Magars

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Magars of Nepal
मगर
Total population
1,887,733 [1]
Languages
Dhut Magar, [2] Nepali, Magar Kham, Magar Kaike, Magar Poike
Religion
Mahayana Buddhism, Animism, Shamanism and Bon

The Magar, also spelled as Mangar, and Mongar, are the third largest ethnolinguistic groups of Nepal representing 7.1% of Nepal's total population according to the Nepal census of 2011.

Contents

Magar girls in cultural attire Kauda dance.jpg
Magar girls in cultural attire

The original home of the Magar people was to the west of Gandaki river, and roughly speaking, consisted of that portion of Nepal which lies between and around about Gulmi, Arghakhanchi, and Palpa. [3] This bit of country was divided into twelve districts known as "Bahra Magarat" (Confederation of Twelve Magar Kingdoms), which included the following regions of that period: Argha, Khanchi, Bhirkot, Dhor, Garhung, Ghiring, Gulmi, Isma, Musikot, Pyung, Rising, Satung, and Pyung. [3] During the medieval period, the whole area from Palpa to Rukum Rolpa was called the "Magarat", a place settled and inhabited by Magars. [4] A second Confederation of Eighteen Magar Kingdoms known as "Athara Magarat" also existed, and was primarily inhabited by Kham Magars

Origin

There are interesting mythical stories describing the origins of Magars. [5]

The Magar of the Bahra Magarat east of the Kali Gandaki River are said to have originated in the land of Seem. Two brothers, Seem Magar and Chintoo Magar, fought, and one remained in Seem, while the other left, ending up in Kangwachen, southern Sikkim. The Bhutia people lived at the northern end of this region. Over time, the Magars became very powerful and made the northern Bhutia their vassals. Sintoo Sati Sheng ruled in a very despotic manner, and the Bhutia conspired to assassinate him. Sheng's queen took revenge and poisoned 1,000 Bhutia people at a place now called Tong Song Fong, meaning "where a thousand were murdered". The Bhutia later drove the Magars out, forcing them to again migrate further south. As part of this migration, one group migrated to Simrongadh, one group moved towards the Okhaldhunga region, and another group seems to have returned to the east. No dates are given.

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.The language was called "Kaike", meaning "language of the Gods".

History

Magar group, military tribe, Nepal Magar group, military tribe, Nipal.jpg
Magar group, military tribe, Nepal
Magar man, military tribe, Nepal Magar or Muggur, military tribe, Nipal.jpg
Magar man, military tribe, Nepal

The first written history about Magar people dates as back as 1100 CE. [6] The Magars are one of the oldest known tribes in Nepal. Magwar Bisaya was the ancient name of Magarat, Magar area.

Magarat bordered from Marsyangdi river to the Pyuthan area during that time. [7] Magars prospered at such a level during that period that this part of the country was divided into twelve kingdoms/thams (BarahMagarant) [8] —each under its own ruler—the members of each supposedly being of common extraction in the male line. Some records show these twelve areas as being Arghak, Khachi, Gulmi, Isma, Musikot, Ghiring, Rising, Bhirkot, Payung, Garhung, Dhor and Satung. [3] [9] Among them, the most powerful kings were those of Gulmi, Argha, Khachi. [3] Broadly speaking, the twelve Magarat consisted of present-day Argha, Khanchi, Gulmi, Isma, Musikot, Ghiring, Baldengadhi, Rudrapurgadhi, Deuchuli, Tanahang/Tanu-hyula (Tanahu), Kanhu, Ligligkot, Gorkhakot, (Bahakot), Targhakot (Takukot), and Makawanpur areas. [10] Similarly, Athara (eighteen) Magarat consisted of the following regions: Dhurkoi (Gulmi), Gharkoi (Arghakhachi), Paiya (Parbat), Sinkhang (Myagdi),, Narikoi (Pyuthan), Balungbang (Pyuthan), Jangkoi (Rolpa), Rukumkoi (Rukum), Chhilikoi (Dang), Bhaba (Dailekh), Borekoi (Jajarkot), Tarakoi (Dolpa), Timarkoi (Jumla), Jural (Doti), Bunkot, Bahrakot, Lu Nanya (Dadeldhura) and Ru-pal (Dadeldhura). [3]

