The main aim of the article is to provide information about Limbus in the UK, as well as about the Kirat Yakthung Chumlung UK (KYCUK) and its role in the welfare, education, and preservation of religion, culture, and language. It is aimed particularly at the second generation Limbus in the UK whose main language is English and who are literate primarily in English.
The Limbu people, who are called Yakthung in Limbu language, are a branch of the Kirat people. According to the Limbu myth passed over generations through an oral tradition (Mundhum), they are the descendants of Susuwa Lilim Yakthunghang who are indigenous people of the land to the east of Arun River, Nepal, and in the South and West Districts of Sikkim, India. This land was historically occupied and ruled by Yakthunghangs until 1774 (242 years ago). They are believed to have originally migrated from Mongolia (Munaphen Tembe/Mangjiriden).
Before they came to the east of Arun River and moved up to Sikkim, they first migrated to what is today known as China, and then to Tibet (Muden/Mudenbaden) and Sichuan/Yunan (Sinyukden). According to Mangena Mundhum, those who migrated from Tibet travelled by following rivers passes – those of the Arun, the Barun, the Likhu, the Indrawati, the Sun Koshi, the Dudh Koshi, the Tamba Koshi, and the Tamor – to cross the Himalayan region.
On their descent, at one point their route was completely blocked by a big lake named Walleso Pulleso (Sodho warak/arak) and the lake was surrounded (Pakwaphangma) by the mountain Tangwara. The journey was very demanding and they used various means to overcome it. Maden Phenduwa and Labung travelled riding on buffalos’ back, by which means they found easy to cross the rivers and the lake. It is believed that for this reason, their descendants do not eat buffalo meat until today. They are Mudenbaden nu keyubasi as migrated from Tibet. In Sikkim, Limbu people are called Tsong as they migrated from U-Tsang province of Tibet. Those who migrated all the way from Sichuan and Yunnan to the east through Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Bhutan, and Meghalaya are known as Sinyukden lam kebhembasi. Some from Sichuan and Yunnan travelled to the southwest and spent up to 10 or 12 generations in the periphery of Kashi (Yetchiri Yetchwakhu Tembe) and then migrated towards the north to Morang and Sunsari (Murong) and Dhankuta. They are known as Kashi nu kedhangbasi. During the early period there were extraordinary and powerful people such as Sawa Yukphung Kemba, Sawa Yethangs, Pegi Phanghangs, Sutchuru Suhangpheba, Tetlera Lahadongna, Sodung Lempumuhang and Khambongba Lungbongba existed in the community. They played an important role in the process of migration and settlement at the formative stage.
In an altogether different theory, the Mundhum also says that the Limbu people were created by the god Sigera Yabhundin Mang, Porokmi Wamphami/Yangbhami/Yambhami Mang as instructed and guided by the God Tageraningwaphuma at the base of the Kumbhakarna Himal (Phaktanglung Pembelung) through the synthesis of living organisms and non-living substances. However, this segment of the Mundhum would appear to be in contradiction with the Mangena Mudhum mentioned earlier. It also contradicts with the standard scientific account of human evolution according to which the ancestors of the Limbus, like everyone else, evolved in East Africa. They migrated around 50,000 years ago towards the North-eastern Eurasia during the Ice Age and further moved to Mongolia over a period of time.
The migration of Kirat people spread further westward to the present Kathmandu valley. Under the leadership of Yalambar Susuwa Lilim Yakthunghang, Kiratis attacked and defeated Gopalbansi Ahir Yadav’s Kingdom in Kathmandu. Altogether 33 Kirat Kings ruled the Kathmandu valley for about 1,250 years. The 33rd King, Yokneyhang Susuwa Lilim Yakthunghang, was the last Kirat king who was defeated by the Licchavi king Bhumi Varma. Yokneyhang fled to Banepa and continued to rule there. Lillimhang Susuwa Lilim Yakthunghang, the eldest son of Yokneyhang, became king after his father’s death. He did not feel safe from the Licchavis, so he decided to move further east. However, his brother, Khambokhang Susuwa Lilim Yakthunghang, disagreed and remained behind taking over the kingship of Banepa. Later he was made Mukhiya of Banepa by a Licchavi king. Khambokhang’s descendants are believed to be Sunuwars and Hayus. The Newar caste of Vyanjankar/Tepe in Patan/Lalitpur is also believed to be descendants of Kirats (Limbu, Rai, Sunuwar and Yakhha). Some Newar intellectuals believe that the Jyapus, among the Newars, are essentially Kirats.
