AIZAWL, July 8 - Mizo National Front (MNF) leadership led by president and former Chief Minister Zoramthanga paid tribute to their founder president and legendary leader at his tomb at the War Memorial here on Saturday morning on the occasion of his 28th death anniversary.
Zoramthanga, Laldenga’s widow Lalbiakdiki and other MNF leaders laid wreaths on his tomb.
Laldenga died in London on July 7, 1990 while returning from New York where he underwent treatment for terminal cancer.
Speaking on the occasion, Zoramthanga said Laldenga planted the seed of nationalism among the Mizos. “God gave the Mizos a nation, a religion and land. Then Laldenga gave us a sense of nationalism to safeguard what God had given to us,” he said.
Zoramthanga, who had been the CM of Mizoram for 10 years (1998-2008), was not just secretary to the legendary Laldenga who launched the movement for a sovereign Mizoram in 1966, but also remained number two to him throughout the armed struggle till it came to a close in 1986.
Born on July 11, 1927 at south Mizoram’s Pukpui village in Lunglei district, Laldenga joined the British Indian Army in 1944 and formed the Mizo National Famine Front in 1959 while Mizoram was reeling under a great famine called ‘Mautam’ caused by gregarious bamboo flowering which resulted in population explosion of rodents in the late 1950s. In 1961, he transformed it into a political outfit and re-christened it as Mizo National Front that waged war against India from March 1966.
Assam Govbernment’s alleged failure to rush the needed supplies in time to its eastern most district added salt to the wounds.
The MNF declared independence on March 1, 1966 plunging Mizoram into a disturbed State for 20 years before signing peace accord on June 30, 1986 and Mizoram became a full-fledged State on February 20, 1987.
Laldenga became the first CM after MNF won the 1987 Assembly polls, but after 19 months, President’s Rule was imposed in the State. Suffering from lung cancer, he was treated at a cancer institute in New York and he died in London while returning home on July 7, 1990.