The Magars of the middle and western regions also played an important role in Nepal's formative history. Their kingdom was one of the strongest of west Nepal in and around Palpa District during the time of the 22 and 24 rajya principalities (17th and early 18th centuries). [11] Dravya Shah captured Gorkhakot, the last Magarat area, from the Magar King, Mansingh Khadka Magar in BS 1616 Bhadra 25. [12] In the kingdoms of Gorkha and Musikot, the Magars even seem to have taken part in their own initial defeat, revealing both the weakness of their ethnic solidarity at that time and the presence of clan rivalries. [13] As mentioned in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal founded by Sir William Jones in 1784, the city of Gorkha was originally the residence of Chitoria (Chitorey) Rana Magars, and the city was built by them. To this day, large numbers of Chitoria/Chitorey Rana Magars are found in the Gorkha District. [3] Additionally, in the Manakamana Temple located in Gorkha, it is mandatory for a priest to be a Magar; specifically, the priest must be a descendant of Saint Lakhan Thapa Magar, who is described as a spiritual guide for Ram Shah, and he had a very close relationship with the queen, who was considered an incarnation of the Goddess. [13] Interestingly, the main priests of Kalika, the goddess protecting the kingdoms of Lamjung and Gorkha, were also Bohara Magars; it is striking to note how the Magars have been in charge of the religious functions linked to the very source of Thakuri power. [13]

The 18th-century king, Prithvi Narayan Shah, the founder of the modern Kingdom of Nepal announced and loved to call himself ' the King of Magarat' or 'the King of Magar country'. [13] [14] According to Marie Lecomte-Tilouine, a senior researcher in Social Anthropology at the French National Center for Scientific Research, Prithvi Narayan Shah narrated in his autobiography about praying to a goddess whom he described as 'the daughter of Rana [Magar]. [13] During the time of King Prithvi Narayan, Rana Magars were one of the six-member courtiers (Tharghar). [13] Prithvi Narayan Shah in his memories also recalls his Magar dada—the man who looked after him during his childhood. [13]

The Scottish contemporary writer, Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, in his journal contends that the Shah dynasty was derived from the Magar tribe. He argues that:

The family of Gorkha which now governs Nepal, although it pretends to come from Chittor, according to Sadhu Ram [note 1] , a good authority, is, in reality, of the Magar tribe; and, at any rate, these people are now firmly attached to its interests, by having largely shared in the sweets of conquest; and by far the greatest part of the regular troops of that family is composed of this nation.

An account of the Kingdom of Nepal [16]

He further contended on Shah family that:

The family pretends to be of 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.

An account of the Kingdom of Nepal [17]

Many prominent historians of Nepal have claimed that Aramudi, an eighth-century ruler of the Kali Gandaki region, was a Magar King. [18] [19] [20] [21] "Aramudi" derives from the word for 'river' in the Magar language. [22] 'Ari' – 'Source of Water' + 'Modi'– 'River' = 'Arimodi' or 'Aramudi', thus the literal meaning of Aramudi is a source of river. But due to the lack of historical evidence, there are some conflicting ideas among the historians.

Sen dynasty of Palpa were Magar Kings [23] [13] as per the hand-written treatise 'Naradsmriti' [24] and history books written in Sikkim. [25] In a palm-leaf manuscript kept in the Kaiser Library, dated 1567 VS (1510), Mukunda Sen is described as a Magar king of Palpa who invaded the Kathmandu Valley in 1581 VS (1524). [13] Thus, in the 17th century, Malla kings of Kathmandu valley were united to fight back the invasion of Magars from Palpa. [26] One of Mukunda Sen's wives was also the daughter of the Magar King of Parkogha: Mahadevi Suvarnamala, and she had four sons: Manishya Sen, Imbarsen, Kuvar and Lohang Sen. [13] Similarly, Gajalaxman Singh, Magar King of Makvanpur, whose daughter Kantivati was married to Abhaya Sen (Magar King) of Palpa. [13] [27] From her was born the great king of kings Bhattarajadeva. [13] Around 1700, the ruler of Baldeng (near present-day Butwal) was overthrown by Palpa and other chaubisi states, and he was supposedly a Magar king. [23] According to the earliest copper plate inscription from Nepal found in 1977, Sohab Rana Magar was a ruler in Dullu Dailekh, Magwar Bisaya, western Nepal in 1100.

