AIZAWL, March 19 - He had made a transition from a rebel leader to an elegant Chief Minister of Mizoram. Now, Zoramthanga has proven that he is a good writer too.
Zoramthanga�s first published book �Mizo Hnam Movement History (with English subtitle �History of Mizo Nationalism Movement�) has sold out within eight days after it was launched.
�10,000 copies were printed in the first edition, which I think may be the highest number of copies for a single book printed in Mizoram in a single edition. There was no single copy left in the bookstores eight days from the launching of the book,� said Zoramthanga. �That was beyond my expectation,� he added.
Selling of 10,000 copies of a book within eight days in Mizoram is noteworthy, given the fact that even wellknown writers dare not print more than 5,000 copies.
Zoramthanga, who was on the verge of completing his memoirs, switched to writing this history of Mizoram insurgency from 1966 to 1986, due to strong demands from college students who are keen in knowing more about Mizoram insurgency.
�Several times, I was invited by colleges to give lectures on Mizo nationalist movement. However, the government issued an order prohibiting colleges from inviting politicians to give lectures. After that, many college students came to my home, asking me many questions. As it was not possible for me to narrate all the events that took place during the twenty long years, I decided to write this book,� he said.
Though the Mizos� independence movement led by the Mizo National Front is termed as �insurgency�, Zoramthanga wants it rewritten as �Mizo nationalist movement.�
�The Colonial writers called the Revolt of 1857 as Sepoy Mutiny. But considering its importance and the involvement of people moved by a nationalist feeling, modern writers preferred to call it as �The first war of Indian Independence�. Likewise, the term Mizo insurgency movement should be renamed and should be written as Mizo Nationalism movement,� Zoramthanga said.
The 226-page book published by himself contains hitherto unknown events and anecdotes about the peace negotiations between Centre and MNF, which began in 1974 with the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) acting as a link and ended with the signing of Mizoram Accord in New Delhi on June 30, 1986.
�This book will be a treasure trove of events of MNF insurgency, many of which are yet to come out in the open,� said Zoramthanga.
The book recounts an interesting incident of how he and Laldenga (with his wife), both in kurta-pyjamas, had once given the RAW a slip by escaping from the Government guesthouse in New Delhi�s elite Gulmohar Park when the peace talks had hit an impasse.
Also narrated in the book is the escape of a group of MNF rebels, including their leader Laldenga, from Rangamati in Chittagong Hill Tracts in the aftermath of the Bangladesh War in December 1971. Though an Indian Air Force chopper gave chase, the rebels managed to escape.
It also recounts the way Laldenga and a few of his cohorts, including Zoramthanga, were furtively put on a Karachi-bound plane from Rangoon by Pakistan�s ISI to receive training in commando warfare. The MNF team stayed in an ISI guesthouse.
The meeting between the MNF leaders, Laldenga and Zoramthanga, and the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, is one of the high points of the narrative.
Zoramthanga said he wrote this book based on his diaries that he maintained for forty years and narratives of Laldenga that he memorised, without any references from any other document or book.