Khelma people

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Total population
Approx. 5000
Regions with significant populations
Related ethnic groups
Mizo  · Chin  · Kuki

The Khelma or Khelma/Sakachep are one of the old Kuki tribes of Northeastern parts of India.


The Sakachep tribe is one of the smallest tribes in the Old Kuki community. They mainly inhabit in the areas of Assam's Dima Hasao, Cachar and Karbi Anglong districts. The Sakachep lives in Jaintia hills in Meghalaya and some in the Peren district in Nagaland as well. Their life style and habitat closely resemble the other tribes of the Chin, Kuki or Mizo Community. Among the inhabitants of the Dima Hasao district, the Sakachep (also known as Khelma) are one of the smallest communities. The Sakachep are similar in language, customs and traditions to the Chin-Kuki-Mizo. They cremate their dead like the Vedic Hindu. However, 90% of the population are Christians today.[citation needed] They are entirely dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.[citation needed]


There are twelve clans in the Sakachep community. They are 1.Saithuvai 2.Vaichai 3.Sumtinkha 4.Thirsu 5.Neibom 6.Kholum 7.Telengsing 8.Langkai 9.Kelphung 10.Thingphun(Motsun) 11.Nisatarai and 12.Zeite.


The Sakachep also celebrate different festivals which are connected with the worshiping of different gods and goddess during the year. Rabu-khat, Parsem, Inmathung and Rabuthum are such festivals. Rabuthum is the most important of all the ceremonies of the Khelmas. Pârsem Kût is one of the biggest festivals they celebrate in the month of April, which is an age-old traditional shifting jhum cultivation. The Khelmas have a good number of folk songs for different occasions, the songs are generally slow. In Hailaknadi District of Assam, India, they are also found in small number in villages likes Tlangpui(Kalidas punjee), Garmura etc.

Customs and traditions[edit]

The traditional attire and ornaments of the Sakachep are very interesting. The women wear strings of different beads and coins around their neck. Today, majority of the young boys and girls of the villages wear pants, shirts and traditional Mekhela. The older men simply wear a dhuti. The Sakachep bear a close resemblance to the Halam-Komrem tribes, in language, customs and tradition. The main traditional Gods and deities of the Sakachep are Angera, Debi Maka saichkri Rajaram Mokolraja. The traditional social administration of the "Sakachep’’ is known as the Halam, it is headed by a Kalim and Kabur. In the Khelmas community, the young man has to serve his father-in-law for four years before he is allowed to take his wife home. This system is called the Maksa. The Sakachep also celebrate different festivals, which are connected with worship of different gods and goddesses during the year.

External links[edit]