Geographical distribution

At the time of the 2011 Nepal census, 1,887,733 people (7.1% of the population of Nepal) identified as Magar. The frequency of Magar people was higher than national average in the following districts: [28]

Subdivisions

Magars are divided into the following seven tribes (clans) listed here in an alphabetical order: Ale, Budha/Budhathoki, Gharti, Pun, Rana, Roka, Thapa. These tribes all intermarry with each other, have the same customs, and are in every way equal as regards to social standing. Each tribe is subdivided into many sub-clans. [3] [29]

Ale Magars

Arghali, Durungchung, Hiski, Hungchen, Limel, Pade, Rakhal, Suyal, Sirpali.

Budhathoki / Budha Magars:

Barakoti, Gamal, Jugjali, Pahari, Thami, Arkali, Ulange, Karmani, Kosila, Gamal, Chini, Jiyali, Thami, Janjali, Darlasi, Deowal, Namjali, Pare, Pahare, Pojange, Barkabiri, Balkoti, Ramjali, Lamichhane, Khame, Doyal.

Gharti Magars:

Dagami, Galami, Kalikotey, Masrangi, Pahari or Panre, Phagami, Rangu, Rawal, Rijal, Sawangi, Sene, Surai, Sinjapati, Sijapati, Talaji, Tirukia, Wale, Thini, Bhujel.

Pun Magars:

Balali, Birkali, Baijali, Burduja, Garbuja, Namjali, Phungali, Purja, Sain, Sanangi, Sothi, Tajali, Khame, Tirke, Sabangi, Pahare, Gaura, Phagami/Fagami, Saureni, Sherpunja.

Rana Magars:

Aachhami, Aslami, Bangling, Chumi, Chitorey/Chitaurey, Gyangmi/Gyami, Kharka/Khadka, Kyapchaki, Lungeli, Makkim, Maski, Palli, Ruchal, Shrees, Surjabansi/Suryabangsi, Limel, Deuka, Jung, Fewali.

Roka Magars:

Jelbangi, Dununge, Ramjali, Bajhangi, Baijali.

Thapa Magars

To name a few – Āthaghare, Bagale, Bakabal, Bakheti, Baraghare, Birkatta, Kala, Khapangi, Palunge, Puwar/Punwar, Sunari, Sāthighare, Sinjali/Singjali, Saplangi, Mugmi, Pulami, Darlami, Salami, Jarga, Dhenga , Tarami , Tarangi , Byangnasi

Gaha Thapa consists of Bucha, Gora, khangaha/khanga.

Reshmi Thapa consists of Dangal.

Saru Thapa consists of Jhapurluk, Jhendi/Jhedi, Kala. Besides these, Gurbachan, Purbachhaney, Phounja, Chauhan, Pachabhaiya, Khamcha, Khandaluk, Ghale, Baral, Somai, Pithakote, Jhakote, Rakaskoti/Raskoti, Uchai, Samal.

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. Thus, a Reshmi Thapa would become a Reshmi Rana. [3] [30] An instance of this is to be found in the 5th Gurkhas, where a havildar, Lachman Thapa, and a naick, Shamsher Rana, descended from the two Thapa [Magars] brothers; but three generations of descendants from one of these brothers having been killed in the battle, Shamsher Rana's ancestors assumed the title of Rana while Lachman Thapa's ancestors not having been killed in battle for three generations remained a Thapa. From this custom many Rana sub clans are said to have sprung up, and this would lead one to believe that the Rana-Magar clan was looked up to amongst the Magars. [3]

The Rana clan of Magar tribes come from the same stock of Thapa, but when they were separated from their original group and lost for three generations, they settled in a place called lamjung and called themselves by the name of Rana which means chief in khas tradition and language. Thus, the inhabitants of Rana Magar became the lamjung village. The Matwala Khas are generally the progeny of a Khas of Western Nepal and karnali with a Magar woman of Western Nepal. If the woman happens to belong to the khas mixed Rana clan of the Magar tribe, progeny is then called a Bhat Rana. [3] [30] The Matwala Khas doesn't wear the sacred thread. tHey eats pork and drinks alcohol, and in every way assimilates himself with the Magars. He invariably claims to be a matwali khas or pawai khas. Among the Matwala Khas are to found those who call themselves Bohra, Roka, Chohan, Jhankri, Konwar bura Gharti Thapa buda lamichaney and Uchai (Uchai = progeny of Thakur with a Magar). [30] [3]

Linguistically, the Magars are divided into three groups. Baraha Magaratis speak Dhut dialect, whereas Athara Magaratis speak Pang and Kaike dialects.

