Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Religions of the Indigenous People of South Asia Online

Get access Subject: Asian Studies

Edited by:
Marine Carrin (Editor-in-Chief), University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès, and Michel Boivin, Centre for South Asian Studies (CNRS-EHESS), Gérard Toffin, Centre d’Études Himalayennes, Paul Hockings, University of Illinois at Chicago, Raphaël Rousseleau, Université de Lausanne, Tanka Subba, North-Eastern Hill University, Harald Lambs-Tyche, University of de Picardie-Jules Verne (Section Editors)

Help us improve our service

Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Religions of the Indigenous People of South Asia strives to reflect the diversity of indigenous cultures of South Asia with its many language groups and religious traditions. Shaped by their own mythologies, these tribal religions differ in form and content from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Sikhism, and Christianity, though variants of the latter traditions have been adopted by some indigenous people. Religion is taken in a broad sense and includes aspects of morality, symbolism, identity formation, environmental concerns, and art. Far from being simple survivals of an earlier stage, these religions often show remarkable capacity for adaptation and change. The approach is contemporary rather than a reconstruction of an anterior state, though it does not overlook relevant historical processes.

More information:

Kham Magar: Fact Sheet

(278 words)

Author(s): de Sales, Anne
Kham Magar. Population: some 50,000, or barely 3% of almost two million Magars (1,8887,733), the population name under which they appear in the 2011 demographic census. They live in high valleys (2,000–2,500 m altitude) in the north of the districts of Rolpa, Rukum, and Baglung, in Nepal’s midwest, concentrated in five “rural municipalities” or  gaupalika (Nisikhola, Putha Uttarganga, Bhume, Thawang, and Sunchhahari). The linguist D.E. Watters coined the name "Kham Magar" in the early 1970s to distinguish Kham speakers of Khamkura from the Magars p…
Date: 2019-11-02

Kham Magar: The Kham Magars and Dhaulagiri Shamanism

(6,876 words)

Author(s): de Sales, Anne
The Kham Magars are assimilated with the Magars in demographic censuses, and their population numbers can only be estimated. Unlike most of the Himalayan languages that bear the name of their speakers – the Newars speak Newari, the Magars speak Magar –, the term kham does not designate the ethnic group but simply means “language” in Kham. It was the linguist D.E. Watters who, in the early 1970s, coined the expression Kham Magar to distinguish Kham speakers from the Magars proper, who have long been known for historical reasons. The Magars…
Date: 2019-11-02

Khasi: Christian and Indigenous Religious Practices among the Khasi

(6,548 words)

Author(s): Lyngdoh, Margaret
Khasi Indigenous ReligionThe Khasi traditional religion Niam Tynrai (“Root Ritual”; also called Tre in the Pnar language) is also referred to as Ka Niam Tip Briew, Ka Niam Tip Blei (“Human-knowing, God-knowing Ritual”), and the tenets laid down by the Seng Khasi, an institution set up in 1899 to preserve the values of the Khasi clan and community practices, state that human’s duty on earth is to earn righteousness by living a good life and fulfilling one’s duty to the clan. In order to do so, he o…
Date: 2019-11-02

Khasi: Fact Sheet

(620 words)

Author(s): Lyngdoh, Margaret
The Khasi communities – which include the Khynriam, Pnar, Bhoi, War, and Lyngngam – comprise a group of indigenous peoples in northeastern India that make up the majority of the ethnic population of the Meghalaya State. There are other minority groups among the Khasis, such as the Biate, Nongtrai, Muliang, and Marngar. The endonym popularized among the Khynriam Khasi group to designate all the Khasi communities is Ki Khun U Hynniewtrep (“Children of the Seven Huts”), following the origin myth wh…
Date: 2019-11-02