Sunuwars are the indigenous people of the Molung, Likhu, and Khimti rivers, the area which rulers in Kathmandu used to call Wallo Kirat. Limbu, Rai, and Dewan (Yakkha) separated at later stages in the course of migration and in the process of evolution. However, the words Limbu, Rai and Dewan are not mentioned in the Mundhum as they only started to be used around 300 years ago, if not later. Rai people live in the area of Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga, Khotang, Bhojpur and Udaipur, which lie west of the Arun River known as Majh Kirat. Dewan or Yakkha people are inhabitants of the southern part of Sankhuwasabha. Limbu (Yakthunghangs) have been mainly living in the areas between the east of Arun River, Nepal and Sikkim, which is also known as Pallo Kirat. At the time of Gorkhali – Limbu war, the Limbu land (Yakthung Laje) was divided into 10 principalities and ruled by 10 Kings (Thibong Yakthung Hangs).
Gorkhali – Limbu (Yakthung) War and Conversion of Limbu Land (Yakthung Laje) into Kipat
On Monday 8 August 1774 (Sombar 22 Srawan 1831 B.S.), the Bhardars of Prithivi Narayan Shah, King of Gorkha, and the ministers of the ten Limbu Principalities under Limbu Kings (Yakthung Hangs) agreed a ‘Nun-pani’ (salt water) treaty and to end the Gorkhali–Limbu war. The land (Yakthung Laje) was converted into Kipat, a collective self-governing land system of Limbu people under the reign of Gorkha Kingdom. Ministers from nine Limbu Principalities attended the Nunpani treaty but the tenth, the King of Yangwarak, rejected the treaty and decided to continue to fight against the Gorkhalis. He joined the King of Sikkim who agreed to fight back together. Nevertheless, Limbus who attended the Nun-pani treaty fought along the side of Gorkhali Army. After two years of continuous war, in 1776 (1833 B.S.) the Yangwarak Laje also came under the Gorkha Kingdom accepting the Nun-pani treaty. Even after settlement of the war, more than 30,000 Yangwarake Limbus refused to accept the Nun-pani treaty as they believed that the Kipat system had been destroyed the Thibong Yakthung Laje or the Kingdoms of Limbus. Finally, they gathered at a place called Aambepojoma, Panthar Phidim, and decided to leave Yangwarak as well as Yakthung Laje forever. They migrated to Sikkim, Assam, and Bhutan. The majority of them migrated to Sikkim as the land was familiar to them.
Citizen of Yakthung Laje to Praja of Gorkha Kingdom
As per the Nun-pani treaty, the Yakthung Laje came under the Gorkha Kingdom and Limbu people became the subject (praja) of King Prithivi Narayan Shah. Courtiers of the Gorkha Kingdom and minsters of Yakthung Laje took oath drinking Nun-pani and promising that the Gorkha Kingdom and its rulers would protect the Limbu people and their native land Kipat. The Gorkhali side vowed that the Kipat land would never be seized and that the Limbu people would never be betrayed. It was a widely held belief among the Limbu people that if the Shah dynasty (King of Gorkha) betrayed them, the God Tageraningwaphuma would destroy the Shah Dynasty and its supremacy in return.
