That the internet can be a dark dangerous place is something we all know all too well. But once in a while, it sends a positive message around, a message of love, to quote Rich Hall in the song 'The Reverend', a song he wrote about Iggy The Eskimo. This will probably be the most relevant post in our twelve years history and Syd Barrett will not be mentioned once.
There appears to be an active Mizo community on the internet. The state of Mizoram lies in the North-Eastern part of India, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh. It has about 1,100,000 citizens (2011 statistics).
After the independence from India (1947) it was not sure if the Lushai Hills would be annexed by Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India or even become an independent country, but in the end, it was incorporated in the union of India, which did not treat it respectfully, to put it euphemistically.
Mizo National Front uprising
For decades there were political and military troubles, with an armed uprising in 1966 and brutal countermeasures from India. Slowly some peaceful agreements were made and since 1987 Mizoram is a state of India, meaning it has its own government.
Probably by accident someone of the Mizo community stumbled upon a post of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. In our obituary for Iggy, we wrote that her ‘Indian’ roots were in Mizoram and not Pakistan as was generally believed.
This was shared on Mizo social networking groups where it was picked up by none other than Iggy’s relatives. It created quite a buzz, went viral and all of a sudden messages arrived on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, asking the Church for more information and pleading us to bring them in contact with Iggy’s siblings. Which obviously, we did.
Contact with Iggy’s parents was lost in February 1966 when Mizoram was plunged into an insurgency, also known as the Mizo National Front uprising. The central Indian government retaliated hard and restricted and censored all information coming in or going out of the district of Mizoram. All letters going through the national postal service were intercepted by the government and either censored or destroyed. As there was no digital communication in those days the Mizoram community was plunged into virtual isolation for nearly three decades.
When the situation normalised the Mizo family branch searched frantically for Iggy’s parents, going through Havant Council, Hampshire (where her parents used to live) and the UK's Ministry of Defence (as her father was in the military), but to no avail.
Four decades later, in 2021, the search was still going on, lead by Iggy's cousin Thana. His mother, now 93 years old, is Iggy’s aunt from his mother’s side.
Iggy’s mother, Angela (or Angelina) Chawngpuii married major Harry Charlton Joyce, a British army officer serving in India during and immediately after India’s independence. They had three children: Evelyn (better known as Iggy), Stephen and Elizabeth Anne.
In our obituary from 2017, we revealed Iggy’s indigenous name, but it seems we had it wrong. Iggy told us, years ago, that her name was Laldowliani, but as we couldn’t find any trace of that we simplified it to Laldingliani which seemed more common.
Many of Iggy’s family members have written to us that it is, in fact, Laldawngliani. If we have learned one thing through the ages, it is that one should never ever doubt Iggy. We can hear her roaring laugh, followed by: "I TOLD YOU SO, FELIX!"
Iggy’s great-grandfather Thangphunga was the chieftain of three villages, including Chaltlang, now a suburb of Aizawl, Mizoram’s capital. The chieftainship was abolished by the Indian government when they annexed Mizoram, which had been an autonomous region before (but ruled by the British after the mid-nineteenth century).
As such Iggy’s family was held in great respect. Iggy’s great-grandmother, Thangpuilali was the daughter of another chieftain, Savunga Sailo.
Iggy’s relatives will have many more tales to tell, but these obviously have to stay in the family. What we can share, and we hope that nobody will mind, are some pictures that were unknown until now.
All pictures courtesy of Iggy's family, in Mizoram and the UK.
Many thanks to Elizabeth Joyce, Hnamte Thanchungnunga, Noeeeayo
(Rinnungi Pachuau), Racheliebe (Chha Dok Mi), Rosang Zuala, Tnama
Hnamte, VL Zawni.
The Mizu online community: Ajay dep Thanga, Din Nyy, Elvee milai, Euisoo's left sock, Hmazil, Kima Sailo, Lalrin Liana, Lzi Dora Hmar, Mact mizoram, Mafela ralte, Panjee chhakchhuak, Park Yoongi, Ramtea Zote123, Rinapautu Pautu, Zolad… and all those we may have forgotten.
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