The Nepali immigration in Sikkim started long after the
Bhutia settlement. The Nepali community is composed of different sub-cultural
stocks with considerable differences in physical characteristic and customs.
Each tribe is sub-divided into many classes. The most important of these
tribes are : Limta, Gurung, Magar, Rai, Tamang, Mewar etc. Of the caste
Hindus, there are the Brahmins, Thakurs, Chettris etc. Among the low caste
tradesman there are the Sarki, Kami,Damai etc. The Nepalese are
spread throughout the east, south and west of Sikkim. They are mostly
Hindus but some of them are Buddhists. They have terraced fields and also
work on building roads. They are also good at trade and own many shops
in the main Bazaar at Gangtok. They also work as Silversmiths.
The immigration of the Nepalese and their rapid expansion
has created a serious problem for the original inhabitants - the Lepchas
and the Bhutias. The Nepalese are not only multiplying more rapidly in
numbers but are also ahead in education which enables them to get jobs
in government. While the Lepchas and Bhutias still prefer the traditional
education in the monasteries, the Nepalese send their children to schools.
The Lepchas and Bhutias are averse to cultivate waste lands. Nepalese
plant maize which grows in abundance and is their staple food. The Nepalese
children work from the age of five and when they are ten years of age
are able to earn more than they consume. Their style of living is comparatively
much economical. Their dress and diet are simple. They do not spend much
money on marriage and festival. On the other hand, the Lepchas and Bhutias
take rice with meat, if possible. Their dress is expensive. Above all,
they have to support the monks, according to the religious custom, make
occasional offerings, either in kind or cash to the 'gompa' and then pay
a high fee to the priests for the various services rendered by them.