teenaged girls lying together on the steps between two houses, we were filled with pity and touched to our cores. But knowing that this could be our fate too in another minute, I covered the bodies with one of my ‘puan’s (a type of sarong, the traditional wear of a Mizo woman) and we moved on.
As we were passing over the western road, we saw the body of a young man lying atop a small mound. Tired, we hurriedly lay down on a lowland. Then Kimteii, in an attempt to cover the body of that young man with her puan crawled towards the mound. There was a sudden machine gun fire from the A.R. compound and Kimteii cried out just as she covered the dead man’s body. When I turned at the sound of her cry, I saw the gun had caught her right below her breast, the bullet had come out through the back. Blood was coming out in splashes. She was tossing and turning on the ground. With all her strength she was shouting, “Tante, my dear, I’m going to die, I’m going to die. Run quickly, they’ll shoot you too…” I held her in my arms and cried, “O, my dear, Kimte, Kimte, how can I go on without you…? Never fear, I will die here with you…” And with her dying breath, “Tante, Tante, I’m now going to give my life for our land. Mother..Mother…Father…Father.the pain..” I prayed so that she might feel comforted, and that I might die there with her. In between her cries of agony, “Tante, take my notebook too and please continue to study…fulfill the dream we both had of becoming lady doctors” and soon after that “Mother…Mother…My King, take me into your arms… Dear God..I’m coming to you..” My Dear-i’s face began to change. She moved in fits, she stretched in pain, she groaned, and then she was no more. She was no longer there to speak to me. “My Dear, Kimte, open your eyes, speak to me” I repeated myself over and over again but she did not answer again nor did she move.
O my dear, Kimte, Kimte,
You have now given your life for our land and our people;
My friend, my friend, my love, my greatest love!
Your parting words..my misery..but Kimte,
When will my soul come to be with you..?
O Kimte, goodbye…goodbye…
were the only words I could cry out. But even then, I was strangely comforted. In the autumn of 1965, Pu Lalchungnunga had held a Salvation Camping at Saitual and we both had offered ourselves up to God in prayer then. That is why Kimteii had cried out to her Saviour with her dying breath.! The God of Grace would surely have embraced her and welcomed her into his loving arms. Also, Kimteii had fought for our land and our people. A person with so much love, she had seen an unattended corpse and had gone ahead to cover it with her soft puan, knowing it was dangerous to move out. She was not afraid to die in fulfilling our traditional show of love and concern! As long as the Mizo people live, we shall remember Kimteii. Kimteii has died, but she continues to live.
Then I covered her body with my best puan, the Ngotekherh and laid her beside the body of the young man she had covered. A young man came by just then and shouted to me, “Why are you still here? Run quickly”. Then over the body of my best friend, the friend I’d been with since I was a kid, the one I always studied with and one I would never forget, over Kimteii’s body I prayed. Having ruled by the Creator of heaven and earth that we must part, I had to bid her farewell even against my will.
O my dear Kimte, from whom I never wished to part,
But fate has ruled that I live, aimless in my loss!
I cannot accept, I do not know how to
Till when we find complete and everlasting rest
…so crying I picked up her notebook and all her clothes in a bundle and ran off in a hurry with the young man towards the west.
After a while we teamed up with a family that was fleeing and somehow managed to cross Aizawl from the south. I had become so tired and hungry that I often stumbled and fell on the way. The young man would pick me up and hold my hand and he gave me all the remains of his bread. He then went on to Muallungthu while I stayed the night at Zokhawsang where my family had been. Then with some others, I moved up to join them at Saitual. At that time, Aizawl was no longer a city- it was just a big fire. With flames and smoke, with corpses on the streets, it had become a battleground like other places in the world.
From my trials to victory
My father (Thangvula, Arunachal Sub-Inspector for Education) came over from Manipur to Saitual to take me and we left for Manipur after two weeks at Saitual. My trials may have been a pittance compared to what others went through, but for me, it created a sense of victory in my heart. That also became the core of my life’s purpose. I went through life in health by the grace of God, doing well in my studies but my beloved Kimteii was no longer with me. I felt alone and forlorn many times. But she had gone on to the Saviour she had accepted, to a place where she did not have to study nor toil in hard work. I shall also join her and rest with her some day soon. The dream I had shared with Kimteii since we started High School, the dream she left me with in her dying moments became ever more precious! My father’s parting words as I was to leave for Bombay Medical College were so beautiful to me- “Tante, go in good health. You are to study to become a Doctor just as your friend Kimteii wanted you so remember that you are a Mizo wherever you go and remember to trust yourself in the Lord always.
