Nov 19, 2008

Interduction of Limbu people

Limbu people
The Limbu (meaning: archer) or Yakthumba/Yakthung (in Limbu language) are an indigenous ethnic group that belongs to the Kiranti group or Kirat confederation that includes the Rai. Their approx population of 400,000 is centered on the districts of Sankhuwasabha, Tehrathum, Dhankuta, Taplejung, Morang, Sunsari, Jhapa, Panchthar and Ilam, all within the Mechi and Kosi zones in Nepal, also known as Limbuwan, as well as the East and West districts of Sikkim. A smaller number are scattered throughout the cities of Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal, India and also in North and South Sikkim and Bhutan. History of Limbuwan provides brief historical achivements of the Limbu people in Limbuwan. Limbus speak a Tibeto-Burman language called Yakthungpan, literally "language of Limbus", also called simply Limbu. It uses the "Kirat Sirijonga" script based on the Tibetan script and Devanagiri. Limbu Clans and Tribes are said to be divided into the Lhasa gotra (those from Lhasa,Tibet) and Kashi gotra, those who come from the Benaras.However,there is no evidence for it. They celebrate the dance festivals of Kelang popularly known Chyabrung in Nepali (two-sided drum) and Yarakma (Paddy dance) as major events. Limbu have their own script called Sirijunga. There are many books written in the Limbu language. Their faith is onshrined in the evergreen Cynodondactylon (Dubo) grass the rocks. They bury their dead. The population of the Limbus, according to the census of 1991, is 2.4% of the national total.
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Limbu Language
Limbu (Limbu:Yakthungpan; "Language of the Yakthung/Limbus") is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in Nepal, Sikkim, Kashmir and parts of Northern India, by the Limbu community. Limbu language has its own unique evolution of Tibetan and Devanagiri writing system. Far more Limbus are literate in Nepali than in Limbu, thus many Limbu publications are accompanied by Nepali translation. Limbu language is one of the major spoken and written languages of Nepal, Sikkim and other parts of Northern India. Today, linguists have reached the conclusion that pronominalization is indigenous development of Tibeto-Burman language and Limbu language bears close resemblance with Khambu Sampang and unique Tibetan dialects. Limbu language has four main dialects-Panchthare, Tamarkhole, Phedape and Chatthare. Before the introduction of Sirijonga script among Limbu Kiratas, Rong script was popular in East Nepal specially in early Maurong state. Sirijonga script had almost disappeared for 800 years and it was brought into practice again by Te-Ongsi Sirijonga Thebe (1704 - 1741 A.D.) of Tellok Sinam who fled to Sikkim where he was put to death by the Lamas of Sikkim in charge of educating people in Limbu language and script in 1741. However, historical evidence show that Te-Ongsi Sirijonga Thebe studied under Sikkimese Lamas and Brahamans in India. The Limbu language and literature has been less practiced in Nepal since the last eighteenth century. The cultural identity of any community was taken as a threat to the national unification by ruling elites until the recent years. The use of Limbu alphabets was banned and the possession of Limbu writings outlawed. There were no specific law about it, but Security Act was enforced for such cases under the strong directives of Kathmandu.
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Limbu economy
The Limbus traditionally practiced subsistence farming. Rice and maize comprised their principal crops. Although there is an abundance of arable land, productivity is greatly limited by insufficient technology. Excess crops are often traded for food that cannot be grown in the region. A sizable number of Limbu youths used to enlist in the British and Indian Gurkha regiments, providing their families with a steady stream of income. Thanks to the Gurkha revenue, the Limbu community as a whole was lifted considerably in terms of health and education. They have good a living standard compared to others.
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Wedding practices
