Indian Gorkhas (Bharatiya Gorkha), also known as Nepali Indians, are Nepali language-speaking Indian citizens. The term "Indian Gorkha" is used to differentiate the ethnic Gorkha citizens of India from the citizens of Nepal.
Indian Gorkhas are citizens of India as per the gazette notification of the Government of India on the issue of citizenship of the Gorkhas from India. Nepali language is included in the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution. However, the Indian Gorkhas are faced with a unique identity crisis with regard to their Indian citizenship because of the Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship (1950) that permits "on a reciprocal basis, the nationals of one country in the territories of the other the same privileges in the matter of residence, ownership of property, participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of a similar nature".
Ethnicities and castes
The Indian Gorkhas are a mixture of castes and ethnio-tribe clans. The Gorkhali purbutiyah tribes groups include the Khas-Parbatiyas are Bahun (Brahmins), Chhetri (Kshatriya), Thakuri, Badi, Kami, Damai, Sarki, Gandarbha, Kumal etc. Other tibeto-ethnic groups include Gurung, Magar, Tamang, Newar, Bhujel (Khawas), and Thami. Although each of them has its own language (belonging to the Tibeto-Burman languages or Indo-Aryan languages), the lingua franca among the Gorkhas is the Nepali language with its script in Devnagari. It is one of the official languages of India.
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As per the 2011 Census, a total of 2,926,168 people in India spoke Nepali as mother tongue. The largest populations can be found in West Bengal - 1,155,375 (+12.97% from 2001 Census), Assam - 596,210 (+5.56%), Uttarakhand - 106,399 (+16.86%), Sikkim - 382,200 (+12.87%), Arunachal Pradesh - 95,317 (+00.42%), Himachal Pradesh - 89,508 (+27.37%), Maharashtra - 75,683 (+19.22%), Meghalaya - 54,716 (+4.91%), Manipur - 63,756 (+38.61%), Nagaland - 43,481 (+27.06%), and Mizoram - 8,994 (+0.51%). Apart from this, there are additional speakers of languages such as Limbu (40,835), Rai (15,644), Sherpa(16,012) and Tamang (20,154). So the combined strength of Nepali and the other four Gorkha languages comes to 3,018,813.
As per the 2001 Census, a total of 2,871,749 people in India spoke Nepali as mother tongue. As per the 1991 Census, this figure was 2,076,645. The largest populations can be found in West Bengal - 1,022,725 (+18.87% from 1991 Census), Assam - 564,790 (+30.58%), Uttarakhand - 355,029 (+255.53%), Sikkim - 338,606 (+32.05%), Arunachal Pradesh - 94,919 (+16.93%), HP - 70,272 (+50.64%), Maharashtra - 63,480 (+59.69%), Meghalaya - 52,155 (+6.04%), Manipur - 45,998 (-1.08%), Nagaland - 34,222 (+6.04%), and Mizoram - 8,948 (+8.50%).
As per the 2001 Census, districts with the largest Nepali populations are West West Kameng - 13,580 (18.2% of the total population) Lohit - 22,200 (15.77%), and Dibang Valley - 15,452 (26.77%). Tehsils with the largest proportion of Nepalis are Koronu (55.35%), Kibithoo (50.68%), Sunpura (42.28%), Vijoynagar (42.13%), and Roing (32.39%).
As per the 2011 Census, districts with the largest Nepali populations are West Kameng - 14,333 (17.1% of the total population) Lohit - 22,988 (13.77%), and Dibang Valley - 14,271 (22.99%). Tehsils with the largest proportion of Nepalis are Koronu (48.49%), Kibithoo (6.5%), Sunpura (34.47%), Vijoynagar (41.8%), and Roing (26.0%).
As per the 2001 Census, districts with the largest ethnic Nepali populations are Sonitpur - 131,261 (7.81% of the total population) Tinsukia - 87,850 (7.64%), and Karbi Anglong - 46,871 (5.76%). Tehsils with the largest proportion of Nepalis are Sadiya (27.51%), Na Duar (16.39%), Helem (15.43%), Margherita (13.10%), and Umrangso (12.37%).