Looking back on the times that have gone by
How nostalgic I feel as I look back on my life! Where are the friends with whom I had shared such a happy month (February 1966) in the Class VII room at Government High School, without any fear that they would end so soon? O how I wish I could have just one day of the happy times I spent with my Kimteii at Aizawl! I can never forget Kimteii-her body given in sacrifice, the blood she shed, her last words spoken. How my tears fell the day I heard that I had passed my M.B.B.S. from Bombay Medical College, remembering the dream I had shared with Kimteii! I felt she came to me in spirit repeatedly saying, “Tante, how happy I am for you! I have now rested, Tante, it is up to you to use your skills for our land, for our people.”
After covering her body with my Ngotekherh and kissing her cheeks as I left her, Kimteii’s physical body has forever been lost to me! And how can I forget the young man who held me as I stumbled tired and hungry, the one who gave me his bread to eat, what is his name? Where might he be? And what about the family I detoured Aizawl with? And how precious for me the old lady in whose house I stumbled in at Zokhawsang, the one who cleaned me up of the clothes covered in Kimteii’ blood! And I remember the kindness of those I went with till Saitual and how they cared for me. And priceless is my father who came all the way from Manipur to take me to safety. Had he not come, I would have been caught in the terrible madness at Aizawl and where then would I have been? On the day I was filled with such memories.
“ When I look back on the times gone by
how I miss the friends who’ve gone
comfort me now
o land where there are no goodbyes”
“The years of our youth, the good times all gone
Are you only to be the past?
As I collect the memories of those times
How melancholic and wistful you make me feel"
(This is a Mizo article published in 1980 in the ‘MZP Chanchinbu’. The then Editor of the magazine, Dr. J.V.Hluna has included the piece in his book which is named after the title of this article. No further information is known of the writer and the author of the book expresses his deep desire to know who the writer, and who her ‘My Dear Kimteii’ are. This is an almost literal translation of a piece that brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it - tochh_shrugged) https://www.scribd.com/doc/2227960/Aizawl-Burning
ZORAM NI PROGRAMME
Millenium Centre kawt
A hmun : Millenium Centre
A hun : March Ni 5, 2011 Dar 11:00 AM
Kaihruaitu : S. Lalrinawma, Member, Organising Committee
Hunserh : Revd. Chuauthuama, Ramhlun Venglai
Malzai : Mimi Renthlei
Thusawi : Pu Lalmuanpuia Punte, Vice Chairman NESO
Malzai : Zoramchhani
Vanapa Hall kawt
Mal zai : Zoramchhani
Lehkhabu tlangzarh leh
thusawi : Pu V.L. Krosshnehzova, Chairman, Organising Committee
Malzai : Mimi Renthlei
Thusawi : Dr. H. Lallungmuana, Salem veng
Chawimawina hlan : Conducted by:- H. Lalremsiama, Secretary Organising Comtt.
Thusawi tawi leh
tawngtai : Rev Lalzuithanga, Executive Secretary, Synod Mission Board
A hmun : Vanapa Hall
Report : Pu Laltanpuia, Aizawl Art Gallery
Hawnna : Rev. Dr. Lalsawma, Mission Vengthlang
Note :- Millenium Centre leh Vanapa Hall kawtah hian aurual a ni ang.
Mizote hun kal tawh thlir leta hnam pumpuia kan tawrhna ni rapthlak ber leh, pawisawilote’n nunna tam tak an hlohna leh kuttualleichhama mi tam tak awm takna te, In leh lo, buh leh bal tam tak kan ralna ni 5th March 1966 champha chu a tum li na atan vawiin March ni 5, 2011 (Inrinni) hian hman a ni leh ta. India sorkarin Armed Force Special Power Act 1958, Mizorama a hman mek bawhchhiain a hmanraw neih that ber zinga mi Jet Fighter hmangin Mizoram hmun hrang hrang meivapah a rawn chantir ta a nih kha.
Khawvel hnam hrang hrangte hian an hnam nuna thil thleng chhinchhiahtlakte chu a chhe zawng a ni emaw, a tha zawng emaw an ngai pawimawh hle thin a, chu ni chu thinlung lama hnam tanrualna leh inpumpek tharna ni atan an hmang hlauh thin a. Chutiang bawkin keini Mizote pawh hian kha March ni 5, 1966 kha Zofate Jerusalem, Aizawl mai bakah Mizoram khaw tam tak India sorkarin thapui thawha Jet Fighter leh bomb hmang meuha a beihna ni anih avangin hriat reng hi Zofa, thangtharte bat a ni.