The Betrayal of the Limbus and the Extinction of the Shah Monarchy
In 1964 (2021 B.S.) King Mahendra Shah introduced the Land Reform Act 2021 (1964), which slowly but gradually converted the Limbus’ Kipat into Raikar (standard land tenure on which tax is due). The conversion process was completed in the mid-1990s by mapping and recording the last bit of Limbu Kipat in Taplejung District. Finally, the Raikar system replaced the Kipat. Coincidentally, just a few years’ later, the Narayanhiti massacre took place in 2001 followed by the abolition of the 250-year-old Shah monarchical dynasty in 2008. Limbu people believed that the implementation of the Land Reform Act 2021 in Limbu’s Kipat land had been wrong and amounted to a betrayal of the Limbu people. Consequently, some believed, the God Tageraningwaphuma destroyed the Shah dynasty as an act of revenge.
The Census 2011 of Nepal recorded 387,300 Limbus in Nepal, which is 1.5 per cent of the total population. In addition, there are 173,000 Limbus in India and 1,700 in Bhutan. Limbus have also migrated to Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Hong Kong, USA, Australia, and the United Kingdom (UK). In the context of the UK, the CNSUK counted the Nepali population, including Limbus, in 2008. Based on this count it is estimated that at the end of 2015 there were about 14,000 Limbus in the UK.
Limbus in the UK
Migration of Limbus to the UK mainly started after the changes in the immigration rules in 2004 which allowed British Gurkhas to come and settle in the UK. Limbus, as one of the main tribes recruited in the British Gurkhas, benefited from this policy. Gurkhas came to the UK for training, duties, and courses from 1948 but before 2004 they never settled permanently. About two dozen Gurkha babies, including one Limbu baby girl was born in the UK in 1961–62 while 1/6 GR (Gurung and Magar Battalion) were stationed in Andover, England. However, the Limbu baby girl did not claim her British citizenship as she married and settled in Dummrise, Taplejung. In 1985, Rajkumar Limbu (Idhingo) an Ex-Gurkha soldier from 10 GR, migrated permanently in Aldershot, Hampshire, after marrying a British citizen. The second and third persons from the Limbu community who settled in the UK are Dr Phaudha Raj Thebe in 1986 and Dr Bina Subba Thebe in 1991 respectively. Currently, there are about 14,000 Limbus in the UK. In the 2008 survey of CNSUK, Limbus were found to be the second-largest population within the UK Nepali community (see Figure 1).
The composition of the Nepali population in the UK is based on the recruitment system of the Brigade of Gurkhas. From 1948 until recently, the Brigade of Gurkhas used to recruit mainly Limbu, Rai, Gurung and Magar in the Gurkha Regiments. Hence, the CBS’s ethnicity population data does not correlate with the Nepali ethnicity population in the UK. For instance, Bahun and Chhetri whose population is 12.2% and 16.6% (CBS 2011) respectively in Nepal are found in smaller numbers in the UK (CNSUK 2012). Similarly, the Limbu population in Nepal is only 1.5% in comparison to Magar 7.1%, Rai 2.3%, and Gurung 2.0%; but the Limbu population is the second-largest in the UK. The British government used to recruit roughly an equal number from Magar, Gurung, Limbu and Rai in order to maintain ethnicity-based regiments such as: 2 GR, Magar-Gurung; 6 GR Gurung-Magar; 7 GR Limbu-Rai, and 10 GR, Rai-Limbu regiment. However, over time the Magars gradually became a minority even in the 2 GR, a Magar-led regiment. The additional factor is that the population of Magar in east Nepal is very small in comparison to Gurung. As a result, compared to Gurungs only a small number of Magars used to be selected for British Army from the eastern Nepal. These are the factors why Magar population size of Nepal does not correlate with their population in the UK. Gurung recruitment figures in the east are only slightly less than those for Rais and Limbus. This is the main reason why the population of Gurungs is larger than the Limbus, Magars, and Rais in the UK. In the case of the Rais, Bhojpur and Khotang Districts, where the majority of Rai comes from, have faced a discontinuation of recruitment for more than three years. In the case of Limbu, their recruiting process was never disrupted since the very beginning and Limbu’s equal proportion in the Brigade of Gurkhas was continuously maintained until the end of the Limbu led regiment 7 GR (1 July 1994). Therefore, the Limbu population in the UK is larger than the Magars and Rais, despite their bigger population size of Nepal.
