Lepcha: A Case Study of Tibetanization in the Borderlands
Abstract The Lepcha people (self-referentially the Rong) are commonly recognized as the first inhabitants of Sikkim. The Lepcha claim to indigeneity lies closely in the historical linkage between Mount Khangchendzonga and Lepcha religious tradition, which places the Lepcha identity in the immediate and irrevocable context of the Sikkimese landscape. However, the advent of Tibetan migration resulted in a dramatic reorientation of the Lepcha identity that forced a translation of Lepcha mythology into a predominantly Buddhist framework. As both cartographical memories and realities depict, ideas of a Lepcha homeland have shaped and have been shaped by interactions with the ‘other.’
Introduction: International Exchanges and Intranational Evolution
Modern Lepcha history is colored by interactions with neighboring peoples. Prefiguring the advent of nation states in the Himalayas, confrontation with ethnic others helped articulate a unified Lepcha identity. Sara Shneiderman describes the formation of ethnicity as a codification of power relations at the frontier, with the ‘civilising centre’ intent on institutionalizing social difference.1 Although coercion plays an undeniably significant role in the major events of Sikkimese history, attributing identity formation to the unidirectional power of expansionism risks revising local narratives with a Turnerian reductionism that in turn facilitates the civilizing project. The solidarity of a social group cannot be simply defined by a negative response mechanism. Instead, ‘active agency’ must be afforded to human learning and the social processes that cross both time and space.2 Rather than a history of incursions into the periphery and a subsequent acquiescence to a foreign center, frontier histories can reimagine the periphery in the mental maps of its inhabitants and offer distinction to previously held concepts of an identity’s geographical context.
The Buddhist proselytization begun by ethnic Tibetans in the seventeenth century and continued by their progeny among the Tibeto-Sikkimese Bhutia population dramatically changed the lifestyles of the Lepcha population, most clearly through changes to daily spiritual rituals. However, this conversion resulted in a blended Tibeto-Lepcha culture, with aspects of Lepcha belief cemented into an array of syncretic practices. The Lepcha identity is deeply grounded in the physical location of Mount Khangchendzonga (alt. Kangchenjunga), which holds a spiritual duality through mythology that describes the Lepcha as a human manifestation of the mountain’s snowfall3. Hence, it is impossible to dissociate the Lepcha identity from the Sikkimese landscape without changing centuries of ideological truths embedded in religious tradition and articulation of self. Despite shifts in the cultural framework of Lepcha practices—with Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity invariably changing the social organization of Lepcha communities—Mount Khangchendzonga remains an important unifying factor for disparate Lepcha groups4. Hence, rather than passively adopting the beliefs imposed by geographically distant others, the Lepcha present a unique case of incorporating the foreign into their existing geography, and at times even imbuing the foreign with Lepcha articulations of nature.
Historically, Sikkim’s position at the intersection of conflicting polities—Tibet, Bhutan, Gurkha Nepal, and British India—introduced the Lepchas to often hostile foreign interests that spurred relocation and community division, alongside a series of revisions to Sikkim’s borders. Still, the negotiating power of foreign others does not sufficiently explain the location of contemporary Lepcha communities or the similarities in these communities despite assimilation into foreign political contexts. Today, significant Lepcha populations exist in Eastern Nepal (around 2,600 in Ilam5), Western Bhutan, West Bengal (around 15,000 in the Darjeeling Tract6), and Sikkim (around 36,000 Lepcha7). The most insular Lepcha community, restricted for non-Lepcha settlers, is in Dzongu, Sikkim with around 6000 Lepcha.8 (Figure 1 displays the geographic distribution of Lepcha communities cartographically.) Ultimately, the formation and imposition of the Sikkimese State itself upon the indigenous Lepcha population offers insight into the changes in Lepcha settlement patterns.
Sikkim: Two Different Hidden Lands
In the Tibetan Buddhist context, Sikkim has an important religious function as beyul (Wylie: sbas-yul), or hidden land. In the eighth century, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) is said to have passed through Sikkim on his way to Tibet and in the process tamed Khangchendzonga and the other indigenous spirits of Sikkim,9 laying the foundation for the land to be rediscovered as the hidden land Denzong (alt. Dremojong) by Nyingma ‘treasure hunters’ (gterma tradition) in the fourteenth century. However, the idea of Sikkim as a hidden land is not a purely Tibetan concept; Sikkim has historically been the center of Máyel lyáng (En: land of eternal paradise) in the Lepcha tradition, a mythological country at the foot of Khangchendzonga that represents the former territory occupied by the Lepcha people. Folk songs engrained in popular memory orient Máyel lyáng significantly beyond the present-day Lepcha settlements:
‘Chuk-lat. Po-nok take.
