The Day Aizawl City Went Up in Flames

March 5th, 2010 12:20 pm by Sandman

Thenkhat chuan in lo hne tawh mai theia :D a then chuan an bomb in tia, a then chuan bomb lo, a then chuan an kap, a then chuan hnam a ti pumkhatlo, a then chuan Hnam feeling a siam, a then chuan coke botol nen thla an la etc etc etc.

Mizo community site hran hranah chuan he thu hi kan khel ber a ni mek e. Engpawhnise, he article ka rawn publish na chhan chu vawiin hi “Zoram Ni” a nih mai bakah he article ka chhiar apiang hian ka hnuk a ulh ziah thin. “Hnam feeling” zawng nilovin, literary article angin han chhiar ve teh u (in la chhiar loh chuan). He article hi misual.com ah 2008 khan post tawh a nia, a translate tunu permission ngeiin ka rawn republish leh a ni e.

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The Day Aizawl City Went Up in Flames

‘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 ‘Aizawl City’ the name on every Mizo lip- the city burning on March 5, 1966 will forever be a living memory for me.

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 way 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 dearKimte, 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
Goodbye…goodbye

…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”

and

“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.”

Blog source: Tochh_shrugged

(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 “Zawlkhawpuiin senmei a chan ni kha”. 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)

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28 Responses to “The Day Aizawl City Went Up in Flames”

  1. 1
    Sandman Says:

    Hemi post ah hi chuan bomb chungchang inhnialna vel leh opinion dangte comment pe lo hram turin kan rawn ngen a che u.

    Chung tiang lam sawi theihna article dang a tam tho sia, a lawmawm khawp ang he post ber kherah hi chuan he thawnthu leh literary perspective lam chauh atanga in rawn comment theih chuan. Thank you.

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  2. 2
    tehfung Says:

    A va ril kher ve le… Mittui parawl treuh khop a ka’n chhiar chu le…

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  3. 3
    RTPA Says:

    Ka tlangval lai in ka chhiar tawh:) ngaih nawm ka ti khop mai..

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  4. 4
    retrochic Says:

    ngaihnawm… a ziaktu poh zawn har ka ringlo. engle khaw le, aizawl bomb chungchang titi tam hle mai tunlai chu. kan pian ve hma ani sia… kan vannei!

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  5. 5
    chhangte_ll Says:

    Sipel nuap nuap chung leh Pu Buanga Dictionary enchungin ka chhiarchhuak dap, a ngaihnawmin a lungchhiat thlak hle mai.

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  6. 6
    kay Says:

    A ngaihnawm khawp mai. Mahse a Mizo tawngin ka chhiar chak zawk mah. Thu lehlin hi chuan tlem hi ‘lost in translation’ hi a awm ve duh em a, a nih na zawng zawng a phawrh chhuak lo thin te ka tiaaaa… heti pawh hian a ngaihnawm thau thau

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  7. 7
    Epistemology Says:

    Thanks.. Sandman..

    Mizo political insurgency came to an end in 1986. However, to many people; this was not just the end. Rather, another painful journey way ahead. The memory of the trauma lingers on in many individual lives. With the ongoing reconstruction of the state of Mizoram in post-insurgency period, vast literatures on insurgency has been produced in academic institutions across India.

    Unfortunately, such literatures rarely touch how an ethnic individual reads the history of insurgency ‘from below’. Once, conflict, battle and war constituted an important theme in Mizo oral tradition that Mizo heroes were the protagonists, their antagonists were the other ethnic groups, the British colonial power and the postcolonial nation state of India. Such narratives formed an important theme in the local construction of their past.

    I think, this text is one of the most important recollections of ethnic memory and literature of insurgency in Mizoram. It also reminds us how ordinary people’s narratives can be a part and parcel of nation building process in North East India.

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  8. 8
    shailendra Says:

    Zoram ni nge nge, bomb tih leh hal, buai tih velah ka tlai ta thawkhat e. blurb…

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  9. 9
    muantea Says:

    Hmanah khan he thu hi ka chhiar tawh a, ngaihtuahna a kal ding duh khawp mai. Mizo sentiment khawih ngaih thei element a inphum teuh a true story ni ngeia ngaih anih ruala a ziaktu ber hriat a ni silo hian thinlung a tihnim lehzual.