Japan tan chuan Indopui 2-na a America-in Hiroshima a Atom Bomb a thlak ni August 6 1945 kha an thil thleng rapthlak ber a ni. Nagasaki-ah August 9-ah Atom Bomb kha thlak leh mahse a hmasa hi an tlawm in tanna ni a ni a. He ni hi inhuatna ni a hmang lovin World Peace Day-ah an hmang hlauh a, baloon lian pui pui chhuahin, baloon-a remna leh muanna thuchah inziak hmangin khawvel muanna atan tawngtaina ni ah an hmang thin a. He ni ah hian an hnam tana martarte zahna uar takin an lantir a, an hnam inpumkhatna ni, an ram ni serh pawimawh atan an hmang thin a ni.
Taiwan ram ni serh pawimawh chu Febraury 28 a ni. Mao Tsetung-a pawl Communist ten Main Land China atanga Chiang Kaisheka pawl, Coumintang Party te an um chhuah khan Formosa ah (tuna Taiwan) an lut a, Taiwanese ho chu hneh takin an awp bet ta a ni. Kuomintang sipaiin Hawker nu pakhat hnute a deh avanga buaina kal zelah Taiwanese civil mite’n lungawiloh lantir nana kawng an zawh lai chu February 28, 1947 khan Kuomintang sipaiten kapin, mi 25,000 zet an kap hlum a, chu ni chu an ram history-a ni thleng rapthlak ber pakhat a ni. Chinese-in rei tak an awp hnuah tun hnaiah Taiwanese tan sorkarna an chang ta a, Kuomintang (Chinese) Party chunga an ram ni serh pawimawh, hnam inpumkhatna ni ah an hmang ta a ni. Museum lian tak an sa a, an buai lai chanchin leh ni chu inhrilh chhawng zelin Unity Day-ah an hmang ta hlauh a ni.
Khawvela terrorist pawl lian Al Qaida te’n USA a World Trade Centre, an beih ni September 9, 2001 chu USA tan ni rapthlak a ni a, kum tin 9/11 tiin urhsun taka serh a ni thin a, khawvelin an sawisel ngai lo.
British-in India a awp lai, April ni13, 1919 khan Brig. General Reginal Dyer-a’n Amritsar mipuite chunga a thil tih rapthlak tak, India-in a la theihnghilh theih loh chu India history zirtute tan hriat ngei ngei a tul a, Jallianwalla Bagh Masacre tiin India rilru ah leh khawvel thinlungah hriat reng a la hlawh a ni.
Khawvel Indopui II-na lai khan Japan sipaite’n Korea nula 2,00,000 zet pawngsualin an ti nawmnah hle a, chu thil thleng chu Korean mipui te’n an theihnghilh thei lo. South Korea rama hmeichhe dikna chanvo humhalhtu pawl War & Womens Right Museum chuan ngaihdam dil tura Japan sorkar phutin kum 1992 January ni 8 atang khan Seoul khawpui laili taka ding Japan Embassy kawtah lungawilohna lantirin darkhat leh a chanve chhung an pungkhawm thin a. Japan sorkarin ngaihdam a dil hma chuan Nilaini apiangin an dingkhawm zel thin a, kum 2010 khan Japan Prime Minister-in ngaihdam a dil tak avangin an tawp ta a ni.
Mizote Ni serh pawimawh chu Krismas, Kumthar Ni leh Good Friday te an ni. He’ng Ni te hi serh tur chu a ni ngei a. Amaherawhchu, heng Ni te hi Mizo hnam bil tan inkaihhnawihna bul nei an ni hran lo. Chapchar Kut, YMA Day, MHIP Day, MUP Day te leh Zirlaite Ni te nei mah i la, Mizo hnam pumpui min huap tak tak thei hek lo.
March Ni 5, 1966-a Jet Fighter-in Mizoram a bomb ni chuan Mizote khawpui ber, Zofate Jerusalem hi luahtu awm lovin meivapah changin rukru leh suamhmangte pukah a chang hman hial a, thlabarnain Mizoram pum a tuam a, he ni lungchhiatthlak tak hi Mizote hian kan theihnghilh ang maw…!
