Lushai is a primitive tribal community found in the Lushai Hills of Mizoram
. A majority of them have settled in the hilly regions of Assam
. The word 'Lushai' means 'head cutters'.
These people are considered as the strong and heavy members of Mongolian type. Both male and female grow hairs, in a knot over the nape of the neck, and carefully parted in the middle. Infant morality is seen high among this tribe.
The community members engage in the collection and gathering of forest products. For additional income, they make a variety of bamboo baskets and are sold in the market. Paikawng, Emsin, Paiem, Tlamen, Dawrawn and Fawng baskets are some fine specimens depicting the craftsmanship of the tribe.
Lukhum is a hat worn by the men belonging to this tribe. It is pointed in shape, woven from bamboo splits using the open-hexagonal weave. Lushais are good swimmers and hunters. They are experts in handling Sairawkher, an indigenous bow which is distinguished by its use of clay pellets instead of arrows.
They reside in small village settlements, which are divided into clans and castes, and are run by a headman. The only differences between these clans are the way in which they practice the Sakhua sacrifice to the guardian spirit of the household.
Lushais build their house using bamboo and wood. The region being mostly of hilly nature, the houses are usually built on slopes. Wooden posts of different lengths are employed to provide the necessary support and balance. These posts are enforced with cross beams.
Even though several languages are spoken among the villagers, ‘Lushai’ is their native language. Though of Dravidian origin, this language has no script.