Since, our people had first contact with Indian Government was in 1961, we don’t have any government records till the first census in 1971. Our population was then 929 (Prakash). But strangely, Census 1981 did not count our people. Perhaps, the government was confused over the name, Lisu or Yobin. Or it could be total negligence, as by then the government had completely planned out the strategy to remove our Indian citizenship. If you are interested, there is a funny speculation that Yobin/Lisu ceased to exist in India (see Prakash page 1199-1202).
In March 1981, Asim Maitra, a researcher with the Anthropological Survey of India, came to Shidi village and conducted a census. He found there were 1,016 Lisu people (Maitra, page 3).
The 2001 Census counted 2,330 persons in Hazolo, Gandhigram/Shidi, Shidiku and Vijoynagar headquarters. Not all were our people; 209 were not. Our population in that census could be 2,080. Because that census said there were 2,080 Scheduled Tribe (ST) population in Vijoynagar circle. It should be noted that Census 2001 did not include our people living in other villages such as Sichoto (77 Miles), Nibodi (52 Miles), Ngwazakha, Aguchi, Badadi (near Pritnagar), and Meludi (Mama adulu).
Early 2010, the Yobin Tribe Welfare Committee took a headcount of Yobin living in Miao. They counted 238 children studying there and 140 adults taking care of them.
My estimate of our population now could be 3,000. Because our population doubled between 1981 to 2001. So 50% increase to 2001 census population could be 3,000.
- The Ethnologue and Joshua Project estimated the Lisu population as 1,000 and 2,500 respectively.
- While doing a study on Nocte language from Census 2001, strangely we discovered 2,072 speakers from Vijoynagar. There are no Nocte speakers there. Then I thought we are subsumed under Nocte when counting the speakers of Lisu language. Because the Census of India does not release language list that has population below ten thousand.
- There were 13 Yobin/Lisu families in India between 1947-48 (Utpal Kumar De and B. Francis Kulirani).
- Census of India CD: 2001 District and Tahsil Data on Languages.
- Maitra, Asim. 1988. A Guidebook to Lisu Language. New Delhi: Mittal Publications. Page 3.
- Prakash, Ved Col. 2007. Encyclopaedia of North-East India, Volume 3. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors (p) Ltd. Page 1032, 1199-1202.
- Utpal Kumar De and B. Francis Kulirani. 2007. Issues on Natural Resource Management: With Special Reference to North-East India. New Delhi: Regency Publications. Page 180-188.