The Limbu community’s script is called Kirat – Sirijonga after Te-ongsa Sirijonga who revived the script in the eighteenth century. As I have been exploring my own family’s history, I have realised that throughout repressive regimes, the Limbu people have continued to speak our language, and we have struggled to keep our language and identity.
I see my art as a medium which connects previous and future generations. I use text, drawings and photographs from historical archives, educational materials and a Limbu-Nepali-English Dictionary to deconstruct the strategy of stakeholders who attempt to abolish the diverse indigenous identities in Nepal. I highlight strategies that aim to conquer people by erasing their language which have been used since Prithvi Narayan Shah’s time in the 18th century through to present day policies. The potency one language policy of the Panchayat era can be seen in the contradictory statements on mother tongues in the new constitution.
Amidst these attempts to conquer, I find strength in a timeline of rebellions by the Limbu people which date back to the time the Limbu script was revived.