Many Nepalis migrated to Myanmar in the 1950s with the forming of the nation-state of Nepal. They are a 79% Hindu people group with only 1% known to be Christian. They are known for working as grain or dairy farmers. Alongside the millions of gods of Hinduism, the Nepali believe in ghosts and demons that haunt certain natural landscapes, often making sacrifices to appease them. Myanmar’s Nepalis speak a form of Nepali called Khas Kura.
When Myanmar experienced its first coup in 1962, about 200,000 Nepalis were displaced and forced to flee to surrounding countries. Under General Ne Win’s “Burmese Path to Socialism,” Nepalis had to choose between losing all they owned or fleeing the country with no more than two sets of clothing, 11 grams of gold, and the equivalent of 5 USD. Reshmalal Pandey told Nepali Times, “What they called socialism meant we had to submit all our earnings to the government and in exchange received barely sufficient food to survive. We farmed, but they took what we grew.” Many who chose to flee have been separated from their families for decades and have mourned the deaths of siblings and parents they were unable to visit for many years.
Today, an estimated 30,000 Nepalis still live in Myanmar. Since the recent coup in February, many people in Nepal have taken up demonstrations, petitioning the government of Nepal to express criticism of the Myanmar military and support the people of Myanmar. In March this year, many Nepalis criticized the attendance of international diplomats at the Armed Forces Day ceremony while the military junta actively slaughtered civilians. Those who peacefully protested in front of Myanmar’s embassy in Nepal held up signs with statements like “Say no to military coup in Myanmar” and “We stand with the people of Myanmar.”
- Praise the Lord for giving these Nepali people hearts of justice and compassion for their neighbors, and pray that He comforts those who grieve the deaths of family members in Myanmar.
- Pray that the Lord would powerfully intervene in the lives of Nepalis, showing them He is the living and active God and drawing them to repentance and salvation.