Chin peoples

Chin peoples
Elderly Chin woman from the Lemro River area, Rakhine State
Regions with significant populations
Chin State, Burma; Northeastern India; Eastern Bangladesh
 Burma 1.5 Million
 India 2.5 Million (1 Million in Mizoram)

Kukish languages


Christianity, animism, Buddhism

The Chin (Burmese: ချင်းလူမျိုး; MLCTS: hkyang lu. myui:, pronounced [tɕɪ́ɴ lù mjó]), known as the Kuki in Assam, are one of the ethnic groups in Burma.[1] The Chins are found mainly in western part of Burma (the Chin State) and numbered circa 1.5 million. They also live in nearby Indian states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur and Assam. Owing to Mizo influence and Baptist missionaries' intervention, 80%-90% of the population are Christians. However, a sizable minority of the Chin adhere to their traditional tribal beliefs, as well as to Theravada Buddhism. A small group of individuals from Mizoram claimed that they are one of the lost tribes of Israel, that of Bnei Menashe tribe, some have since resettled in that country.

The Chin are one of the large ethnic minority groups in Burma. The Chin people are of Tibeto-Burman groups and they probably came to Burma, especially the Chindwin valley in the late 9-10 century AD. Most Chin people moved westward and they probably settled in the present Chin State around 1300-1400 AD. The original meaning of "Chin" remains obscure, though scholars have proposed various theories no widely-held consensus has been reached.



There are many tribes among the Chin people such as Daai,Zo, Thai, Tedim (who prefer to call themselves Zomi, as the word "Chin" is not in their own language; note the resemblance to Mizo of the neighbouring Mizoram state in India). Major tribes of the Chin include Asho, K'cho, Khumi, Zomi, Lai, Laizo, Laimi ,[2] Matu, Mara, etc. It would be relevant to mention also that they are related to the Kukis of Nagaland, Manipur and Assam. For want of a more acceptable common name, they are usually called the Chin-Kuki-Mizo people, bringing together the three most common names for them, whether given by outsiders or themselves. There are also ten of thousands of Chin people in Mizoram State, India, mainly in the area of the Lai Autonomous District Council, formerly part of Chhimtuipui District, and a sizable population also live in Churachandpur district of Manipur, consisting of smaller tribes like the Hmar, Paite, Simte, Zou,Gangte and others. Bawn tribe in Southern Mizoram State and Bangladesh are descendants of the Lai tribe. This Chin/Mizo/Zomi/Kuki people are scattered into three countries: Burma, Bangladesh, and India. The Chin speak several Kukish languages; Ethnologue lists 49 languages in this group, of which 20 contain the word "Chin" in their name.[3]

Attempts to unify

The realisation that these are of one and share common dialectical root and customs even though separated by international and state boundaries brought about movements for Unification of the occupied territories and of the people. One of the first movements being the MNF (Mizo National Movement) which ended with the formation of the Mizoram State in India.


Traditionally, the Chin were animists. However, during the period of British colonialism, many converted to Christianity. Many Chins have also served as evangelists and pastors, spreading Christianity in places like the United States, Australia, Guam and India.

Some of the Chins in lower Chin State and those living in Rakhine State practice Theravada Buddhism, due to the influence of the Arakanese. There is a growing Buddhist community in the major towns.

Some Chins claim to be descendants of the lost tribes of Israel and the Bnei Menashe consists of Jewish converts.[citation needed]

Global Chin community

Because of the current situation in Burma, thousands of Chins are scattered in Europe, the United States and Southeast Asia. Thousands of other Burmese Chin and Indian Chin workers are in the Persian Gulf states. Also to note American Baptist, British Anglican and Swedish Lutheran church groups helped relocate thousands of Chin followers.

Famous Chins


  1. ^ Head, Jonathan, Burma's 'abused Chin need help', BBC News, Jan 28, 2009, Accessed Jan 28, 2009
  2. ^ Alexander, Amy (2009). Burma: "we are like forgotten people" : the Chin people of Burma : unsafe in Burma, unprotected in India. Human Rights Watch. p. 13. ISBN 2564324266. 
  3. ^ Ethnologue report for Kuki-Chin. Retrieved 2009-12-07.

External links


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