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  10. 10
    caribou Says:

    A ziaktu hi zawnchhuah tumna a awm miah lo nge, theih tawp chhuahin an zawng beidawng tawh zawk le? Chhui theih anih ka va ring e.

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  11. 11
    Sony Says:

    Min lo ngei lo ula, kei chuan he sugject hi ka ning tawh. Hnam tinin an history ah hrehmawna an tuar vek.

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  12. 12
    mzvision Says:

    I read and gulped and this got me so angry how and why innocent victims were killed. Many more such unpublished stories were there. The fact remains that innocent victims sere slaughtered. This was the sad experience we passed through.

    Even our family shops quite close to Ritz Hotel now towards south was spared of the bomb but were all looted. We had to start our life from scratch.

    Even for saving the Assam Rifles the air raid was not necessary and tarnished the image of India. The AR were also shooting towards public from their shelter and many were also killed by their bullets.

    But those were the sad memories, now we have to fight our survival through properly tailored growth schemes balancing uplifting of the poor and those better off. Even after 40 years of self governance we are yet to see the light of sustainable development for the rural poor and worth naming industry.

    We are yet to have proper infrastructure to help contribute to Nations growth. Unless it is accelerated the pace of our march to reach Nation’s average will be wider and wider.

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  13. 13
    samuelapa Says:

    Rambuai kha chu ngaihtuah letin a lungchhiatthlak thlawt a ni. Mahse, Zoram Ni tih vel hi chu a ropui ka ti em em lem lo, tute emaw intihlar tumna te pawh a ang lek lek thin. Tin, a tira huaihawt a nih dan phungah khan hnam inpumkhatna lam a hawi lo hrim hrimin ka hria. Tunah mi hrang hrangin ngaihdan hrang hrang an rawn tarlan takah hian Inlungrualna tih lam hawi zawngin an kuaiher chawp ta mai mai niin ka hria.

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  14. 14
    shailendra Says:

    mizo history a a lo awm ve hi a tawk viau in kei pawn ka hria

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  15. 15
    Zorunpuia Says:

    ekhai Zoram Ni chu ni mawlh rawh se.. tuna kan DAY tam tak sawrkar holiday lo ni ta hlawm te pawh hi a hman tanna chu khawi emaw laia tute emaw huaihawt, a hnua ngaih pawimawh lo ni ta vek a ni hlawm. Chuvangin he ni hi eng sawrkar mahin bul a tan a rem lo va, political party hmahruaina chi a ni bawk lo tih hriat a tha. Chuving a tuartu Zoram mipuiin lungrual taka Zoram Ni atana kan pawm phawt chuan he ni chhinchhiah tlak te hian thangtharte thinlungah a tha zawngin nghawng a nei ngei ngei ang.

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  16. 16
    hmingtea Says:

    A lungchhiat thlak in rilru a deng khawp mai.Nia mi tam tak in khang hunlai a an thil tawn lungchhiat thlak tak sawi tur an hre treuh ang sawi chhuak thiam lo leh sawi chhuak hleithei lo khawp a tuar tu te zirmi ten zir chho zel in hriat belh zel chi ni in ka hria a .Kan ram thil thleng chhin chhiah zel hi a trha .Thawnthu ang pawh in ziakmi te khan han ziak zel teh u.

    Kei rambuai vanglai tak ka ka hre vuai 2 chauh a.

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  17. 17
    H.Vangchhia Says:

    OT lawk teh ang. Nizan dar 6:40 vel khan Pentagon a luh tum niawm tak suit a inthuam chuan ID/entre card! phawrh tum niawm takin a ipte a zen a police duty te chu a kap ta thut a nih kha… police a kah te chuan kap let ve in nizan khan a hliam tuar lovin a thi ta. “he approached cooly” an ti. Police 2 hian hliam an tuar ve ve bawk.