Chuk-kyer. Ru-chan Rang-a Dake.
Chuk-gyom Tal, Chyu-bee Bong.
Chuk-veem, Zo-la-see Brong’10
A modern interpretation of these Lepcha lyrics, alongside additional information from popular conceptions of the Lepcha homeland, places Máyel lyáng between the eastern bounds of Punakha (Bhutan’s ancient capital), the western bounds of the Arun and Tambur Rivers in Nepal, the southern bounds of the Titaliya plains (in modern-day Bangladesh), and the northern bounds of both the Khangchendzonga range as well as Phari and Tromo in Tibet.11 This wide territory (see Figure 2 for a rough cartographical reconstruction) encompasses the modern Lepcha settlements and explains in part the discontinuities in the population distribution; in other words, fragmented communities may be derived from a formerly contiguous population that was disconnected over time through the regional influences of different groups of outsiders. Though the lack of script prior to the Tibetan migration precludes written records of this former territory, the location of the present communities as well as the presence of Lepcha place names across Eastern Nepal seem to corroborate this map at a basic level.
In religious tradition, the beyul Dremojong shares many similarities with Máyel lyáng. Interestingly, Mount Khangchendzonga plays a major role in Tibetan conceptions of the Sikkimese hidden land. Lhatsun Chenpo, the patron saint and ‘opener’ of the Sikkimese kingdom, recorded an encounter with the deified Khangchendzonga in the form of a bird; this text, the nesol, canonizes Sikkim’s topography in Buddhist terms and is celebrated in statewide festivals today.12 Furthermore, the mountain itself represents a multilayered understanding of beyul, with lamas distinguishing the mountain as seen from Tibet as the ‘outer’ or physical Khangchendzonga, the mountain’s association with Samye monastery—through the historical conversation about Denzong beyul between Padmasambhava and Trisong Detsen at Samye—as the ‘inner’ Khangchendzonga, and the mountain as seen from Sikkim as the ‘hidden’ or ‘secret’ Khangchendzonga.13 Despite knowledge of the Denzong beyul as a physically tangible place, the spiritual treasures are still widely seen as hidden, with both the physical pollution of modernization as well as the inner pollution of weakened religious practices hindering the beyul’s opening. 14 This understanding of the beyul as simultaneously physical and spiritual has bled into the Lepcha conceptions of Máyel lyáng.
Tibetanization: Incorporating Buddhism into the Lepcha Pantheon
The spread of Buddhism among the Lepcha began systematically during the seventeenth century in attempts to consolidate power under the new Tibetan leaders. The influence of the new Sikkimese Chogyal emanated outward from Yuksam, the site of the first capital at Rabdenchi. However, religious influence in Yuksam was developed prior to the establishment of the capital in 164915; in 1641, Tashiding Monastery was built in what the terma considered the central, most sacred place in the beyul.16 In Sikkim, religious institutions built the foundations for the extension of royal authority and later served as the mechanism for its propagation.
The Lepcha script is also commonly recognized as a creation to serve royal authority. The reign of the third Chogyal of Sikkim, Chakdor Namgyal (r. 1700-1716), is credited with the creation of the Lepcha alphabet, which was likely motivated to serve the Buddhist monks who hoped to teach the Lepcha Buddhism in their own language.17 While not all subsequent kings spoke Lepcha, the dialect held an official language status throughout the kingdom’s history, with the language serving as the primary script for official proclamations from the ruler as well as for imperial documents like the 1835 Darjeeling Grant that gave the Darjeeling tract to the British.18 Until 1850, the Lepchas comprised over 50 percent of Sikkim’s population19, making the Lepcha language the most prevalent mode of communication. However, the influx of Nepali immigrants in the 19th century as well as territorial concessions to the British and the Gurkhas saw the Lepcha population equal the Bhutias in number20, while the Bhutia prominence in religious institutions remained a salient factor in the social hierarchy. A higher social stature gave Bhutias a wider range of opportunistic choices for settlement. (See Figures 3 and 4 for a comparison of Lepcha settlements with their Bhutia counterparts)
The early usage of the language itself, and its sponsorship by the king, signify an important period in the Tibetan civilizing project over the Lepcha. Following the death of Chakdor Namgyal, an advocate of the Lepcha people who was subsequently recognized as the rong pano (Lepcha king)21, Lepchas presided over funeral ceremonies with their traditional burial rites. However, after sacrificing animals in accordance with traditional Lepcha shamanism, animals were said to come out of the Chogyal’s corpse, prompting the Lepcha to then cremate the body as mandated by Buddhism: a moment that “symbolized victory of the Buddhist tradition over Lepcha ways of life.”22 Since the Chogyal’s reign was centralized23 and never strong enough to extend its influence into distant villages, the spread of Buddhist religion served as the kingdom’s mechanism of suppressing threats to the Chogyal’s rule.