In the context of religion, culture, tradition, and welfare of Limbus in the UK, the Kirat Yakthung Chumlung UK (KYCUK) manages and coordinates the following:
The Kirat Yakthung Chumlung UK (KYCUK)
In 2003, less than five Limbu families were settled permanently in the UK. The majority of Limbu population, especially ex-Gurkhas and their families, were on temporary and dependent visas. The social state and welfare matters of the Nepali communities in the UK at that time were very fragile. With this in mind, Chandra Laksamba, Dhundiraj Khapung and Dambar Maden coordinated a meeting on 2nd August 2003 at Chicken Ken’s farmhouse in Salisbury (the venue was recommended by Maj (Retd) Bhuwani Pandhak) in order to establish a KYCUK.
As planned the KYCUK successfully established and formed an ad-hoc committee under the chairmanship of Mr Khadgajang Aangbuhang (Limbu) and an advisory committee on the date and place mentioned above (Photos 1 and 2). At that time, the KYCUK’s immediate aim was to look after the welfare of the Limbu people in the UK, especially the management of dead bodies, i.e. either burial/cremation in the UK or repatriation to their homeland with full dignity as per the wish of the deceased’s families.
Over the next 14 years the KYCUK grew religiously, culturally, socially, educationally, economically and institutionally under the chairmanship of Mr Khadkajang Angbuhang (founding chairman), Former Minister of Nepal Bijaya Prakash Thebe, Lt (Retd) Siriprasad Limbu (two terms – first elected chairman), Capt (Retd) Bombahadur Limbu, Mr Dambar Singhak, Mr Subash Jabegu and Mr Kajiman Yakso (present chairperson). The organisation has local branches (16) across the country. The KYCUK has done a lot for the community activities in the past 14 years. Among them, during the time of Mr Dambar Singhak’s Chairmanship, the KYCUK launched a very ambitious but important ‘Community Property Project’ (to buy land and build a Chumlung Him in the UK) in 2011.
The Property project is moving ahead as planned under the umbrella of KYCUK. Between 2011 and 2014, Majors (Retd) Dil Limbu, Bhuwani Pandhak, and Padam Limbu, and coordinator Mr Dev Aangbuhang did a very important job of research and awareness-raising among the Limbu community across the British Isles. Maj (Retd) Chitraj Hukpa Chongbang MVO, MBE is leading the project since 2014. There is no doubt that the Chumlung Him UK will play a vital role in the continuation and preservation of Limbu religion and culture in the UK.
Religion, culture, festivals, and language in the UK
As stated earlier, the religion of Limbu people is Kirat, which is based in the Mundhum. The Mundhum is an oral scripture equivalent to the Veda and Bible. Limbu priests of various types – Phedangma, Yeba/Yema, and Samba – who are believed to be chosen by God, can recite the Mundhum automatically with minimum guidance by those who are already performing their duties in the community. In the recent past Limbu scholars such as Til Bikram Nembang (Birangi Kainla) and others, have recorded oral Mundhum from Phedangma, Yeba/Yema and Samba and transcribed it. But many segments of the Mundhum are still only available in oral performance and are very likely to become extinct if not recorded soon. It is hoped that the KYCUK will take the initiative to help save such historic information.
