चेम्जोङलाई पढेर

चेम्जोङलाई पढेर

कोसेली

मंसिर १४, २०७०सौरभ

बन्दका बेला बाहिर निस्किने काम गरिएन । वेबसाइटमा स्व. इमानसिंह चेमजोङ लिखित
ँहिस्ट्री अफ किराँत’ भेटियो । प्रस्तुत लेख त्यही पुस्तक पढ्दाको परिणाम हो ।

१) काबुलको लोककथामा त्यहाँको हजारा जाति र नेपालका किराँत एउटै थिए – सुरुमा पर्सियाबाट आउँदा । तर, हजारा जातिको नेता लालेहाङ नेपालमा पुगेर गोरखा बन्यो । -चेम्जोङ पेज ४)
हजाराको बारेमा यथार्थ हो – चङ्गेजखानको १२२१ मा भएको बामियान आक्रमणका बेला छुटेको हजार जनाको डफ्फाबाट ‘हजारा’ आउँछ ।
२) तिनले आसाम र लोहितलाई म्लेच्छ देश वा मेचेहरूको देश भन्दथे । -चेम्जोङ पेज ७)
म्लेच्छ देश भनेको मलय पर्वतयुक्त पहिलेको मलाया र अहिलेको मलेसिया हो । बरु मलय पर्वतलाई चन्दनयुक्त मानिएको छ र चन्दन वृक्ष -स्यान्टलम एल्बम) को उत्पत्ति मलेसिया छेउको इन्डोनेसियास्थित जाभा भएको आधुनिक विज्ञान -इन्डेक्स केवेन्सिस) ले पनि मानेको छ । मेचेलाई नेपालमा मात्रै मेचे भन्ने हो मेची नदीबाट । अन्यथा यसको भारतीय नाम बोडो हो, जसलाई चीनको फुजियान प्रान्तबाट आएको मानिन्छ ।
३) महाभारतकालमा आठ किराँत राज्य थिए भनी मार्कण्डेय पुराणले लेखेको छ । -चेम्जोङ पेज ७)
उक्त पुराणको कुन ठाउँमा लेखेको रहेछ पंक्तिकारले फेला पार्न सकेन । अर्थात् चेम्जोङले मार्कण्डेय पढेका छैनन् । त्यसमाथि महाभारतकाल पाँच हजार वर्षअघिको हो । र, मार्कण्डेय पुराण लेखियो २ हजार वर्षअघि । त्यति वर्षको ग्यापमा कति कुरा शुद्ध होलान् । बरु, मत्स्य र ब्रह्माण्डमा किराँत शब्द परेको छ लेखेको भए शुद्ध हुन्थ्यो ।
४) किराँत असुर जातिले आसाममा उत्तरबाट आएका चिनियाँसँग मिली राज्य खडा गरे । तिनको पहिलो प्रसिद्ध राजा नरकासुर थिए । उनको राजधानी प्राग्ज्योतिषपुर थियो । -चेम्जोङ पेज ८)
प्राग्ज्योतिषपुरका पहिलो राजा रामका नाति र कुशका छोरा अमूर्तराज थिए । यो रामायणमै छ । नरकासुरको कुरा गर्ने महाभारत र भागवत आदि रामायणभन्दा धेरै पछिका हुन् ।
५) जितेदस्तीको समयमा -लिम्बूहरूले) एउटा भेला गरी मुखियाहरूको सर्वसम्मतिले भाइफुट्टाहाङलाई आप\mनो नेताका रूपमा ईशापूर्व पाँच सयमा चुने । -चेम्जोङ पेज १०)
यो भेन्सिटार्टको पुस्तकको पेज १३४ बाट सारिएको हो, जसको कुनै स्रोत छैन । त्यतिबेला हाङ शब्द जन्मिएको थिएन, किनभने सी ह्वाङ ती सम्राट भइसकेका थिएनन् चीनका । त्यसमाथि भेन्सिटार्टले पेज १३१ मा लिम्बूहरूलाई झगडालु भनेका छन् । यो भाइफुट्टाहाङ तिनले गरेको ठूलो व्यङ्ग्य हो भन्ने स्पष्टै छ । त्यति मात्र होइन, यही बानीले गर्दा उनीहरू रहेको भैरवनाथ गणलाई समेत अरूबाट टाढै राख्ने गरेको कुरा लेखेका छन् सोही पेजमा ।
६) चाणक्यको राजनीतिक चलाखीले उत्तर विहार र उत्तर बंगालका किराँत राजा प्रभातक मारिए । त्यसपछि किराँतहरू पहाड लागे । त्यसपछि तिनलाई मधेसिया किराँत वा काशी गोत्रका किराँत भनियो । -चेम्जोङ पेज ११) ।
जब कि पोरस -प्रभातेश्वर) किराँत थिएनन्, न तिनी पन्जाब छोडेर कहिल्यै मगध आए । बरु, आफैं चन्द्रगुप्त मौर्यका छोरा बिन्दुसारका समय मन्त्री सुबन्धुका हातबाट मारिए ।
७) पर्सियाबाट आई अप|mासियाबले तिरहुतमा आक्रमण गरी किराँत फौजलाई हरायो । -चेम्जोङ पेज १५) ।
अप|mासियाब फिर्दाैसीको शाहनामामा परेको एउटा बोक्सोरूपी बादशाही पात्रको नाम हो, जसको भौतिक अस्तित्वको पुष्टि आजसम्म भएको छैन । हकिम फिर्दाैसीको शाहनामा ईस्वीको १०१० मा मात्र लेखिसिध्याइयो र भारतमा मध्यएसियायी क्षेत्रबाट पहिलो हमला ईस्वीको ११९१ मा मात्र भएको मानिएको छ । शाहनामाको एउटा सदियौं पुरानो प्रति छाउनीको संग्रहालयमा छ पनि । अरू थप्नु परेन ।
८) ऋग्वेद -१०/९९/१०) ले प्राचीन युगमा असुर राजाहरूको उपनिवेश इन्डस उपत्यका र सौराष्ट्रमा थियो भनेर प्रमाणित गरको छ । -चेम्जोङ पेज ४५)
तर, १०औं मण्डल, ९९औं सूक्त, १०औं ऋचा भनिएको हो भने त्यो कुरा कतै छैन । त्यहाँ मात्रै होइन, अन्यत्र पनि छैन । चेम्जोङले ऋग्वेद पढेका छैनन् ।
९) किराँत मुन्धुमले भन्दछ- काचीनहरू -बर्माका) नेपाल तराईको सिमानगढ -सिङमाङगढ/सिमरौनगढ) बाट त्यतातर्फ लागेका हुन् । -चेम्जोङ लिम्बू शब्दकोश पेज ४ र किराँत इतिहास पेज ४८)
जबकि आजभोलि बारामा पर्ने यो ठाउँको नाम सिमरौनगढ हो । सिमरन शब्दबाट सिमल शब्द बन्दछ । सिमलको जंगलले भरिएको यस वनदुर्गको नामकरण सबै जान्दछन् एघारौं शताब्दीमा मात्र भएको हो, जब त्यहाँ नान्यदेवले राज्यस्थापना गरे ।
१०) शान जाति -बर्माका) दक्षिणतर्फ बढेर बर्माको मध्यमा शान सङ्घ खडा गर्‍यो । तिनको प्रमुखलाई शब्बा भनिन्थ्यो । त्यसैबाट सुब्बा शब्द आयो । -चेम्जोङ पेज ४८)
सबै जान्दछन् सुबह -इलाका/क्षेत्र) को प्रशासकलाई मुगलकालमा सुबहदार -गभर्नर) भन्ने चलन थियो । जहाँगिरको समयमा शाहजहाँ स्वयम् लाहोरका सुबहदार थिए, बादशाह हुनुअघि । सुबह शब्द बाबरले बर्माको भाग नटेक्दै बनिसकेको थियो । यसैबाट आएको हो सुब्बा । इन्डोनेसियाको प्रान्त सबाह पनि यसैगरी बनेको हो, जसको बर्मासँग कुनै सम्बन्ध थिएन ।
११) पृथ्वीनारायण शाहले सन् १७६८ मा किपट उन्मूलन गरिदिए । -चेम्जोङ पेज ८५) जुन वि.सं. १८३१ को सनदमा दिइएको कबुलअनुरूप थिएन । अर्थात् यही किपट नहुनु नै सबैभन्दा असन्तोषको विषय हो ।
तर १८३१ को सनदमा किपट शब्द कतै परेको छैन । यो पहिलो कुरा भयो । दोस्रो कुरा किपटको मूल रूप क्रितपत्र हो । अर्थात् किनिएको जमिन । यसैले किपट राई, लिम्बू आदि जातजातिको मात्रै हुन्थ्यो भन्ने कुरा होइन, बाहुन-क्षत्रीको पनि हुन्थ्यो । किनभने, किपट डोटी, बैतडी, अछाम, दैलेख, जुम्लामा पनि पाइएको छ ।
किपट भनेको छाप, बिरौटा, जागिरजस्तै जमिनको एक रूप हो । सामान्यतया किपट भन्नाले सिकार गर्न मिल्ने जंगलयुक्त पाखो भन्ने बुझिन्छ, खेतीपाती नगर्ने सिकार गर्ने जातजातिको । छाप भन्नाले सामान्यतया एक रुपैयाँ तिरेर छाप लगाई किनिएको जमिन हो । जसबाट डुकुछाप -पाटन), दिबानछाप -इलाम), भोटेछाप, सानीछाप, सुन्दरीछाप -तेह्रथुम), थोलेछाप, छापगाउँ, कार्कीछाप, ढुंगेछाप -भोजपुर), कार्कीछाप -खोटाङ), बाँचाछाप, बाग्रीछाप, भर्तीछाप, भोटेछाप, बोर्लाछाप, छुआनछाप -ओखलढुंगा) बन्न गएका छन् । बिरौटा भनेको प्रायः बाहुनका हुन्छन् । बँदेलको भाले -वीर) ले दाह्राले उधिनेको अर्थमा उधिनिएको, खनिएको, खोसि्रएको, खेत बनाइएकोबाट बिरौटा -बिर्ता) शब्द आउँछ । जागिर भनेको प्रायः क्षत्रीको हुन्छ, सैन्य भएबापत तलब दिनुनपर्ने उसले आयस्ता खान पाउने जमिन हो । पूर्वी नेपालकै मात्र कुरा गर्दा पनि जागिर भित्ता -उदयपुर), धनबहादुरको जागिर -मोरङ), जागिर गाउँ -धनकुटा), जागिरदारबारी -झापा) जस्ता ठाउँ अझै छन् ।
१२) स्रङचङ गम्पो -सातौं शताब्दी)का समय किराँत राजा हंसुदेव काठमाडौंको कोरी/कोली द्रङ्गस्थित किल्लाबाट राज्य गर्थे । द्रङ्ग अर्थात् दरबार अहिले बबरमहल भएको ठाउँमा थियो । -चेम्जोङ पेज ८९)
उनले हंसुदेव भनेका पात्र अंशुबर्मा हुन् । उनले कोरी भनेको ठाउँ कुरियागाउँ हो, जहाँ भर्खरै भित्रिएको मुरली मकै लगाउन थालेपछि बाँदरले दुःख दिन थाल्यो । रातबिहानै साराका साराले कुर्न थालेकाले कुरियागाउँ नाउँ रहन गएको हो । तर, यो जंगबहादुरको समयको कुरा हो अंशुबर्माको समय होइन । स्रङचङ गम्पोले नै अंशुबर्मापछि एक वर्ष कुरियागाउँमा बसेर नेपालको शासन गरेका थिएसम्म पनि लेख्छन् उनी । -चेम्जोङ पेज ८९)
र, के भने दरबारको पूर्वरूप द्रङ्ग होइन । पारसी शब्द दरको अर्थ भित्र हो । यसैले दरबारिया भन्नाले भित्रिया भन्ने हुन्छ । दरबार शब्द सत्रौं शताब्दीमा मुगल भारतबाट प्रचलित भएको हो । यसैले अबुझ वीरशमशेरले आफ्ना नौ घरका नाम प्रत्यय दरबार राखे पनि चन्द्रशमशेरले सिंहदरबार मात्र बनाए, अरू घरलाई महल नाम दिए । जुद्धशमशेर सिंहदरबारमा बसे । आफूले निर्माण गरेका घरहरूलाई भवन नाम दिए । तर, दरको मूल संस्कृत शब्द द्वार नै हो ।
१३) हर्षबर्धनपछि अर्जुनले चिनियाँ राजदूत वाङ हुयन त्सेलाई अपमान गरेकाले अर्जुनविरुद्ध स्रङचङ गम्पो र आसामका राजा भाष्कर बर्मा वा कुमारले सघाए । -चेम्जोङ पेज ९२)
अर्जुन होइन, अरुणाश्व हुन् । वाङ हुयन त्सेलाई अपमान गरेको होइन, चिनियाँ प्रतिनिधिमण्डललाई नै मारेकाले अरुणाश्वविरुद्ध चिनियाँ युद्धमा सन् ६४८ मा स्रङचङ गम्पोले सघाए । भाष्कर बर्माको हर्षवर्धनसँग मित्रता थियो अवश्य । तर, ६४७ मै हर्षवर्धन मरिसकेका थिए ।
१४) भृकुटी स्रङचङ गम्पोकी छोरी थिइन्, हंसुदेवसँग उनको विवाह भएको थियो । -चेम्जोङ पेज ९१) लेखिसकेपछि पेज १०० मा उनी फेरि जोड्छन्- स्रङचङ गम्पोले अंशुबर्माकी छोरी भृकुटीसँग विवाह गरेका थिए ।
अब हाम्रो परम्परागत इतिहासमा जाने हो भने यहाँ सोझै बाबुसँग छोरीको विवाह हुन पुगेको छ । अद्भूतरामायण -श्लोक २१६ र त्यसपछि) ले भनेजस्तो सीता रावणकी धर्मपुत्री नै सावित हुन पुग्छिन् । अरू विस्तारको जरुरी भएन ।
१५) लिम्बूहरू भनेका किराँत, चिनियाँ र शानमोकवान जातिको मिश्रण हो- चेम्जोङ लेख्छन् । किराँत राजा मोकवान शान -चेम्जोङ पेज १०४) ।
यहाँनिर शान मोकवान जाति र व्यक्ति दुवैको नाम बन्न पुगेको छ । यो आफैंमा अन्योल किन भएको हो भने शान जाति त्यहाँ अवश्य छ, तर मोकवान कतै छैन । किनभने, उनको शानमोकवानको प्रेरणा सेनमकवानी बुझिन्छ, जसको एउटा शाखाले विजयपुरलाई राजधानी बनाएर टिष्टा नदीसम्म शासन गर्‍यो । मकवानपुरमा सेन राज्य थियो नै ।
धर्मपाल, मगधका राजाले मिथिलाको शासन सन् ७७०-८१५ बीच किराँतहरूबाटै लिए । -चेम्जोङ पेज १०४)
उनले यो ठाउँ भर्ने प्रयास गरेका छन् । किनभने, उनी जान्दछन् यो समय अन्धकार छ नेपालको इतिहासमा ।
१६) सुनीतिकुमार चटर्जी पनि भन्छन् अरमुडी संस्कृत शब्द होइन । -चेम्जोङ पेज १३०)
