Two Strands of Nationalism: A Narrative on the Mizo War of Independence

Date01 June 2021
Published date01 June 2021
Subject MatterArticles
Two Strands of Nationalism:
A Narrative on the Mizo War
of Independence
The Mizo War of Independence, also labelled as the Mizo Insurgency Movement, spanned over a period
of nearly 20 years, during which significant events and developments occurred, which greatly shaped
and moulded the socio-political landscape of the state. Accounts and narratives of what took place dur-
ing those turbulent years are aplenty. However, not much literature or narrative could be found about
the ideological dimension of the movement and its ramifications. Hence, the main aim of the article is to
emphasize on the underlying two strands of nationalism, that is, the nationalistic ideals pursued by the
Mizo National Front (MNF) as an organization, on the one hand, and the strand of nationalism cham-
pioned by its president and leader, Laldenga, on the other hand. The first part of the article examines
the strand of nationalism of the MNF, the main perpetrator of the independence movement and the
role of its founding president, Laldenga, in formulating that ideology. The second section of the article
traces and analyses the so-called ‘Laldenga’s nationalism’. Finally, the article attempts to draw conclu-
sion on how the two strands of nationalism impacted the outcome of the Mizo War of Independence
as a whole.
Nationalism, Laldenga, independence, war, Mizo
The very term ‘nationalism’ is a complex one. It encompasses a variety of definitions, terminology,
conceptions and interpretations. Nationalism has been used to refer to a process, a kind of sentiment or
identity, a form of political rhetoric, an ideology, a principle or set of principles and a kind of socio-
political movement (Norman, 1999, p. 56). However, for the purpose of this article, our discussion
shall be confined to the domain of what Wayne Norman labelled as ‘ethnic nationalism’, (Kymlicka,
1999, p. 132), since the nationalistic tendency and strand of nationalism of the Mizo War of Independence
could be firmly placed within the context of ethnic nationalism. In this vein, the term ‘nationalism’ is
interpreted as having a cultural connotation to it. In fact, ethnic nationalism has a cultural component
deeply embedded within it. Throughout history, several nations have often identified or defined their
1 Department of Political Science, Government Serchhip College, Serchhip, Mizoram, India.
Corresponding author:
Zarzosanga, Department of Political Science, Government Serchhip College, Serchhip, Mizoram 796181, India.
Studies in Indian Politics
9(1) 51–63, 2021
© 2021 Lokniti, Centre for the
Study of Developing Societies
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/2321023021999157

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