Who is Lhomi (Shingsaba)?
Lhomi (Shingsaba) is one of the 59 indigenous community in Nepal, officially recognized Nepal government under the National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities Act, 2058 (2002) Clause (a) of Section 2. Lhomi is one of the highly marginalized indigenous communities also known as Karbhote and Shingsaba, living on the steep terraces on the both sides of the deep gorge, in north eastern Nepal alongside the Upper Arun valley and Barun valley, the area is famously known as Bhotkhola. They call themselves Singhsapa or Lhomi. The people living alongside of Singhsa, or Singhsawa of Sankhuwasabha are famously known as Singsaba or Lhomi. The ancestral territory of them is north eastern part of Nepal residing alongside the Upper Arun valley and Barun valley and locally known as Bhotkhola. The lifestyles, culture and customs of Lhomis are akin to Tibetan, the neighbors in the north. They adhere to Bon and Buddhism.
Lhomi (Shingsaba) have many subgroups made up of various family groups like the Thieppa, Nuppa, Khumbuwa, Pongsuwa, Bhoecha, Nava and Chyaba and so on. They have their own customary practices and customary institution, the head of customary institution is called ‘Goba’ and ‘Gembu’. They undertake various functions of the village such as administration, protections and administration of justice, collecting of taxes and so on. They have deep faith in shamans and believe in ghosts and spirits. The marriage, death and birth as well as majority of festivals and festivity rituals are performed by shamans. According to the latest National Census 2011, their population is 15,000. Of the total population, as many as 1,614 Lhomi speak their mother-tongue ‘Lhoket-Lhomi’.
A brief linguistic history
The mother tongue spoken by Lhomi (Shingsaba) community is called Lhoket-Lhomi language, comes from Tibeto-Burman language family. Nepal Lhomi Society (NELHOS) has been developing non-formal education courses and carrying out bilingual literacy programme in villages where Lhomi communities are residing since 2010, so as has published Lhomi-Nepali-English dictionary. There are almost one dozens of books both--fiction and non-fiction-- literary books, story book, children story, collection of poem, proverb & Idiom, traditional song book, health book, DVD literacy, including various pamphlets, brochures, pocketbooks which have been published and widely distributed on Lhoket-Lhomi language. Similarly, a monthly magazine entitled, ‘Thorangkachyen’ also has also been regularly being published on Lhoket-Lhomi language, the government run national daily ‘Gorkhapatra’ also has allocated at least a page on Lhomi language published once in 15 days, under its multi language department.
Number of speakers of the language
According to the latest national Census 2011, of their total population of 15,000, only about 1,614 Lhomi speak their mother-tongue -Lhoket-Lhomi.
Lhoket-Lhomi language speaking countries:-
Besides Nepal, Lhoket-Lhomi language is also spoken in India and China