I’d like to make some correction in my previous observation.
I think the warmth and openness that I sensed among the Mizo people in my abt 15 hrs stay at Izwal lies not in their religion, but in their tribal roots. Otherwise, until the 19th century, Christianity used to to be as oppressive and hypocritical as any other major religions of the world. And in some instances, it still is.
But why are the Christian missionaries so successful in converting the tribal people around the world, including the Mizo tribes who are so close to Hinduism and Buddhism – both historically and geographically? The success lies not only in their monetary power, but also in their acceptance of the basic tribal nature. In spite of the Christian influence, the Mizo people seem to have preserved their tribal instincts. And that was really a refreshing experience.
But the Mizos do not seem to have their own culinary variety. See, my taste buds are very sensitive. Most of the eateries in Mizoram sell either the bakery or the sweets. I guess, the art of making bakery came with Christian influence, and the art of making sweets from the Hindu influence later on. The only local variety I found was the broken rice pudding with pork curry. But, lemme confess, I was touched by the hospitality I received in Mizoram. And the girls at the restaurant charged me double for staring at their face. 😉
While I was roaming around the town at night, a few ‘drug addict’ looking people approached me and later tried to ‘harass’ me. However, upon reflection, I’m almost sure that they were working for the state’s secret service. I think they were not harassing me, but they wanted ascertain if I was involved in narcotic or other ‘suspicious’ activities. Guys, I called myself a hippie not in that sense. In fact, back in Benares, I’d even declined smoking hashish and angered the Naga Baba.
After getting tired of walking along the Izwol streets, I lied down on an open space in front of a big govt building – my ingenious method of saving money and experiencing the night life! And without even talking to anyone, I was able to ‘sense’ the rivalry between the ‘center’ and the ‘periphery’.
Izwal is cleaner, less polluted and more fashionable than other cities in India. However, I’ve one complaint to make. I’d to pay Rs. 10 for doing aachee (loo) and Rs. 5 extra for washing my face. And that’s too much for me guys! :P:
Btw, I’m going to Benares again…to swim in the Ganges!