Praying at the Siangbawi Than

Praying at the Siangbawi Than

For centuries, the Chin people, who now live in the hills that border Bangladesh and India, were animist, tracing their own oral histories that began when they left their original ‘chinram’, or homeland, a dark cave. When the Christian missionaries came, following the British imperial invasion of the Chin Hills in the last decade of the 19th Century, their first mission took root in Hakha, now the capital town of the Chin Hills.

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Finding Siyin Literature in Chin State

Finding Siyin Literature in Chin State

The Chin, who live in the hills that border Bangladesh and India, like to say that Burmese literature was born from peace, while Chin literature was born from war. The first known Burmese text is the 12th Century Myazedi stone in Bagan, which lists the deeds and donations of a prince in memory of the love he held for his father and mother …

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The Standing Stones of Thuklai Village

The Standing Stones of Thuklai Village

Travel in Chin State and you are most likely heading towards the major towns, Falam and Hakha in the north, Mindat in the south (and if you are fortunate, Matupi in the centre).  But these are mostly imperial constructions, enlarged by Christian missions and colonial trade with the valleys in Burma Proper below.  The original clusters of the first chin communities are often found beyond the road.

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Article: On Chin Literature

Article: On Chin Literature

‘The road from Kalaymyo to Hakha is lined with grave markers. With little flat ground in the northern Chin Hills, cemeteries are exchanged for solitary memorials overlooking the knuckled mountain ranges. Some—usually those of the young—have photographs embedded into them; the elders are left faceless. All are etched with a name, an age, and a date of death. Yet in Chin State, as in the other six states of Myanmar, the lives of those who lived and passed away here are not recorded and remembered in the Myanmar language, but in an ethnic-minority language and literature.’

My Irrawaddy Journal article on the Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds project in Chin State

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Chin Short Story Workshop

Chin Short Story Workshop

Holding a literature workshop in Chin state, the least developed state in the second least developed country in Asia was always going to pose challenges. All of the Hidden Words workshops, regardless of the location, follow a logistical template revolving around our 2 partners, the Millennium Centres who provide the workshop venue and live literature night and the local cultural group who source the participants …

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