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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chp 239. OPERATION AIZAWL – Phase 1(A)

Are you tired of seeing Aizawl wrongly written as AIZWAL, AIZAWAL, AIZOL, AIJUAL etc everywhere on the internet?

I can understand some old-timers referring to Aizawl as Aijal, because that was how non-Mizos used to pronounce it back then. Many historical documentaries written by British officers and missionaries even mentioned Aizawl as Aijal. Even the 1940 Lushai Dictionary [now online] compiled by J. Herbert Lorrain (Pu Buanga) shows no result for “Aizawl”, but search for “Aijal” and you will get Aizawl!

But that was many years ago. Now with the internet revolution, more and more people are coming to know who the Mizos are and where Mizoram is. In spite of the fact that there’s almost nothing mentioned about us in our school “educational” books, we are no longer the “mystical strange Chinese-looking Indians” that we once were.

With the internet making our world one complete global village, I believe it is high time we correct some of the spelling mistakes about us. We definitely do not want our Indian brothers to learn the wrong names of our cities, do we?

Just like how any Indian will correct us immediately if we misspell the names of their cities, towns, states, cuisines etc, we Mizos too need to strike back and educate the mass about us.

Hence I present you: OPERATION AIZAWL

This movement is endorsed by

This movement is also in partner with,, and

Last but not the least, this movement is a tribute and dedication to all the Mizos out there who actually write to the admins and site owners asking them to correct the name of Aizawl. I have seen such people many times before, fervently writing out passionate comments at any place where Aizawl is spelled wrongly, and I sincerely salute you guys. RESPECT!

Taking all your admirable efforts one step further, let us all make this a group effort. Let us combine our resources and our man-power together and we can even be more effective this way.


Step 1: As an individual, we will all take genuine attempt to search online for any website, especially ticket-booking portals [phase 1(A)] and tourism websites [phase 1(B)], where Aizawl is wrongly written as… anything, as long as it is not A-I-Z-A-W-L.

Step 2: You can either write to the Admin of that website directly, requesting him to please change the name to Aizawl, or you can inform us about the website and we will do the needful from here.

Step 3: We will publicly list out all such sites here on this page, and we will mention if they have changed the name to Aizawl or not after our request. Feel free to copy this list of such websites to your blog/homepage too, because the more we take part in this, the more chances we have of getting noticed.

Step 4: If this operation is successful, we will take our operation into Phase two – Correcting offline agencies like printers and publishers of diaries, maps, and official/private documents. This is a much bigger task, but first let’s see how we fare in Phase 1(A) – Ticket booking sites.

Step 5: What if they still refuse to change it after we inform them about it? Boycott these airlines/agencies. Spread the word to your Mizo friends about it, and more importantly ask your non-Mizo friends to help you with this mission, for they have the power to make this change for us.


Sure, one may argue that the spelling mistake is how it is pronounced in a “foreign” language – the Anglicized Latin version and that the “English version” of a local language can have many different spelling versions and forms.

But the one very big, if not THE ONLY main difference in our case is that we Mizos have adopted this very same script, and so a mistake in “English” means a mistake in Mizo directly. We would very much like to see the correct name in the language that WE use (adopted).

It’s not like the case of most other Indian languages, where the respective names of the cities/places come from the English pronunciation. Such regions have their own languages and scripts, so many people may argue that you cannot have the exact English version which is correct. But as mentioned above, we cannot apply that same case for the Mizos.

It is also not like the cases of Bombay-Mumbai, Madras-Chennai, Calcutta-Kolkata etc because the “old name” had never been AIZWAL, AIZAWAL in the first place. We Mizos are an extremely young tribe, especially when it comes to language and technology but that doesn’t mean we can let the more developed people take advantage of us. We can’t let someone give us a name that is to their own liking or at their whim and fancy.

Secondly, AIZWAL/AIZAWAL etc. makes no sense in our language. The name Aizawl comes from “Aidu” and “Zawl”. Aidu (wild cardamom) covers a large part of the now Assam Rifles ground (near Governor’s Raj Bhavan), which is the heart of present day Aizawl. “Zawl” means plain, a large place. Hence Aizawl means a large area that is covered with Aidu.

It was not even a “village” back then, and there were different hamlets surrounding this area, Chaltlang being one of them (my locality). Hence when the Britishers came, they thought the entire area was Aizawl. That’s where the name came from. Lt Colonel G. H. Loch “officially founded” Aizawl in the early 1890s, and “Fort Aijal” was established.