Magar Dhut speakers: Rana, Ale, Thapa

Magar Kham speakers: Budhathoki, Pun, Roka, Gharti

Magar Kaike speakers: Tarali Magar of Dolpa; Budha, Gharti, Roka/Rokaya, Kayat, Jhakri all Magar clans residing in Dolpa and Karnali districts.

Language and script

Of the 1,887,733 Magar population in Nepal, about 788,530 speak Magar language as their mother tongue while the rest speak Nepali as their mother tongue. The western inhabitants of Nepal did not speak the language in the past. But recently, almost everyone has started learning the language. The Magar languages are rooted in the Bodic branch of the Tibetan family.

The Magar language, Magar Kura, is spoken in two major dialects and a number of sub dialects reflecting the geographic distribution of the group. The Western Magars of Rapti Zone speak Magar Kham language. In Dolpa District, Magars speak Magar Kaike language. Magar Dhut language speakers are all Magar clans residing in Twelve Magarat. Similarly Magar Kham language speakers are all Magar clans from Eighteen Magarat. Magar Kaike language speakers are all Magar clans in Karnali zone.

Magar Akkha or scripts are used in Sikkim as a Magar language script. Many scholars including MS Thapa have been in forefront to implement the Akkha script to write Magar language in Nepal. New generations have been learning it. Akkha script is said to be closely associated with Brahmi script.

Magar words in use

Many Magar words are used even today, especially as location names. Magar toponyms in Nepali include: tilaurakot (place selling sesame seed), kanchanjunga (clear peak), and * Tansen (straight wood) [31] Some scholars opine that the amount of Magar words in Nepali indicates that Magarat (historic Magar lands) were larger than generally believed, extending from Dhading to Doti. [32] They note that the place suffix -Kot indicates a place from which Magar kings formerly ruled. Kali Gandaki (Gandi), Rapti, Bheri, Marsyangdi, Modi all the river names with di or ti suffix are named after Magar language. Similarly, places like Thabang, Libang, Bobang, Baglung (Banglung) etc. are also named after the Magar language. Magar historian Ms Bom Kumari Budha mentions that Ridi was the border between Athara and Barah Magarat in ancient time. This can be attested by the different places' names in Kham Magar language in the west and Magar Dhut language in the east of Ridi.

Religion

Magars follow Buddhism, Bon and minority follows Hinduism. The original religions or beliefs of Magar people are Shamanism, Animism, Ancestor worship and northern Nepal's Magar follow Shamanism (Bon).

Magars of Western Nepal have been practicing Lamaism (shamanism) during their kul pooja. Shamanism in Nepal.JPG
Magars of Western Nepal have been practicing Lamaism (shamanism) during their kul pooja.

There were Two King of Kings over the Bara and Athara Magarat and names of their Dynasty were Shan/ Sheng and Khan Dynasty. As time passed on, the Sheng/ Sen Kings extended their Kingdom towards south and east of Palpa and the Khan Kings extended their kingdom towards north and east of Bhirkot. The King of Palpa was the first to be converted into Hinduism and became a Hindu Rajput King and claimed his descent from Sen family of India. Similarly, the Chief of Bhirkot, who was of Khan family, refused the conversion and remained a pure Magar King. His name was Khancha Khan. The second prince whose name was Micha Khan or the youngest son in Magar language, converted to Hinduism. Thus, the second prince of Bhirkot became a Hindu Rajput and his religious priests made him the King of Nuwakot of Barah Mangrat. He was succeeded by Jaya Khan, Micha Khan, Bichitra Khan, Jagdeo Khan and Kulmandan Khan. From the time of this king, he changed his family title from Khan to Shah which carries the same meaning as king. The descendants of King Khanchha Khan of Bhirkot, though refused to accept Hinduism and agreed to abide by their own tribal culture, yet he with all his subjects were so much influenced by Hinduism that all the Magar tribes ceased to follow the teaching of their own tribal priest and followed the doctrine of Hindu priests with respect to birth, marriage and death ceremonies and those officials of the courts of Shan Kings and Khan Kings of Palpa and Bhirkot who could afford for conversion into Hinduism became Hindu Rajputs and called themselves Thakuris. In this way, the Magar Kings and their officials were converted into Hindu civilization.