For the following centuries, despite a general adherence to the Buddhist tradition, Lepchas were discriminated against in monasteries by the clear Bhutia dominance of these institutions. Despite years of religious study, Lepchas rarely attained high monastic orders; even in Dzongu, the protected region of North Sikkim restricted to Lepcha communities, Bhutia settlers obtained permits and exerted influence through ownership of the Tholung monastery.24 The heads of the monastery required villagers in the reserve to stop drinking traditional alcohol, send the second son of each family to the monastery as was the practice with Bhutia families, limited education to religious texts written in Tibetan, and transformed the hunting and fishing village culture while simultaneously banning animal sacrifices.25 As a result of harsh treatment, many Lepcha monks ran away and communities resettled.26
Religious institutions—established and sponsored by the Chogyal’s dual temporal and religious authority—extended the physical prominence of the Bhutia population into Lepcha territory while also dramatically displacing traditional ways of life with the imposition of Tibetan cultural norms on the Lepcha. Figure 5 attempts to depict the relationship between Bhutia settlements and the expansion of royal institutions, both of which found initial footing in the beyul’s central space at Tashiding in Southwestern Sikkim. Figure 6 distinguishes the stages of institutional expansion over time in order to shed light on the timeline over which Lepcha practices underwent great change. The later geographical influence of the state in the North, for example, suggests of a weaker effect of Tibetan ‘civilizing’ processes on the Lepcha of that region; historical evidence like the continuation of animal sacrifice in North Sikkim until the 19th century further corroborates the cartographical evidence.27
Still, the adoption of Buddhism by the Lepcha was not a passive process, as previously suggested by the community’s independent reaction to the events surrounding the third Chogyal’s burial. Up to the present, Lepcha practices represent a blend of the traditional animist and Buddhist traditions. In present-day marriages, bóngthíngs—traditional Lepcha shamans—invoke the spirits of clan members who formerly practiced the animist tradition and thus require a separate type of spiritual engagement; afterward, Buddhist lamas chant prayers in Tibetan.28 Similarly, Tibetan Buddhists have in recent years taken on dual animist roles themselves: during the State festival of Pang Lhabsol, a Lepcha monk in Dzongu notably recited incantations in both the Lepcha and Bhutia (Denzong ke) languages, fearing that the deceased Chogyals would not understand Lepcha prayers but that other bóngthíngs would not know the names of the former kings.29 While the Buddhist tradition forbids animal sacrifices, the Lepcha tradition requires the appeasement of local gods in order to pay homage to the dead kings, and thus allows the two contrasting practices to coexist without contradiction.30
It is therefore clear that the adoption of Buddhism by the Lepcha was made possible through integrating the system of Tibetan beliefs into the existing Lepcha framework. This incorporation figures into the retelling of Lepcha origin stories, like the notable enshrining of Padmasambhava as the fifth god in accounts of creationism.31 Interestingly, the coming of Buddhism forced the Lepcha to reconsider their traditional religion; the only word akin to religion in Lepcha is sang-gyo, a shortening of the term for Buddhism. 32 The imposition of an institutionalized religion upon a shared system of beliefs can thus be seen not merely as a civilizing project, but also as an ability to organize and canonize previously held beliefs into the new framework offered by formal religious societal structures.
