Living by the Border: A Study of Nepal’s Limi People and Their Trade: Life on the Sino-Nepal Border
The trade life of the people in the Himalayan border area shows new development and characteristics today. Nepal’s Limi Valley borders Purang County, Ngari Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, with a long history of cross-border trade. The Limi people are of the same origin as the Tibetans in China, and the frequent changes of the royal lineage in history have made their attribution complicated. According to the ‘Boundary Treaty Between China and Nepal’ in 1961, the Limi region is under the jurisdiction of Nepal. The Limi people of Nepal are born and live on the border. Both in history and at present, the Limi people are important participants in the border trade activities, and are also representative main operators in China-Nepal cross-border trade.
Due to the close cultural and geographical connection between the Limi Valley and Purang County, Limi people have provided a powerful source of strength for the development of border trade. From the traditional trade of exchanging needed goods and barter to the current diversified trade, Purang has gradually become a vibrant economic and trade region, improving the living standards of the people in the border areas of China and Nepal. Different from the traditional way of livelihood, border trade also presents new characteristics in the new era.
On the basis of historical documents, this paper, with the theme of ‘Limi people’s social life and border trade life’, we conducted field works in the Limi community in Bodhanath area, Kathmandu from 2017 to 2020(in total 220days), and in the border trade market in Purang County during the summer time from 2021 to 2022, and discussed in detail the history and current situation of the social and cultural life of the Limi people of Nepal.
First of all, the article reviews the history of the Limi people and their main livelihood patterns in the past. Secondly, it mainly discusses the living conditions of the Limi people in Pulan County from the aspects of trade and migrant work, and summarizes the characteristics of their border trade. Finally, discuss the role of the Limi people in building a community with a shared future in the border area.
Key words: Limi people, Nepal, border trade, social and cultural life