As per the 2011 Census, districts with the largest ethnic Nepali populations are Sonitpur - 135,525 (7.04% of the total population) Tinsukia - 99,812 (7.52%), and Karbi Anglong - 51,496 (5.38%). Tehsils with the largest proportion of Nepalis are Sadiya (26.2%), Na Duar (14.88%), Helem (14.35%), Margherita (13.47%), and Umrangso (12.46%).
As per the 2011 census, Tehsils with the largest proportion of Nepali people are Sadar Hills West (33.0%), Saitu-Gamphazol (9.54%), and Lamshang (10.85%). Districts with the largest Nepali population are Senapati - 39,039 (8.15%), Imphal West - 10,391 (2.01%) and Imphal East - 6,903 (1.51%).
This is how the previous censuses counted the number of Nepali speakers in Manipur:
- 1961 Census: 13,571
- 1971 Census: 26,381
- 1981 Census: 37,046
- 1991 Census: 46,500
- 2001 Census: 45,998 (*)
- 2011 Census: 63,756
Gorkha population is mostly concentrated in the districts of East Khasi Hills (37,000 or 4.48%) and Ribhoi (10,524 or 4.07%). Tehsils with the largest concentration include Myliem (8.18%) and Umling (6.72%).
Among the cities, the highest concentration of Nepali speakers can be found in Shillong Cantonment (29.98%), Shillong (9.83%), Pynthorumkhrah (7.02%), Nongmynsong (26.67%), Madanrting (17.83%), and Nongkseh (14.20%).
This is how the previous censuses counted the number of Nepali speakers in Meghalaya:
- 1961: 32,288
- 1971: 44,445
- 1981: 61,259
- 1991: 49,186
- 2001: 52,155
- 2011: 54,716
As per the 2011 Census, there are a total of 9,035 Gorkhas in Mizoram. Of this, 5,944 are concentrated in Tlangnuam Tehsil of Aizawl district, where they form 1.9% of the population. The Central Gorkha Mandir Committee operates a total of 13 Hindu temples in Mizoram and these are the only Hindu places of worship in the state.
Most of the Nepali speaking population are found in the districts of Dimapur (21,596 or 5.70%) and Kohima (9,812 or 3.66%). Tehsils with the largest concentration are Naginimora (7.48%), Merangmen (6.78%), Niuland (6.48%), Kuhoboto (7.04%), Chümoukedima (7.07%), Dhansiripar (6.09%), Medziphema (9.11%), Namsang (8.81%), Kohima Sadar (6.27%), Sechü-Zubza (5.03%), and Pedi (7.61%).
The state of Sikkim is the only state in India with a majority ethnic Nepali population. The Sikkim census of 2011 says population of Sikkim is the least in all of India. This thinly populated state has a population of mere 6.10 lacs, and has grown by approximately one lac since the last census. Nepali/Gorkhali language is the lingua franca of Sikkim, while Tibetan (Bhutia) and Lepcha are spoken in certain areas. As per the 2011 Census, there were a total of 453,819 speakers of various Tibetan languages (Nepali - 382,200, Limbu - 38,733, Sherpa - 13,681, Tamang - 11,734 and Rai - 7,471). Out of this, 20.14% (91,399) were Tibetan Limbu/Tamang, 6.23% (28,275) were Dalit and 73.63% were General category.
According to the census, there are a total of 53,703 Limbu and 37,696 Tamang in Sikkim, of whom a majority speak the Nepali language as their mother tongue. Also, small numbers of Bhotia and Lepcha also speak the Nepali language as their mother tongue. As per the 2011 Census, there were a total of 69,598 Bhotia in Sikkim (including Sherpa, Tamang, Tibetan.etc), but only 58,355 were speaking languages such as Sikkimese and Sherpa. Out of the 42,909 Lepcha there were only 38,313 speakers for the Lepcha language.