Limbus, in general, marry within their own community. Boys are at liberty to choose a girl and girls are equally free to decide whether to spend life with the boy in question or not (Jones and Jones, 1976). Cross-cousin marriage is not allowed in Limbu culture. Marriage between a man and the widow of his elder brother can take place if they mutually agree. Marriage between a man and a woman outside family relations and having different thars (clans) is also possible either by arrangement or by mutual consent of the boy and the girl in question. It is conventionally said that the customs and traditions of Limbus were established in the distant past by Sawa Yethang (council of eight kings/leaders). The marriages are mostly arranged by parents or result when a boy elopes with a girl. Asking for a girl's hand, that is the most important ceremony. In that system, the girl can ask for anything and an unlimited amount of gold, silver, etc. This confirms to the girl's family that the boy is financially secure enough to keep their daughter happy. Few days after the wedding, the boy's family members have to visit the girl's house with a piglet and some alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks depending upon the financial standard of his house. The key ceremonies of a Limbu wedding take place in the groom's house rather than that of the bride's because girl has to stay with her husband. There are two special dances in this ceremony, one is called "yalakma" or dhan nach in Nepali(rice harvest dance) and "Kelangma" or Chyabrung in Nepali. Yalakma is characterized by men and women dancing in a slow circle, whereas Kelangam consist of complex footwork that goes with the beat of the drums. Anyone can join the dance and they can go for long hours. Yalakma also celebrates the harvest season in addition to being a feature of social occasions including weddings.
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Limbu religion & festivals
The Limbus follow the Kirant Mundhum oral 'scripture' similar to the Bön, shaman. However, their religion is also influenced by later Tibetan Buddhism, and Hinduism. They have many different classes of ritual specialists, of which "Phedangma", "Yema/Yeba", and "Shamba" are some. Their supreme deity is Tagera Ningwaphuma, but the deity Yuma is the most important and popular among the Limbus and is worshiped in all occasions. Yuma is the mother of all the Limbus, therefore one regards his or her mother as a goddess. Their religion is enshrined in the evergreen Cynodondactylon (Dubo) grass. Traditionally, they buried their dead but due to the influence of their Hindu neighbours, cremating is gaining in popularity as well. Their priests include the Fedangba, Shamba and Yewa-Yema. According to the Nepal Census of 2001, out of the 359,379 Limbu, 86.29% were practising traditional Kiranti religion and 11.32% were Hindu and others. Modern Limbus, especially those living in parts of India also been influenced by Christianity.
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Limbu traditional music and singing styles
The folk-literature of the Limbus is very rich and because of this, the Limbus residing in Sikkim, Darjeeling, Assam, Nepal and Bhutan, have their own identity because of immense belief in "Yumawad". Their traditions and cultures are still alive. Yumawad is a type of religious scripture, which have been contiouously kept alive by their religious head and handed over from generation to generation verbally. Some of these oral transmission of religious and traditional teachings are also included in Limbu traditional music with the mixture of social stories, dreams or just plain everyday life. There has been a rich tradition of Limbus singing their folk-songs. Their folk-songs can be divided into the following groups:
1.Khyali - a conversational song but young girls and boys sing it with poetic expressions and in a very sweet tone.
2.Traditional Love Songs -
1. Sakpa Palam Samlo - This song is sung during the Kusakpa Yeaalang dance in fast beat.
2. Kemba Palam Samlo - This song is sung during the Kemba Yeaalang dance in slow beat.
3. Domke Akma Palam Samlo - It is sung when doing the normal chores and also during the Domke Akma dance.
3. Hakpare Samlo - this song is sung by middle-aged men and women, who have interest in Mundhum and who are well-known in it. One can find spiritual and worldly specialities in this song.
4. Nisammang Sewa Samlo - This song is sung during religious functions. It is a devotional song. Dancing is one of the important aspect of the life of Limbus. Based on acting-style, the following types of dances are performed:
1. Dance performed after origin of life: This type of dance is known as Ke Lang or Chyabrung Lang. The dance imitates the actions of animals, insects and any form of living beings.
2. Agricultural dance: Under this type of dance there are -
1. Yea Kakma- This dance is performed after night falls after the crops are reaped.
2. Damke Akme- This dance is performed while sowing crops.
3. War dance: This form of dance is known as 'Nahangma' and is performed during "Nahangma"- their religious function. In this dance, only adult males and "Shamani" priests can take part. During the dance, they carry a sword in their right hand and a shield in their left hand, or an arrow in their right hand and a bow in their left hand.
4. Historical dance: In this dance form, the historical war of ten Limbus fought in Aambepojoma Kamketlungma is depicted.
5. Mysterious and ancient dance performed by Shamani priests: this type of dance is known as Yagrangsing Lang, Phungsok Lang, Tongsing Lang. The dance is performed only by the Shamani priests viz. Fedangma, samba, Yewa and Yema.
