T. Sailo
2nd Chief Minister of Mizoram
In office
8 May 1979 – 4 May 1984
Lieutenant GovernorN. P. Mathur
Sourendra Nath Kohli
H. S. Dubey
Preceded byCh. Chhunga
Succeeded byLal Thanhawla
ConstituencyAizawl West II
In office
2 June 1978 – 10 November 1978
Lieutenant GovernorN. P. Mathur
Preceded byPresident’s Rule
Succeeded byPresident’s Rule
Personal details
Born(1922-01-01)1 January 1922
Melkhat/Ṭhuampui, Lunglei, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died27 March 2015(2015-03-27) (aged 93)
Aizawl, Mizoram, India
Resting placeKanan Veng, Aizawl
23°43′53″N 92°42′30″E / 23.73139°N 92.70833°E / 23.73139; 92.70833
Political partyMizoram People's Conference
Alma materUniversity of Calcutta
Military career
Allegiance British Raj (1942–1947)
 India (1947–1974)
Service/branch Indian Army
Years of service1942–1974
Commands heldAssam Regiment
Battles/warsSecond World War

Brigadier Ṭhenphunga Sailo, AVSM (1922–2015) was an Indian military officer and politician from the Indian state of Mizoram in northeast India. He was the second Chief Minister of Mizoram and the founder of Mizoram People's Conference, one of the major political parties in Mizoram. He was a recipient of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) and Padma Shri for his humanitarian works during his military service,[1] and Mizo Award for his lifetime achievements.

T. Sailo was the son of Vanchheuva, a Mizo chief of Ṭhuampui village at Lunglei district. He studied at Serkawn Middle English School, Shillong High School (in Meghalaya), and Serampore College in Calcutta (now Kolkata). He earned his certificate of Intermediate of Science (higher secondary level) from the University of Calcutta. He immediately joined the British Army to serve in World War II. Recruited as second lieutenant in 1942, he became the first military officer among the Mizo people. He retired with the rank Brigadier in 1974. By then his native state was ravaged by political insurgency, and he soon set to humanitarian works and established the Human Right Committee, which he developed into a recognized political party named People's Conference (later renamed the Mizo People's Conference) in 1975.

T. Sailo led his new party to victory in the Mizoram Legislative Assembly election in 1978, and he became the second Chief Minister. Re-election the next year also brought him the same victory and remained the Chief Minister till 1984. Though he was elected for MLA seat in the 1984 election, his party was overwhelmed by the Mizoram Congress party (under the Indian National Congress Party). He was appointed the Opposition Leader in the legislative assembly. He was subsequently elected in 1998 and 2008 but failed to uplift his party. He retired from politics in 2013, and at age 91 he was by then the oldest elected legislator.

Early life and education

T. Sailo was born to Mizo Chief Vancheuva and his wife Hrangvungi. He completed his elementary schooling from Serkawn Middle School in Lunglei, and was the topper in the Middle School Leaving Certificate examination under the Mizoram Board of School Education.[2] He then went on to High School in Shillong from 1937 to 1940. He then went on to study Intermediate of Science (higher secondary education) in Serampore College in 1941. The next year he earned his certificate under the University of Calcutta.[3]

Military career

At the height of World War II, T. Sailo joined the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and after commissioning, joined the Punjab Regiment of the British Indian Army as a Second Lieutenant in 1942.[4] He became the first military officer among the Mizo people.[5] After the Independence of India, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1960, in 1963 he was again promoted to colonel, and then in 1966 to brigadier until his retirement in 1974.[3]


After retiring from Army, T. Sailo created the Human Rights Committee in 1974 fighting for alleged Army excess against civilian's caught in the separatist conflict between the Indian Army and Mizo National Front.[6] He submitted a memorandum containing 36 cases of atrocities by the Indian Army since 1 March 1966. To fight his cause in the political arena, he founded the People's Conference Party (later to be renamed Mizo People's Conference) on 17 April 1975. His party won the Mizoram Legislative Assembly election of 1978, and he became the second Chief Minister of Mizoram on 2 June 1978. Due to political unrest, his government was dissolved after six months in November, and the Union Territory was declared under President's Rule. In the next election in 1979, his party won again and he once again became the Chief Minister, the post he held for full term till 1984. In the 1984 election, although he was elected in his constituency, his party was defeated by the Indian National Congress Party led by Lal Thanhawla. He became the Opposition Leader.[7]

His party felt a serious blow with the Mizoram Peace Accord of 1987, as the Mizo National Front emerged not only as a new political party, but also was offered the government as part of the peace negotiation. For a short while, he changed the party's name to Mizoram Janata Dal but renamed it to reflect its old name Mizoram People's Conference. In the government formed after the 1998 elections, he was part of the ruling coalition led by the Chief Minister Zoramthanga of the Mizo National Front. He was appointed Principal Adviser to the state government.[3] His ministry has also initiated the Aizawl city extension project, Bairabi Dam which he alleged were never pursued by the successive governments.[8]