In the Limbu community the Kirat religion is practised in two ways: on the one side as prescribed and overseen by the Phedangma, Yeba/Yema and Samba shamanic priests and on the other side is the tradition called Satyehangma. Phalgunanda Lingden, an ex-Gurkha Sergeant of the 7th Gurkha Rifles (7 GR), initiated the practice of the Kirat religion under the name of Satyehangma in 1931. To avoid arrest and imprisonment and to protect the Satyehangma sect, he used all means and tactics throughout his life. The Satyehangma religious centre is in Larumba, Ilam. The Government declared Mahaguru Phalgunanda Lingden as one of the National Heroes (Rastriya Bibhuti) of Nepal in 2009. Aatmananda Lingden is the present Supreme Guru of Satyehangma. Both groups use Mundhum as a guiding philosophy. But in Satyehangma, anyone can take training and become a guru. It is not necessary to get special power from the God Tageraningwaphuma. Mr Birdhoj Angbuhang is a Phedangma based in Farnborough who carries out birth, death and other rituals throughout the UK (other Phedangmas in the UK are; Mr Raiprasad Hukpa Chongbang, Mr Lilabahadur Phombo, Mr Padambahadur Angbong and Yambahadur Thebe). Mr Ramkumar Thebe, a trained Sabdi Guru of Satyehangma sect based in Swindon does the same thing throughout the country. The first group sacrifice animals as part of their worship. The second group do not sacrifice animals and prefer vegetarianism. Nonetheless, both groups are preserving and practising the Kirat religion in the UK. Limbus in the UK practise their religion more or less to a similar extent as in their native land Yakthung Laje.
In Limbu religion and culture, a woman inherits deities from her mother when she marries. The birth and death rituals vary by gender. Following a birth, the naming ceremony (Yangdangphogma in Limbu and Nwaran in Nepali) takes place after 3 days for a baby girl and after 4 days for a baby boy. Limbu people bury their dead. A death rite for female is 3 days after the death and after 4 days for the male. The death rites process takes place in a chronological order as follows: handover of death soul to ancestors (Samsama), mourning (Netma), purifying (Khauma) and segregation between dead and living (Mikwa Sangma).
Limbus in the UK celebrate Chasok Tangnam, Kakphekwa Tangnam, Yakwa-phongma and Balihang Tangnam at local level and Sisekpa Tangnam at national level. The national festival takes place in the month of July because it is the summer season with longer and warmer days, which is suitable for the large scale gathering. The KYCUK coordinates and manages the Sisekpa Tangnam celebration centrally in London. Every year, around 5,000 Yakthungbas, Yakthungmas and samenchha-ha (Limbu, Limbunis, children and grandchildren) gather in their traditional dress and ornaments to celebrate Sisekpa Tangnam. Limbu people state that the programme is full of Limbu flavour. It helps them to restore happiness after meeting families and friends. They sense a kind of satisfaction and relief from loneliness and stress.
Dances such as Kelang (Chyabrung nach), Yarang (Dhan nach) and Hakpare samlo (Hakpare git) (Photo 4) are shown in the branch-wise competition which takes place every year. Mainly the younger generation is seen keen in taking part in the competitions, which has played a vital role in making them understand the values of their native culture.
In the context of the language, Limbu people have their own script called ‘Sirijonga’ which was believed to be created by the King Sirijonga in the 9th century. Its continuation can be seen as Teongsi Singthebe of Khoyang, Tellok (Yangwarak), Taplejung taken written scripts away to Sikkim to hide safely from Gorkhali invaders. Some of the original writings of Teongsi Singthebe are available for photocopying at the British Library, London. Limbu’s of Sikkim played a vital role in preserving and further developing the Limbu language in the aftermath of the Gorkhali-Limbu war. Currently, the Limbu language is taught up to Master’s degree level in Sikkim. Unfortunately, Limbu’s of Nepal have given up reading and writing the Sirijonga script. Instead they started learning Nepali and adopted the Hindu religion to avoid arrest and imprisonment. Despite arrest and imprisonment, ex-Gurkha Sergeant Phalgunanda Lingden started reading and writing of Sirijonga scripts in the areas of Ilam and Panchthar. He even opened a couple of schools, but the Rana Government banned them. He was summoned by the Rana regime but later released. After the restoration of democracy in 1990, the Government of Nepal permitted the official use of the Sirijonga script in the country. The constitution of Nepal 2015 has endorsed Limbu language as one of the national languages. Currently, curriculum for grades 6–8 is being developed by the Curriculum Development Council of Nepal. However, no Limbu language teachers have been employed by the Government until today.
