A Brief History of Young Mizo Association:
Young Mizo Association (YMA) as it is popularly known today was formerly called Young Lushai Association (YLA) when it was formed in June 15, 1935 by the Christian missionaries and the pioneer Mizo Christians. Inspite of countless terrors and resistance against Christianity which found its roots in Mizoram in 1894, the entire region was swept by Christianity within a decade. Even the chiefs and their subordinates started to recognize and embrace it . Various churches and institutions came into existence resulting in the decline of the Zawlbuk (Bachelor’s dormitory) which was one of the most esteemed establishment among the Mizos. While the number of participants in schools and churches increased, the attendance in Zawlbuk met a drastic fall. The attempt of the Governor to bring about revival in the Zawlbuk institution had no significant outcome, thus the most valued institution came to a sad end.
The Christian Missionaries and the church leaders found it necessary to establish an institution that could take the place of Zawlbuk now that it was gone. Consequently, a meeting was summoned at the residence of a Christian missionary Miss Katie Hughes (Pi Zaii) on June 3, 1935. ‘Young Mizo Kristian Association’ was one of the names suggested but it was rejected due to its exclusive nature. One of the Christian missionaries Rev. David Edward (Zorema Pa) suggested that “Young Lushai Association” would be most fitting and it was agreed that it would officially start functioning from 15th June, 1935.
Indian Independence in 1947 brought about political revival even in Mizoram resulting in the change of “Young Lushai Association’ to “ Young Mizo Association” on 7th October,1947, as the latter has a more panoramic coverage.Eligibility for membership:
Everyone can become a member once he/she has attained 14 years and there is no upper age limit. A person can remain a member of the Y.M.A as long as he wishes, regardless of his age, contrary to what the word ‘young’ seems to suggest (In fact, the word ‘young’ is descriptive of the Mizos as a community). There are two ways of becoming its member- Firstly, one becomes its annual member by contributing Rs.2/-. Secondly, one can become its member by contributing Rs.100/-. Further, if an individual has been a member of the Y.M.A for more then 5 years, he/she can apply for life membership to the CEC (Central Executive Committee) through the local branch to which he/she belongs. The present enrollment of Y.M.A members has crossed over 4 lakhs.Legal Status:
Y.M.A is an all India Organisation with branches at Mizoram, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura. It is registered under the Societies Registration Act (Act XXI of 1860) Registration No. SR4 of 1977.Motto of Y.M.A:
Y.M.A has three mottos:
1. Good use/ Proper utilization of leisure time.
2. Reverence for a good Christian life.
3. Striving towards a holistic development of the Mizo society.
Chain of Authority in Y.M.A.
The highest authority is the General Conference. Next to this is the Central Co-ordination Committee (CCC). Below this governing body is the Central Executive Committee (CEC). Under the CEC, there are sub-headquarters, groups and many sub-divisions called branches which are further divided into sections. At present, YMA has 5 sub-headquarters, 47 group YMA and 772 branches, spread all over Mizoram and in the states of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.Connecting Link:
All the branches of YMA, within Mizoram and outside of the State are subjected to the Central YMA which has its headquarters at Aizawl, Mizoram.
Almost all villages and towns have a branch YMA and it is a requirement for every branch YMA to submit an amount of Rs.50/- annually to Central YMA as Central YMA annual fee. Several of these YMA branches are amalgamated together to form a Group YMA and in turn several Group YMA combined together form sub-headquarters YMA under the direct control of Sub-Headquarters YMA Executive Committee.
Since 1989, the Central Co-ordination Committee felt the need of forming Joint YMA in villages or towns in which there are more than one Branch with a view of better administration. Achievements of YMA in the past:
When this association was established, it contributed much towards the development of the society and some of the activities included debate, drama, community health, games etc. Besides these, it has also enriched the political sphere to a great extent.