As per the 2011 census, the total number of Nepali language speakers is 106,399, constituting 1.1% of the total population of the state.
As per the 2001 Census, there are a total of 1,034,038 ethnic Nepalis in West Bengal, of which 1,022,725 are speakers of the Nepali language and 11,313 are speakers of languages such as Tamang and Sherpa. The population in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts are 748,023 (46.48% of the total population) and Jalpaiguri - 234,500 (6.99%). Most of the ethnic Nepali population in West Bengal live in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration region. About 7.56% of the Nepalis were Dalit, belonging to castes such as Kami and Sarki (population of 78,202 in 2001). The two tribes classified as Scheduled Tribe (Limbu and Tamang) constituted 16% of the Nepali population according to the census. The remaining 76% belonged to general category.
As per the 2011 Census, there were a total of 1,161,807 speakers of various Nepalese languages. Out of this 7.24% was Dalit (84,110) and 16.62% (193,050) were tribal Tamang/Limbu. Remaining 76.14% were General category.
Nepalis in some states of Northeast India have faced violence and ethnic cleansing. In 1967, more than 8,000 Nepalis were driven out of Mizoram, while more than 2,000 in Manipur met with the same fate in 1980. Tens of thousands of Nepalis were banished from Assam (in 1979) and Meghalaya (in 1987) by the local militia groups. The biggest displacement occurred in Meghalaya, when the Khasi Students' Union (KSU) targeted Nepalis living in the eastern part of the state. More than 15,000 Nepalis were driven out (mostly to Nepal), while about 10,000 were reduced to living in subhuman life in the refugee camps of Shillong. In 2010, there were riots between Khasis and the Gorkhas, which left several Gorkhas dead. One elderly Gorkha man was burnt alive.[better source needed]
- Ganesh - Kannada film actor
- Bhumika Gurung - Television actress and model
- Geetanjali Thapa – Bollywood actress (National Film Award for Best Actress recipient 2013)
- Mala Sinha – Indian actress in Hindi and Bengali cinemas
- Niruta Singh - Actress in Nepali cinema
- Pratibha Sinha – Bollywood Indian actress (daughter of actress Mala Sinha and Nepali actor C.P. Lohani)
- Rewati Chetri - Model and actress
- Major Durga Malla – Indian freedom fighter
- Captain Ram Singh Thakuri – Indian freedom fighter who composed a number of patriotic songs including Kadam Kadam Badaye Ja
- Lieutenant-Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa – Param Vir Chakra recipient
- Brigadier Sher Jung Thapa (Hero of Skardu) - Mahavir Chakra recipient for his actions in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
- Trilochan Pokhrel – Indian freedom fighter
- Colonel Lalit Rai - Vir Chakra recipient for his actions in the Kargil War in 1999.
