Forgotten Story of Pasalthas

The Untold Story of Pasalthas Fighting the British for Their Motherland

You may have heard about many stories about freedom fighters in textbooks. What about the Pasalthas from Mizoram? In 1757, after the Battle of Plassey, the British completed the establishment of colonial rule in Bengal. After this, they started colonizing one province after another through the use of forced military or territorial annexation. Prior to the arrival of the British in the Lushai Hills (present day Mizoram, earlier known as Zo country), people lived in clusters of independent units of 50–300 families. They were under the control of Lal, who was the hereditary chief. The power of land and people was in the hands of Lal. Agriculture, hunting, and shifting cultivation were the main sources of livelihood for the people.

Resistance shown by the Lals and people of Lushai hills

  • Every village in the Zo country was independent and had its own designated Lal. Lal had sovereign powers over his subjects.

  • However, after the British took control of Bengal, the Lals were deprived of their powers.

  • After crushing the 1857 rebellion in India, British power was at its pinnacle in 1860.

  • The British superpower had travelled to various undulating terrains.

  • Overcoming the geography of the Lushai hills was no match for the Britishers.

  • However, the biggest obstacle that the imperial superpower faced was dealing with the different groups and communities of people living in the Lushai hills.

  • In some areas, the British managed to achieve success by implementing their "carrot and stick" policy.

  • However, the Britishers were taken aback when their policies did not have any effect on the "frontier hill tribes" of northeast India.

  • The Lushai Chiefs from different clans used to undertake frequent punitive expeditions to save their region and territory from possible intrusions by the Britishers.

  • After several efforts, the Britishers succeeded in gaining entry into the region, which completely transformed the political, social, religious, and social aspects of the people living in the Lushai hills.

Arrival of the Christian Missionaries in the Lushai Hills

  • The "divide and rule" policy of the Britishers achieved considerable success and paved the way for the entry of the Christian Missions.

  • The missionaries planned the destruction of the traditional knowledge, culture, and beliefs of the Lushai Society.

  • The main purpose of the Christian Missionaries was to propagate the Christian faith amongst the people in the Lushai hills.

Declining traditional institutions and beliefs of the Lushais

  • After the Christian Missionaries arrived in India, there was a rapid decline in the traditional institution of the Lushais known as the Zawlbuk.

  • Zawlbuk was a traditional bachelors" dormitory of the young Mizo people where they received training in the techniques of warfare, fighting, hunting, village government, and tribal wrestling. The training in Zawlbuk was quite intensive and strenuous.

  • The young Mizo men also learned traditional arts, such as singing, handicrafts, and stories of bravery and valor of freedom fighters, etc.

  • The Zawlbuk was a social welfare institution that was entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining peace, order, security, and responsibility within the Mizo state.

  • However, after the arrival of the British and the Christian Missionaries, there was a steady decline in the relevance of the Zawlbuk.

The start of the conflict

  • There was rapid distortion of the traditional beliefs and practices of the Lushai into Christianity.

  • The British officers imposed forced labor and heavy taxation on every household in the village.

  • In order to counter the efforts of the Britishers, there was great resistance shown by the Lals.

  • There were several successive expeditions from the Lushai hills to the British camps.

  • The Pasaltha Khuangchera Chanchin, a lesser-known freedom fighter, played a key role in the expeditions against the Britishers.

  • The Pasalthas from the Mizo village took up the responsibility of fighting against the colonial power.

  • The main reasons for the expeditions were the demand for taxes from the British, safeguarding the religious and traditional beliefs of the Lushais, and defending their people.

Who were the Pasalthas?

  • Pasalthas in the Mizo language are referred to as "heroes."

  • They were brave warriors to safeguard the dignity, honor, traditions, and way of life in the Lushai hills.

  • They carried a long sword by their side, which meant that they had sharp hunting skills as well as the responsibility of protecting the village, land, and people.

Pasaltha Khuangchera Chanchin—One of the most popular freedom fighters in the history of Mizoram

  • Out of all the Pasalthas and heroes of the Mizos, Pasaltha Khuangchera Chanchin was one of the most admired and greatest.

  • Pasaltha Khuangchera was born in 1850 in the village of Parvatui.

  • Khuangchera was known for these qualities: bravery, fierceness, selflessness, physical strength, bravery, self-sacrificing qualities, and superior military tactics.

  • The Pasalthas made several attacks on the British forces between 1889 and 1890.

  • They also disrupted several communication lines and killed top British officials.

  • Pasaltha Khuangchera Chanchin was the first Mizo freedom fighter to sacrifice his life against British imperialism.

  • Even after being injured, Khuangchera carried the dead body of his friend and fellow contemporary on his back.

  • While resisting the advancing British forces, Pasaltha Khuangchera Chanchin, along with other Pasalthas, laid down their lives for the freedom of the Mizo village.

  • Khuangchera did not surrender to the British forces.


The resistance shown by the Pasalthas of Lushai Hills against the colonialism of the British was as intense as in any other part of India. In 1890, while trying to resist the advancing British troops in the Lushai Hills (present day Mizoram), Pasaltha Khuangchera was killed. He was not only known for his fearlessness, but also for his strength and character.  The history of Mizoram and the bravery shown by the Pasalthas of Lushai Hills is indeed something very commendable and something that everyone in the country should be proud of.