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Brogpa Minaro, Dakpa, Sangtengpa
Brokpa Aryan man with traditional headdress.jpg
Brokpa man dressed in folk costume in Ladakh
Total population
48,439 (2011 census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Garkon, Dha-Hanu, Sharchay, Chulichan-Batalik in Ladakh, India
Majority Islam 45,103 (93.2%)[2]
Small minorities of Buddhism 3,144 (6.5%) and Hinduism 133 (0.3%)[2]
Related ethnic groups
Other Indo-Aryan peoples

The Brokpa (Brokstat: Minaro) are a small ethnic group mostly found in the Indian Union territory of Ladakh. They speak an Indo-Aryan language called Brokskat.[3]

They are mainly found in Dha, Hanu, Beama, Garkon, Darchiks, Batalik, Sharchay and Chulichan. Part of the community are also located in the Deosai plateau just across the Line of Control in the villages Ganoaks, Morol, Dananusar, and Chechethang in Baltistan, Pakistan. They are said to have originally come from Chilas and settled in the area generations ago. The Brokpa in the Leh district are mostly Vajrayana Buddhist while those in the Kargil district are mostly Muslim. A small percentage also follow Hinduism.[4][2]


The endonym of the Brokpa people is "Minaro," which means "Aryan" in the Brokstat language.[4][5] 'Brogpa' is the name given by the Purig people of Kargil, which means more or less "hillbilly"[6] while Drokpa is the name given by the Bod people of Leh district.[7]

Some experts say it may have derived from the Tibetan word "Drukpa", meaning "Turks" (cf. 'Drugu' for an ethnic Turk). Alternatively, it may just mean འབྲོག་པ། (pronounced Brokpa in Ladakh), a Tibetan word for pastoral nomads.[4]


The traditional Brogpa diet is based on locally grown foods such as barley and hardy wheat prepared most often as tsampa/sattu (roasted flour). It takes in different ways.[clarification needed] Other important foods include potatoes, radishes, turnips, and Gur-Gur Cha, a brewed tea made of black tea, butter and salt.

Dairy and poultry sources are not eaten because of religious taboos. Brogpa eat three meals a day: Choalu Unis (breakfast), Beali (lunch) and Rata Unis (dinner). Brogpa vary with respect to the amount of meat (mainly mutton) that they eat. A household's economic position decides the consumption of meat. It is only during festivals and rituals that all have greater access to mutton.[8]

Economy and employment[edit]

The Brogpa economy has shifted from agropastoralism to wage labor, and the division of labor that relied on stratifications of age and gender is now obsolete. The Brogpa transition to private property, monogamy, nuclear families, formal education, wage labor, and their incorporation into a highly militarized economy of soldiering and portering illuminates the complex workings of modernity in Ladakh.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ST-14 Scheduled Tribe Population By Religious Community". Census of India. Ministry of Home Affairs, India. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Religion Data of Census 2011: XXXIII JK-HP-ST". Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  3. ^ Jain, Danesh; Cardona, George (26 July 2007). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge. p. 889. ISBN 978-1-135-79711-9.
  4. ^ a b c "India, Brokpa People". Atlas Of Humanity. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  5. ^ Khan, Arman (4 May 2022). "This 'Aryan' Community's 'Exotic' Clothes and Polyamorous Marriages Mask Other Truths". Vice Media. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  6. ^ Advani, Rukun (22 May 2014). Written Forever: The Best of Civil Lines. Hachette India. p. 234. ISBN 978-93-5009-783-0.
  7. ^ "Brokskat". Ethnologue. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Bhasin, Veena: Social Change, Religion and Medicine among Brokpas of Ladakh, Ethno-Med., 2(2): 77-102 (2008)" (PDF). Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  9. ^ Bhan, Mona (2013). "1.Becoming Brogpa". Counterinsurgency, Democracy and the Politics of Identity in India. Routledge South Asia Series. ISBN 9781138948426.

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