In the UK, under the coordination of the Limbuwan Study Centre, a Limbu dictionary is being edited and published by Hrakajang Limbu and Gambhirdhoj Tumbahangphe. The majority of the first-generation Limbus in the UK can speak their language. However, only a few people can read and write Srijonga script. A brief Limbu language course was conducted in 2014 in Ashford under the teaching and supervision of Mr Ganesh Ijam. The course was funded by the KYCUK Ashford Branch. This kind of practice needs to be continued with the initiation of KYCUK local branches otherwise the Limbu language will soon be history in the UK.
Concept of Limbuwan University: Immediately after the inception of the KYCUK in the 2003, members of the KYCUK carried out two brainstorming sessions in 2004 for the possibility of establishing a Limbuwan University in Nepal. One of the sessions was also attended by Bairangi Kainla while he was in London. In 2005 KYCUK came to the conclusion that they should seek to establish a Limbuwan Study Centre in order to preserve culture, religion, language and develop capacity of Limbu people in general and Limbus living in the Limbuwan area in particular. In the process, the KYCUK came up with a model of Limbuwan Academy in 2006. Further meetings and discussions under the chairmanship of Mr Siriprasad Limbu (2004–2008), KYCUK came up with the concept of the Limbuwan University in 2007. To share and discuss the concept, Mr Arjun Nugo, who was a Lecturer of Trichandra College and the Central Chairman of KYC, was invited to the UK. It was decided to open Limbuwan Study Centre in Kathmandu. One of its envisaged roles was to act as a steering body for the establishment of the Limbuwan University. Two locations were earmarked for the ‘Proposed Limbuwan University’. The first choice is Menchhyandhap, Guppha Pokhari (Photo 5), a Limbu historical place as well as naturally beautiful, surrounded by the world renowned rhododendron forest of the Tinjure Milke range at an altitude of 3,000m (9480 ft.). This is also a junction of Terathum, Sankhuwashabha, and Taplejung districts, with a motor road to access the site. Thus the location is suitable from all points of view. The second choice is Nagi of Panchthar District also a vehicle accessed location, but it is located towards the Sikkim as the site has mainly chosen to include Limbus of Sikkim as well.
In 2007 KYCUK sent Dr Chandra Laksamba to Kathmandu to hold a meeting with Limbu public figures and discuss about the concept of the Limbuwan University. A meeting was organised at Chumlung Lalitpur and the meeting was attended by the KYC Central Chairman Mr Arjun Nugo, Secretary Mr Ekraj Limbu, Dr Chaitanya Subba, Mr Manjul Yakthungba, Maj (Retd) late Deoman Limbu and Mr Uttam Sing Thangden. The meeting accepted the concept of the ‘Proposed Limbuwan University’ and agreed to open Limbuwan Study Centre at Chumlung Lalitpur. At the meeting, Dr Laksamba handed over Rs 396,000, the money sent by the KYCUK to the KYC Central Chairman Arjun Nugo, for the ‘Civic Awareness (Janjagarna)’ programme. The aim of the programme was to make the Limbu community aware about the identity, language, religion, culture, citizens’ rights, capacity building, and the role of the proposed Limbuwan University.
