In the North East of India along the Myanmar border lies the hill-state of Mizoram. Like all other north-eastern tribes of India, they have their own unique culture and predominantly Mongoloid features. Most of the populace in the state, practice Christianity, however there are a few among them that have been following Judaism since from as far back as they can remember. Some believe that all Mizos are in fact descended from the lost tribe of Israel and it was this intriguing story that had led me here, many years ago.
This tribe, The Bnei Menashe, traces its lineage back more than 2,000 years! all the way to 723 BC when they had been (one among 9 other tribes) exiled from Palestine by the Assyrian empire. They had subsequently been “lost” and then “found”/re-surfaced far away in Mizoram!
I was curious as to how a tribe could disappear and finally end up so far away from where they had originated. I went to the public library in Aizawl and did my research form various sources on the chronology of events. I have tried to draw the path the tribe took on the way to where they are now in the map below.
From what I could gather, the chronology is as follows :
– Around 723 BC, the ten tribes are banished and they all set out in different directions.
– They seemingly found refuge among the Caucasian plains where they lived for a few centuries, never safe, since they were constantly being attacked by armies from China and Mongolia with a number of raids taking them away as slaves.
– Around 220 BC, the first Chinese emperor ordered the building of the Great Wall and in order to get slaves for such a massive enterprise, the armies gathered all nomadic tribes and enslaved them.
– After undergoing decades of torture and slavery whilst working the wall, apparently a few survivors managed to get an opportunity to escape, and they fled along the easy coast of China into Myanmar and then on downwards to the dense jungles of North East India which were largely unpopulated, and a safe haven.
Now I am no historian and I cannot vouch for the authenticity of any of the matter above but it is plausible and indeed there seem to be records that lend credence to the theory. I cannot cite any true records since it was many years ago, but my intention anyway was primarily to highlight yet another amazing and unexpected fact of India… enough to wake curiosity to discove rthe truth yourself 🙂