अरमुडी संस्कृत नै हो । अरि -शत्रु) मुडी -मर्दन) गर्ने -चटर्जीले केराखेती नेपाली पहाडमा कोलीहरूले ल्याएका हुन् भनेका छन् एक ठाउँ । तर, केरा नेपालको रैथाने हो कसैले खेती गर्न सिकाउनु नपर्ने । पूर्वी पहाडका केही ठाउँमा केरालाई कोला भनिन्छ भन्ने जर्ज गि्रयर्सनको अनुसन्धानबाट थाहा पाएर उनले त्यसो भनेका हुन् । तर, नेपालको रैथाने वनकेरा -म्युसा बाल्वेसियाना) बाटै घरकेरा -म्युसा प्याराडिसिका) को विकास भएको हो । चटर्जी नेपालका कैयन् सन्दर्भमा आलोच्य छन् ।)
१७) घलेहरू वाषिर्क दौडका निम्ति जुटिरहेका बेला, द्रव्य शाह सुटुक्क लिगलिग दरबारभित्र पसे र खाली गद्दीमा बसे । उनीहरूले विजेतालाई गद्दीमा राख्न ल्याउँदा गद्दी खाली राख्नु हुँदैन भन्ने थाहा छैन ? भन्दै बसेको बस्यै गरिदिए । -चेम्जोङ पेज १३६)
सबै जान्दछन् द्रव्य शाहले दौडमा भाग लिएका थिए । र, दोस्रो कुरा घलेहरू त्यतिबिघ्न अबुझ पनि थिएनन् होला, चार सय वर्ष मात्र अगाडि जो नियम मिचेर गद्दीमा पहिल्यै बस्दैमा त्यसलाई मानिहाल्ने ? यसर्थ यो नितान्त पूर्वाग्रही लेखोट हो । यसै पनि जुन ठाउँमा उनको राज्याभिषेक भएको मानिन्छ, त्यो सानो जमिनको पाटो छ, ढुंगैढुंगाको थुप्रो भरिएको, त्यसलाई गद्दी मान्ने कुरै भएन ।
चेम्जोङकै शैलीमा जाने हो भने यतिबेला पनि सामान बोकेर पहाडी गाउँघर पुग्ने खच्चडहरूको लाममा नौओटाको छुट्टाछुट्टै जमात हुन्छ । सबैभन्दा अघिल्लो खच्चडलाई लम्बु भनिन्छ, सबैभन्दा पछिल्लोलाई घले । यो घले सधैं अन्त्यमा रहन्छ र आफूअगाडिका खच्चडलाई अनुशासित पनि गर्दछ । यो प्रचलनले घले दौडमा पछि नै थियो भन्ने पुष्टि हुन्छ । र, द्रव्य शाह घलेभन्दा धेरै अग्ला थिए भन्ने पनि ।
१८) मगर राजा बलिहाङले द्यौसीभैलोको चलन ल्याएका हुन् । -चेम्जोङ पेज १४३)
मगर परे गैरवैदिक, द्यौसीभैलो पर्‍यो तिहार अर्थात् सनातन चाडभित्रको एउटा रमिता । कसरी बलिहाङले ल्याए होलान् ? त्यसमाथि यो पाँच सय वर्षअघिका जुम्ली राजा बलिराज शाहीले युद्धखर्च उठाउन चलाएको भनेर बुझिँदै आइएको छ । बलिहाङलाई श्रेय दिने फिरंगी हेमिल्टन हुन् । गोराले बोलेपछि पाको भइहाल्यो ।
१९) हिन्दू धर्मप्रचारकहरूले पश्चिम नेपालमा हिन्दू धर्मप्रचार सुरु गरे । पाल्पाका शाह राजा हिन्दू हुने पहिलो थिए । उनको नाउँ चिल्लाराय थियो । -चेम्जोङ पेज १४७) लेखिसकेपछि उनको अर्काे पंक्ति छ – आसामका राजा शुक्लध्वजको नाउँ चिल्लाराय थियो । -चेम्जोङ पेज २३६)
अब यहाँनिर आएपछि कालिम्पोङमा जन्मेका ईसाई चेम्जोङको हिन्दूधर्मप्रतिको वितृष्णा र यो पुस्तक लेख्नुको उद्देश्य बुझ्न सकिन्छ- पहिलो कुरा । प्रेरणा हो उही फिरंगी हेमिल्टन । दोस्रो कुरा – चिल्लाराय लेखिए पनि मध्यनेपालका ठकुरीहरूले पूर्वज भनी नाम लिइने पात्र हुन् जिलाराय ।
अकबरले छोरी सदलसँग विवाह गर्न चाहेपछि जिलाराय उज्जैन हुँदै नेपाल पुगेको ठकुरीहरूको कथा पढ्न पाइन्छ । तर, अकबरको पूरा नाम जलालुद्दिन अकबर हो । उनले हिन्दू र मुसलमान धर्ममा निहित केही गुण समेटेर दीन-ए-इलाही मत प्रतिपादन गरेपछि उनलाई नै जिल-ए-इलाही भन्न थालियो । -यही मतका विरुद्ध वैदिक सनातनीहरूले सत्यनारायण मतको परिकल्पना गरे) । त्यही हो, जिलाराय -उनको चिल्ला) नामको प्रेरणा र अकबरसँग जोड्ने हौसला । यो कथा हो यथार्थ होइन ।
२०) मुख्यमन्त्री बुद्धिकर्ण राई -चेम्जोङ पेज १५३), देवान बुद्धिकर्ण राई -चेम्जोङ पेज १५३) बुद्धिकर्ण राईले कामदत्त सेनको राज्य जफत गरेका थिए -चेम्जोङ पेज १५३) लेखिसकेपछि त्यस समयमा राजा बुद्धिकर्ण राई पहाडका राजाहरूमा अति चलाख थिए -चेम्जोङ पेज १९७) लेख्न कसरी मिल्यो ? विचित्र छ ।
विजयनारायण राईले राय पद दिएपछि यसरी मुरेहाङ खेवाङ लिम्बू त्यस्तो राय पदवी पाउने पहिलो पहाडी किराँत मुखिया बन्यो सोह्रौं शताब्दीमा -चेम्जोङ पेज १५४) ले आफ्नो कुरा कति हदसम्म काटेको छ, पत्तो छैन ।
२१) अर्का सेनापति टिपुटाका थिए । -चेम्जोङ पेज २११)
सिक्किमसँग नेपालको द्वन्द्व सन् १७७१ मा भएको थियो, नभन्दै त्यही वर्ष भारतको मैसुरका टिपु सुल्तानको इष्ट इन्डिया कम्पनीसँग पहिलो मैसुर युद्ध भएको थियो । यसबाट टिपुको प्रसिद्धि व्यापक भयो । चौथो मैसुर युद्धमा मारिएपछि उनका सन्तानलाई टाका -बंगाली मुद्रा) भत्ता दिई कलकत्तामा ल्याई अंग्रेजहरूले राखे ।
२२) तिनीहरूले गोरखालाई सत्रओटा युद्धमा हराए । त्यसकारण सिक्किमको सेनापति छ्योकथुक बारफोङलाई गोरखाद्वारा सत्राजित भनियो । लाप्चाहरूले उनलाई अथिङ -विजयी) भने । -चेम्जोङ पेज २१५)
सत्रसत्रओटा युद्धमा हारेपछि गोर्खाली पक्षबाट पनि केही लेखिनुपथ्र्यो । आखिर कीर्तिपुरसँग दुईपल्ट मात्र हारेकोमाथि लेखिएकै थियो । तर, बारफोङसँगको द्वन्द्वबारे केही लेखिएन । किनभने, लेखिने कुरै थिएन ।
सत्राजित भागवतपुराणको एक पात्र कृष्णको ससुरा हो । छ्योकथुकको लेप्चा अर्थ योग्य र जिम्मेवार मात्र हो । विजयी पनि त्यस्तै हो । अर्थात् यी सबै विशेषण मात्रै भए नाम भएनन् । तर, जसले औरंगजेबको सेनापति रामसिंह द्वितीयलाई ब्रह्मपुत्रमा तीनपल्ट हरायो, ऊ अहोम् सेनापति लक्षित बाराफुकन हो । यो बाराफुकन यहाँ बाराफुङ हुन पुगेको छ । जुवा खेल्दा तीन पासा सुल्टो पल्टिँदा अंक ६+६+५≠१७ अंक पुग्यो भने खेलाडीले सत्रै पार्‍यो -जित्यो) भनिन्छ । तैपनि यो यति भयावह रूपमा अशुद्ध किन भएको छ भने स्रोत हुन् डेनियल राइट/भेन्सिटार्ट पेज १४९ जसको कुनै स्रोत छैन । यद्यपि, भेन्सिटार्टले पनि ती कथित लेप्चा सेनापति हारेकै कुरा लेखेका छन् – ‘बट हि वाज हिमसेल्फ इभेन्च्युअल्ली सब ड्युड ।’
२३) राजा भाष्कर बर्मा सातौं शताब्दीमा आसाम, नेपाल र उत्तरी बर्माका प्रसिद्ध राजा थिए । -चेम्जोङ पेज २३२)
त्यसो हो भने अंशुबर्मा, शिवदेव, नरेन्द्रदेवका पचासौं शिलालेख भेटिएको सातौं शताब्दीको भाष्कर बर्माको शिलालेखचाहिँ किन नभेटिएको हो ? अचम्मै छ ।
२४) किराँत जातिले अफगानिस्तानदेखि आसामसम्म शासन गरेको थियो । पछिबाट खस जातिहरू उत्तरबाट आएर किराँतहरूसँग युद्ध गरे । -चेम्जोङ पेज २३९-२४०)
खसहरू काबुलदेखि टिष्टासम्म छन् भनी एटकिन्सनले लेखेका थिए । यहाँ त्यही खस शब्द झिकेर किराँत शब्द ठ्याक्कै राखिएको छ । जब कि एटकिन्सनको लेखाइको यथार्थ के हो भने बडाखसान पर्दछ आजको अफगानिस्तानको उत्तरपूर्वी र ताजकिस्तानको दक्षिणपूर्वी भूभागमा । आज पनि अफगानिस्तानले त्यसलाई बडाखसान प्रदेश नाम दिएको छ र ताजकिस्तानले पनि बडाखसान प्रदेश नाम दिएको छ । करिब ६ हजार वर्षपहिले नै त्यहाँको अर्धबहुमूल्य पत्थर नृपोपल -लेपिस लाजली) विश्वभर छरिन्थ्यो । अहिले यहाँ खसबोधक खोसाजाति बस्दछन् ।
खासी पर्वत शृंखला छ बडाखसानको सुदूरपश्चिमतिर भारतको आसाममा । यहाँ बस्ने जातिलाई भनिन्छ खासी । मंगोल नश्लका हुन् । तर, तिनमा खसकै चलन छ- लासलाई जलाउने । यसैले खस एउटा संस्कृति मात्रै हो भन्नुपरेको । प्राचीन खसलाई मातृसत्तात्मक मान्ने हो भने खासी पनि मातृसत्तात्मक हुन् । यहाँका पुरुषलाई १९४४ सम्म मत हाल्ने अधिकार थिएन पनि ।
खसम भन्दछन् आफ्नो श्रीमान्लाई उत्तरभारतीय महिलाहरूले । यो मालिक/श्रीसम्पत्ति/संसारबोधक सम्बोधन हो । यसैबाट कसम -किरिया/शपथ) बन्दछ । जस्तो कि, नेवारहरूमा श्रीमान्श्रीमतीले एकअर्काेलाई बुझाउनुपर्दा जहान भन्ने चलन छ । पृथ्वी/संसारबोधक संस्कृतको ज्याबाट उर्दूको जहाँ र नेवारीको जहान बन्दछ । अर्थात् जसरी नेवार महिलाहरूले श्रीमान्लाई आफ्नो संसार ठान्दछन् त्यसैगरी कसम खानु कुरा नमिले संसारै सकियोस् भन्ने अर्थमा बनेको प्रतिक्रिया हो ।
अब द्रङ्गको अर्थ ः यही बडाखसानबाट अमुदरियाको उद्गम हुन्छ । दरियाको अर्थ नदी हो । तर, यही दरियाबाट भेग बुझाउने गरी अहिले पनि जुम्लामा असिदरा, पाँच सय दरा, सिञ्जादरा, चौधबीस दरा, कालिकोटमा कालिकोटदरा, बाह्रबीसदरा, रासकोटदरा, पलाँतादरा, सानीदरा, खालदरा, मुगुमा मुगुदरा, करानदरा, गमदरा, सत्याडदरा, हुम्लामा हुम्लादरा, गल्छादरा, सोलुदरा र डोल्पा जिल्लामा तिबि्रकोटदरा गरी १८ दरा अझै छन् । खासी हिल्सको उत्तरपट्ट िआसाममा दरङ जिल्लै छ । कास्कीको नाउँडाँडाबाट आधा घन्टाको दूरीमा दोरंगा भन्ने ठाउँ छ, जुन द्रङ्गबाट बिग्रेको हो ।
२५) उनीहरू राजा धनपालको नेतृत्वमा कोच राज्य स्थापना गरेको दाबी गर्छन् । -चेम्जोङ पेज २३९)
मोरङको कद्माहा गाविसमा धनपालको पोखरी भन्ने ठाउँ अवश्य छ । यस पोखरीको किनारमा रणपालको मन्दिर छ । दिल्लीबाट आएका अल्लारुदलले रुदललाई लिएर सुल्तानकहाँ गएको लोककथा पनि प्रचलित छ, जसको यथार्थ यस्तो हो –
आल्हा र उदाल -अल्लारुदल) महोवा राज्यका सेनापतिहरू हुन्, जसको विरोचित मृत्यु दिल्लीका शासक पृथ्वीराज चौहानसँगको लडाइँमा सन् ११८२ मा भयो । महोवा राज्य पर्दछ बुन्देलखण्डमा र बुन्देलखण्ड पर्दछ वर्तमान भारतको उत्तरप्रदेश र मध्यप्रदेशबीच । यसैले अल्लारुदलको प्रसंग कर्खा/वीरगाथा/सागा हो । तर रामपाल ठ्याक्कै सोही वर्ष अर्थात् सन् ११८२ मै मगधका सम्राट भए बंगाली पाल साम्राज्यअन्तर्गत । मगध पर्दछ मोरङको दक्षिणमा नेपालको सीमापारि । बंगाली पाल साम्राज्य भनिएकाले उनले ‘कोच’ थपिदिएका छन् । तर, यो कथाका धनपाल कोच होइनन् । यो समय नेपालको इतिहासमा अन्धकार रहेको जानेका चेम्जोङले ‘खाली ठाउँ भर’को नीति लिएका छन् ।
२६) ईशापूर्वको छैटौं शताब्दीतिर हुक्काङको लडाइँमा हारेर छरिएका १० लिम्बू सरदारले फिदिमको गढीगाउँस्थित आम्बे पोजोलाई जन्म दिए भन्ने चेम्जोङको लेखाइलाई एक लिम्बू विरही काइँलाले नै -१९९०) मा यो भ्रामक कुरा हो, भेन्सिटार्टको गन्थनबाट टिपेर बनाइएको हो भन्दै सो घटना विसं १८३० तिरको हो भनी लेखिसकेका छन् ।
२७) चेम्जोङले एक ठाउँ वाणले हानेर जितेको देशलाई लिम्बूवान् भन्ने अर्थ लगाएका छन् । त्यो विनाप्रमाणको अर्थलाई अर्का लिम्बू काजीमान कन्दङवाले किराँतेश्वर सन्देशमा खण्डन गरेका छन् ।
पुछारमा
उनले प्रशस्त ठाउँमा आफैलाई उद्धृत गरेका छन् । स्रोत नदिएका फिरंगीहरूलाई लिएका छन् । र, तिब्बती स्रोतहरू कहाँ छन् कतै स्पष्ट छैन । उनकै आधारमा पछिबाट अरु धेरैले लेख्दै गएकाले अशुद्ध भएको हो । तैपनि इतिहास नै आफ्नो विषय परेका विज्ञहरू किन आजसम्म चुप भएका हुन् ? रहस्यमय छ ।