The Colonial Era: An Alternative Path
The large population of Lepchas in Darjeeling and Kalimpong experienced significant social changes with increased interaction with Europeans. Following the takeover of Darjeeling from Sikkim by Britain’s East India Company in 1835, the monopoly of Tibeto-Sikkimese influence on the region’s inhabitants was ended. Kalimpong, part of the Darjeeling tract, was further absorbed into the British fold following the Anglo-Bhutanese War in 1864.33 British influence most notably brought the Darjeeling Lepchas under the influence of Christianity. The undivided Christian focus on Lepcha conversion by missionaries sharply contrasted with the discriminatory functions of Bhutia institutions. The Christians similarly held interest in the Lepcha language for proselytizing purposes, but the British approach prioritized the Lepchas’ learning process as opposed to the Bhutia prioritization of the Buddhist doctrine’s supremacy. In 1845, the missionaries first translated the Bible into Lepcha and in the process created the first books on a movable printing press in the language.34 This feat “nurtured the identity of the tribe”35 by offering pride in Lepcha-ness that was devoid of a revisionist Buddhist origin.
The Bhutia-Lepcha alliance was fundamentally a product of “negative solidarity” in the face of foreign incursions36, wherein both groups lay claim to Sikkimese indigeneity despite the Lepcha’s true status as original inhabitants. This alliance dates back to the reign of the first chogyal, who created the hyphenated term Lho-Mon-Tsong (Bhutia-Lepcha-Limbu) to describe the unification of Sikkim’s subjects, and moreover to “erase separate identity of various agitating communities in order to protect the political domination of the Tibetans.”37 This relationship hence served all parties at a superficial level while in reality maintaining the social division afforded to the Lepcha by the Bhutia ruling class. Therefore, while the Lepcha status in this alliance generally corresponded with the primordial identity tying the Lepcha to their land, Christianity offered Lepchas “the beginning of a modern lifestyle”38 with a reconceived identity that was not defined by their relationship with the paternalistic Bhutia.
Máyel lyáng: The Hidden Land Reconceived
The advent of Christianity and Buddhism alike have challenged the traditional construct of Máyel lyáng in depth, causing the historicized territory of Lepcha ancestors to become a sought-after state to return to. Present-day depictions of Máyel lyáng in turn portray the country as a physically hidden realm, much like beyul, hidden behind Mount Khangchendzonga. The people of Máyel lyáng, termed Máyelmú, are described as magical, pure Lepchas who practice the original forms of Lepcha tradition prior to any Buddhist influence39, effectively embodying the purest form of Lepcha-ness. This reconfiguration of the holy land concept appears as a direct reaction to changes in the Lepcha way of life. Máyel lyáng has appropriated much beyul terminology over time, with a similar concept of an ‘outer’ and ‘internal’ hidden land.40 However, the Lepcha term distinguishes Máyel lyáng as a realm to be re-opened rather than discovered anew; assuming a more pure Lepcha identity serves as the internal key to unlock ancestral tradition. Many Lepcha today believe that if they lose their command of the Lepcha language, stop animal sacrifice and traditional ceremonies, and assume Bhutia dress, they will no longer be able to communicate with the Máyelmú, who may no longer recognize their modernized progeny.41
While some Lepchas suggest that the beyul concept was applied to Sikkim after discovering the existing belief in a Lepcha hidden land and seeking opportunities for ideological conversion42, it appears that the Máyel lyáng and Beyul Dremojong converged in recent years after a tangible feeling of the Lepcha identity’s deconstruction. The term Beyul lyáng43 is hence a recent terminology internalizing the hidden-ness of Lepcha purity. But interestingly, further convergence has been made evident through the popularized belief that Máyelmu helped in the construction of the Rabdenchi Palace, the former capital of the Sikkimese State.44 Therefore, it appears that while Máyel lyáng has the ability to invoke guilt in losing a sense of Lepcha-ness, it has also appropriated the realities of Sikkim’s changed social configuration.