Since 1983, YMA started having annual themes, but this is not mandatory. Themes can be repeated at the will of the governing body. Some of the annual themes of the past years have been enumerated as follows:
1983 : Cleanliness
1984 : Preservation of Social and Government Welfare
1987 : Emphasis on Manual Labour
1991 : Cleanliness
1992 : Preservation of Wildlife
1994 : Reformation of Social Life
1995 : Reformation of Social Life
1996 : Emphasis on Education (Year of educational endeavour)
1997 : Emphasis on Education
1998 : Safeguarding Nation and Land
1999 : Safeguarding Nation and Land
2000 : Safeguarding Nation and Land
2001 : Safeguarding Nation and Land
2002 : Self-Reliance
2003 : Self-Reliance
2004 : Fight against Intoxicants (Year of dedicated fight against substance abuse)
2005 : Fight against Intoxicants
2006 : Fight against Intoxicants
2007 : Fight against Intoxicants
2008 : Fight against Intoxicants
For the success of the annual theme, several programmes had been organized such as Awareness campaign, seminar, competitions based on the different themes which had yielded positive results.Journal of YMA:
Since its inception, YMA has published a number of leaflets, brochures and books on various issues and topics for the purpose of education, awareness campaigns. A separate sub committee has been created to oversee the publication and documentation of the various activities and achievement of YMA.
A monthly journal called “YMA CHANCHINBU” with over 8000 copies has been Published in Mizo Language since October 1973.And a Quarterly journal called “YMA Newsletter” is also being published in English.Emblem:
YMA had no separate emblem at the beginning. It is said that some enthusiasts prepared a small flag in celebration of Crystal Jubilee in the year 1950.In the fall of 1972, Central leaders suggested the idea of having its own flag and emblem and their vision came to a reality after some years. The tri-coloured flag of the YMA comprise of red, white and black. The emblem consists of a circle, inside which a hand holding a torch that represents the three mottos, is found.
Pledges of YMA was drafted in 1974 by the then President of Central YMA Mr.L.N.Tluanga with the help of Mr.L.T.Zothankhuma and his friends. There are ten such pledges which express allegiance towards the land and the nation.Division of Committee:
Under the Central YMA, there are certain divisions:
1. Annual Theme Committee
2. Sports Committee
3. Literature Committee
4. Project Committee
5. Press Committee
6. Training & Youth Affairs Committee
7. Building & Property Committee
8. Documentation & IT Committee
9. Cultural Committee
10. Disaster Management Committee
11. Education Committee
12. Finance Committee
13. Health and Sanitation Committee
14. Legal Committee
15. Recreation Committee
16. Resource Committee
17. Science & Environment CommitteeAwards and Rewards:
For various activities and achievement ,YMA has been conferred the following awards:
- “Indira Priyadarshini Vrikshamitra Award”1986 by the Govt.of India.
- “Excellence Service Award”by the Govt.of Mizoram for the three consecutive years,1988-1990.
- “Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puruskar”1993 by the Govt.of India.
In accordance with the Constitution of YMA, Junior YMA can be set up at the will of Branch YMA, Junior YMA,in collaboration with Nehru Yuva Kendra perform certain activities. In matters relating to cleanliness etc..Junior YMA stands in the fore front. General Conference of YMA:
General Conference, the highest governing body found its beginning in 1941. Since 1978, except for a few intermittent years, General conferences has been held on yearly basis.
(Note: Click here to read detail information of General Conference of YMA
Though YMA is a big association, yet due to its good administrative body, there is a smooth function.YMA for others:
Most organizations confine themselves within the development of their own organizations, and their activities are mostly limited to their specific aims and objectives. On the other hand, the purpose of forming the YMA is exclusively for others. And the YMA has been responding to the needs of the society and very often they perform tasks which are well beyond their specific objectives. Some of the activities of the YMA are enumerated as follows:a) Building Houses for widows:
There is no written law which says that YMA is responsible for constructing houses for the homeless, but if anybody is in need of a place to live, YMA has always enthusiastically shouldered the responsibility.b) Recovering Drowned Bodies:
Recovering of drowned bodies in case of accident etc., is one of the many problems faced in Mizoram as there are no professional life guards etc. YMA has been performing the job of rescuing or recovering drowned bodies.c) Prevention of Wildfire:
Majority of the population is engaged in agricultural activities (jhumming cultivation). Thus in connection with this, forests are burned on regular basis which often leads to breakout of wildfire. YMA is one of the biggest instruments for putting out unwanted fire and it can be accredited for teaching the people to be more responsible in the mentioned matter.