प्रकाशित : मंसिर १५, २०७० १०:२९

https://www.kantipurdaily.com/koseli/2013/11/29/309740.html

 

Tracing the origins of the Gurungs

Tracing the origins of the Gurungs

New research findings on Gurung genealogy will have definite repercussions on the collective repositioning of various indigenous ethnic communities.

Mahendra P Lama

Published at : November 27, 2019

Updated at : November 27, 2019 07:01

There are layers of identities attributed to the citizen of a nation. It becomes more complex in a country where diverse communities live in compartmentalised geographies with complicated existential methods and competitive means of livelihood. For instance, a Bengali first carries the identity of an Indian national, then a Bengali from West Bengal, and finally a Sen or Mukherji or Das as a caste identity. Indian Gorkhas similarly carry in them a three-layer identity. Then there is the genealogy-based assertion connected to Aryan and Asiatic stocks; politico-sociological identities like high and low caste, and finally administrative-development denominations like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Class.

At each layer of identity, the struggle for rights, privileges and facilities change both in terms of structural forms and cyclical behaviour. The context is inter-community competition between relatively underdeveloped Indian Gorkhas and remarkably advanced communities like Bengalis, Maratahis, Telegus, Assamese and Punjabis who have already achieved their own geographically and ethnically configured provinces.

Identity assertion

However geographically scattered, politically fragile and economically weaker Indian Gorkhas are, the identity assertion has remained farcically quadrangular. For instance, to fully realise the Indian national identity, there have been two rounds of violent movement by the Indian Gorkhas. At the same time, to overcome community and geography-based discrimination and development deprivation, demands to be categorised under various constitutional categories like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Class have been pretty intense. Intra-community caste assertion is fully exploited by the political variables and institutions as seen in the formation of several boards in the name of Magars, Chettri-Bahun, Tamangs, Rais, Limbus, Gurungs and Sherpas in West Bengal.

There is a contrasting situation in Nepal and among the Nepalis of Nepal. Unlike the Indian Gorkhas’ case of identity assertion vis-à-vis other linguistic conglomerates like Tamils, Bengalis, Gujaratis and Biharis, in Nepal it has been an identity reassertion within a broad spectrum of the Nepali community and within a region. It is found at every stratum of dialect, language and religion. Within the broad ‘caste groups’ constituting over 58 percent of the total population of 26.5 million (2011 census), ethnic groups (35.8 percent) and others (5.8 percent), there has been steadily powerful contextualisation and repositioning of the Adibasi Janajati (indigenous nationalities) and Madhesis.

These distinct reorientations in both national discourse and political mobilisation, rejuvenated by a decade-long Maoist movement, have triggered newer varieties of actions among these communities. In this new game of ethnic juxtaposition, conscious and concerted efforts are made to relocate various indigenous nationalities in both the anthropological context and sociological parlance. This has made a reinterpretation of history and impregnation with newer findings literally inevitable.

One of the most far-reaching initiatives has come from the Gurungs, who have always been at loggerheads with the ‘forced’ induction of their genealogy from the south and inclusion of their clans in the orthodox caste-based structure of char jata as ‘upper caste’ and Sora jata as ‘lower caste’. This Hindu hierarchical genealogy was imposed by the Shah rulers in the 15th century. Gurungs constitute 2 percent of Nepal’s population. In a doctoral degree thesis entitled Understanding the Ethnic History of Nepal: A Case Study of the Gurungs recently submitted to Sichuan University in China, Tek Bahadur Gurung fascinatingly finds the triangular zone consisting of the Kokonor and upper reaches of the Yellow River, Lokha area and southwest China as the actual place of origin of the Tamu Mai Gurungs in Nepal. These three angles had people with 26.63 percent Mongolian DNA; 14.9 percent Tibetan DNA and 34.3 percent Naxi/Yi DNA respectively.

Tek Gurung totally discards the wilful manipulation of the historico-geographical origin of Gurungs and the mythification of their history by artificially injecting a ‘divisive hierarchical genealogy’. This was made part of Tharagotrapravaravali in 1855 just one year after the implementation of Muluki Ain. His protracted efforts to substantiate archaeological investigation done in Nepal that provided valuable evidence for a northerly origin of Gurungs bore fruit only after he conducted sound scientific supporting evidence like DNA testing. He found the ‘Tibetan-Yi Corridor as a significant framework of migration for Gurungs as one of the Tibeto-Burman peoples’.

Gurung did something that social science scholars would generally hesitate to venture. He carried out a DNA analysis of eight Gurung persons for their ancestry compositions and then overlay these DNA results on the Tibetan-Yi Corridor to scientifically understand migratory origin of Gurungs. He concluded that ‘their original village is most likely located around Kokonor which their mythology remember as Koko li mahrshyo‘.

Oral traditions

Tracing the route of the migration, he concluded that ‘their primaeval ancestors migrated southwards from the upper reaches of the Yellow River around eight thousand years ago. They reached the Yunnan area about six thousand years ago. Apparently, they reached the Tibet or Lhoka (shannan) area before one hundred BC. Finally, they reached the present parts of Nepal more than two thousand years ago and it seems most likely that they were already there at Kohla before the beginning of AD’. Tek Gurung traverses a continuum of discourse and formidable frontiers of interpretations and scholarly research. The oral traditions of Gurungs Pe Da Lhu Da and cosmological and cultural belief systems as collected in the Kerlo are very richly captured.

This new research finding will have definite repercussions on the collective repositioning of various indigenous ethnic communities in Nepal. Its cross-border connections in the entire Himalayan belt including Bhutan, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the north-eastern region of India will be of both local and regional significance. This will be a vital breakthrough instrument for the Gurungs in India who have been a highly potential and deserving community to be in the list of Scheduled Tribes. Both the offices of the Anthropological Survey and the Registrar General in India could use this new finding as determining input to show the medieval migratory character of this tribal group. For indigenous scholars in the Himalaya, Tej Gurung’s innovative research methodology and imaginative interpretation should bring a fresh puff of air in interdisciplinary research.

***

What do you think?

Dear reader, we’d like to hear from you. We regularly publish letters to the editor on contemporary issues or direct responses to something the Post has recently published. Please send your letters to tkpoped@kmg.com.np with “Letter to the Editor” in the subject line. Please include your name, location, and a contact address so one of our editors can reach out to you.

Mahendra P Lama

Lama is a Senior Professor in the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

By courtesy: https://tkpo.st/37DKKRw

मगरातमा आएपछि खस भाषा र संस्क्रुतिको पुर्ण विकाश भयो

Jagman Gurung

Yesterday at 10:44 PM ·

कर्णाली प्रदेशको पहाडीक्षेत्र खसानबाट असिवृत्ति= असि भनेको तरवार र असिवृत्ति भनेको खुँडा हान्ने जातका खसहरु र मसिवृत्ति भनेको शास्त्र जानेका बाहुनहरु पुर्वतिर अघि बढ्दै गण्डकी प्रदेशको कछाडभाग मगरातमा आइपुगे। मगरातमा आएपछि खस भाषा र संस्क्रुतिको पुर्ण विकाश भयो र पुर्वतिर संप्रेषित भयो।खसहरु मगरलाउ साथ लिएर पुर्वतिर अघि बढे। काठमाण्डौका राजा प्रताप मल्लका पिता लक्ष्मीनरसिंह मल्लको समयसम्ममा खस र मगरहरू मल्ल दरवारमा भारदारका रुपमा सम्मानित हुन पुगे। खस भाषाले राजकाजको भाषाको रुपमा मान्यता पायो। लमजुङका राजा यशोब्रह्म शाहको पालादेखि गुरुङहरु पनि यश अभियानमा सहभागी भए। यसरी नेपाल राष्ट्रको निर्माणको प्रगरुप निर्माण भयो ।

 

Bhagwanchandra Gnyawali नेपाली भाषा िवस्तारमा सेतामगुरालिकाे महत्वपूर्ण याेगदान छ

Govind Thapa Etihasik kura paskanu bhayeko ma dhanyabad..Nepal ko itihas dherai gsjyang gujung chha sachyaunu parchha.

Dec 13, 2019

Life Among the Magar

Gary Shepherd, Life Among the Magar, Sahayogi Press, 1982

Annotation by Dr. Govind Prasad Thapa

What caught my interest, however, was the great variety of ethnic groups tucked away in its inaccessible valleys. Previously, most of these groups in Nepal were not known to the outside world. In fact, only a few people in Nepal knew much about them or could tell us where they were located. The Khams, for instance, was just such a group. Though more than forty thousand people spoke the Kham language, it was next-t-impossible to find anyone in Kathmandu who had even heard of them.[1]

Of the numerous ethnic groups in Nepal, there was one group in particular that caught my attention. These people were the Magars, a major group whose actual numbers may never be known. There were 300, 000 people who spoke that language, but like Khams and most other ethnic groups, a considerable number of Magars now spoke only the national language, Nepali. Everywhere Magars found they had gained a reputation for honesty and hard work. The Magars were a Mongolian people who had migrated into Nepal in the predawn of history. Many of the ethnic groups had a legend that told how they had come to Nepal from Tibet or some other, but not the Magars. For them, at least, history simply began and ended in Nepal.[2]

In the sixteenth century, the Magars invaded Kathmandu under the leadership of the Palpa king Mukunda Sen. In the 1750s, Prithibi Narayan Shah, the “father of modern Nepal,” was consolidating the many petty kingdoms scattered across the land. For this task, he counted heavily upon his Magar soldiers. The outside world, however, came to know of the Magar only after the British began recruiting soldiers in Nepal for Gurkha regiments. The British quickly came to appreciate the Magars’ qualities and they became a major part of their Nepal contingent.[3]

What confused the language issue was how various ethnic groups would take on the same name. I was to learn that there were at least five different groups who spoke very different languages, yet each claimed they were Magars! I presume the explanation in this: as successive waves of immigrants moved into Nepal, those who settled next to the Magars were quick to take the name of the original inhabitants, which gave them a degree of acceptance and made them insiders.[4]

But who were the real Magars—the original ones? I found that most likely it was the Magar community which was to be found in Central Nepal in Palpa, Syangja and Tanahu district.[5]

 

[1] Gary Shepherd, Life Among the Magar, Sahayogi Press, 1982, p. 10

[2] Gary Shepherd, op.cit., p.11

[3] Gary Shepherd, op.cit., p.11

[4] Gary Shepherd, op.cit., p.11

[5] Gary Shepherd, op.cit., p.11-12

The Khas People of the Western Himalayas

Atkinson, Edwin T., The Khas People of the Western Himalayas

Book review by Bipin Adhikari, Issue Name: Spotlight, Vol:09, No 16, February 19, 2016 (Falgun 7,2072)

The book of Edwin T. Atkinson starts with a remarkable preface. It is divided into ten impressive chapters. Chapters III to VII are devoted to some key aspects of the history of the Western Himalayas. Here he talks about Khasas, Bhotiyas and other immigrants living in the hills and mountains in the background of Vaidik geography, Pauranik ethnography, mythology and the history of different periods. It includes references on the Kumaon invasion of the Gorkhalis

Edwin T. Atkinson is the first author who researched the Khas people when dealing with the people of the North-Western Himalayas. His book, The Himalayan Districts of the North-Western Provinces of India, Vol II (Allahabad, North-Western Provinces and Oudh Government Press, 1884), which forms Volume XI of The Gazetteer, brings forward many important facts about the Khas people that he discovered during his research.

The book of Edwin T. Atkinson starts with a remarkable preface. It is divided into ten impressive chapters. Chapters III to VII are devoted to some key aspects of the history of the Western Himalayas. Here he talks about Khasas, Bhotiyas and other immigrants living in the hills and mountains in the background of Vaidik geography, Pauranik ethnography, mythology and the history of different periods. It includes references on the Kumaon invasion of the Gorkhalis. The next three chapters explore religions in the Western Himalayas including Kumaon’s specialty in this regard. Here he tries to explain Himalayan Buddhism and Hinduism being practiced by the local people.

The book maintains that the Khasas, also called Khasiyas, are the principal inhabitants of the regions to the west of Kashmir, of Kashmir itself and of the hill country as far as Nepal and of a considerable part of the plains. Explaining extensive Vedic, Pauranik and historical sources, Atkinson speaks about their historical continuity to this day. Relying on Pliny’s account, he claims that while the Khasas occupied the country far to the west of their present location in Kumaon and Nepal, the Kiratakas with the Tanganas held the country between the Tons and the Sarda.