TEUH LO MAI !! A TEUH LO MAI!!
A hnuah khaw dang dangte bomb lehin khaw hal leh ‘Grouping’a thleng a, kum 20 rambuaia kan awm chhungin ni thleng rapthlak pui pui sawi kim sen loh a awm a, ni khat thil thu a rapthlak ber chu March Ni 5, 1966 kha a ni. Japan, Taiwan leh USA te leh khawvel hmundanga an tuarna aiin a nep mai thei, mahse, a tuartu Mizote tan ni rapthlak a ni miau si. Khawvel hmun danga tawrhna thlengte ang em em a rapthlak ni lo mahse, Mizo hnam tan sawi nep chi a ni lo.
India sorkar hriat danin MNF volunteers chu 2000, East Pakistan (tuna Bangladesh)-a trainning nei mi 200 an ni. March ni 1-a MNF-in Lunglei leh Champhaia sipai ta an man khawmte nen veka an ralthuam neih zat India-in a hriat dan chu-
1. 303 Rifles = 600 2. Light Machine Gun = 20
3. Sten Gun = 75 4. Carbines = 25
5. Revolvers/Pistols = 30 leh Local arms chi hrang hrang 1500 vel a ni.
MNF mi leh sa, ralthuam neih zat leh training nei zat pawh an hria. Sipai camp hualtu MNF zat pawh an hual ber sipai te’n, “Training neilo, ralthuam neilo, hlauhawmlo” an ti. Tui chawi tura an chhuak ngam lo pawh Dakota thlawhna in tui a thlak a, chutih laiin an mahni chhan turin 61 Mountain Brigade chu Lt.Gen. Sagat Singh hovin thim nguk khawpa tamin Mizoram an pan a, March Ni 7-ah Aizawl an lut mai dawn tih an hrechiang reng tawh. Hetianga India sipai ngei te paw’n an sawi laia India sorkarin a ralthuam neih that ber leh an ram chhung hmun danga a hman duh ngai loh Jet Fighter hmanga March Ni 5-a min bomb kha India sorkar hian ti sual an inti angem le? Keini chuan tisual kan ti a, ‘Kan lo ti sual palh a ni e’ ti ve mai se kan dam tlang tur.
Kan hnam history-a thil thlengah hei aia min phuarkhawm thei, Zoram Ni tih phu hi a awm dawn em ni? Kan hnam ni, inpumkhatna ni, Pathian kan auh nasat ber ni a ni mai law’m ni? India huatna ni emaw hel tumna rilru chawh thawh tumna emaw a ni lo. Mizo kan nihna angin ‘respectable’ takin India hian min en se kan duh a ni.
Lungrual tak leh puithu taka he ni kan serh a, thi leh hliam tuarte zahna kan entira, hnam chhantute chawimawina ni atan kan hman thin chuan inpumkhatna ni, Pathian auhna ni ah kan hmang thei ngei ang a, India pawhin min hrethiam ngei bawk ang.
He ni hman anih avanga Mizote zinga inhriatthiam lohna leh innghirnghona a thlen Zoram Ni Organising Committee chuan a awm a phal lova, he tawrhna rapthlak tak hriat rengna ni hian inpumkhatna tha zawkte, tumruhna leh taimakna tharte, Mizo hnamin hma a sawnna tura inpek tharna ni ah te hman nise a duh tak zet a. In rem thei lo te inremna ni atan te, Mizo leh Mizo inkara inhmangaihna lantirna ni atan hman nise a duh takzet a ni.
Thangtharte hian ‘nuamsa taka remna leh muanna hi thleng kan nih loh thu leh, zum leh hriam, silai mu kara Pathian kaihhruaina a thleng kan ni’ tih hi hre reng se a duh a ni.
He ni hi urhsun taka hman a, hun lo kal tura hman leh zel turah pawh Mizo zawng zawng kan leng vek a, midang huatna Ni ni lova, chhungkaw tin pawh inngeih tlang taka awm a, thinlung thar nen hmang vek turin Zoram Ni Organising Committee chuan thinlung takin a chah tak zet zet a ni.
Issued by Zoram Ni Organising Committee@ MZP - https://mzpmizoram.org
I has seen in my own eyes from our hiding place near present Mizoram University. My dad went back to confirm if our properties were also burnt - he came back with shock that many dead bodies were lying everywhere. My dad cried out of shame he was in the Indian Army during World War II