Magars are the main priests of the famous Manakamana Temple in Gorkha District, Budha Subba Temple in Dharan and Alamdevi temple (Nepal's former Shah Kings' mother Goddess or family deity) in Syangja District. In Manakamana Temple, specially, the priest must be a descendant of Saint Lakhan Thapa Magar, who is described as a spiritual guide for Ram Shah, and he had a very close relationship with the queen, who was considered an incarnation of the Goddess Durga Bhawani, an incarnation of Parvati. [13] Similarly, Bhirkot, Gahraukot, Khilung, Nuwakot, Satahukot, Sarankot, Dhor, Lamjung, Gorkha Kalika, Salyankot Dhading also have Magar priests from Saru, Baral, Saru, Saru, Pulami, Chumi, Darlami, DudhrRana, Bhusal/Maski, Saru/Rana Magar clan respectively. [33]

Interestingly, the main priests of Kalika, the goddess protecting the kingdoms of Lamjung and Gorkha, were also Bohara Magars; it is striking to note how the Magars have been in charge of the religious functions linked to the very source of Thakuri power. [13]

Most Magars also follow a form of Tibetan Buddhism, with priests known as Lama Guru, forming the religious hierarchy. Buddhism is an important part of the culture even in the southern districts, where the Magars have developed a syncretic form of Hinduism that combines earlier shamanistic and Buddhist rituals with Hindu traditions.

Animists and shamanism form part of the local belief system; their dhami (the faith healer or a kind of shaman) is called Dangar and their jhankri (another kind of faith healer or shaman) was the traditional spiritual and social leader of the Magars. [34] Magars have an informal cultural institution, called Bhujel, who performs religious activities, organizes social and agriculture-related festivities, brings about reforms in traditions and customs, strengthens social and production system, manages resources, settles cases and disputes and systematizes activities for recreation and social solidarity. [35]

Two Magar children wearing jewelry and items of traditional dress. Magar Culture.jpg
Two Magar children wearing jewelry and items of traditional dress.

Dress and ornaments

Men wear kachhad or wrap-on-loincloth, a bhangra , a bhoto or a shirt of vest, and the usual Nepali topi. Women wear the phariya or lunghi, chaubandhi cholo or a closed blouse and the heavy patuka or waistband, and the mujetro or shawl-like garment on the head.

The ornaments are the madwari on the ears, bulaki on the nose and the phuli on the left nostril, the silver coin necklace"[haari]" and the pote (yellow and Green beads) with the tilhari gold cylinder, [jantar], [dhungri], [naugedi], [phul] and kuntha. Magar males do not wear many ornaments, but some are seen to have silver earrings, hanging from their earlobes, called "gokkul". The magar girls wear the amulet or locket necklace, and women of the lower hills and the high-altitude ones wear these made of silver with muga stones embedded in them and kantha. The bangles of silver and glass are also worn on their hands along with the sirbandhi, sirphuli and chandra on their heads. These are large pieces of gold beaten in elongated and circular shapes.

Festivals

Maghe Sakranti is considered to be one of the most important annual festivals of the indigenous Magar community. In fact, Maghe Sakranti is the government declared national festival of the Magar community as well as the Tharu community (2009 AD). It is celebrated on the first day of Magh (tenth month of the Nepali calendar, in mid-January), a time that marks the transition from winter to spring. According to the Magar terminology, Maghe Sakranti commemorates the end of udheli (literally 'down'), which is a period that lasts for six months starting from mid-July, and the initiation of ubheli ('up'), the period lasting for another six months starting from the mid-January. The down and up periods probably correspond to the annual cycle of herding livestock up and down from high pastures, a historically important economic activity of the Magars. The occasion is celebrated with a host of gatherings and special invitations to chelibetis, one's daughters and other female members of the family. Traditional Magar songs and dances are also performed. One of the most prominent food items prepared on this day (or any other celebratory occasion) is known as batuk (commonly known as 'bara'). It is considered to be a traditional food of the Magar people. Shaped like western doughnuts, it is made from black lentils that have been soaked for over twenty-four hours and are grounded to form a thick paste. It is then mixed with salt, pepper and turmeric and fried in oil. A perfect round shape is formed with the help of the palm, and a small distinct hole is made in the center.