T. Sailo was again elected in the 2008 election and as his last term as Member of the Legislative Assembly ended in January 2014, he retired. He announced his formal retirement at the assembly session on 24 July 2013. At age 92, he was allegedly the oldest elected member of any legislative body in the world.[9]

Awards and honours

T. Sailo was given the military award Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) during his service. He was awarded the Padma Shree in 1999 by the Government of India.[3] In 2001 the Mizo Zirlai Pawl declared him as a corruption-free politician from their public poll.[10] In April 2011, the then Governor of Mizoram, Lt. Gen. Madan Mohan Lakhera, awarded him the Mizo Award organised by the Vanglaini daily newspaper in Mizoram.[11]

Personal life and death

T. Sailo married Thansiami, daughter of a Mizo folklorist P.S. Dahrawka, in 1946. They had three sons, Lalsangliana Sailo, Lalhmangaiha Sailo, and Lalrinliana Sailo; and a daughter Laldingliani Sailo.[7] Though a son of an Indian Army officer, Lalsangliana joined the Mizo rebels, the Mizo National Army (later Mizo National Front), on the sly while studying graduate course at St. Edmund's College, Shillong, in 1966. He became one of the elite "Special Force" under Laldenga, leader of the MNF.[12] Lalhmangaiha and Laldingliani both entered the Indian Revenue Service.[13] After retirement Lalhmangaiha succeeded his father as President of the Mizoram People's Conference in 2010. He retired as Chief Commissioner of Income Tax.

Laldingliani Sailo, after retirement, served as Member, National Commission for Women (NCW) from 2013 to 2016. She is the only Mizo to have become Member of NCW. She earlier also served as Member, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW). The only woman from North East to have served in DCW.

Lalrinliana Sailo studied medicine (MBBS) and MS (Orthopaedic Surgery) from AIIMS and became Director General, Health Services, Government of Mizoram.[14]

T. Sailo wrote an autobiography of his military life A Soldier's Story.[10]

He had been suffering from lung problems and hypertension. On the morning of 27 March 2015, he had trouble breathing and was taken to the New Life Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 11:50 IST. His funeral was held the next day at noon and was interred at his private grave in his garden.[7] President Pranab Mukerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent messages of condolence.


  1. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  2. ^ Vanchhawng, Kiddy (27 March 2015). "MIZO ARSI LIAN, BRIG T. SAILO HERLIAM TA" [Brig T. Sailo the giant star of Mizos has died]. Mizo Special Report (in Mizo). Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d "Brig T. Sailo Biography". elections.in. Compare Infobase Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Indian Army List". April 1942. p. 1402.
  5. ^ "Former Mizoram CM Brigadier T Sailo passes away". The Day After. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  6. ^ Bareh, Hamlet (2007). Encyclopaedia of North-East India: Mizoram. Mittal Publications.
  7. ^ a b c "CM hlui leh Mizo Award 2011 dawngtu Brig. Ṭhenphunga Sailo kan chân ta" [Former CM and Mizo Award 2011 recipient Brig. Ṭhenphunga Sailo has died]. Vanglaini (in Mizo). 28 March 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Sailo among oldest active politicians". IBN Live. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  9. ^ Chhakchhuak, Linda (25 July 2013). "Brig Sailo bids adieu to active politics". Assam Tribune. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  10. ^ a b CHDA (28 March 2015). "Pu Thenphunga Sailo thlah nan" [An obituary of Thenphunga Sailo]. Zalen (in Mizo). Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  11. ^ Vanlalsangi, K (20 April 2011). "GOVERNOR IN MIZO AWARD HLAN" [Governor gave away the Mizo Award] (in Mizo). Directorate of Information & Public Relations, Mizoram. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  12. ^ Bareh, H. M. (2001). Encyclopaedia of North-East India: Mizoram Volume 5. New Delhi: Mittal Publ. pp. 95–96. ISBN 978-8-1709-9792-4.
  13. ^ "Current Commission Laldingliani Sailo". National Commission for Women (NCW). Retrieved 5 April 2015.. She is, to date, the only Mizo to have become Member of NCW. She earlier also served as Member, Delhi Commission for Women.
  14. ^ Chawngchilh. "Lalhmangaiha Sailo". mi(s)ual.com (in Mizo). Retrieved 5 April 2015.
Preceded byPresident's rule Chief Minister of Mizoram 2 June 1978 – 10 November 1978 Succeeded byPresident's rule Preceded byPresident's rule Chief Minister of Mizoram 8 May 1979 – 4 May 1984 Succeeded byLal Thanhawla