ListMoto - Chepang People

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The Chepang are an indigenous Tibeto-Burman
people group numbering around fifty-two thousand mainly inhabiting the rugged ridges of the Mahabharat mountain range of central Nepal.[2] Over the past two or three generations, the Chepang have begun to slowly shift from a semi-nomadic (slash-and-burn) lifestyle to a more settled way of life, relying increasingly upon the production of permanent fields of maize, millet and bananas. The severe topography, however, has made permanent farming difficult (and usually insufficient), and the forest has remained an important (although decreasingly so) source of food for the Chepang. Historically, the collection of wild yams and tubers, fish caught from nearby rivers, bats and wild birds, and periodically wild deer hunted from nearby forests, have supplemented their need for carbohydrates and protein. With increasing populations, lack of arable land and few irrigation options, malnutrition has been a historic problem for the Chepang despite forest supplements. The Chepang have often been characterized as the poorest of Nepal’s poor.[2] Forced teenage pregnancies are common. Chepang men and women are basically egalitarian and no social ranking exists as it does in caste Nepalese society. Many Chepang cannot read and write due to a lack of education beyond elementary school, and this illiteracy stands in contrast to the great gains Nepal
has been making in reducing illiteracy.[3] According to the 2001 Nepal
Census, there are 52,237 Chepang in the country, of which 67.63% were Hindu, 23.38% were Buddhists, 7.49% were Christians, and 1.25% others.[4] They are mostly located in Dhading District, Chitwan District, Gorkha District, Makwanpur District, and Tanahu District.[5]


1 Religion 2 Language 3 2015 earthquake and political crisis 4 External links 5 References

Religion[edit] The Chepangs themselves follow Animism, although they are strongly influenced by both Hinduism
and Buddhism, which came from the Tamangs just north of them. They observe all the Hindu
festivals of Dashain, Tihar and Sakrantis besides their own tribal festival Nwagi or Chhonam, which is performed on a Tuesday during third week of Bhadra (some day in August and September). Chhonam is the auspicious day for eating a new crop. Before the celebration of this festival, eating certain agricultural products is prohibited.[5] In the 5th National Gathering of Chepang, 2004, it was stated they practiced Prakriti (Nature), with ancestor worship as most important. They worship many deities including Bhumi, Aita Bare, Gaidu, Namrung etc. (earth deity) etc. They also observe other different festivals like, Maghe Sakranti, Saune Sakranti, Dashain, Tihar.[5] Language[edit] The language is also known as Chepang but is called Chyo-bang by the people themselves. Some Bahun
Chettri castes call these people the "Praja" meaning "political subjects". The people speak 3 different dialects of this Tibeto-Burman
language that is closely related to Raute and Raji, two undocumented languages spoken in western Nepal. Chepang language is one of the few languages which uses a duodecimal (base 12) counting system rather than the decimal (base 10). 2015 earthquake and political crisis[edit] Chepang are among the most vulnerable due to the combination of April 2015 Nepal
earthquake and 2015 Nepal
blockade. More than 50 per cent of the people killed were from marginalised communities ranked low in the Human Development Index
Human Development Index
(HDI).[6] Chepang communities were already suffering from severe malnutrition before the blockade,[6] along with the Tamang. Due to historic discrimination and neglect and remote communities, Chepang have suffered discrimination even at the hands of the Nepali Food Corporation in charge of emergency food distribution.[7] Social activist KP Kiran Sharma said Chepangs compulsorily eat rice during Dashain, where meat is often eaten by more wealthy groups, but they are unlikely to afford even rice this year (2015).[7] Hence they are among the most vulnerable ethnic groups facing potential population bottleneck in the winter of 2015/16 despite their already small numbers. The Nepal
Red Cross has stepped in providing them with relief when left to rot by the government, in turn, opportunistically converting them to Christianity.[8] External links[edit]

Chepangs in Lothhar fight cold with donated clothes (photo feature) Kathmandu Post

The Chepang Language - Linguistics research and language documentation -


^ 2011 Census, Nepal
Government. ^ a b Beine, Caughley and Shrestha. 2012. Chepang Then and Now: Life and Change Among the Chepang of Nepal. Blurb Books. ^ http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2015-12-20/children-in-chitwan-deprived-of-education-past-primary-level.html ^ [1] Archived February 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b c http://nnem.org/?p=336 ^ a b http://nepalitimes.com/article/nation/April-25-earthquake-Tamang-epicentre,2407 ^ a b http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2015-10-11/food-crisis-grips-chepang-villages.html ^ http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2016-01-02/the-chepang-people-of-chitwan-and-their-conversion-to-christianity.html

v t e

Ethnic groups in Nepal
by by language family

Sino-Tibetan (Trans-Himalayan)

High altitudes

Darchula Bhotiya Lo (Mustang) Bhotiya Sherpa (Bhotia) Hyolmo Jirel Nepalese Central Tibetic

Lhomi (Sing Saapa) Siyar (Chumba) Larke Dolpa, etc.

Central Tibetans Kachee


Sunuwar and Rai Yakthung

South East

Sunuwar Bahing

Central Rai

Khambu Rai



Eastern Rai

Lohorung Yakha

Limbu (Yakthung)


Chhantyal Gurung (Tamu)

Manang bas


Ghale Lama clan (Tamang)

Thakali Kaike Magar


Dhut Kham/Pang

Chepang Bhujel Raji–Raute

Raji Raute Rawat

Dura Lepcha (Rong) Dhimal Koch Meche


Eastern Pahari


Palpa-speakers Jumli-speakers


Nepalese Madhesi

Maithil Bhojpuri Rajbansi



Over 25 distinct castes, major being Shresthas, Chathariya, Jyapu, Vajracharya, Rajopadhyaya Brahmins, Chitrakar, Khadgi, Manandhar, Dhobi, Pode, Ranjitkar, Mali, etc.


Indian Madhesi

Indian Maithil Bihari

Bhojpuri Bajjika etc.

Awadhi other Madhesi


Kumauni Kashmiris Kumhali Kushbadiya (Guhari)

Indo-Aryan of a distinct origin

Danuar Rai Bote Kuswaric Majhi Darai Tharu Hill Khadiya/Bankariya Rajbansi Kisan of Oraon Sadri Kushbadiya (Guhari)

Other peoples (M, D, i) of Indus-Ganga

Kusunda Munda Satar Dudh and Dhelki Khadiya/Bankariya Jangad/Dhangad/Uraun



Korean Filipino Russian

Other basis

By Caste

Kshetri Rajopadhyaya Bahun Shresthas Jyapu Vajracharya Pulami Kami Damai/Dholi Thakuri Sarki Unspecified Dalit Kalwar Dhobi Mali Gaine/Gandarbha

By geography

Mountain people (Buddhist/Animism) Hill people (Eastern Paharis and Newars, Hindu/Buddhist) Kirati (East, mostly Mundhum/Buddhist) Terai
(Madhesi, Tharu, Danuwar and Dhimal) (Lowland) Western Nepal
( Hindu
dominant) Nepali Muslim (South)

By law


Madheshi Janajati


Adivasi Simantakrit

About one third of Madhesi people
Madhesi people
are of Indian ancestry while the other two thirds are indigenous.

Authority control