Atkinson is clear in his opinion that the Nagas, Kiratas, and Khasas entered the Western Himalayas by the same route as the Aryas. In addition, he makes a point that the Kiratas were the first to arrive in the Himalayas. The Nagas followed them. They were then followed by the Khasas. Taking the clue from Latin, Greek and Sanskrit sources, Atkinson concludes that there is a fairly connected history of the people and the country from the very earliest times. He defends his finding by arguing that the local inscriptions and the records of Nepal fill up many a gap and confirm his analysis.

Khas people are Aryan people. They have different sub-groups. Yet they are different from other Aryans in their religious and cultural observances. Atkinson states that the name ‘Khasa’ like the name ‘Naga’ is of far too wide significance to be that of a single tribe.  He also discusses in the book the question of the connection between the Khasas and Katyuri rulers in Kumaon and the Kho people and Kator rulers in Kashkara at the western end of the Himalaya beyond Kashmir. He says: “the Khasiyas of Kumaon have as much right to be called an Aryan race in its widest sense as many others with a more established name, but the fact that they have not yet come up to their plains brethren in caste and religious observances still excludes them from the ranks of the twice-born.”

The Khas people have thus been described by Atkinson as one of the distinct inhabitants of the North-western provinces. Talking about the population of Kumaon and Garhwal, he describes how the inhabitants belong to the Khasa race and speak a dialect which to him sounds like Hindi. They are different not only of the Mongoloid inhabitants with him they share their land but also from the Hindus who live in the plains. In recent years, states Atkinson, although these people have their beliefs grounded in the ideals of Hinduism, sometimes are repugnant of its orthodox ceremonial usages.

No matter their origins, about which he is not quite clear, they have heavily been influenced by the Brahmanical priesthood. By this specification, he means the versions of Hinduism, based on four castes, and a process by which people of other Hindu castes, or tribal or other groups, change their customs, ritual ideology, and way of life in the direction of a high and frequently twice-born caste. The Khas people notes Atkinson, are increasingly being Brahmanized, which in turn ensures the workings of orthodoxy.

Atkinson’s analysis of religion in Western Himalayas is also revealing. On the basis of the study of nearly one thousand temples, and the analysis of the forms worshipped in them, he finds that “Buddhism, though nominally dead, yet lives and is still the faith of the masses.” Both Buddhism and Sivaism are being practiced in the Western Himalayas. There is a strange melange at work. As Atkinson finds, “Buddhism has been absorbed by Sivaism and that both have been influenced to such a degree by the polydaemonistic cults of the aboriginal tribes as to preserve little of their original structure.

This mingling of the pre-Brahmanical, Buddhistic and Animistic conceptions has given us the existing Hinduism of the masses, and has had even a considerable influence in molding the tenets of the more esoteric schools.” The author asserts that the history of the Hindu people is laced with fiction, making it hard to distinguish between what is the truth and what is simply made up. However, he also recognizes that without these accounts from Hindu writers, it is hard to derive the history of the local people.

As Atkinson dives into the history of the Himalayas, he talks about how the Himachal was believed to be the inhabitation of the gods themselves. Many sought residence in these areas in order to be closer to the gods. More importantly, the peaks, pools, and waterfalls became the sacred places to embrace priesthood and of pilgrimage in the minds of the Hindus. Many pilgrims from all over India visit and settle in Garhwal, where there are Hindu shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath. The intermingling of indigenous groups and Hindus from other parts of India is further seen as some of these immigrants marry daughters of princes of the hills. The Bhotiyas that occupy the inter-alpine valleys of Bhot call the people of the lower hills ‘Khasiyas.’ Therefore, Atkinson points out that the region makes up the diverse population together with the immigrants, the Khasiyas and the Bhotiyas.

The author also discusses how in the epic Mahabharata, the Pandavas conquered the Utsavasankatas or the seven tribes of Dasyus that inhabited the mountains. The Dasyus were said to be the degraded members of the Aryan clan because of their lack of intercourse with Brahmans and their refusal of the Brahmanical customs and practices. During the fight, it is said that Saineya, the charioteer of Krishna, spilled the blood and cut the flesh of thousands of Dasyus.

The author claims that the Mahabharata also mentions the Bahikas called Arattas that live in contemporary Punjab. There was said to be the swelling of degraded Brahmans, also known today as the Prajapati. According to the holy book, these Brahmans had no Veda or Vedic ceremony nor sacrifice. Since they were considered to be servile, the gods apparently did not eat the food they offered. Among these shunned Brahmans of Punjab were also the Khasas, which demonstrates that perhaps they originated in the hilly regions of Nepal from a more westerly region than Kumaon. The author also claims that orthodox writings have viewed the Khasas as “heretical members” of the Aryan family, rather than outcasts, and an important tribe of the Western Himalayas.

The first two chapters in Atkinson’s book are devoted to the vertebrate and invertebrate animals in the regions. They take stock of the important species providing interesting notes on mammalian. The list of birds is attractive. There is also a compilation of the list of reptiles and land and freshwater shells. The author talks about the various kinds of animals, like the murina formosa, a yellow bat, and the frionodon pardicolor, a tiger, that lives in the diverse regions of Nepal. He talks about the ailurus fulgens, a red cat bear with a distinct red colour of the head that is found in the Terai region of Nepal. He writes that the bear primarily eats ants, fruits, roots, and honey. He also mentions the Nepal hawk-eagle, limnaetus nipalensis, and the Nepal brown wood owl, syrnium newarense, which are thought to be very rare. They may make a very interesting read to the zoologists of Nepal.

हाम्रो इतिहासको आरम्भ हिमवत्खण्ड

हाम्रो इतिहासको आरम्भ हिमवत्खण्ड

प्रदीप नेपाल

नेपालमा आदिवासी र जनजातिबारे धेरै विवाद भयो । यो बहसको थालनी गर्ने आपूmलाई जनजातिको नेता भनाउनेहरू नै थिए । उनीहरू विद्वान थिए र अङ्ग्रेजी भाषामा दीक्षित पनि थिए । त्यसैले नेपालमा पनि संयुक्त राष्ट्रसङ्घ र ‘आर्टिकल’ १६९ भन्ने शब्दावलीको छ्यासछ्यास्ती प्रयोग भयो । एकाध वर्ष तिनले सबैलाई अलमल्याए । जनजाति र आदिबासी अविभाज्य समुदाय हुन् भन्नेसम्मको असत्यलाई अङ्ग्रेजीभाषी विद्वानहरूले नेपाली जनसमुदायका बीचमा खेतपाती गरे । उनीहरूले एउटै बनाएको असत्यलाई अङ्ग्रेजी पढेका अरुले, अङ्ग्रेजीमा ‘एण्ड’ भन्ने शब्दले ती दुई एउटै होइनन् भनेर छुट्याइदिएको छ भनेपछि बहस त सकियो । तर अङ्ग्रेजी पण्डितहरूले छरेको भ्रम अहिले पनि नेपाली मानसबाट बाहिर निस्केर गइसकेको छैन । भ्रममुक्त त आफैं हुने हो । तर सत्य के हो भने आदिवासी र जनजाति एउटै हुन् भनेर कतै भनिएको छैन । आदिवासी बसोबाससँग जोडिएको छ भने जनजाति विकाससँग जोडिएको छ ।
पछिल्ला दिनमा नेपाली विद्वानको विद्वता पढ्दा मलाई लाज लाग्न थालेको छ । यिनीहरू के साँच्चिकै नेपाली इतिहासकार हुन् ? मेरो विश्वास हो – यिनीहरूलाई आफ्नो देशको इतिहास थाहा छैन । यिनका ज्ञानका स्रोत भएका छन् सिल्वाँ लेभी लगायतका पश्चिमा इतिहासकारहरू । हाम्रो देशको इतिहास के पश्चिमाहरूले लेखिदिएको चौहद्दीभित्र मात्र छ ? तिनैबाट ज्ञान लिएका हाम्रा विद्वानहरूले त्यसैले राष्ट्रिय एकीकरणपछिका सबै नेपाली आदिवासी हुन् भनेर संविधानसभाले तोकेको होला । योभन्दा लज्जाजनक ज्ञान अरु के हुन्छ ? हाम्रै देशका विद्वान र राजनीतिक पण्डितका कारण हामी नेपालीको पाँच हजार वर्षको इतिहास पाँच सय वर्षमा झारियो ।
नेपाली किराँतको पात्रो नै पाँच हजार वर्षभन्दा पुरानो छ । नेपालका पहिला शासक किराँतहरू नै हुन् । त्यतिबेला शासित पनि किराँतीहरू नै थिए । ग्रेगोरियन क्यालेण्डर अनुसार दोस्रो शताब्दी दक्षिण पश्चिमबाट आएका लिच्छवीहरूले किराँतलाई पराजित गरेर नालाको डाँडो कटाइदिए । आरामले बसेका किराँतलाई पाटनको च्यासलमा पटापट काटेर मारिदिए । जो श्रमिक थिए, ती त लिच्छवी शासकलाई पनि चाहिन्थ्यो । त्यसैले ती किराँत श्रमिकहरूलाई लिच्छवी शासकले कजाएर खाने निर्णय गरे । अहिले पनि तिनीहरू ज्यापुका रूपमा काठमाडौंका भूमिपुत्र भएर बाँचिरहेका छन् । अर्थात् उनीहरू काठमाडौं उपत्यकाका आदिवासी हुन् । ज्यापु बाहेकका नेवारहरू आदिवासी होइनन् ।
सत्य धेरैलाई मन पर्दैन । किनभने सत्यले भ्रान्त धारणालाई स्वीकार गर्दैन । नेवार जाति वर्णाश्रम व्यवस्थामा हुर्किएको एक भाषिक समुदाय हो । अहिले पनि त्यसभित्र वर्णाश्रम व्यवस्था जीवित छ । भूमिगत कालमा हामी प्रायः दमाई टोलमा बस्थ्यौं । किनभने त्यहाँ सुरक्षा हुन्थ्यो । सवर्ण नेवारहरू त्यतातिर भेटिँदैनथे । कलेज पढ्दा मेरा धेरै नेवार साथीहरू थिए तर सबै सवर्ण । राजोपाध्याय र अमात्य, जोशी र श्रेष्ठ । तर साही र खड्गीसँग मेरो सम्पर्क थिएन । त्यसैले भूमिगतकालमा तिनै साही र खड्गीहरू मेरा आश्रयदाता भएका थिए । नेवारमा हिन्दू र बुद्ध धर्मालम्बी दुवै छन् । नेवार सधैं सत्तासँग जोडिएको जाति हो । बाहिरबाट आएका धेरै जातिसमूहहरू उपत्यका छिरेपछि नेवार भएका छन् । कायस्थ र झा पनि छन् नेवार समुदायमा । यी थर तराई क्षेत्रका हुन् । मैले रिमाल नेवार पनि भेटेको छु । यस्तो वर्णवादी समुदाय कसरी जनजाति हुनसक्छ ? अहिलेसम्म मैले बुझ्न सकेको छैन । भ्रममुक्त कुनै नेवार विद्वानले पछि यसको साङ्गोपाङ्गो इतिहास लेखिदिनु भए सबै नेपालीको ज्ञान बढ्ने थियो ।
नेपाली विद्वानहरूले छरेको अर्को भ्रम हो खसआर्य । अर्थात्, उनीहरूको विश्लेषणमा खस र आर्य एकै हुन् । योभन्दा ठूलो अज्ञान नेपालमा केही पनि छैन । नेपालका थोरै र भारतका धेरै विद्वानहरूले खस आर्यबीच आकास जमिनको फरक भएको ज्ञान पस्किएका छन् । ककेसियाबाट झण्डै छ हजार वर्ष पहिले एउटा समूह मानसरोवरको बाटो हुँदै जुम्ला झ¥यो । त्यसलाई नेपाली खस र त्यहाँको भूमिलाई खसान भनियो । यिनीहरूको कुनै धर्म थिएन । उनीहरू वर्षको एकपल्ट मस्टो पूजा गर्थे । मस्टो निराकार सत्य हो । आफ्नो फरक अस्तित्वलाई जनाउन उनीहरू वर्षको एकपल्ट गोठधूप गर्थे । यसलाई कुलपूजा पनि भनिन्छ । यो कुलपूजामा पनि कुनै देवी देवता हुँदैनन् । समूहमा भेला भएर, लोहोरोे जस्तो लाम्चो ढुंगाको पूजा गरेर उनीहरू कुलपूजा मनाउँछन् । किराँतसँगै यिनीहरूको नेपाल बसोबासको इतिहास पनि पाँच हजार वर्षभन्दा पुरानो छ । किराँत र खसहरूको नेपालमा उपस्थिति वैदिक कालभन्दा धेरै पुरानो छ । (पढ्नु होस्, खसजातिको इतिहास अनि खसजाति र कुलपूजा)
आर्यहरू इरानबाट पूर्वदक्षिण लागेका हुन् । सिन्धु घाँटीको उन्नत सभ्यतालाई पराजित गरेर दक्षिण लागेको समूह नै अहिलेका आर्य हुन् । इशाको पाँचौं शताब्दीमा आर्यहरू आफ्ना महागुरु शंकराचार्यसँग कैलाश दर्शन गर्दा पश्चिम नेपालको बाटो उत्तर लागे । शंकराचार्य आफ्नै पिठतिर फर्किए । तर बाठा आर्यहरूलाई नेपालको सुन्दर, शीतल, जडिबुटी र रसिला फलपूmलहरूले लोभ्यायो । युद्ध त उनीहरूको रगतमै थियो । आपूmभन्दा बलिष्ठ शक्तिलाई हराउने इन्द्रका सन्तानहरूले खस राज्य पटापट खाइदिए । खसहरू उनीहरूका लागि अनार्य थिए । शत्रु थिए ।
त्यसैले आर्यावर्त भन्ने शब्दले नेपाललाई वेष्टित गर्दैन । नेपालमा आर्य पनि छन् । अहिलेसम्म शक्तिशाली पनि छन् । राज्य गर्न राजाको सल्लाहकार या पुरोहित हुन सजिलो हुने भएकोले उनीहरूले आपूmलाई राजगुरुमा पदासिन गराउँदै राज्यको उपभोग गरे । यो परम्पराले सत्र शताब्दी खाइसकेको छ ।
आर्यहरूले नेपाल भित्रिँदासम्म एक डङ्गुर देवदेवीहरू जन्माइसकेका थिए । धर्मको आडमा शासन गर्न सजिलो हुन्छ भन्ने ज्ञान उनीहरूसँग थियो । भक्तिमार्गमा लाग्नेहरू स्वर्गमा बास पाउँछन् भन्ने शिक्षा यिनै आर्यजनले दिएका हुन् । हिन्दू धर्मका तेत्तीस कोटी देवता जन्माउने पनि यिनै आर्यपुरुष हुन् ।
चित्त नदुखोस् कसैको । सत्य तीतो हुन्छ । खसहरू ककेसियाबाट पूर्व लागेर जुम्ला छिरेका हुन् भने उपत्यकाबाट पूर्व खेदिएका किराँतहरू ह्वाङ्हो सभ्यताका उपज हुन् । बाँकी जनजातिका बारेमा लेख्नुपर्दा मलाई अलिक अप्ठेरो पनि लागेको छ । मगरहरू खस हुन् । नेपालमा सबैभन्दा लामो समय राज गर्ने समुदाय पनि मगर नै हो । तर, गुरुङ, तामाङजस्ता जातिहरू किराँतहरू आउनुभन्दा धेरै पछि, झण्डै झण्डै दक्षिणबाट नेपाल छिरेका आर्यहरूसँगै उत्तरबाट नेपाल छिरेका हुन् ।
मभन्दा बढी जान्नेबाट यसको खण्डन गरियोस् । संस्कृतमा एउटा भनाइ छ – वादे वादे जायते तìवबोध । अर्थात् छलफल गरेरै निष्कर्षमा पुगिन्छ । आग्रह र भक्तिले हामीलाई कहिल्यै निष्कर्षमा पु¥याउँदैनन् । खोजौं हाम्रा परम्पराहरू, वेद र मुन्धुमहरू, हामी सत्यमा नपुग्ने कुरै हुँदैन ।
मैले लेखेको नै निष्कर्ष होइन । यसलाई खण्डन गर्ने काम होस् विद्वानहरूबाट । नेपाल भारतवर्षको अंग होइन । जतिबेला भारत थिएन, त्यतिबेला पनि नेपाल थियो भन्ने सत्य महाभारतले पनि पुष्टि गर्दछ । महाभारतमा गान्धार थियो जो अहिले अफगानिस्तानमा पर्दछ । कुरुक्षेत्र भारतभित्रै थियो होला तर नेपाल भन्ने राज्य त्यतिबेला पनि एउटा स्वतन्त्र र आत्मनिर्भर राज्य थियो । किराँत त्यो राज्यको शासक थियो ।
अर्थात् आर्य र खसहरू एकापसमा गाभिने जाति समुदाय होइनन् । यिनी एकआपसमा जुध्ने शत्रु समुदाय हुन् । यिनलाई एकैठाउँ मिसाउनु भनेको घाम र हावा एउटै हुन् भन्नुजस्तै हो ।