Other major festivals of the Magar community are Bhume Puja, Chandi Purnima, Baisakhe Purnima, Mangsir Purnima, Jestha Purnima. Bhume Puja (worshipping the nature) is immensely celebrated in the Athara Magarat regions (Confederation of eighteen Magar Kingdoms), especially in Rukum and Rolpa districts.

Magar people celebrates major festival like "Chhaigo" as Lhosar which is considered as the New Year for Magar community according to the Naagchi Sambat. Magar people also observe festivals like Chaiti, Rungma, Keja, Yacha etc These festivals are based on the Tibetan Buddhism and the Bon culture.

Folk songs and dances

Magars have contributed phenomenally in Nepali folk songs and dances. Both men and women take part in folk songs and dances.

One of the most well-known Magar folk-dances is the Maruni dance during Tihar festival.[ citation needed ] In this dance, the main dancer wears a woman's dress, has someone to mimic her dance and one person to beat a Madal or Rani Madal. This dance is believed to be of divine origin and is directly linked with mythology. The role of the person beating the Madal is considered to be the most important, and even the one who mimics the main dancer is actually considered to be the protectors of the dancer. He wears a mask, entertains the crowd by his own gestures etc. The wearing of the dress by the dance is given a ritualistic position, as the dancer's dress, are elaborately laid along with flowers, rice etc. on a brass plate or a winnower. The dance begins with the worship of Madal, the dress, and other ornaments to be used by the dancer, followed by obeisance to all gods and goddesses like Saraswati, Ram, Sita. The dance ends with blessings to the family that has offered alms to the dancing group and brings the end to the dance ritualistically.

The other Major dances and songs originated from Magar Community are Kauda/Chudka/Kanraha, Ghatu, Jhorra, Yanimaya, Sunimaya, Salaijo, Rung , Hurra, Bon Lama Nach and many more

General Abhiman Singh Rana Magar Abhiman Singh Rana Magar.jpg
General Abhiman Singh Rana Magar

Occupations

Kaji Biraj Thapa Magar, 1st Army Chief of Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha Biraj Thapa Magar.jpg
Kaji Biraj Thapa Magar, 1st Army Chief of Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha

Agriculture and the military are the primary sources of income. Magars constitute the largest number of Gurkha soldiers outside Nepal. [36] [37] Sarbajit Rana Magar became the head of government during the regency of Queen Rajendra Laxmi. [38] Biraj Thapa Magar winner of limbuwan, General Abhiman Singh Rana Magar and Sarbajit Rana Magar headed the Nepal army. Biraj Thapa Magar was the very first army chief in Nepal Army's history. [39]

Dor Bahadur Bista's observation of Magar's occupation during the 1960s was:

Some of the northernmost Magars have become quite prosperous by engaging in long-range trading that takes them from near the northern border to the Terai, and even beyond to Darjeeling and Calcutta. Were it not for their role in the Gurkha regiments of the Indian and British armies, their self-sufficiency might be endangered. [40]

Toni Hagen, who did his field research in Nepal during the 1950s, observed:

Magars possess considerable skill as craftsmen: they are the bridge builders and blacksmiths among the Nepalese, and the primitive mining is largely in their hands. On the lower courses of the Bheri & Karnali rivers, a great number of Magars annually migrate to the Terai & there manufacture bamboo panniers, baskets, and mats for sale in the bazaars along the borders. In their most northerly settlement, on the other hand, the important trading centre of Tarakot on the Barbung river, they have largely adopted their way of life, their clothes, and their religion to that of the Tibetans; like the latter, they also live by the salt trade. As regard race, the Magars have almond-shaped eyes or even open eyes, whereas Mongoloid eyes are very rare. [41]