- Subedar Major Ganju Lama - Victoria cross recipient
- Louis Banks - Jazz musician
- Bipul Chettri - Singer, composer
- Ranjit Gazmer - Bollywood film musician
- Sukmit Gurung - Singer
- Aruna Lama - Nepali Singer from Darjeeling
- Udit Narayan - Playback singer
- Adrian Pradhan - Singer, songwriter, guitarist. Former 1974 AD member of Nepal
- Sonam Sherpa - Lead Guitarist of Parikrama band
- Poornima Shrestha - Bollywood playback singer
- Phiroj Shyangden - Singer, songwriter, guitarist. Former founding member 1974 AD Band of Nepal
- Prashant Tamang - Singer, actor, winner of Indian Idol Season 3
- Shanti Thatal - Composer, singer, producer
- Hira Devi Waiba - Pioneer of Nepali folk songs, singer
- Navneet Aditya Waiba - Folk singer
- Gopal Yonzon - Singer, musician, playwright
- Karma Yonzon - Composer, singer, producer
- Shiva Thapa - Boxer (youngest Indian boxer to qualify for the Olympic Games)
- Shyam Thapa - footballer
- Ashish Chettri - footballer
- Anirudh Thapa- footballer
- Bijendra Rai - footballer
- Israil Gurung - footballer
- Lalit Thapa - goalkeeper
- Kamal Thapa - footballer
- Mobin Rai - footballer
- Nagen Tamang - footballer
- Nirmal Chettri – footballer
- Nima Tamang - footballer
- Robin Gurung - footballer
- Sanju Pradhan – footballer, Mumbai City FC
- Sunil Chhetri – captain of the India national football team and Bengaluru FC. Recipient of Arjuna Award (2011) and Padma Shri (2019)
- Vinit Rai - footballer
- Anju Tamang - women footballer
- Uttam Rai - footballer
- Komal Thatal - footballer
- Bikash Jairu - footballer
- Nim Dorjee Tamang - footballer
- Bharat Chettri – Hockey player (former captain of Indian hockey team)
- Indra Bahadur Rai – Nepali writer and literary critic from Darjeeling, India.
- Hari Prasad Gorkha Rai
- Kumar Pradhan
- Lil Bahadur Chettri - Padma Shri award recipient (2020) for his contribution towards Nepali literature.
- Prajwal Parajuly – English language writer and novelist
- Ganga Prasad Pradhan - Translator of the Nepali Bible, co-author of an English-Nepali dictionary, author of children's textbooks.
- Parijat real name Bishnu Kumari Waiba - Original writer of The Blue Mimosa Birthplace Darjeeling
- Agam Singh Giri - Nepali language poet and lyricist from Darjeeling.
- Birkha Bahadur Muringla -Padma Shri award recipient.
- Tulsiram Sharma Kashyap
- Chobilal Upadhyaya - first president of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee
- Shanta Chhetri - Member of Parliament
- B. B. Gurung - third Chief Minister of Sikkim.
- Bimal Gurung - Leader of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)
- Bishal Lama - MLA from Kalchini
- Bhaskar Sharma - MLA from Margherita, Assam
- Damber Singh Gurung – Indian Gorkha representative in the Constituent Assembly of India
- Dawa Narbula – Member of the Indian National Congress (INC), former Member of Parliament
- Ganesh Kumar Limbu - MLA from Barchalla, Assam
- Madan Tamang –Former President of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL)
- Moni Kumar Subba - Member of INC , Assam
- Nar Bahadur Bhandari – Former Chief Minister of Sikkim
- Ram Prasad Sharma - MP of Tezpur
- Pawan Kumar Chamling – 5th Chief Minister of Sikkim, founder and president of Sikkim Democratic Front and the longest serving chief minister in India.
- Prem Singh Tamang - Current Chief Minister of Sikkim, founder of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha.
- Prasanta Pradhan - CPI(M) Leader
- Prem Das Rai – Former Member of Parliament
- Subhash Ghisingh - Founder of Gorkhaland Movement in India and founder of political party GNLF
- Raju Bista - Member of Parliament from Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency, 2019
- Dil Kumari Bhandari - former and first women member of parliament from Sikkim. Wife of former Chief Minister of Sikkim Narbahadur Bhandari. Birthplace Darjeeling
- Neeraj Zimba - MLA from Darjeeling and top leader of Gorkha National Liberation Front.
- Indra Hang Subba - Member of Parliament from Sikkim, elected in 2019.
- Ruden Sada Lepcha - MLA from Kalimpong
- Balkrishna : Indian billionaire of Nepali origin
- Draupadi Ghimiray - Social activist, Padma Shri award recipient.
- Tulsi Ghimire - Film director/producer
- Mahendra P. Lama – Founding vice-chancellor of Sikkim University
- Nitesh R Pradhan - Journalist and singer
- Pratima Puri – First news reader of Doordarshan
- Rangu Souriya – Social worker
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