Source: http://www.gorkhapatraonline.com/news/60435

Was Aramudi a Magar?

Was Aramudi a Magar?

Need for Scholarly Researches through Magars’ Lens

SB Pun[1]

January 2015

(Magh, 2071)

Aramudi in Kalhan’s Rajatarangini:

The Kashmiri historian, Kalhan, lived in the middle of the 12th century AD when the once powerful Kashmir Kings were very much on the wane. He was, in fact, a contemporary of the last Kashmir king.  Kalhan’s celebrated Rajatarangini, A Chronicle of the Kings of Kasmir, is a five hundred years’ historical record of the Kashmir Kings from the 7th/8th century AD. According to MA Stein[2], the British scholar who in the late 19th century translated Kalhan’s Rajatarangini, King Jayapida ruled Kashmir in the ‘years AD 751 – 782 but in all probability fell much closer to the end of the eighth century, few authentic details seem to have been recorded.‘ King Jayapida expanded his empire conquering large parts of northern and central India. During his territorial expansion, King Jayapida was, however, defeated and even captured by Aramudi in a battle on the bank of the river ‘Kala Gandak’. Dr. Dilli Raman Regmi quotes Kalhan’s following Rajatarangini verses, as translated by RS Pandit, to provide a vivid and enlightening description of the Jayapida versus Aramudi battle fought over 1200 years ago:

The Raja named Aramudi, skilled in magic, protector of Nepal, endowed with the arts of peace and war planned to over-reach him(531).

When Jayapida entered his principality he did not make his submission but retired from before him to a great distance with his army(532).

Thus, it was that he, who was ambitious to conquer, inflicted, while in pursuit of Aramudi, defeats on the various ruling princes which would have necessitated special efforts to achieve (533).

He was occasionally visible just like to the hawk the pigeon in the thicket (534).

 At this time on the further bank of the river on the right of the king was found posted Aramudi displaying his army with the emblem of his own parasol (537).

Seeing his powerful army which resounded with the rattle of massed kettle drums, Jayapida flared up like fire which was absorbed melted butter (538).

He, on seeing that the river water, which was knee deep, was no impediment, in his anger, plunged in to cross, unacquainted with the terrain as he was from never having been before (539).

When the king had reached the middle, the river was filled by the rising tide and unexpectedly became unfathomably deep with the waters (540).

The king’s army teeming with men, elephants and horses sinking in the river, which was rising in the manner, in a trice came to an end [3](541).

The king, whose ornaments and clothes were torn off in the rushing waves, penetrated the waves with his arms and carried off far by the flood waters (542).

With the pitiful shrieks of the one army, the triumphant shouts of the other and with the roar of the waves of the river, the direction became full of tumult (543).

The enemy made haste and with armed men on inflated skins, he drew out Jayapida from the midst of the river and took him prisoner and held a feast (544)

his confidence (546).

Thus the Kashmiri king was once more submerged in adversity and, puzzled as to what should be done, was consumed by concealed sorrow (547).

 Together with fortune of Jayapida, I shall deliver to you the throne of the king of Kashmir, thus through the emissaries, Aramudi heard the message (553)

When upon the arrival of the emissaries of the opposite side, the agreement was complete (554).

 Who was Aramudi?

This, then, is the fascinating account by a Kashmiri historian about how his own powerful King Jayapida suffered an ignominious defeat on the bank of Kala Gandak at the hands of an obscure Aramudi. Now, who was this Aramudi? According to Dr. KP Jayaswal, Aramudi in Kashmiri means a monk and hence identified him as Varadeva of Bendall’s chronicle. This chronicle relates a story about Varadeva’s life of renunciation as a monk and Jayaswal conveniently concluded that the above fight was between Varadeva and Jayapida. On the other hand, Professor Sylvian Levi, along with MA Stein, believed Aramudi was a Tibetan King as Aramudi is a Tibetan word. This was vehemently refuted by Dr. DR Regmi who believed that Professor Levi suffered from that ‘innate prejudice to give credence to anything glorifying Tibet.‘ Both Regmi and Stein state that the name Aramudi does not appear in the traditional lists of Nepal Rajahs. In fact, Regmi finds this very strange – a name so eloquently appearing in Rajatarangini and yet traced nowhere in Nepal’s history.

Regmi believed that ‘Aramudi in all possibility was a king of the Gandak region. He might act as well as a ruler of a native dynasty of Magars. The Magar vocabulary might provide a clue to the meaning of the word Aramudi in its historical setting. But scholars with a competent knowledge of linguistics and Indo-Mongloid dialects are needed for the task.’ There is, thus, the task for the Magars to delve into this Aramudi issue in an impartial and scholarly manner. Aramudi now needs to be researched through the Magars’ lens. We have seen above how Jayaswal and Levi through their lens interpret Aramudi as a Kashmiri and Tibetan respectively. Regmi, however, has thrown the gauntlet to the Magars that as the battle was fought on the bank of Kala Gandak, Magarat, the land of Magars, Aramudi could very well be a Magar!

Aramudi Need to be Researched through Magars’ Lens:

The call for Aramudi to be studied through the Magars’ lens is eloquently illustrated by the following translations of the same Rajatarangini verses by RS Pandit and MA Stein:

(531) The Raja named Aramudi, skilled in magic, protector of Nepal, endowed with the arts of peace and war planned to over-reach him. RS Pandit

  1. King Aramudi, who ruled Nepal, and who was possessed of wisdom and prowess, wished to prevail over him by cunning. MA Stein

(541) The king’s army teeming with men, elephants and horses sinking in the river, which was rising in the manner, in a trice came to an end. RS Pandit

 Then the king’s army, with its mass of men, elephants and horses, was washed away by the swollen river, and destroyed in a moment. MA Stein

(554) When upon the arrival of the emissaries of the opposite side, the agreement was complete. RS Pandit

 When an agreement had been arrived at, on the arrival of the envoys sent in return [by Aramudi], the minister, accompanied by an army, proceeded to the land of Nepal. MA Stein

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One can see that the above three same verses of Rajatarangini are translated differently by Pandit and Stein. Whereas Pandit viewed Aramudi as the protector of Nepal, Stein saw him as the ruler of Nepal. One can draw a fine line between the protector and ruler of Nepal. Pandit’s translation of ‘men, elephant and horses sinking in the river which was rising’ is not as easy to understand as Stein’s ‘mass of men, elephants, and horses was washed away by the swollen river’. Similarly, while Pandit translated ‘[Aramudi] was occasionally visible just like to the hawk the pigeon in the thicket’, Stein translated that same verse in a more difficult manner as ‘sometimes kept in hiding and sometimes showed himself, in pursuit from land to land, as the eagle [pursues] the dove in the thicket.’ Pandit’s hawk and pigeon get transformed into eagle and dove in Stein. These examples are illustrated merely to stress the need for Aramudi to be researched through the Magars’ lens. JC Dutt, who translated Rajatarangini into English, commented in March 1887 that Kalhan’s love for alliteration and artistic styles clouded many of his passages, making them difficult to translate. Dutt, however, was of the opinion that though the materials were meager and incomplete, Kalhan’s historical records are generally correct.

Aramudi’s Ignominious End:

  1. 563. When the clever [minister] had obtained the consent of the duped [Aramudi], he went to the imprisoned King Jayapida. MA Stein

 As soon as he had reached his army, he at once invaded the kingdom of Nepal and destroyed it completely, together with its ruler. MA Stein   

 The clever minister, who came from Kashmir to rescue his King Jayapida and skillfully duped[4] Aramudi, was Devasarman. The faithful Devasarman killed himself so that the imprisoned Jayapida could jump from his stone building imprisonment into Kala Gandak and across the river floating on the dead minister’s body. Once free, a thoroughly bitter and angry Jayapida then invaded Nepal and destroyed it completely together with Aramudi. This massive destruction of Nepal and the fleeting victory of Aramudi, so faithfully documented by Rajatarangini, failed to be registered in Nepal’s chronicle.

The End

[1] At the very outset, the writer wishes to inform the readers that he is neither a historian nor a sociologist or anthropologist. It was while quenching his thirst about Aramudi that he stumbled across Dr. D.R. Regmi’s Ancient Nepal, 1969, published by Firma KL Mukhopadhyay, Calcutta and later Kalhan’s Rajatarangini by MA Stein, first print 1900 Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi. This article on Aramudi is largely based on those two Regmi and Stein books. BK Rana Magar has also conducted various researches on Aramudi and these are available on the websites.

[2] The writer wishes to acknowledge with thanks Dr. Govind Prasad Thapa, former AIG and President of Magar Study Centre, for kindly availing his book, Kalhan’s Rajatarangini by M.A. Stein.

[3] Having fatigued Jayapida’s large army traversing over difficult hilly terrain, Aramudi tactfully chose the battle site, the banks of ‘Kala Gandak’ probably near the confluence of Ridi and Gandak rivers where the pilgrimage site, Ridi, now exists. It is difficult to conjecture which river Aramudi dammed but from the havoc caused by the flood to Jayapida’s army of men, elephants and horses, it could well be the main ‘Kala Gandak’ river itself. Ridi river, a tributary of Kali Gandak, is not such a big river but one cannot rule out the damming of Ridi as it would have been far easier to dam this smaller river at an appropriate site.     

[4]  In AD 1809, Kazi Amar Singh Thapa was similarly duped by Rajah Sansar Chand who was holed up in the impregnable Kangra fort for three years. Low on supplies, Sansar Chand promised to hand over the Kangra fort to Amar Singh after a ten-day reprieve of the Gorkhali seize. Like Aramudi, the guileless Kazi agreed but the intriguer, Sansar Chand, had the fort handed over instead to the powerful Ranjit Singh of Punjab – The Rise of the House of Gorkha, LF Stiller, SJ, 1995 Human Resources Development Research Center, Kathmandu.

Magars in the Eyes of Western Writers

Magars in the Eyes of Western Writers

Govind Prasad Thapa, PhD

“One of the major themes in the history of Nepal has been the transmission of influences into an original culture.”

Background

Nepal is a melting pot of many races and tribes. There are more than one hundred different types of races and castes in Nepal. It appears that “for the size of the country Nepal possesses a great variety of races in its population.”[1] The prehistory and the early history of Nepal are largely unknown. “The ancient history of the Nepaulians, like that of all other nations which affect to trace their origin beyond the date of authentic records, is clouded by mythological fables”[2] The state of Magars cannot be different. Despite of several literary sources on Magars, the origin and history is replete with compounded speculations and inexplicit details. Information on Magars are speckled here and there. Some of these information require evidences, some are incomplete, some contradict each others, some are controversial, and quite often there are missing links in between the periods of history. This is so due to the dearth of substantial evidences, and accurate and chronological documents.

The Magars, the largest among the ethnic groups, is also the third largest group in Nepal.[3] Among many other indigenous ethnic people, more recently, the Magars have been focal point of interests for many researchers and writers, both, Nepali and foreigners, in particular–Westerners. Hitchcock’s explanations for his primary reasons for doing research in Nepal and among the Magars were to answer a question about the social and cultural effects of different ecological niches. It was also to explore a region barely known to anthropologists and to learn about the home life of a people whom the world knew primarily as extraordinarily good and tough infantrymen.[4] For Gary Shepherd, it was the great variety of ethnic groups tucked away in its inaccessible valleys not known to the outside world. In fact, only few people in Nepal knew much about them or could tell where they were located. The Khams, for instance, were just such a group. Though more than forty thousand people spoke the Kham language, it was next-to-impossible to find anyone in Kathmandu who had even heard of them.[5]

Origin and History of Magars

“It is just to find a lost brother by meeting you, it is very strong blood, fearless and headstrong, I’m proud of my Magar blood. I kissed the soil of Nepal before leaving. My mother was so excited to hear anything from Nepal, I told her that ‘only one person I met having Magar blood is Govind and I can imagine that his mother resembles you very much’. Govind, I and my mother are not interested in material things, we have everything, a very good life with respect but sometimes we feel for our missing links with strong Gurkha blood that my granny missed a lot for all her life. I have written her story in my biography, I always insist fathers of our family to be friendly with their kids because my grandma was only 14 years old when she with more than 15 other children went on adventure to visit the first-ever train started from Srinagar Kashmir to Amratsar Punjab it was 1899 or 1900, most of the kids lost in the way along with her. When police found her, she refused to go back to the home she said, ‘my father will kill me’. Any how older people of Quetta (Balochistan Pakistan) remember her as a generous, kind-hearted and strong lady, when she died, orphans and widows gathered and said, ‘today we have lost our parent’ she was taking care of a lot of poor people without bringing it in anyone’s knowledge.”