Unity in Division: The Case of Lepcha Revivalism
While Christianity’s insistence on a single God leaves limited room for the overlap with Lepcha tradition evident in Lepcha Buddhism, contemporary attempts to preserve the Lepcha identity have seen the creation of unity that transcends even exclusivist religious barriers. Dzongu, the restricted Lepcha community in North Sikkim, has been redefined as a sort of holy land for Lepchas in particular response to the threat of plans for a hydroelectric dam in the 1980s.45 Recognized as the oldest permanent settlement of Lepchas46, Dzongu is recognized as a pure Lepcha community akin to Máyel lyáng; despite the adoption of different religions, Lepchas from Kalimpong and Nepal have notoriously begun visiting the waterfalls in Dzongu following the dam protests in order to be ‘baptized’ in a sense to the Lepcha identity and have been ‘christened’ with new Lepcha names.47 Rather than deeming revivalism a Turnerian response to a cultural decay at the hands of foreign expansion, the Lepcha focus is instead on ensuring an autonomous “control [of] the pace, the direction, and the process of change.”48 The creation of a Pan-Lepcha identity has thus created collaboration between Lepcha groups, with instances of Christian Lepchas canceling certain events due to the concern of being perceived as interrupting simultaneously held Buddhist events.49 Communities across present-day national boundaries have furthermore begun to adopt ‘Lepcha’ as their surnames to show solidarity and strengthen community organization despite the assumption of different religious traditions.50
Ultimately, the dual identity that Lepchas hold—overlaying Lepcha tradition with newer religious practices—has in ways preserved Lepcha tradition over time. The coexistence of shamanist bóngthíngs as well as Buddhist lamas at most communal ceremonies like holidays and marriages demonstrates the resilience of Lepchas despite what scholars might deem a complete civilizing project. Instead, aspects of Tibetanization have conditioned traditional Lepcha practices in a manner similar to the Buddhist appropriations of the Bon religious tradition. However, the lack of contradiction between Lepcha and Tibetan belief systems plays out in a unique fashion that ultimately allows both traditions to prosper in a context that is extraterritorial to Tibet.
As a frontier region, Sikkim’s subjection to Tibetan influence invariably reconfigured existing structures of Lepcha livelihoods. However, the importance of the local context and the continuation of local knowledge production has in many instances superseded belief systems imposed by the foreign, demonstrating that ‘civilizing projects’ on the frontier are less related to conquering than they are to modifying, and in some cases even institutionally strengthening existing belief systems. The frontier in effect adds distinction to a central power’s own belief system, redefining key aspects of tradition—like terma treasure hunting—in order to accommodate new meanings attained at the periphery. For the Lepcha, Sikkim’s frontierhood resulted in the creation of localized cultural centers rather than subjection to the foreign authority of Tibet. The frontier’s nuanced intermingling of past and present traditions warrants a deeper investigation of identity construction that transcends borders.
Figure 7: Máyel Lyáng Overlayed with Present-Day Lepcha Settlements and Royal Institutional Expansion.
Note: All maps used in this paper were constructed from geocoded data that I have stored in the following database: https://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?docid=1VipOa19jyhBEhBnla2VKTm7vxvVMLyQZUfi6qLgF
Arora, Vibha. “Assertive Identities, Indigeneity, and the Politics of Recognition as a Tribe: The Bhutias, the Lepchas and the Limbus of Sikkim”; Sociological Bulletin 56, no. 2 (2007): 195-220. doi:10.1177/0038022920070202.
Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta. “THE BOUNDARY-TURN: (Re)locating Culture, Identity and Language through the Epistemological Lenses of Time, Space and Social Interactions.” In Alternative Voices: (re)searching Language, Culture, Identity …, by S. Imtiaz. Hasnain, 28-49. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publ., 2013.
Bentley, Jenny. “Vanishing Lepcha: Change and Cultural Revival in a Mountain Community of Sikkim.” Bulletin of Tibetology 43 (2007): 59-79.
Choudhury, Maitreyee. Sikkim: Geographical Perspectives. Mittal Publications, 2006.
Das, Tapan Kr. “From Mayel Lyang to Gorkhaland: Continuity of Marginality among the Lepchas of Darjeeling Hills.” Contemporary Voice of Dalit 3, no. 2 (2010): 227-52. doi:10.1177/0974354520100207.
Dattamajumdar, Satarupa. “Exploring Ethnolinguistic Vitality A Case Study of Lepchas in Dzongu Valley.” The Indian Journal of Political Science 8 (July 7, 2008). http://www.languageinindia.com/july2008/lepchavalley.pdf.
Foning, A. R. Lepcha, My Vanishing Tribe. Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1987.
Lepcha, Charisma K. “The Downfall of Lepcha Language and Its Road to Revival.” In Alternative Voices: (re)searching Language, Culture, Identity …, by S. Imtiaz. Hasnain, 323-35. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publ., 2013.
Lepcha, Charisma K. “Religion, Culture, and Identity: A Comparative Study on the Lepchas of Dzongu, Kalimpong, and Ilam.” Thesis, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, 2013.
Mullard, Saul. Opening the Hidden Land: State Formation and the Construction of Sikkimese History. Leiden: Brill, 2011.
Plaisier, Heleen. “A Brief Introduction to Lepcha Orthography and Literature.” Bulletin of Tibetology 41, no. 1 (2005): 7-24. Accessed 2005. doi:10.1163/ej.9789004194489.i-322.15.
