Mizoram is a land of rolling hills, valleys, rivers and lakes. As many as 21 major peaks of hills in the sub-Himalayan region run through the length and breadth of the State, with plains scattered here and there. Mizoram has a mild climate, comfortable in summer (20 to 29°C) and never freezing during winter with temperatures (7 to 21°C). The region is influenced by monsoons, raining heavily from May to September with little rain in the cold season. The average state rainfall is rather high.
The great majority of Mizoram’s population consists of several ethnic tribes. These ethnic groups are collectively known as Mizos [Mi = People, Zo = Hills]. One should note that ‘Mizo’ is a generic term which denotes a particular group of hill people who are closely linked culturally and linguistically. Moreover, these groups of hill people share close physical similarities.
The origin of the Mizo people, like those of many other tribes in north-eastern India, is shrouded in mystery. Mizo history in the 18th and 19th century is marked by many instances of tribal raids and head-hunting led by the village chieftains. The Lushai Hill Autonomous District Council was formed in 1952 and it led to the abolition of chieftainship.
After annexation by the British in the 1890s, Mizoram was administered as the Lushai Hills district of Assam. After independence, it was renamed as the district of Mizo Hills within Assam State in 1954, and in the same year, the Young Mizo Association was formed which is still an important organisation in Mizoram. In order to protect ethnocultural identity, and for various political differences, friction developed with mainland India, and an insurgency started with an armed revolt in 1966. The region was subsequently declared Mizoram, a Union Territory, on 21 January in 1972—and it got two seats in the Indian Parliament—one in the Lok Sabha and one in the Rajya Sabha. In 1986 the Historic Memorandum of Settlement was signed between the Government of India and Mizo National Front. Mizoram was granted statehood on 20 February 1987. Now Mizoram State Legislative Assembly has 40 seats, and the village councils are the grassroots of democracy in Mizoram. The capital of Mizoram is Aizawl.
The fabric of social life in the Mizo society has undergone tremendous change over the last few years. In fact, the Mizos are a close-knit society with no class distinction and no sexual discrimination. As per 2011 census, the total population of Mizoram is 1,091,000 and 60% of people are cultivators. The village functions as a large family. Birth, marriage, and death in the village are important occasions, and the whole village would become typically involved. In 1901 the literacy rate was only 0.9%, but as per 2011 census report, Mizoram has a literacy rate of 91.58%, second only to Kerala. At present, Mizoram has also the 2nd highest urbanization rate in India with 22 towns included. In 1996, the Government of Mizoram banned liquor.
Mizo is the State language and most widely used for verbal interactions, but English has a vital role for education and official purposes. The majority of Mizos are Christians 87%, Buddhists 8%, Hindus 4%, Muslims 1%, and others are negligible.
Mizoram is one of the fastest-growing economies among the States of India. It has the second-highest GSDP growth during the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012). Most of the people depend on agriculture of rice under jhum system. Recently, the State has entered into a new venture of oil palm cultivation for biofuels. It is facing a number of difficulties in the advancement of industries. Major drawbacks are poor mineral resources, non-availability of sufficient infrastructure and communication facilities.
Mizoram has a road network of around 4,000 km. There is a rail link at Bairabi rail station, but it is primarily for goods traffic. The nearest communicating railway station to Mizoram is at Silchar in Assam. The State has an airport, Lengpui Airport near Aizawl, and this is linked from Kolkata. Mizoram is considered by many as a beautiful place for tourism due to its scenic landscape and pleasant climate.