A sober lady living in Pakistan emailed me the above message. She had been here in Kathmandu for a few days to attend a seminar. She was inquiring about her ancestral place in Nepal. Her, rather, our quest is still on. I have also received another email from Deepak Rana, a person living in Singapore for many years, who has also been trying to relocate himself in ‘Char Hajar Parvat’ of Nepal. He remembers his late father telling him about this place but unfortunately, the name of the place does not exist today.

The yearning to know one’s origin and history is to not only establish one’s identity but also for sentimental attachments for the people and place. Knowing past history is something like backtracking into the primitive stages of society. This knowledge may not turn out payback or profits but it is a delight (or sometimes displeasure?) to know the past. I am not a student of history (in fact I was very poor in History and had to take extra tuition during school days), neither am I an anthropologist, nor a sociologist. This piece of essay is, in fact, an attempt to relate the findings, impressions, views or opinions of Western writers on the socio-anthropological issues of Magars–to an extent, a search for my prying.  This essay is purely a scholarly interface, nothing more than that. It is not that Nepali historians have not written on Magars but I have the intention to deal with them separately sometimes in detail.

Michael Witzel mentions “Magars were apparently known already to the Mahabharata as Maga, to the Puranas under the name of Mangara, and in a Nepalese copper plate inscription of 1100/1 A.D. as Mangvara.[6] Even in the heartland of the speakers of Western Nepali (the-gad area) indicate a Magar settlement that must have extended much more towards the west before the immigration of the Nepali speaking Khasa/Khas in the Middle Ages.[7] These details go together with the presumption that an original population, probably of Tibeto-Burman ethnicity, lived in Nepal some 2500 years ago.[8] From a linguistic point of view, there are three types of Magars living in Nepal. Kaike Magars living in Dolpa district who speak Kaike; Kham Magars who live in the Atharha Magarat region and speak Kham; and the Magars who live in Bahra Magarat and speak Dhut Magar dialects. Many foreign anthropologists and sociologists have accomplished their studies or written books on all these three types of Magars. Therefore, it is imperative that we also look at them accordingly.

M.S. Thapa Magar is of the opinion that Magars came from East Pamir of China.[9]Many writers advocate Magars “have no legends of origin from another place.” Likewise, most Magars think that they have occupied and used their land for centuries; have changed the very shape of the mountain upon which they live with their terraces; have worn footpaths connecting farmsteads deep into the soil and those stone resting platforms for wayfarers under the great roots of the banyan trees planted long ago to provide shade enclose. They feel they belong where they are, “and indeed they do”, for the people fit the land and the land fits them. And not only do the people live on their land as they feel they always have, but their many ‘godlings’ that control life and the resources upon which life is based are at home there also and must be treated with regular sacrifices of food.[10]

The origins of Kaike Magars end up with the mystical tales told and retold by local people. According to one of these stories, Kaike Magars were the sons of a woman who had fled from an unspecified village of Kalyal kingdom. She subsequently gave birth to her child, a son. The boy, when he grew up, captured an angel while she was bathing with her friends. As time went by, the son and his angel bride had three sons. These sons were the ancestors of Budha, Rokaya, and Gharti clan. The origin of the fourth major clan is different. One of the three sons was a shepherd who kept losing the same female goat every day, so one day he followed her when she wandered away from the rest of the herd. He discovered that she was giving her milk to a baby boy living in the hollow part of a bamboo tree. He brought the baby home. This boy grew up and became the ancestor of the Jhankri clan.[11]

Much strikingly, Michael Oppitz also has a similar type of story about the origin of the Northern Magar-Kham- of Rukum district. He relates the three stories of the origin of Magars expressed in different media—one in written document, the second original story is oral but seemingly fixed wordings and the third version recounted in ad-hoc oral rendering by one Magar of Taka. The three versions agree about the divine or semi-divine origin of the present day clans or tribal sub-groups of the Northern Magar. The common themes of the three versions, differently told and yet the same, rotate around the origin of the first ancestors, their first alliances, the primeval migration movements in their homeland, the origins of agriculture and of hunting.[12]

Anne de Sales also relates something similar on the origin of Kham Magars. She recounts that the “members of the same clan believe that they share a common ancestor and common geographical origin, which, determines clan exogamy.  Each of the four Kham Magar clans-Pun, Gharti, Bura, Rokka-is was known by a second geographical designation, which locates its ancient site of residence.[13]

There is yet another myth about the Magars. According to this, the first Magar was the youngest of four brothers. The eldest worshipped Kalika and became the ancestor of the Thakuris and the youngest sacrificed a pig to Bhairobi and hence became a Magar.[14]  However, the mystic tales of these kinds can appease neither the anthropologists nor Magars themselves. These hardly serve to establish the origins. “We have lived here always” types of claims have to be based on facts, not fictions. anything short of these could give out prospect to remarks like “Magars’ history is lost in obscurity.”[15]

Vansittart is of the view that “the aboriginal stock of Nepal is most undoubtedly Mongolian. This fact is inscribed in very plain characters, in their faces, forms, and languages.”[16] He is also of the opinion that “the principal seat of the Magars was most of the central and lower parts of the mountains between the Jhingrak (Rapti of Gorakhpur) and Marsiangdi Rivers. That they resided about Palpa from time immemorial is well known.”[17]

For Gary, the Magars were a Mongolian people who had migrated into Nepal in the predawn of history. Many of the other ethnic groups had legends that told how they had come to Nepal from Tibet or some other places, but not the Magars, for them, at least, history simply began and ended in Nepal.[18] Nevertheless, who were the real Magars—the original ones? Gary found that most likely it was the Magar community which was to be found in Central Nepal in Palpa, Syangja and Tanahu district.[19]

Hodgson is also of the opinion that the original seat of the Magars in the Bara Mangranth, or Satahung, Payung, Bhirkot, Dhor, Garahung, Rising, Ghiring, Galmai, Argha, Khachi, Musikot, and Isma; in other words, most of the central and lower parts of the mountains, between the Bheri and Marsyandi Rivers. As is reflected by Landon, Magars seem to have spread widely, both east and west, after surrendering Palpa to invaders.[20] Modern events have spread the Magars and Gurungs over most parts of the present kingdom of Nepal.[21]

Hitchcock is of the view that “the tribe seems to have been part of a very ancient influx of Mongoloid, Tibeto-Burman speaking peoples into Nepal, probably from the north and east. It also seems probable, in view of differences between its northern and southern halves, that the tribe represents two different streams of migration.”[22] He finds differences “especially on each side of a line that divides their homeland roughly into northern and southern halves. The Magar tribe is split into a number of sub-tribes. In the southern half of the region, the sub-tribes that predominate almost to the exclusion of any others are the Ale, Rana, Thapa, and Burathoki….Magars in the northern half of the area belong to a different group of sub-tribes, Bura, Gharti, Pun, and Rokha.”[23]

The Family & Race Relations

Most of Magar families consist of grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, and unmarried children. The marriages are usually arranged by parents. The parents of the groom propose the hand of a bride to her parents. Wedding ceremonies usually take place at the bride’s house. Mostly the engagements are solemnized before weddings. Sometimes the girl may elope with the boy without the consent of parents or the boy may abduct or capture the girl and take her to his home. Such marriages are also accepted and recognized later on after the accomplishment of some rituals. In such situations, the groom brings a Theki —gift of food and drinks to the bride’s family for Dhogbhet – recognition, and formalization of the marriage. If the wife happens to be already married to another person, then the new husband must pay Jari – compensation to the former husband. The amount of Jari was usually set as Rupees sixty and Rupees thirty for Sari wife – a woman remarrying for the third time. If a Sari wife runs away, the husband can not claim any compensation.[24] However, such practices have now been obsolete and usually, these cases end up in the courts.

There are eight major clans of Magars—Thapa, Ale, Rana, Burathoki of Bahra Magrat and Pun, Bura, Gharti, and Rokka of Athahra Magrat. However, today all types of Magars are found all over the country. Vansittart says, “Of all there is no better man than the Rana of good clan. In former days any Thapa who had lost three generations of ancestors in battle became a Rana, but with the prefix of his Thapa clan.”[25] This tribe (Thapa) claims direct descent from the original Rajput invaders of the country, as such classes among them as the Surajbansi and Chitor suggest. The Thapa tribe has so high a reputation that many claim to be Thapas who have no right to the name.[26]

Caste membership is hereditary, and people should not marry outside their own caste.[27] We all live as members of society. With the passage of time, society has become more complex. With this complexity, socio-cultural and lingual complexities have emerged. There are debates on the relationship of Magars with Thakuri, Thapas, and Ranas. Christoph is of the view that the early history of Thakuris and Chetris(or Khas) is obscure. Both castes claim descent from Kshatriya warriors of Indian origin, but there is little documentary evidence to support this contention. The racial characteristics of the Chetris, on the other hand, leave no doubt about their close connection with North Indian populations. Their narrow faces, long prominent noses, and deep-set eyes mark them clearly as a racial group akin to the ‘Europoid’ inhabitants of most of North India. Most Thakuris, on the other hand, evince in their features a Mongoloid strain, and it is likely that they represent a race indigenous to the Nepal hills.[28] “Thakuris and Chetris can still be distinguished by their facial features. The differences between the two groups are incidentally not only in the eye of the anthropologist, but it is a commonly voiced belief that the Thakuris look “like Gurungs and Magar”, while Chetris resemble Brahman in appearance.”[29]

Landon lay blame on  Brahmans that they contributed “to the already existing confusion of races, castes, and classes in Nepal…by the lax manner in which they accorded the rights of caste to new arrivals, to their own progeny, and even to the natives of the hills who were content to embrace Hinduism. It may perhaps be said that they granted the Vaisya caste to the rank and file of the converts. To the chieftains, however, the Brahmans attributed pedigrees of marvelous length and complexity, basing them upon the ultimate paternity of the sun or of the moon. Nor did they deal less valiantly with their own illegitimate offspring. Children of union between Brahmans and Rajputs were given a higher social standing than the Magars and Gurungs.”[30] Now it is impossible to trace in detail the infinite complications of the caste and consequent nomenclature that can be caused by intermarriage in Nepal.[31] Hamilton is confident that “the Khas Ranas, there is no doubt, were originally Magar; but whether the Thapas, Karkis, Majhis, Basnats, Bishtakos, and Kharkas, all now considered as Hindus of the Khas tribe, were branches of Magar race, or Jariyas, or Gurungs, I cannot take upon myself to say.”[32]

The Magars, called Muggur[33] and Mungur,[34] by Colonel Kirkpatrick, occupied a great proportion of the lower hills in the western parts. They “seem to have received the Rajput chiefs with much cordiality, and have now adopted a great part of the ferocious customs of these mountain Hindus….The family of Gorkha which now governs Nepal, although, it pretends to come from Chitwaur, is, in reality, of the Magar tribe.” According to Vansittart “the famous Prime Minister Bhim Sen was the descendant of a Magar Thapa, as was also General Amar Sing.”[35]However, there are no concrete pieces of evidence offered to prove this.

Hamilton mentions about the “family which at present has obtained almost universal empire over the mountains north from the Company’s provinces, and does not content itself with a gentle rule, such as that exercised by the Rajas of Yumila, but has seized the entire domination and power of the conquered countries, and assumes a menacing countenance even to the Company. The family pretends to be the Pamar tribe; but it is alleged, as I have already explained, that this is a mere fable, and that, on the arrival of the colony from Chitaur, this family were Magars.”[36] Balaram Gharti Magar, a former minister and early local of Rolpa, also believes Magar kings being transformed into Arya.[37]

Hamilton recounts that “the first persons of the Gorkha family, of whom I have heard, were two brothers named Khancha and Mincha, or Nimcha, words altogether barbarous, and in no manner resembling the high sounding titles of the family of the sun, from whom the Pamars pretend to be descended. From whence these persons came, I did not learn, but Khancha was the founder of the impure branch of the family, and Mincha was the chief of Nayakot……Raja of Nayakot, and the chiefs of this place, although they lived pure, continued to the last to follow in war the impure representative of Khancha, who governed Bhirkot.”[38] Hamilton further claims that “the royal family is, in fact, Magars, a Thibetian race.”[39] David Gellner is also of the view that the Nepali society “has a great deal of hybridity.” He further goes to the limit of arguing, “In that case, the King would probably be known something like Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Magar Dev.”[40] However, why Hamilton and Gellner claim this is all the vaguer.

 

Daniel Wright in “Special history of the Gorkhali Dynasty” has given full details of the lineage of Gorkha dynasty. According to her the first ancestors of present Gorkhali King were “Rishi-raj Rana-ji, of the lunar dynasty, who was made the raja of Chitaur-garh(In Rajputana, in the Mewar district, near Tonk).”[41] Hamilton relates two important historical events related to Nepal. The younger son of Udayabam Rana-ji Rava, Bhupal Rana-ji Rava arrived at Ridi. In Saka 1417 (A.D. 1495) he set out from Ridi and reached Sargha were being much fatigued, he put the devata on the ground, and the devata remained there. Bhupal Rana-ji Rava stayed there for a short time, but, finding that, without some mode of life, it was difficult for him to live there, he went to Khilum, a place in Bhirkot, and brought its wasteland into cultivation. In that place, two sons were born to him, Khancha and Micha. Khancha, the elder one, went Dhor, conquered Magarat, and reigned over Garhun, Sathun, Bhirkot and Dhor. The younger, Micha Khan, went to Nuwakot with his rani and ruled over it. Kulmandan, the son of Jagdeva Khan, obtained the sovereignty over Kaski. He pleased the Emperor in something and received from him the title of “Sah.”[42]That means, perhaps, since that time Gorkhali kings have been adding the title of “Shah” to their names.

According to Hamilton, Tutha Sen, having been driven from Prayag, seized on the country adjacent to the hills of Butwaul, and afterward seized on the principality of Champaranya, the capital of which was Rajpur. He also relates that Tutha’s first acquisition on the hills seems to have been Rishiyang, now “an inconsiderable place between Butwal and Palpa.”[43] He also recounts, “When the colony from Chitaur first took possession of Palpa, it belonged to a Magar chief, and the people were of that tribe.”[44] Nevertheless, it is not known who that Magar chief or king of Palpa was.