Scheid, Claire S. “Hidden Land and Changing Landscape: Narratives about Mount Khangchendzonga Among the Lepcha and the Lhopo.” Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions 1, no. 1 (2014). https://jkapalo.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/hidden-land-and-changing-landscape-narratives-about-mount-khangchendzonga-among-the-lepcha-and-the-lhopo-pdf.pdf.
Shneiderman, Sara. “Barbarians at the Borderlands and Civilizing Barbarians at the Border and Civilizing Projects: Analyzing Ethnic and National Identities in the Tibetan Context.” In Tibetan Borderlands, edited by P.C. Klieger, 9-34. Brill: Leiden, 2006.
Subba, Tanka B. “Interethnic Relationship in Northeast India and the “Negative Solidarity” Thesis.” Human Science 37 (1988): 369-77.
1 Sara Shneiderman, “Barbarians at the Borderlands and Civilizing Barbarians at the Border and Civilizing Projects: Analyzing Ethnic and National Identities in the Tibetan Context,” in Tibetan Borderlands, ed. P.C. Klieger (Brill: Leiden, 2006), 9.
2 Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta, “THE BOUNDARY-TURN: (Re)locating Culture, Identity and Language through the Epistemological Lenses of Time, Space and Social Interactions,” in Alternative Voices: (re)searching Language, Culture, Identity…, by S. Imtiaz. Hasnain (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publ., 2013), 31.
3 Claire S. Scheid, “Hidden Land and Changing Landscape: Narratives about Mount Khangchendzonga Among the Lepcha and the Lhopo,” Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions 1, no. 1 (2014): 69.
4 Charisma K. Lepcha, “Religion, Culture, and Identity: A Comparative Study on the Lepchas of Dzongu, Kalimpong, and Ilam” (Master’s thesis, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, 2013), 9.
5 Satarupa Dattamajumdar, “Exploring Ethnolinguistic Vitality A Case Study of Lepchas in Dzongu Valley,” The Indian Journal of Political Science 8 (July 7, 2008): 2.
8 Lepcha (2013), 49.
9 Lepcha (2013), 97.
10 A. R. Foning, Lepcha, My Vanishing Tribe (Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1987), 138.
11 Lepcha (2013), 30.
12 Scheid, 71.
13 Scheid, 79.
14 Scheid, 80.
15 Saul Mullard, Opening the Hidden Land: State Formation and the Construction of Sikkimese History (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 80.
16 Mullard, 104.
17 Heleen Plaisier, “A Brief Introduction to Lepcha Orthography and Literature,” Bulletin of Tibetology 41, no. 1 (2005): 16.
18 Charisma K. Lepcha, “The Downfall of Lepcha Language and Its Road to Revival,” in Alternative Voices: (re)searching Language, Culture, Identity…, by S. Imtiaz. Hasnain (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publ., 2013), 324-5.
19 Maitreyee Choudhury, Sikkim: Geographical Perspectives (Mittal Publications, 2006), 25.
20 Bhasin, 3
21 Lepcha (2013), 101.
23 Jenny Bentley, “Vanishing Lepcha: Change and Cultural Revival in a Mountain Community of Sikkim,” Bulletin of Tibetology 43 (2007): 62.
24 Lepcha (2013), 105
25 Ibid., 106.
26 Ibid., 107.
27 Mullard, 76.
28 Lepcha (2013), 111.
29 Ibid., 103.
31 Ibid., 63.
33 Foning, 137.
34 Lepcha (2013), 130.
35 Ibid., 129.
36 Tanka B. Subba, “Interethnic Relationship in Northeast India and the ‘Negative Solidarity’ Thesis,” Human Science 37 (1988): 369.
37 Tapan Kr. Das, “From Mayel Lyang to Gorkhaland: Continuity of Marginality among the Lepchas of Darjeeling Hills,” Contemporary Voice of Dalit 3, no. 2 (2010): 228, doi:10.1177/0974354520100207.
38 Lepcha (2013), 226.
39 Scheid, 77.
40 Scheid, 76.
41 Scheid, 74.
42 Scheid, 76.
43 Scheid, 77.
44 Scheid, 77.
45 Lepcha (2013), 9.
46 Ibid., 49.
47 Ibid., 18.
48 Lepcha (2013), 17.
49 Ibid., 8
50 Ibid., 29.