Aizawl: Students of six different schools of Aizawl in Mizoram on Monday took a pledge not to marry people from outside the Mizo community.
The pledge was administered by the state’s apex students’ body — the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP). Started in 2015, the campaign, which is held every year on September 2, is meant to sensitise students against inter-ethnic/ inter-community marriages.
The campaign was launched against marriages with non-tribals, which they fear could lead to annihilation of the Mizo community. It also aims to protect the Mizo tribal culture and identity.
Speaking at the function, L Ramdinliana Renthlei, president of the MZP, said, “Marriage within our own community is the best way to protect our Mizo culture and identity. We are a small community that could easily be assimilated by non-tribals if we marry outside of our community. It is the need of the hour to consider those marrying non-tribals as traitors, as their descendants could grab the entitlements enjoyed by tribals.”
He added that the campaign is also aimed at the Reang, Chakma, Bengali and other ethnic groups to marry within their own community.
Renthlei further explained about the Mizo customary law that bars a Mizo woman from her tribal rights if she marries a non-tribal. According to the law, even the children of such women cannot enjoy tribal rights.
Last year, the largest NGO of the state, the Young Mizo Association (YMA), had demanded for an enactment of a legislation that removes the Scheduled Tribe status of a Mizo woman marrying a non-Mizo.
Answering to EastMojo’s inquiry about the fate of children borne of a mixed marriage, if such a law is passed, Renthlei said, “Children of a Mizo woman having the surname of their mother will be accepted as Mizos.”
He added that with modern times and a more inclusive sentiment among the younger generation, the orthodox practice of discriminating children of mixed marriages that was seen in the past has slowly disappeared. The society and church have become more accepting, especially if the father adopts a Mizo name, Renthlei said.
The six schools where the campaign was launched were:
1. Government Higher Secondary School
2. JL Higher Secondary School
3. Republic Higher Secondary School
4. St Joseph Higher Secondary School
5. Brighter Higher Secondary School
6. Living Water Higher Secondary School