There is no doubt that Mukund Sena was the king of Butwal. However, there remains one question still unanswered—Who he was? On the identity of Mukunda Sena, Vansittart claims him to be a Magar king. “Of very ancient Magar history we know nothing, and the first time that they came into prominence as a great power is about AD 1100, when we hear that Mukunda Sena, the Magar King of Palpa and Botwal, invaded and conquered the Nepal Valley, and committed terrible atrocities during the reign of Hari Deva, King of Nepal.…… The Magar Raja, by name Mukunda Sena, a brave and powerful monarch …came to Nepal from the west with a large number of mounted troops, and subdued Hari Deva, the son of Rama Sinha Deva. Of the Nepalese troops, some were slain and others fled. Great confusion reigned in the three cities. The victorious soldiers broke and disfigured the images of the gods and took the Bhairava, in front of Machindranatha, to their own country, Palpa and Botwal. With this Raja, the Khas and Magar castes came to Nepal.”[45] There is a temple of Bhairava in Palpa even today. It is said that Mukunda Sena had brought and installed this Bhairava god.[46] Hitchcock appears to have the same view of Mukunda Sena as he writes, “….it was in this southern area, anciently called the Bara Mangranth, that Magars first made their appearance in written history. During the twelfth century, they sacked the Kathmandu Valley that long had been the seat of urban, civilized culture in Nepal.”[47] Gary Shepherd also is of the view that in the sixteenth century the Magars invaded Kathmandu under the leadership of the Palpa king Mukunda Sen.[48] Daniel Wright in her book mentions the attack of Mukunda Sena but does not state whether Mukund Sena was a Magar king or not. Interestingly, Nepali historian differs on the standing of Mukund Sena. Dr. Jagdish Chandra Regmi, claims that Mani Mukunda Sen was a Thakuri king who ruled in 1540-1575 AD.[49]

There is an account of the battle between king Aramudi[50](of Gulmi or Palpa?) and Jayapida, the king of Kashmir, in Stein’s, Kalhana’s Rajatrangini: A Chronicle of the Kings of Kasmir. Michael Witzel, relates that the battle took place on the Kala-Gandika, modern name Kali Gandaki. The Kashmiri king was defeated and kept as a prisoner in a fortress built high above the bank of the Kalagandika. The place where the Kashmiri king was kept temporarily is called by Kalhana asma-vesman “stone house”. In modern Nepal there is a Gulmi district, situated on the west bank of the Kali Gandaki; Gandigulma is already known from two documents of 998 and 1165 A.D. and Gandigulmavisaya, a district, is mentioned in a Buddhist ms. of 1092/3 A.D. Now, gulma means “police station, toll station”, and M.R. Pant conjectures that king Aramudi’s “stone house” was intended to be Gulmi.[51]

It is unfortunate that there is no mention in the history of Nepal as to who was Aramudi? As that kingdom now has become “a thing of the past”, it does not survive even “in stories.”[52]As to the answers to these questions, Witzel is of the views that “Aramudi (or Ara-modi?) might represent a Magar name for the area this “King of Nepal” had under his reign. If this indeed was the case, a Magar word, probably the name of a river and a region, would be attested already in the 8th century A.D.”[53]

Magars as warriors

In the 1750s, Prithibi Narayan Shah, the “father of modern Nepal,” was consolidating the many petty kingdoms scattered across the land. For this task, he counted heavily upon his Magar soldiers. The outside world, however, came to know of the Magar only after the British began recruiting soldiers in Nepal for Gurkha regiments. The British quickly came to appreciate the Magars’ qualities and they became a major part of their Nepal (Gurkha) contingent.[54]

Almost all Westerners have always honored Gurkha soldiers for their bravery. The Gurkha soldiers have written their own history through bravery, by being the Bravest of the Braves. Five Magars—Kulbir Thapa Magar, Karna Bahadur Rana Magar, Lal Bahadur Thapa Magar, Tul Bahadur Pun Magar, and Netra Bahadur Thapa Magar have earned covetous Victoria Cross (VC) Medals and Dhan Singh Thapa Magar was awarded Param Vir Chakra (PVC) Medal for the gallantry and bravery.[55]  “A shrewd critic of the war”[56] had described the situation in those times in the following words: “Almost wherever there was a theatre of war Gurkhas were to be found, and everywhere they added to their name for high courage. Gurkhas helped to hold the sodden trenches of France in that first terrible winter and during the succeeding summer. Their graves are thick on the Penninsula, on Sinai, and on the plains of Tigris and Euphrates, and even among the wild mountains that border the Caspian Sea. And to those who know, when they see the map of that country of Nepal, there must always recur the thought of what the people of that country have done for us.”[57]

Marie Lecomte-Tilouine, who had been in Gulmi district of Nepal for her study, also refers to the military bravery of their(Magars) ancestors, claiming that it has not been recognized by the state, whatever high-caste leadership they helped to create. For example, in the history of the unification of Nepal, they picture themselves as heroes who built the country, without considering the possibility that they themselves cut the branch on which they sat by annihilating the power they had in petty kingdoms such as Palpa where they were numerically dominant and closely linked to the royal family. This situation is perhaps due to the fact that the petty kingdom which grew into a nation by swallowing its numerous neighbors was precisely a former Magar territory, where members of this group were numerous and closely related to the royal family through their cults. In a way, the Magars undoubtedly have the feeling that “Gorkha’s victory is also their own.”[58]

Christoph also relates a similar pose of Magars’ proud record of martial exploits, and Magar officers serving in the armies of the early Gurkha kings as well as in those of the Newar states of the valley. In even earlier times, the Magar chieftains of Western Nepal seem to have faced Thakuri and Chetri chiefs on equal terms, and the same clan-names, such as for instance Thapa and Rana, occur among Magars and Chetris.[59] Gurkha soldiers have earned fame across the globe. There can be no better account of the classic character and bravery of “the best soldiers of Asia”[60] made by Hodgson. Everywhere Magars found they had also gained a reputation for honesty and hard work.[61]

Need for more search

After going through these literatures, though very limited in extent, we still do not find concrete answers for many questions related to the origin and history of Nepalese people–and Magars in particular. It appears to be more confusing than before. This could have been due to my ignorance. However, I see many areas for supplementary studies and archeological works, maybe just to unravel the veiled secrets concerning the origin and history of the people of Nepal.

I agree with Perceval Landon that “many questions relating to earlier days remain undecided is still unfortunately true, and the world will have to wait for the thorough examination and collation of the unpublished manuscript treasures of Kathmandu before a final chronology and chronicle of Nepalese can be begun.”[62] There is one more thing we should be able to do and that is, protect and conserve the already found evidences and documents for ready references for future researches and studies. While doing all these we should be able to keep ourselves sincerely honest, neutral and free from any prejudices for writing a complete history.

Annex 1.

Some excerpts from the Chronicle.[63]

 

  1. King Aramudi, who ruled Nepal, and who possessed of wisdom and prowess, wished to prevail over him by cunning.
  2. When that [king, i.e. Jayapida] had entered his land, he did not pay homage, but retired with his army to a great distance.
  3. While he (Jayapida), eager for conquest, thus pursued him, he defeated one ruler after the other without having to undertake special expeditions.
  4. Then on the [opposite] river bank, which was on the king’s right, there was [seen] Aramudi in position, displaying his army together with his royal parasol.
  5. When Jayapida saw that [king’s] mighty force, he flamed up, just as the fire when fed with liquefied butter.
  6. As he saw before him the water of the river only knee-deep, and [hence] offering no obstacle, he stepped into it to cross, angry as he was, and unacquainted with the country in which he had not been before.
  7. When the king reached mid[-stream], the river, which was near the sea, was filled by the tide rising at an unexpected hour, and became unfordable.
  8. Then the king’s army, with its mass of men, elephants, and horses, was washed away by the swollen river, and destroyed in a moment.
  9. The king, whose ornaments and clothes were torn off by the breaking waves, was carried far away by the flood, while cutting through the billows with his arms.
  10. The pitiable cries of one army, the other triumphant shouts of the other, and the din of the river’s, spread uproar in all directions.
  11. And the quick[foe]from other bank dragged out and captured Jayapida by means of [me] who stood ready with [inflated]skins, and[thereupon] celebrated a feast.
  12. He[Aramudi] placed Jayapida in the hands of trusted jailors, in a castle which was [built] of stones on the bank of the Kalagandika, and very high.
  13. When the clever [minister] had obtained the consent of the duped [Aramudi], he went to the imprisoned King Jayapida.
  14. The king first fell into the emotions of astonishment and affection, then [threw himself] into the current of the streams, and reached the opposite bank.
  15. As soon as he had reached his army, he at once invaded the kingdom of Nepal, and destroyed it completely, together with its ruler.
  16. While his jailors did not even know that he had escaped from the prison, he had turned that kingdom into [a thing of the past], which survives only in stories.

[1] Wright, Daniel, History of Nepal-With an Introductory Sketch of the Country and People of Nepal, Asian Educational Services, New Delhi, Madras, 1993, First Published in 1877, p. 25

[2] Colonel Kirkpatrick, An Account of the Kingdom of Nepaul, J. Jetley, (First Published 1811), 1996, p. 255

[3] The population of Magars in 2001 Census was 7.14% of the total population of Nepal.

[4] Hitchcock, John T., The Magars of Banyan Hill; Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966,  p. 2

[5] Shepherd, Gary, Life Among the Magars, Sahayogi Press, 1982, p. 10

[6] Witzel, Michael, “Nepalese Hydronomy,” Harvard University, July 12, 1991, p. 18 http://nipforum.org/nepalese_hydronomy.pdf.

[7] Ibid, p. 17

[8] http://reference.allrefer.com/country-guide-study/nepal/ancient nepal/

[9] Thapa Magar, M..S., Prachin Magar ra Akkha Lipi, Publisher Shrimati Durgadevi Thapa Magar, Briji Prakashan,(First Publication 2049, Second Publication 2059), p. 3

[10] George and Louise Spindler, in  John T. Hitchcock, The Magars of Banyan Hill; Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966,

Foreword, pp. vii-viii

[11] Fisher, James F. , Trans-Himalayan Traders: Economy, Society, & Culture in Northwest Nepal, Motilal Banarasidass Publishers Pvt, Ltd., New Delhi, India, Reprint 1997, pp. 2-3

[12] Oppitz, Michael,  “The Wild Boar and The plough: origin Story of the Northern Magar”, Kailash, Vol X, No. 3-4, Kathmandu, Nepal, 1983, pp. 187

[13] Anne de Sales, “The Kham Magar Country, Nepal: Between Ethnic Claims and Maoism“, (translated by David N. Gellner), European Bulletin of Himalayan Research, 19: 41-72, 2000

[14] Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, “Chetri caste of Nepal”, in Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, (Ed), Caste & Kin in Nepal, India & Ceylon, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 1978, p. 17

[15] Hitchcock, op.cit., p.4

[16] Vansittart, Eden, The Gurkhas, (based upon the ‘Notes on Nepal’, 1895 AD and ‘Notes on Gurkhas’ 1890 AD), Anmol Publications, New Delhi, Re-print 1993, p. 6

[17] Ibid, p. 184

[18] Shepherd, Gary, op.cit., p.11

[19] Ibid, pp.11-12

[20] Landon, Perceval, Nepal, Asian Educational Services, New Delhi, Madras, 1993 (First Published 1928), p. 243

[21] Hodgson, Brian H., Essays on the Languages, Literature, and Religion of Nepal and Tibet, Asian Educational Services, New Delhi, Madras, 1991 (First Published 1874), Part II, p. 40

[22] Hitchcock, op.cit., p.4

[23] Ibid, p.4

[24] Hitchcock, op.cit., pp.35-41

[25] Vansittart, op.cit., p. …………………………………

[26] Landon, Perceval, op.cit., p. 244

[27] Mair, Lucy, An Introduction to Social Anthropology, (Second Edition), Oxford University Press, Thirteenth Indian impression, 2000, p. 62

[28] Christoph, op.cit., p. 20

[29] Ibid, p. 21

[30] Landon, Perceval, op.cit., p. 241

[31] Ibid, p. 242

[32] Hamilton, Francis Buchanan, An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal and of the Territories annexed to this Dominion by the house of Gorkha, First Published 1819, Asian Education Services, New Delhi, India,1990,  pp.28-29

[33] Colonel Kirkpatrick, op.cit, p. 220

[34] Ibid, p. 249

[35] Vansittart, op. cit., p. 67

[36] Hamilton, op.cit., p. 240

[37] Gharti Magar, Balram, “Mool”, in Yogi Narahari Nath, Itihas Prakashma: Sandhipatraharu, Volume I, p.19, Publisher Balaram Gharti Magar, Second Edition, 2057 BS

[38] Hamilton, op.cit., p. 241

[39] Hamilton, op.cit., p. 52

[40] Lawoti, Sagun S., “Oxford scholar urges Nepalis to come to terms with ‘hybrid past’“, The Himalayan Times, April 29, 2003, p. 1

[41] Daniel Wright, op.cit., pp. 273-284

[42] Ibid, p. 276

[43] Hamilton, op.cit., pp. 130-131

[44] Ibid, p. 178

[45] Vansittart, op.cit., p. 16

[46] This is what I came to know from Deputy Superintendent of police, Mr. Uttam Raj Subedi who was at that time stationed at Palpa district police office

[47] Hitchcock, op. cit., p. 4

[48] Shepherd, Gary, op.cit., p.11

[49] Regmi, Jagdish Chandra, Nepalko Baidhanik Parampara, Publisher Bidur Gautam, Tanneri Prakashan, (Second Ed.), First Publication 1979, p. 88

[50] Witzel, Michael, op. cit. Notes that no such king is known from W. Malla sources or from the chronicles of the Kathmandu Valley, such as the Gopalarajavamsavali., p.18

[51] Ibid, p. 19

[52] Annex 1 includes some extracts from the Chronicle

[53] Witzel, Michael, op. cit., p. 20

[54] Shepherd, Gary, op.cit., p.11

[55] http://www.magarstudiescenter.org

[56] Landon, Perceval, op.cit., p. viii

[57] Ibid, p. viii

[58] Marie Lecomte-Tilouine, “The history of the messianic and rebel king Lakhan Thapa Magar : Utopia and ideology among the Magar”, CNRS, Paris, This is an augmented version of an article published in EBHR 19, 2000. It was complemented by field data gathered in Lakhan Thapa’s village and I wish to express my gratitude to the villagers of this place (Kahule village, in Bungkot vdc, Gorkha district) for their warm welcome and their cooperation.

[59] Christoph, op.cit., p. 17

[60] Hodgson, op.cit., p. 40

[61] Shepherd, Gary, op.cit., p.11

[62] Landon, Perceval, op.cit., p.VII

[63] Stein, M.A., Kalhana’s Rajatrangini: A Chronicle of the Kings of Kasmir, Vol I, Book IV, pp 170-172

Westerners’ Views on the Religion, Culture, and Language of Magars

Westerners’ Views on the Religion, Culture, and Language of Magars[1]

 Dr. Govind Prasad Thapa[2]

 Nepal has been a home of many different types of ethnic groups with their own religion, culture, and language. In other words, Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual nation with more than a hundred types of ethnic groups. For a small country like Nepal, it is a matter of profound pride to have such a vast diversity of ethnicity, religion, culture, and language. We accept this characteristic fact as a boon and opportunity for mutual understanding, cooperation, and development.