Educational achievements in the UK: Limbu people are doing well in terms of education in the UK. For instance, the following first generation Limbus in the UK achieved PhDs, Master’s, and Graduate Degrees namely: Dr Chandra Laksamba (PhD 2005, University of Surrey, he was with the University of Oxford from 2009 to 2012 as a researcher, most probably the first researcher affiliated to Oxford from the Limbu community and the first PhD of Laksamba, Laksam, and Laktam family), Dr Ramnarayan Kandangwa (PhD 2009, Tribhuvan University), Mr Dev Angbohang (BA Hons, MSc Criminology 2015, London Metropolitan University), Mr Rakam Limbu (BSc Hons Sociology 2013, University of Surrey), Capt (Retd) Bhakta Limbu (BSc Nursing, University of Southampton), Mr Mijas Tembe (BA Hons 2015, Open University), Maj (Retd) Padam Limbu MVO (MCGI City & Guilds Professional Award Level 7 equivalent to MA), Maj (Retd) Dil Limbu (MCGI City & Guilds), Maj (Retd) Bhuwani Limbu (GCGI City & Guilds Professional Award Level 6 equivalent to BA Hons), Capt (Retd) Purnaprasad Limbu (GCGI City & Guilds), Lt (Retd) Siriprasad Limbu (GCGI City & Guilds), Mrs Prem Kumari Maden (MSc in Finance), Mrs Kamala Limbu (BSc Hons Nursing), Mrs Ashis Tumbahangphe (BSc Nursing), and Mrs Ambika Sambahangphe Maden (BSc Hons Bio-Science). All are ex-Gurkhas and their spouses, with the exception of Mijas Tembe, who is still in the army.
Limbus who have migrated from Hong Kong have also successfully pursued higher degrees in the UK such as Mr Purna Laksam MSc, now pursuing a PhD in Economics from the University of Cambridge and Mr Khusi Limbu who achieved BSc Hons and MSc in Criminology from the University of Surrey. Mr Uttar Tigela is a solicitor, Mr Prem Suhang and Mr Tek Suhang achieved ACCA degrees and both are accountants in London.
In the field of medicine Dr Phauda Raj Thebe is a Senior Consultant Pathologist at Kent Hospital and former chairperson of the Nepalese Doctors Association UK (NDA UK). Dr Beena Subba Thebe is a Senior Consultant Gynaecologist at the Middlesex University Hospital and the current president of the NDA UK. Dr Gurans Lawati is a Consultant Psychiatrist.
The performance of Limbu second generation in the higher education in the UK seems promising. Figure 2 reflects the education progress of Limbus second generation in the UK. For instance; Angshumonik Angbohang BSc Hons, MSc (PhD final year student in Retinal Stem Cell, University College London), Saurav Limbu (PhD student in Electronic Physics, Imperial College London), Yojana Laksamba (MSc Finance and Accounting – Distinction, ACCA), Sabit Thebe (MSc London School of Economics – LSE, UK, MBA Columbia University, USA), Yugal Angbo (BEng Hons Civil Engineering, MSc Structural Engineering), Roshan Yongya (BSc Hons, MSc Operational Research and Applied Statistics), Shamser Chemjong (BSc Hons, MEng Civil), Sheila Limbu (BSc Hons, MA), Bhuwan Bokhim (BEng, MEng), Sabina Limbu (BSc Hons, MSc), Sangita Thebe (BSc Hons, MSc LSE), Sushma Limbu (BSc Hons, ACCA), Chinari Libang (BBA, BSc Hons Applied Accounting, ACCA), Khagendra Bhega (BSc Hons, MSc Renewable Energy and Resource Management), Binaya Limbu (BSc Hons, MEng Aeronautics and Astronautics), Narendra Limbu Jabegu (MEng), Sanjog Limbu (MEng), Astha Laksamba (MPharm), Selvia Limbu (MPharm) and Prabin Limbu (MEng). I have sought to list all those who have Master’s degrees or above, but there could still be a few missing. The majority of them are employed in their areas of expertise. There are about 30 Limbu students currently pursuing their postgraduate degrees.
Approximately 70 per cent of second-generation Limbus have completed a Bachelor’s degree in different disciplines including medicine and engineering. The majority of them are employed in their areas of studies. There are currently 21 working in the NHS as doctors, including 14 female junior medical doctors. They have qualified in the UK or in other Asian countries. None of them has reached the position of consultant yet.
