In Mizo tradition, infants below three months are not accorded a decent burial like adults in village cemeteries. Instead, they are buried in kitchen gardens of the bereaved families. This practice is called 'Hlamzuih'.
A consultation was organized by church leaders in Aizawl recently to discuss the issue. It was presided over by Mizoram Synod moderator reverend Lalramliana Pachuau and was attended by representatives of major NGOs and other churches.
In the deliberations, the Synod leaders, including senior executive secretary reverend Vanlalzuata, said the church wanted to do away with 'Hlamzuih'. At the discussion, the emphasis was laid on the fact that infants below three months should also be given a decent burial just like any Christian adult and that the Bible does not discriminate on age.
"There is no concept of 'Hlamzuih' in the Bible or Christian teachings and the church believes that all souls irrespective of age would be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. So, why continue to make a separate arrangement for the burial of infants below three months?" asked a priest.
The participants were informed that the Catholic Church never had the concept of 'Hlamzuih' and all church members, irrespective of their age, were accorded the same Christian burial.
The deliberations in the consultation would be taken up during the Synod executive meeting in September and a final decision would be taken after that.
The main hurdle in doing away with the concept of 'Hlamzuih' is Young Mizo Association (YMA), the largest social organization of the Mizos. The YMA, in its successive conferences, have discussed the issue but stuck to its stand on 'Hlamzuih' for infants below three months.