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Limbus & Hindu caste system
Nepal's pre-eminent sociologist, Professor Dor Bahadur Bista, asserted that, of all the proverbial thirty-six caste and ethnic groups of Nepal, the Hindu caste system made the least impact on the Limbu. In part, this reflected not only their geographical distance from the seat of power in the capital city of Kathmandu but also their cultural independence.
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Famous Limbu people
1. King Sirijonga Hang (880-915 AD ) - Ninth century Kirant Limbu King, who unified the warring Limbu states and the inventor of the Kirant Sirijonga Script.
2. Teongsi Sirijonga Xin Thebe (1704 - 1741 AD) - Eigthteenth century Limbu Martyer and social worker, Kirat script reviver and teacher.
3. Iman Singh Chemjong (1904-1975 AD) - Limbu Historian, Author, writer and Kirantologist at the Tribhuwan University, First Kirat historian
4.Padam Singh Muringla - Limbu writer and writer of the first Limbu Novel "Thathama"
5. Phalgunanda Lingden- A renowned Limbu religious and social leader.
6. Bairagi Kainla ( Til Bikram Nembang ) - Writer in Nepalese literature.
7. Captain Rambahadur Limbu Begha – Victoria Cross Holder, Her Majesty's Armed Forces, United Kingdom
8. Gyan Bahadur Yakthumba- First Inspector General of the Nepalese Police force.
9. Ritu Barna Tumbahangphey- Youngest zonal commissioner to serve the country for more than fourteen years.
10. Subash Chandra Nembang- Lawyer, Current Speaker of the House of Representatives, CPN(UML) politician and leader, and the member of the Nepalese Parliament.
11. Jina Lingden - First Limbu woman Air Pilot, Yeti Airlines
12. Captain Kul Bahadur Hukpa Chongbang Limbu – Pilot Captain, Nepal Airlines Corporation
13. Deepak Thangden – Assistant Inspector General of Nepal Police
14. Fattya Bahadur Manyangbo - Lt General (3 star General), Nepal Army
15. Padmasunder Lawati – Politician and Leader of Rastrya Prajatantra Party, ex-Minister
16. Parsuram Khapung – Politician and Leader of Rsatrya Prajatantra Party, ex-Minister
17. Bijay Thumbahamphe – Leader of CPM(UML) and Parliamentarian
18. Lila Subba Shrestha – Former member of Parliament & Deputy Speaker of the house of representatives.
19. Gagendra Limbu – Brigadier General, Nepal Army and Former Chief of Military Secretariat at the Royal Palace.
20. Gyan Bahadur Limbu – Major (QGO) Queen's Gurkha Logistic Regiment. Her Majesty's Armed Forces, United Kingdom.
21. Chandra Bahadur Limbu – Ex. Major (QGO) Queen's Gurkha Engineer. Her Majesty's Armed Forces, United Kingdom.
22. Narendra Bikram Nembang- Nepali Congress Politician Lawyer and current Minister for Law Justice and Parliamentary affiars.
23. Durga Lingkha - CPN (UML) Politician and the Member of Nepalese Parliament
24. Vijay Subba - Poet and CPN (UML) Politician and the Member of Nepalese Parliament.
25. Mani Kumar Subba - A Limbu Indian MP from Assam, Politician and the member of Indian Parliament
26. Rakam Chemjong – Politician and the member of Nepalese Parliament
27. Sanccha Man Limbu- Former Chief Minister of the State of Sikkim and the member of Sikkimese Parliament.
28. Prof. Dr. Tanka Subba - Anthropologist scholar, Shillong University, Meghalaya
29. Dr. Mahendra Lawoti - Assistant Professor of the University of Pittsburgh, USA.
30. Dr Nirmala Khajum Limbu- Physiologist, BPKIS Hospital, Dharan, East Nepal.
31. Sanjib Subba - Executive Director (Webster University, thailand)
32. Kala wati Subba - former speaker, Sikkim assembly
33. Thakur Subba - Major General of Nepal Army
34. Lalit bahadur Limbu - Acting chief of Akhtiyar Durupayog, Nepal Government
35. Prof. BAL Krishna mabohang - Trivuwan University
36. Dr. Youbaraj Limbu - Cardiologist at the Gangalal Heart Indstitute Hospital, Kathmandu
37. Dr. Chaitannya subba Limbu
38. Randhir Subba - former cabinet minister & Ambassador to china. He has been the only Indigenous person to be Foreign minister.
39. Milan Edhingo(Limbu)-Famous hero Of Dharan limbuwan state.
40. Sunita Subba – Singer
41. Pabitra Subba – Singer
42. Dibya Subba – Nepalese Pop Singer
43. Nabin Subba – Film Director
44. Alok Nembang - Film Director (Sano Sansar)
45.Deepak Limbu – Singer (1st Nepali Tara)
46.Dinesh Subba - Singer, Musician
47.Bikram Subba - Poet and lyrician
48.Bhagat Subba - Singer in Limbu Language
49. Malvika Subba – Top Model and Miss Nepal 2004
50. Nirakar Kaythumba (Limbu) – Founder & Bass Guitarist of 1974 AD band.
51. Abhaya Subbha – First Nepali Female Rock singer
52. Nawa Raj Subba, Poet- Winner of First Online World webcam Poem Competition, 2064.(www.nrsubba.com.np).
53. Naren Limbu - Pop singer (Astha Band)
54. Kala Subba - Anchor Ntv
55. Shova Khajum - Limbu Actress, (Tareba)
.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