In addition to the above, Jinita Pandhak Limbu is the first Limbu solicitor in the UK and is currently practicing in London. Samana Chemjong is the first Limbu secondary-level mathematics teacher in London. Basanta Laksamba is a police officer in Hampshire Constabulary (the first Limbu police officer in the UK). Yugal Angbo, a second generation Limbu who is an Officer in the British Army, commissioned from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and currently serves in the Royal Electronic and Mechanical Engineers (REME). Saujan Pandhak Limbu is a freelance blogger who writes news, features, and blogs under the name of ‘Lex Limbu’ and is currently doing his Master’s degree in Tourism, Environment and Development at King’s College, London.
Sports: KYCUK started a football cup in the name of the first Kirat King Yalambar Susuwa Lilim Yakthunghang 2008, which is known as ‘Yalambar Cup’. Capt (Retd) Bombahadur Limbu, who was the chairman of KYCUK (2008–2010), is the founding person of the Yalambar Cup. Now the Yalambar Cup has been established as one of the major events within the Nepali community in the UK. The KYCUK coordinates and runs the event every year in April in London.
In 2016 a total of 27 teams took part. The event has definitely created a positive environment for social integration within the diverse Nepali ethnic communities in the UK. The event has also introduced the first Kirat King Yalambar to the second-generation Nepalis who grew up in the UK and may have limited knowledge about Nepali history.
In addition, the KYCUK also established the Yalambar Badminton Cup in 2013. Its founding coordinator is Mr Dilsing Menyangbo (Limbu) who is also the current senior Vice Chairman of the KYCUK. KYCUK runs the Yalambar Badminton Cup tournament every year. It is open to all Nepali communities in the UK, which has played a pivotal role in creating a conducive environment for social cohesion and integration within the Nepali communities. The event also generates revenue which KYCUK spends on the social welfare of Limbu people globally.
The facts and figures presented above clearly show that the cultural, social, and economic capitals of the Limbu people in the UK look promising. It seems that the Limbu community’s progress in the UK is positive and moving upward. In this sense, we can say that knowledge is not caste, class, or community-biased. It is achievable by all. It requires interest and determination as well as equal access and opportunities.
We would like to thank the following first- and second-generation Limbus in the UK, community leaders and anthropologists for their valuable comments and suggestions:
– First-generation Limbus in the UK and community leaders: Former Chairpersons KYCUK: Mr Khadkajang Angbuhang (Limbu), Former Minister of Nepal Bijaya Prakash Thebe, Lt(Retd) Siriprasad Limbu, Capt (Retd) Bombahadur Limbu, Mr Dambar Singhak, Mr Subash Jabegu and the present Chairman KYCUK Mr Kajiman Yakso, Maj (Retd) Bhuwani Pandhak, Dr Phauda Raj Thebe, Dr Beena Subba Thebe, Mr Prasad Thebe, Mr Ganesh Ijam, Lt Dambar Libang, Mr Krishnakumar Hembya, Sabdi Guru Ramkumr Thebe, Mr Yambahadur Angbuhang, Lt (Retd) Iswar Angbuhang, Mr Rajendra Labung, Mr Badri Yongya, Capt (Retd) Tikaram Limbu, Mr Tanka Wanem, Mr Narbir Angbo, Mr Surya Khapung, Mr Bijaya Bikram Lingden, Mr Purna Loksom, Mr Dev Angbuhang, Mr Khusi Limbu, Mr Uttar Tigela, Mr Prem Suhang, Mr Tek Suhang and Subarna Nembang.
– Second-generation Limbus in the UK: Yojana Laksamba, Sabit Thebe, Roshan Yongya, Sabina Limbu, Sangita Thebe, Sushma Limbu and Samsoma Ijam.
– Anthropologists: Dr Krishna Adhikari, CNSUK/University of Oxford, Professor David Gellner, University of Oxford and Professor Tanka Subba (Vice Chancellor, Sikkim University, Author of ‘Politics of Culture: A Study of Three Kirata Communities in the Eastern Himalayas’.
(Laksamba is a senior researcher at CNSUK and Wanem is an Assistant Secretary KYCUK).