d) Taking care of the physically or mentally challenged people:
YMA has taken on the responsibility of parenting those who are physically or mentally challenged. YMA refers to these people as VIP (Very Important Person) and if they die, their funeral procession is done with great respect and their tombstone are specially erected for them.e) Backbone of Government:
There are certain occasions in which the government is not sufficient to carry out particular responsibilities , in times like these, YMA is summoned to assist the work of the Government. Complete trust is given to YMA by the general populace.f) Natural Calamities:
YMA carry out rescue activities when natural calamities (like, flood, landslide, etc.) strike.g) Contribution of Education:
As YMA has announced emphasis on education as annual theme for several years, positive steps have been taken for this purpose. In collaboration with Sarva Shiksha Abyan (SSA) YMA has been organizing awareness campaign on education in its annual General conference and in group YMA annual Conferences. The most significant contribution of YMA in the field of education is its role in bringing about the literary rate of Mizoram to over 92%, the second highest in the country.h) Reformer of Social Life:
It is quite obvious that every society needs reformation at one time or another, and prominent figures usually come to the scene for reformation. Yet, among the Mizos, YMA is the beginning and the end to bring about reformation in the society. Altruism, respecting elders, etiquette etc. are taken up by YMA.i) Voluntary Blood Donation:
YMA is the giver of life, as its members have been voluntarily donating their precious blood on many occasions especially on YMA day i.e. 15th June.j) Measures to control HIV/AIDS:
YMA is currently taking up programmes relating to HIV/AIDS. Awareness campaigns, seminar, publication and distribution of brochures and leaflets about HIV/AIDS are taken up throughout the length and breadth of the state among all youths. YMA and Mizoram State Aids Control Society (MSACS) have been working together to control the spread of HIV/AIDS.k) Relief works on Famine:
Mizoram has long been a victim of Bamboo Flowering (Mautam) famine. After every five (5) decades, the land falls to the cruel attack of Bamboo Flowering Famine. In the year 2008, the state of Mizoram had faced the problem of shortage of food due to Bamboo Flowering (Mau Tam). Yet, this natural calamity is predictable to a great extent. YMA has organized Awareness Campaigns and Seminars to make people aware of this coming famine. YMA has also taken steps to provide relief to the famine victims of Bamboo Flowering.l) Vigilance on Election:
A highly notable achievement of YMA has been in coordinating all political parties in Mizoram for a free and fair election, peaceful atmosphere and lowering of the election expenditure in the state Assembly and MP elections.m) YMA’s Endeavour for clan unity:
There are varieties of Mizo clans residing in Mizoram. The YMA has given special concern and has implemented several procedures for the brotherhood and unity of these clans. As a result, there has been a spirit of oneness among these diverse clans and clan based politics and clan based separatism does not exist in Mizoram.n) Measures to safeguard the Mizo Tradition:
The YMA has been doing outstanding job in conserving the old Mizo tradition that has been inherited from our forefathers. Steps to preserve, practice and educate the young generation about the Mizo “Tlawmngaihna” (helping others at the cost of oneself) and respect for elders, which are two important characteristics of the Mizos are vehemently being carried out by the YMA. Besides, to conserve the beautiful Mizo cultural dances, “Chapchar Kut”, the most popular festival has been observed every year in which hundreds of YMA members perform the different types of Mizo cultural dances.o) Measures to control Drug trafficking:
Like other countries in the world, drug addiction has become a problem amongst the youths of Mizoram. Many have died from this ever increasing problem. Though the state government has a particular body to solve this problem, yet not much positive result can be seen. Thus, YMA carried out certain activities to counter this problem and further announced “Fight against intoxicants” as its annual theme. Under this, S.R.S (Supply Reduction Service) and D.R.S (Demand Reduction Service) were set up, which brought about very favourable results. p) Conservation of Forest and Wildlife:
The YMA plays a very important role in the conservation of Forests and Wildlife. Besides the conservation of already existing forests, it plants and looks after new trees and thus makes tremendous contributions towards afforestations in the state and YMA has a number of Forest reserves throughout the state.
The YMA also plays a very important role in the protection of the wildlife of the state, both aquatic and terrestrial against poaching, poisoning etc.q) Promotion of Sports:
YMA has made great efforts for the promotion of sports among the youth of the state. Every year, it organizes competitions in various disciplines such as football, volleyball, cricket etc. in which hundreds of its members participate from all corners of the state. These efforts have led to the discovery of a number of talented players/athletes who have since become professional players not only in the State but also in different parts of the country and have also helped the youth in developing discipline, character and proper use of their leisure time.
This all inclusive association which was established in 1935 has carried out its aim and objectives to the best of its capacity and has remained an organization showing deep reverence to a good Christian life. For this reason, it can be said that the blessing of God dwells with this great association. It is the very body which binds together different political parties, different ideas and ethnic groups. It is the only body in which all the Mizos can take part.