Yakha in India


Population
5,700
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Identity

According to one study, 'The Yakha are a tribal group of almost 26,000 people living in nearly 600 villages throughout the mountains of eastern Nepal. They are found throughout the Koshi Zone but are primarily just south of the city of Chainpur.' Yakha communities are spread across the Tehrathum, Sankuwasawa and Dhankuta districts within Koshi Zone. From one end of their territory in Nepal to the other is a distance of approximately 80 kilometres (49 mi.). Other sources list between 8,000 and 10,000 speakers of the Yakha language in Nepal.

A migrant community of Yakha has moved to north-east India. Approximately 4,900 live in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal and 960 in Sikkim. The majority of Yakha people in West Bengal believe in Hinduism, whereas almost all Yakha in Sikkim are Buddhists. One source says, 'There are a few of them scattered in all the districts of Sikkim. Their natural environment is hilly terrain, moderately cold, humid, and without snowfall.'

The Yakha language is one that fascinates scholars. It appears to be related to Rai and Limbu, yet it has features that are distinctive from both. Yakha is part of the Eastern Kiranti branch of the Tibeto-Burman family.


Religion

There are conflicting reports regarding the religious beliefs of the Yakha. One source says, 'They are traditionally animists, but have adopted many of the Hindu customs and beliefs.' Another states, 'Most identify themselves as Buddhists. A few have embraced Hindu customs and beliefs because of their exposure to Nepalese and Indian culture.' Buddhist influence is strongest among the Yakha in the Sankhwasawa District, but it is more diluted the further south they are found.


Christianity

Not only are the different accounts of the Yakha's religion confusing, but also a great variety of opinion exists on the status of Christianity among them. One source claims, 'Many Yakhas have heard the name of Jesus, and received Christian literature, but have not yet understood the message of the cross and Christianity. There are about 750 believers scattered throughout Yakha villages, which is about 3 per cent of the total Yakha population.'

A second report gives a less enthusiastic appraisal of the gospel among this group. 'Christianity is considered a low-caste or foreign religion. As a result, many Yakha are very anti-Christian and would excommunicate from their communities any who become Christian. This kind of threatened separation from the tribe is a formidable barrier to most in the Yakha culture. One key to reaching the Yakha with the gospel, however, may be their desire and deep respect for traits such as honesty and kindness. Believers who have opportunities to live Christ-filled lives before the Yakha may be able to gain their respect and point them to the Author of Life.' Among the Yakha in India, 'some have recently become Christianized. They are those who know the least about their language, culture and ethnic feelings.'


Profile Source:   Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Yakha
People Name in Country Yakha
Population in India 5,700
World Population 28,900
Total Countries 3
Indigenous Yes
Unreached No
Progress Scale 2
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Alternate Names Dewan, Dewansala, Kakka, Lhorong, Phaga, Phhaga, Roi, Yakhhaba Sala, Yakka, Yakkha, Yakkhaba Cea, Yakthomba, यखा
People ID 15957
ROP3 Code 110935
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 15  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 3
Largest States
West Bengal
(4,600)
Sikkim
(1,200)
Andaman and Nicobar
(10)
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 15  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 3
  West Bengal (4,600)
  Sikkim (1,200)
  Andaman and Nicobar (10)
Website South Asia Peoples

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Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Language Yakkha (4,600 speakers)
Language Code ybh   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 3
Secondary Languages
Nepali
(1,000)
Bengali
(100)
People Groups Speaking Yakkha
Primary Language Yakkha (4,600 speakers)
Language Code ybh   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 3
Secondary Languages
  Nepali (1,000)
  Bengali (100)
People Groups Speaking Yakkha

Primary Language:  Yakkha

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions No
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Yakkha
Primary Religion: Other / Small
Religion Subdivision: Kirati
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
4.55 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
6.23 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
42.70 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
46.53 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2018  International Mission Board-SBC  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Profile Source Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From India census data.  Current values may differ.


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