Accepted paper:

Understanding the notion of social body: A critical study of scientific medicine and religious healing in Mizoram


Lalhmangaihi Chhakchhuak (University of Hyderabad)

Paper short abstract:

The concept “body” of the indigenous tribe in Mizoram, North East India eventually acknowledges a new dimension with the entry of western rule and Christian missionaries. The eradication of traditional ritual healing, introduction of scientific medicine and Christian divine healing by western culture in Mizoram will be discussed in this paper.

Paper long abstract:

The modern western body sees body as an individualistic form. The colonial rule and entrance of Christian missionaries gave birth to understanding of body, health and healing in Mizoram. The Mizos lost many of their traditional cultural practices, healing and tribal medicines with the wide spread of colonial scientific medicine by the 19th century. From the world of tribal healing and ritual practices, the Mizos entered into scientific interpretation of medical system and healing. It was not just the colonial medicine that has replaced the traditional healing practices, but Christianity that introduces the idea of individualistic body. Body has become the site for scientific medical healing as well as religious institution. In an advanced scientific world, the Mizos are familiar with medical system such as allopathic, Ayurveda, homeopathy. Similarly, they practice Christian divine healing ministry immensely. Religion has a strong position in Mizo society, which regulates the understanding of body towards religious law. Body image, fashion, food, music, art of healing are confined within religious institution. This paper will explore a critical study of the transitional change of traditional healings to modern medical system. Most importantly, examine critically the practices of both scientific medical healing and divine healing in contemporary Mizo society.

panel P46
Aesthetics of healing and the body in a globalising world