Magar is the third-largest group, after Chhetri and Bahun, and largest among the indigenous group of people in terms of its population, which is 7.14% of the total national population. In spite of all the inter-caste cultural transformations that have undergone since time unfathomable, Magars have retained the heritage of its own original identity and philosophy of culture and language. Magars, among themselves, speak three languages—Dhut, Kham, and Kaike.

 Religion, Culture, and Society

The present culture of Magars is the result of many influences and long history.  Owing to the absence of any written history and that, Magars had left their place of origin so long ago that the traces, though surely present, are not yet as easy to pin down. Therefore, it is difficult now to unravel many of the specific aspects of their history.

Both, Daniel and Hodgson, consider Magars and Gurungs as Hindus “but of low caste”[3]and “only because it is the fashion.”[4] However, Hitchcock, who spent a few years with Magars, as illustrated in detail about their culture.[5] The Magars worship nature, idols, spirits, and supernatural beings. This actually points out the belief in the natural phenomenon. In the rural parts of Nepal, even today, we come across a then (shrine)–little rectangular pieces of gobar or cow dung, on a platform, with a varying number of evenly spaced depressions in the top, such as might be made with the tip of finger inside the house–besides a path track, beneath a tree, under a large stone, beside a water spring, or in the corner of irrigated fields.   Sometimes these platforms are uncovered, resting on a patch of earth that has been hardened and made smooth with a mixture of mud, cow dung, and water. Most of them are inside little “rooms” that are open in front and have been made with flat stones. On occasions, too, one sees a small pavilion with a conical thatched roof made of straw, about the height of a man.

These than are some of the places where one can make contact with supernatural beings of a particular kind—Gham(sun), Jun(full moon),  Pani(water), Bayu(wind), Kuldevata(family god), Sim Bai(devi), Nag (serpent), Jhankari (hunter), Bhoot-pret-masan(ghost, spirit), Boskshi(witch), Bandevi(forest goddess)– the beings who mean most to the majority of people because they are the ones who are effective in their lives and really make a difference. Coming to terms with these beings is part of their lives. These are beings of the land and the forces controlling health, growth, and reproduction. These beings, which may be either male, devta, or female, devi, are referred to as deities who eat bhog or food–mostly the newly spilled blood of a sacrificial animal – mostly the Bhale(a rooster), and quite often the Boka(he-goat), and Pada(young male buffalo), and Sungur(pig). On many occasions, people offer Panchbali—the sacrifice of five animals at a time.

The Puja (sacrifices) are made at places where it is believed that the godling lives. The sacrifices almost always are made by a young kumar(unmarried) boy, called pujari, who bathes and puts on a clean loincloth. After cleaning the ground with cow dung and water, thus setting it apart and making it acceptable for a holy purpose, he winds dhaja(kerchiefs) around a stone and sets it upright to represent the godling being honored. The dhaja (kerchiefs) represents the godling’s new clothing. The basic rationale throughout the puja is doing things for the godlings that will be pleasing: clothing him, feeding him, and surrounding him with pleasant things like dhoop (incense) and flowers. It is important to do these things in a properly sanctified place, with rituals conducted by a person who has prepared himself by bathing and who has not yet lost the extra purity believed to belong to the unmarried. This latter quality is especially important to female godlings but is appreciated by the males as well.

After making a cow dung platform for food offerings and setting it before the stone, the pujari decorates the tham(shrine) with turmeric, rice flour, bits of colored cloth, and flowers. Offerings that are then placed in the holes of the cow dung platform include rice flour fried in butter, puffed rice, rice mixed with water and sage and cow’s milk. The godling also is honored by offerings of flowers and by the presence of fire in the form of a mustard oil lamp in a copper container-diyo.

Just before the sacrifice, the pujari makes an incense of butter and sage and prays for whatever boon he wishes, pointing out that he is about to offer a sacrifice. The animal to be offered is sanctified by putting water, rice, and sage on the head, the animal then shakes its head or body which is taken as a sign that the animal has given its consent to be sacrificed. Then only it is beheaded. The head is placed before the stone and the blood is spurted in the than(shrine). After this, the pujari prepares tika by mixing blood of the sacrificed animal with some rice and places this onto the foreheads of those present. He also receives tika by having one of the worshippers do the same for him. As a gift for the pujari’s services, he gets the head of the sacrificed animal and whatever food has been brought as an offering. The final act of puja is cooking and eating the sacrificed animal that now has been shared with the godling.

On the other hand  historically the Tarangpur (Dolpa) Magars – neither a full-fledged Hindu caste nor unalloyed Tibetan Buddhists, but always at the mercy of outsiders, who were one or the other had to defer, serially or simultaneously, to both Hindu and Buddhist sources of power, prestige, and influence.”[6] For Fisher, “Buddhism and Hinduism are historical accretions. The Magars and other Tibeto-Burman groups were apparently neither Buddhist nor Hindu originally.”[7] Like tribes elsewhere in South Asia, the Magars of Tarangpur “live on the fringes of Hindu society, but unlike most of these other tribal peoples, they also live on the fringes of Buddhist society. Tarangpur is culturally convoluted, geographically isolated, and socially ingrown.”[8]

The preference in Tarangpur of Dolpa district, according to Fisher, is not of one religion over another but a preference for politics over religion, because politics is inextricably bound up with the core of Tarangpur life, namely, the pursuit of power, status and wealth. The key to securing these lies in the hands of the Hindu modernists the national elite in Kathmandu and their functionaries in the outlying area, who are directly and explicitly attempting to integrate Tarangpur into modernist Hindu political and economic structures. There is no comparable pull from the north. Ironically, the mountaineers of Tarangpur look up to the lowlanders. Rather than either ‘Sanskritization’ or ‘Tibetanization,’ a process of religious triangulation is underway. For the descendants of the few high caste Thakuri families who settled, intermarried, and were hence ‘Magarized,’ the process is even more complex. The indigenous cult, centered on local mountain deities, has been overlaid with Tibetan Buddhism, and Hinduism, in turn, has challenged this.[9]

Family Relations

Most of Magar families consist of grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, and unmarried children. The marriages are usually arranged by parents. The parents of the groom propose the hand of a bride to her parents. Wedding ceremonies usually take place at the bride’s house. Mostly the engagements are solemnized before weddings. Sometimes the girl may elope with the boy without the consent of parents or the boy may abduct or capture the girl and take her to his home. Such marriages are also accepted and recognized later on after the accomplishment of some rituals. In such situations, the groom brings a Theki —gift of food and drinks to the bride’s family for Dhogbhet – recognition, and formalization of the marriage. If the wife happens to be already married to another person, then the new husband must pay Jari – compensation to the former husband. The amount of Jari was usually set as Rupees sixty and Rupees thirty for Sari wife – a woman remarrying for the third time. If a Sari wife runs away, the husband can not claim any compensation.[10] However, such practices have now been obsolete and usually, these cases end up in the courts.

Dr. Marie Lecomte-Tilouine who was in Gulmi, Nepal for her research, relates her experiences with Magars. According to her, “The relations that the Magars maintain with their high caste neighbors in this village of Northern Gulmi, I had the feeling that the same phenomenon was operating at the level of the collective identity between these two communities. Let us take an example. In this region, the Magars employ either a Brahman or a bhanja (uterine nephew) as their domestic priest and several Magars explained to me that in employing their bhanja for this role, they were acting as the Brahmans, saying: « the bahun of the Bahuns is their bhanja » (or “the priest of the Brahmans is their uterine nephew”). At the same time, they used to say that there was a difference between the Magar and the Brahman attitude towards their bhanja: the latter would salute their bhanja, while among themselves, it is the contrary. They were thus raising their global similarities while noticing a kind of anomaly, about which no one ever made any further development. Through this tiny detail, however, they were pinpointing a fundamental difference between the two groups. Among the Brahmans in effect, the wife-receivers are seen as superior and hence the bhanja is saluted first by his maternal uncle. Even if the bhanja never becomes a son-in-law among the Brahmans, he is a member of the lineage of the wife-receivers, being the sister’s son. Among the Magars, the wife-receivers are inferiors. They say, « as we have taken a spouse from them, we have to make ourselves small ». Besides, the bhanja is a double wife-receiver since he is ideally the son-in-law in his turn. For this reason, he is usually expected to render a lot of services to his in-laws in return for his wife.”[11]

She further elaborates, “The Magar inversion of the Hindu hierarchy and the fact that depending on the situation and the lineages, either the Brahman or the bhanja may be used by them for the same function, show that priesthood is not correlated with a superior status for the Magar, but rather with the notion of service, seva. Despite their cultural domination and their apparent adoption of Hindu principles, the Magars of Gulmi thus introduced an important shift regarding the Hindu notion of the priesthood (and the position of the Brahman). But this was not openly claimed as a sign of their autonomy, for the simple reason that it was not clearly formulated as a diversion. A typical example of these meaningful differences assigned to group identity was formulated by a Magar lady when discussing wedding rituals. She told me that there was one thing she did not like about the Bahun-Chetri’s practices…..At any rate, within a global Hindu universe, the Magars had managed to preserve enough specificity to anchor their feeling of difference.”[12]

The Language

The Magars, the aboriginal stock of Nepal, are most undoubtedly Mongolian. These Magars speak Tibeto-Burman dialect. Even within this Tibeto-Burman family Kham dialect is spoken by Magars in the Mid-Western region, Tarali or Kaike in Dolpa district of North-Western region, and Dhut, mostly in the West and Central part of Nepal. The population of Magars speaking the various Magar language is 3.39% of the total population of Nepal (2001 census). Other remaining Magars speak Khas and Nepali. The Magar tongue-speaking population in 1952/54, 1991, and 2001 were 273780, 430264, and 770116 respectively. The study of the trend in mother tongue retention shows that the Magar language retention rate has increased from 32.1% in 1991 to 47.7% in the 2001 census. According to the number of people speaking a language, Magar language is ranked as the seventh most widely spoken language in Nepal.

According to Fisher, Kaike is an unwritten Tibeto-Burman language, distantly related to Tibetan and other Tibeto- Burman dialects spoken elsewhere in Nepal.”[13] He further explains the complexity of the language as follows: “Using a list of 100 basic words I found that Kaike shared 49% cognates with the Tibetan dialect spoken in Tichurong 49% with the very closely related Tibetan dialect spoken in what Snellgrove calls ” Inner Dolpo,” 35% with Kham, and 23% with Magar.”[14] He concludes that “In nine of the thirteen villages, Tibetan is spoken; one village (Riwa) is Nepali-speaking; in only three villages (Tarangpur, Tarakot, and Tupa)—and nowhere else in the world–is Kaike spoken.”[15]

David E. Watters has been a known figure in the contribution of the study of Kham language of Magars. According to him, the Kham is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in the upper valleys of the Rukum, Rolpa, and Baglung districts of Mid-Western Nepal by more than 50,000 people. Scattered populations also exist in Jajarkot, Dailekh, Kalikot, Achham, and Doti. The language should not be confused with the Tibetan Khams of eastern Tibet. The majority of Kham speakers are Budhas, Puns, Ghartis, and Rokyas—all classified ethnically as subtribes or clans of the Magar tribe. It should not be assumed apriori, however, that because speakers of Kham are Magars their language too is a dialect of Magars. Kham and Magar are vastly different languages. Thus, to avoid confusion with Tibetan Kham, and to link the language with the ethnicity of its speakers, the language has sometimes been referred to as Kham-Magar.[16]

Watters narrates, “Kham is known to Nepalis of the region as “Khamkura,” which, roughly translated, means Kham-talk or Kham-speech. The word Kham itself is of obscure origins and means simply language in its broad sense and The Language in its strict sense.  In Mid-Western Nepal, where Kham is spoken, the Nepali use of the Kham or Khamkura has the more generalized meaning of a local, non-Nepali dialect. Consequently, at least two other languages in the region, Chantyal, and Kaike, have received the Nepali appellation Khamkura.”[17]

 The study of languages has sometimes been useful in determining the historical settlements of the people in Nepal. As Witzel explains that the Magarat “extends from the Bheri in the west to Burhi Gandaki in the east and is fairly uniform in its nomenclature: river names invariantly end in –ri or –di. The names in –ri are found in the western part, that is in Kham territory, the names in –di in the eastern part.[18]The River Ba-bai, to the south of the Bheri, may have a Magar name as well: bəy, bəyh is a Kham Magar word for ‘river’.”[19]

 

[1] This article is an edited version published in Shodhmala, (A Journal of Magar Studies Center), Vol. 1, No. 1, Magh 2062 BS

[2] Dr. Thapa is Chairperson of Magar Studies Center, http://www.magarstudieswcenter.com

[3] Wright, Daniel, History of Nepal-With an Introductory Sketch of the Country and People of Nepal, Asian Educational Services, New Delhi, Madras, 1993, First Published in 1877, p. 30

[4] Hodgson, Brian H., Essays on the Languages, Literature, and Religion of Nepal and Tibet, Asian Educational Services, New Delhi, Madras, 1991 (First Published 1874), Part II, p. 40

[5] Hitchcock, John T., The Magars of Banyan Hill; Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966,  pp.25-34

[6] Fisher, , James F.,Trans-Himalayan Traders: Economy, Society, & Culture in Northwest Nepal, Motilal Banarasidass Publishers Pvt, Ltd., New Delhi, India, Reprint 1997, James F., p. 34-35

[7] Fisher, James F.,  op.cit., p. 208

[8] Ibid, p. 14

[9] Ibid, p. 14

[10] Hitchcock, op.cit., pp.35-41

[11] Dr. Marie Lecomte-Tilouine, “On Magar Identity and Autonomy”, Shodhmala, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 40-41, Magh 2062 BS

[12] Ibid, p. 40-41

[13] Fisher, op.cit. p. 21

[14] Ibid, P.208

[15] Ibid, p. 23

[16] Watters, David and Nancy Watters. 1973. An English-Kham, Kham-English Glossary, Kirtipur Nepal: Summer Institute of Linguistics and Institute of Nepal and Asian Studies cited in David E. Watters, A Dictionary of Kham (a Tibeto-Burman language of Nepal), Manuscript, p. 1

[17] Watters, David E., A Dictionary of Kham (a Tibeto-Burman language of Nepal), Manuscript, p. 1

[18] Witzel, op.cit., p. 18

[19] Ibid.