    A hming hi John Patrick Badell kum 36 mi a ni. California atangin a rawn in khalh thleng niawm tak a ni, a car an hmu a an check mek. Hepa hian 9mm auto pistol 2 leh extra clip (mag) tam tak a ak a ni an ti.

    Virginia state ah thlawhna te chi a alh thut a mi in chhungah athlawk lut bawk :D

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  18. 18
    darchhunval Says:

    ‘In all life under heaven,
    the grouping of villages was the sorriest thing.’

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  19. 19
    Maisek Says:

    Buai lai ka hriat ve loh avangin, sawi tur ka hre vak lova, mahse, he article chu a touching ka ti khawp mai!

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  20. 20
    darchhunval Says:

    Kan nula leh tlangval zirlai mithiam ho research tiin in chet ve a hun e.Tun a kan chhiartur neih tam zawk hi hnamdang ziah a ni.Mizo tawngletlingtu ruaiin hnam dang zirlaiten rambuai leh anghawngte an rawn zir thin tih hriat tur.

    Tunah hian a la tlai lo hram e,rambuai(war of independence) hre pha mi tamtak biak rawn tur awm lai ngei hian .Rambuai leh khawkhawm in mizoram politics,society,kohhran,culture a nghawng dan zawng zawng.A thalam leh a chhe lam ,(min suihkhawm dan leh minvuak phel dan)lehkhabu rotling kan lo thlir reng e. ‘You can kill people, but you can not kill history. You can bury people but not bury history.

    He hunthim kan dai hian Mizo hnam ang a min suihkhawm zia leh kan ram zimte humhalhna kawngah kan mit a ti var ngei a ni tih hi chu kan sawi tel hram teh ang.Remna leh muanna hlutziate,thinthi a chhungkaw muttlan theih ringawt manhla zia te pawh.

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  21. 21
    khamrang Says:

    Long live the Resistance. Burn the olive leaf, Bring back the guns (Han tih mai ava chak awm ve).Apache Pasaltha ten Thal leh tomahawk nen an bei, Vun ngo hovin Winchester Rifle leh Gatling gun in an kap let.WE TOO SHALL PRESERVE OUR HISTORY.

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  22. 22
    Puii Says:

    Sandman chu ti lomom khop mai.Nikum khan ka comment chaak hlol lo va…

    A mizo tawng a ka chhiar vawi khatnaah chuan ka lung a chhe khop… ka mittui a tla nasa .

    Ka thiante pawh an lungchhe ve khop mai.

    hetiang ang deuh lungtichhe thei chanchin hi ka pi leh pute leh kan chhung leh khatte pawh khan an lo nei ve tih tlai khawhnuah kan hrechhuak chu…

    a then india sipai kut tuar, a then hnam sipai kut tuarte kha an lo ni a….!!

    keima mimal chuan khatiang chanchin rapthlak, lungngaihna thu ho kha theihnghilh hmiah ka duh..

    mahse theihnghilh a har si….pan hi dam mahse a ser hi a reh ve thei si lo…

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  23. 23
    XaiA Says:

    Ka hre pha ve ngat a sin :!:

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  24. 24
    virthli Says:

    Ka vawi khat chhiar ve na ani. A ngaihnawmin, a lunglenthlak hle mai. Saptrawnga ziaktu pawh hian a thiam ka ti hle mai. Tluk loh rim a nam e. Hetiang lam article hi rawn post thei zauh zuah ula a duhawm hle mai.

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  25. 25
    Zeus Says:

    A va han ngaihnawm ve le.. Rilru a khawih hle mai.Buai chungchang post ah chuan chhiar a manhla khawp mai.

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  26. 26
    takpalaka Says:

    Mizo history hi vai ho lo ang takin dik takin i ziak teh ang u…

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  27. 27
    keimah Says:

    A hun lai boruak a phawk chhuak khawp mai. A ngaihnawmin a lungchhiatthlak bawk.

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  28. 28
    9mm Says:

    Movie lemchan kan en pawn he tiang ang a chuan kan hmui alo thlawk tep tep tawh thin nia. Ciar nawm khop mai. God be with them…

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