Uttarakhand Bhotiya

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Uttarakhand Bhotiya are an ethno-linguistic group of people residing in the upper Himalayan valleys of the Kumaon and Garhwal divisions of Uttarakhand state, India and in Darchula district, Nepal.[citation needed] These include the Shaukas of Kumaon and Tolchhas and Marchhas of Garhwal. Their name, Bhotiya, derives from the word Bod (བོད་), which is the Classical Tibetan name for Tibet.[1] Bhotiya is the name used by the Constitution of India, throughout Nepal and by most people of the area. The name Bhutia is also sometimes used, though it more commonly refers to the Sikkimese people.[citation needed]

The Bhotiya speak Almora and other languages belonging to the Tibeto-Burman family, although their dialects are mutually unintelligible to the Kumaoni and Tibetan people. Owing to the social process of Sanskritization, many of them have intermarried with the Hindus over the years. Most of the Bhotiya practice a combination of Tibetan Buddhism, Bön, and Hinduism, although Hinduism is prevalent among the earlier semi-Indian groups, while Buddhism is prevalent among the recent immigrant groups of purer Tibetan origin, such as the Jadh.

Hindu gods such as the weather god Gabla, Runiya, and Suniya, are worshiped to protect their animals from disease. Sidhuwa and Bidhuwa are worshiped to find lost animals.

Ethnic groups[edit]

Groups within the Bhotiya of Uttarakhand include:

Rangkas[edit]

The isolated Rangkas tribe has a population of 600 and is found in the outskirts of the Mahakali valley. According to Ethnologue, the Rangkas are ethnically related or are of the Johar tribe.[2]

Byansis[edit]

The Byansis (called 'Byangkhupa' in 'Rung'), who are a subgroup of an ethnic group called Rung/Shaukas living along the upper valleys of Mahakali and its western tributary Dhauliganga in the Himalayas where Burang County of western Tibet, Darchula District Nepal and Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand India meet. Byans (or 'Byangkho' in 'Rung') consists of seven villages (Kuti, Rongkang, Nabi, Gunji, Napalchyo, Garbyang, Budi) in Uttarakhand, plus two villages in Nepal Chhyangru and Tinkar.[3] Three more villages in Nepal, Sitaula (Syangkang), Dumling and Rapla (Rapang)[4] come under Rung ethnic group, though not considered Byansis, Darmanis or Chaudasis.[citation needed]

The religion practised by the Byansis leans towards Bön-Animism, with influences from Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism.[5] Each clan, of which there are many in each village, has its own clan god(s). Ancestral worship ('simi thuma') is a very important part of Byansi religion.[citation needed]

Their language falls under Tibeto-Burman group. Three distinct dialects are spoken in Byans region, Byangkhu lo, Kutpa lo and Tinkar lo.[citation needed]

Social status[edit]

As of 2001, the Uttarakhandi Bhotiyas were classified as a Scheduled Tribe under the Indian government's reservation program of positive discrimination.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ J. Murray (1851). The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London. Royal Geographical Society. p. 84. 
  2. ^ Ethnologue profile - Rangkas
  3. ^ NGIIP. "List of Settlements #6: Darchula district" (PDF). Index of Geographical names of Nepal - Far Western Development Region - Volume V. Kathmandu: National Geographic Information Infrastructure Programme. p. 2 (Byans VDC). Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ NGIIP. "List of Settlements #6: Darchula district" (PDF). Index of Geographical names of Nepal - Far Western Development Region - Volume V. Kathmandu: National Geographic Information Infrastructure Programme. p. 17 (Byans VDC). Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ Heiko Schrader (1988). Trading Patterns in the Nepal Himalayas. Breitenbach. p. 108. ISBN 3-88156-405-5. 
  6. ^ "List of Scheduled Tribes". Census of India: Government of India. 7 March 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 

External links[edit]