Indian Gorkhas (Bharatiya Gorkha), also known as Nepali Indians, are Nepali language-speaking Indian citizens. The term "Indian Gorkha" is used to differentiate the Gorkhas 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 of India. 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 tribal-ethnic clans. The caste groups include the Khas-Parbatiyas including Bahun (Brahmins), Chhetri, Kami, Damai, Sarki, etc. Other ethnic groups include Newar, Gurung, Magar, Tamang, Thami, Bhujel (Khawas), Kirati, Rai (Khambu), Limbu (Subba), Sunuwar (Mukhia), Yakkha (Dewan), Thami, Sherpa, and Yolmo. 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 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%).
During the 1991 Census, the districts with the largest concentrations were Sonitpur - 91,631 (6.43%), Tinsukia - 76,083 (7.91%), and Karbi Anglong - 37,710 (5.69%).
As per the 2001 Census, districts with the largest 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 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 Nepalis 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%), Chumukedima (7.07%), Dhansiripar (6.09%), Medziphema (9.11%), Namsang (8.81%), Kohima Sadar (6.27%), Sechu-Zubza (5.03%), and Pedi (7.61%).
As per the 2011 Census, there were a total of 453,819 speakers of various Nepalese 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 tribal 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, 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 Gorkha community's population in Uttarakhand stood over 10 lakh. As per the latest estimates, the Gorkhas constitute about 12 lakh, making up about 12% of the hill state's population
As per the 2001 Census, there are a total of 1,034,038 Nepalis in WB, of which 1,022,725 are speakers of the Nepali language and 11,313 are speakers of languages such as Tamang and Sherpa. districts with the largest Nepali populations are Darjeeling - 748,023 (46.48% of the total population) and Jalpaiguri - 234,500 (6.99%). 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 India have faced violence and ethnic cleansing, especially in the north-eastern states. 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.
- 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 of 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
- Subedar Major Ganju Lama – Victoria Cross 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.
- Hira Devi Waiba - Pioneer of Nepali folk songs, singer
- Navneet Aditya Waiba - Folk singer
- Aruna Lama - Nepali Singer from Darjeeling
- Ranjit Gazmer - Music director
- Poornima Shrestha - Bollywood playback singer
- Udit Narayan - Playback singer
- Gopal Yonzon - Singer, musician, playwrighter
- Karma Yonzon - Composer, singer, producer
- Shanti Thatal - Composer, singer, producer
- Sukmit Gurung - Singer
- Bipul Chettri - Singer, composer
- Louis Banks - Jazz musician
- Sonam Sherpa - Lead Guitarist of Parikrama band
- Prashant Tamang - Singer, actor, winner of Indian Idol Season 3
- Ranjit Gazmer - Bollywood film musician
- Adrian Pradhan - Singer, songwriter, guitarist. Former 1974 AD member of Nepal
- Phiroj Shyangden - Singer, songwriter, guitarist. Former founding member 1974 AD Band of Nepal
- 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
- Chobilal Upadhyaya - first president of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee
- B. B. Gurung - third Chief Minister of Sikkim.
- Bimal Gurung- Leader of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- India and Nepal. Treaty of Peace and Friendship. Signed at Kathmandu, on 31 July 1950. untreaty.un.org
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- Barun Roy (2012). Gorkhas and Gorkhaland. Darjeeling, India: Parbati Roy Foundation. Archived from the original on 10 January 2013.
- Karmakar, Rahul (18 November 2018). "Temples inspired by churches in Mizoram". The Hindu.
- Samāddāra, Raṇabīra (2007). The Materiality of Politics: The technologies of rule. ISBN 9781843312512.
- "Nepalis in Meghalaya face tribal wrath amid official apathy".
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