The Tribes of Burma/Northern Chins

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The Northern Chins form the uppermost section of the Chin belt, which extends down the western edge of Burma. The Chins course in their descent from the far north has been indicated in an earlier portion of this note. The Northern Chin country extends roughly from the 22nd to the 26th parallel of latitude, and includes the Chin Hills proper and a narrow strip of upland on the west of the Upper Chindwin District. What little is known of the inhabitants of this latter area, who are called the Kaswa Aswa, Nantaleik, Piya or Somra Chins, has for the most part been gleaned during the course of punitive expeditions.[1] They merge in the far north into the Nagas (Tangkhuls or Luhupas) and others and only comparatively few of their villages are in administered British territory. Of the residents of the Chin Hills proper far more is known. Their home forms a compact block of mountainous country lying to the west of the Chindwin river between 21°45' and 24°N and 93°20' and 94°5'E and having an area of about 8,000 square miles, In 1901 they numbered about 84,000 souls. They are closely connected with the Lushais of Assam. The following are the principal tribes in the Chin Hills proper: the Soktes (including the Kanhow clan), Siyins, Tashons, Yahows, Whennohs, Lais (or Hakas), Klangklangs and Yokwas. The Soktes number about 9,000, the Siyins between 1,500 and 2,000. The total of the Tashons is approximately 39,000 and that of the Hakas (who are known to the Burmans by the nickname "Baungshe") 14,000. The Yahows and Whennohs number about 11,500, the Klang-klangs about 5,000 and the Yokwas between 2,500 and 3,000. For full particulars regarding the Northern Chins the reader is referred to the authorities quoted in the bibliographical note appended (vide page 53).

  1. Vide Mr. W. N. Porter's Report on the Frontier Affairs of the Upper Chindwin District for 1892-93, and Report dated the 2nd March 1897, by Captain Cole, Officiating Political Agent in Manipur, on the expedition undertaken to Somra Kulel.