16 comments:

Bhumi Limbu said...

please keep spellings correct in order to make it reliable and trustworthy. Why is it interduction? Should it be Introduction?

Dil Bikram said...

Despite having a lots of grametical and spelling mistakes, it's a good effort. It would be better to include reference list and bibilography which will help others to do additional research.

Dil Subba, KS, USA.

thangben said...

The first GM(gurkha major)of gurkha contingent in singapore
HARKA JUNG LIMBU
Present GM(gurkha major) in gurkha contingent in singapore
SANCHA BAHADUR LIMBU
RANK ASP2

mikmar tshawang said...

Im serfing this site for the first time, and being a limbu, I really like the site. Its really informative and helpful for my PhD work. Please update the site regularly and try to include as many articles as possible.

mikmar tshawang said...

I really liked the site, its very informative and helpful for my future research and PhD work. Please keep updating and adding the more and more articles.

mvprajan said...

I AM TAMIL BUT CLOSE WITH WEST SIKKIM LIMBU. YOUR BLOG IS MOST INFORMATIVE, RELIABLE CONSISTING UNKNOWN FACTS TO MY KNOWLEDGE. THANKS A LOT.

M. V. POUNRAJAN,
HEAD OF INSTITUTE,
GOVT. SEC. SCHOOL,
KHANISIRBONG 737121
VIA NAYA BAZAR,
WEST SIKKIM.
email: mv.pounrajan@gmail.com
link: http://khanisirbongwestsikkim.in

Saroj Nembang said...

Could not find the name of Shri Birahi Kaila, Editor and Publisher of first Limbu literary magazine pubished in 1967 from Darjeeling (India). He is also a receipient of Sirijonga Award from Kirat Yakthung Chumlung, Nepal for his book 'Limbu Bhasa Ra Sahitya Ko Sanchipta Parichaya' published by Nepal Pragya Prathisan, Kathmandu in BS 2049

Saroj Nembang said...

Could not find the name of
1
Shri Birahi Kaila, Editor and Publisher of first Limbu Literary Magazine 'KOM' published in 1967 from Darjeeling (India). He is also a receipient of Sirijonga Award from Kirat Yakthung Chumlung, Nepal for his book 'Limbu Bhasa Ra Sahitya Ko Sanchipta Parichaya" published by Nepal Academy, Kathmandu in BS 2049.
2
Shri B B Muringla - Very well known Limbu Writer from Sikkim. Several awards have been bestowed upon him.

3
Shri Harka Khamdak - also from Sikkim and has been Editor and Publisher of 'Emetnasung' Limbu-Nepali-English Magazine since last 20 years.

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