Accepted paper:

Changes in Religion and Its Impact on Health of Tamangs of Sikkim, India


Yougan Tamang (University of North Bengal)
Pinak Tarafdar (University of North Bengal)

Paper short abstract:

Religion is a nucleus of every culture and collection of behavior. Migration among the largest Tibeto-Burman ethnic group of Sikkim ‘Tamang’ has witnessed the change in their religion to different forms that altered their health seeking behaviour and medical system considerably.

Paper long abstract:

Health is a pre-requisite for human development and it also has specific functions, which is intimately related to its value system, philosophical and cultural traditions. The culture of a community determines the health behaviour of the community. The cultural pattern varies from tribe to tribe and region to region which hold distinctiveness in the system of beliefs, values, tradition and ultimately religion. Religion is a product of culture and essential part of social machinery which exercises profound influences over man in all socio-cultural aspects. Change in culture brings about change in religious behaviour which influences the health seeking behaviours and medical systems of any community or tribe. Thus the largest Tibeto-Burman ethnic group of Sikkim 'Tamang' have experienced huge migration from Tibet through Nepal to Sikkim leading to changes in culture and religion that ultimately created a new dimension of medical system, health seeking behaviour, the concept of health. 'Tamang' have witnessed acculturation at different phases of migration which has characterized them with the uniqueness of amalgamation of three forms of religion i.e. animism, polytheism and monotheism which has profoundly influenced their health seeking behavior at the present day in Sikkim. This paper would basically highlight how 'Tamang' have witnessed changes in culture which eventually led to changes and amalgamation of religion and the influence on the indigenous health care system among the 'Tamang' and also provide an extensive understanding of various distinctive health practices among them.

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