And thirdly, regarding the very common misnomer “AIZWAL”, if you think two simple misplaced letters is making a mountain out of a mole hill, try calling cities as Mumbia, Hydarebad, Chinnai etc and see the reaction you’ll get from the locals. I dare you. We are all proud of our respective background and history, hence we should also respect the pride others have for their history.


PHASE 1(A): Airlines Ticket Booking Sites.

The National Airlines code for Aizawl is AJL, which I presume was derived from Aijal (duh!). I have no personal qualms regarding this (and since it is the official IATA code, it will be next to impossible to get this changed – Mumbai is still BOM, Kolkata is still CCU and Chennai is still MAA). Let us concentrate on just “Aizawl”.

Among the popular ticket booking sites, both and correctly labeled Aizawl as Aizawl. Yay!!! I’m booking my tickets only through you guys.

And special mention must be made about my twit-friend @Usha of who changed the name of AJL Airport from “Turial Air Force Base” to “Lengpui Airport” immediately when @rualthan pointed it out, in less than 5 minutes! Cheers Usha!

From the lesser known ticket booking sites,, and have written Aizawl correctly too. Love you guys! also labeled Aizawl correctly, but when they made a full-page announcement/advertisement in the local papers a month ago (was it MM or TOI, I forgot), I was extremely disappointed on seeing AIZWAL boldly printed on the destination list. I guess somebody must have corrected them after that mistake.

Indian Airlines too is now proudly displaying “Aizawl”. Thank you, you guys, although I think this was the airlines that first started using AIZWAL, which led to all the other new airlines copying them. Still, it’s good to know that has changed now., one of India’s biggest online travel portals on the other hand still shows AIZWAL in its database, at both and

Air Deccan (now known as Kingfisher Red after the merger)’s site also shows AIZWAL… They should be lynched, considering the number of Mizos who used to fly Air Deccan every day as they were the first airline to fly to Mizoram after Indian Airlines.

Another ticket booking site I came across recently – also shows Aizawl as AIZWAL. also shows AIZWAL

Meanwhile is confused! I think they don’t know which is the correct spelling, so what do they do? Very clever. They use both AIZAWL and AIZWAL! Below is a screen shot from

Naughty me of course searched for flights between Aizawl and Aizwal, and I got the result: “Currently this feature can only be used for sectors on which direct flights operate.” lolz! So there are no direct flights from Aizawl to Aizwal. How sad! on the other hand, goes even one step further. It is not just AIZWAL in this site. It is AIZAWAL!!! Goodness gracious me!

And then I went to and saw Aihole! Fortunately, that’s not a misspelling of Aizawl, lolz, and it’s actually a place in Karnataka. Phew!

But this next one is no joke. Aizawl is Aijwal at

Another lesser known travel agency labels Aizawl as Aizwal. I guess that is neither informative nor entertaining. Funny thing about this particular site – Its AIZWAL in the “Leaving from” section but correctly written as “Aizawl” in the “Going to” section. lolz. I guess it’s time they too leave from the misspelling habit and go to the correctly spelt one. is another site with AIZAWAL in its database. must be so happy to find a likeminded travel agency! using AIZWAL in its database is not exactly a dream for me. labels Aizawl as AIJWAL. Whoah! also uses AIZWAL, but then, what else do you expect from something cheap? (ok I’m just trying to sound trollish here…)

The rest of the lesser known travel agencies, I will skip for now. Kindly do submit the web address if you come across any other agencies/airlines misspelling Aizawl. We shall print it here for everyone to see.

Meanwhile a mail will be sent to all the listed sites above, kindly requesting them to change the name to the correct one, and this post shall be updated regarding whether the mistake is corrected or not.

Given below is the letter I am planning to send to them all, and please do copy this letter or write your own letter and send it to them too. Remember, the more we take part in this, the higher chance we have of the Agency complying with our humble request.

Subject: Erratum in your website – AIZWAL should be AIZAWL.

Respected Sir,

We have noticed that the spelling of Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, is incorrect in your website. AIZWAL is wrong. We request you to kindly change it to “Aizawl” because the error hurts our sentiments and it can even be misinterpreted as a form of neglect people usually have for the North Eastern people, which I hope is not the case here.

A correction will be truly appreciated!

Thanking you in advance,

Yours sincerely,


PHASE 1 (B) will cover the Tours and Travel websites (tourism, hotels etc), so sharpen your nails for that too. For now, let us concentrate on the ticket booking sites. Your cooperation will be highly appreciated.

# Special thanks to Pu Chawnghilh @ and Pu Hruaia @ Hyderabad University for their in-depth assistance and research regarding the history of Aizawl. You guys rock!