Military service

Lakhan Thapa Magar Lakhan Thapa Magar.jpg
Lakhan Thapa Magar

A number of Magars have distinguished themselves in military service under Nepali, British and Indian military. During Anglo-Nepalese War (1814–16), the Magar Unit/Paltan of Nepali Army, Purano Gorakh Battalion, [42] valiantly fought the Battle of Nalapani. Brigadier General Sher Jung Thapa received Mahavir Chakra and Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa won Paramvir Chakra, the highest gallantry award, while serving Indian Army. Similarly, Dipprasad Pun, a Nepalese Sergeant of the Royal Gurkha Rifles (British Army), was the first Nepali winner of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross in Afghanistan in 2010. In the two world wars, a total of five Victoria Cross (out of 13 VCs awarded to Gurkhas) were awarded to the Magars: [43]

Politics

Magars since the formation of Nepali state had been in a very influential role in the Nepali government until the Kot Massacre. During the time of King Prithvi Narayan Shah and thereafter, Magars were one of the six courtiers of Kings. Nepali military historian Brigadier General (retired) Dr Prem Singh Basnyat also confirm the high government positions held by the Magars notably Biraj Thapa, Kaji Bandhu Rana, [45] Sarbajeet Rana and Abhiman Singh Rana. During the Rana Dynasty, Magars almost had nil representation in any government positions, which can be considered the darkest time.

Under the leadership of minister Giri Prasad Burathoki, a first ever Magar Convention was held in Bharse of Gulmi District, one of the 12 Magarats in 1957. The objective of the conference was to sensitize the Magars to come forward in the national spectrum. [46] Later Magar political and social organisations included Nepal Langhali Pariwar (1972), Nepal Langhali Pariwar Sang, and Langhali Pariwar Sangh.

Nepal Magar Association is an un-biased and non-profit organization of Magar indigenous people. It is a common representative organization of all the Magar indigenous people of Nepal and is committed to the preservation and promotion of Magar language and culture; the upliftment of the social-economic and the overall educational condition of the Magar people. [47]

Notable Magars

Notes

  1. As per Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, Sadhu Ram Upadhyaya was a Brahmin belonging to the family of hereditary Purohits (royal priests) of Kingdom of Palpa. [15]

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Gorkha Kingdom Former kingdom located in present-day western Nepal

Gorkha Kingdom was a kingdom in the confederation of 24 states known as Chaubisi rajya, on the Indian subcontinent, present-day western Nepal. The Kingdom of Gorkha extended from the Marshyangdi River in the west to the Trishuli River in the east, which separated it from the kingdoms of Lamjung and Nepal respectively. The Gorkha Kingdom was established by Prince Dravya Shah, second son of King Yasho Brahma Shah of Lamjung Kingdom, on 1559 CE replacing the Khadka chiefs.

Khas people also called Khas Arya are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group native to South Asia, what is now present-day Nepal. However small numbers live in the Indian states of Uttarakhand (Kumaon-Garhwal), Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The Khas people speak the Khas language. They are also known as Parbatiyas, Parbates and Paharis/Pahades or Gorkhali. The term Khas has now become obsolete, as the Khas people have adopted communal identities such as Bahun and Chhetri because of the negative stereotypes associated with the term Khas.

Shah dynasty dynasty that ruled Kingdom of Gorkha(1559-1768) and Kingdom of Nepal(1768-2008)

The Shah dynasty, also known as the Shahs of Gorkha or the Royal House of Gorkha, was the ruling Chaubise Thakuri dynasty from the Indian subcontinent; and derived from the Gorkha Kingdom from 1559 to 1768 and later the unified Kingdom of Nepal from 1768 to 28 May 2008.

Unification of Nepal

The unification of Nepal officially began in 1799 after King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha launched an aggressive annexation campaign seeking to broaden his own kingdom's borders. After conquering the Nepal Mandala, which consisted of the three separate city-states of the Kathmandu Valley, Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, Shah moved his hilly capital in Gorkha to the fertile and wealthy city of Kathmandu and adopted the name Nepal for the entire Gorkha Empire.

Chhetri Kshatriya caste of patrilineal Khas-Aryan descent

Chhetri, historically called Kshettriya or Kshetriya or Khas are Nepali speakers of Khas community some of whom trace their origin to migration from medieval India. Chhetri was a caste of administrators, governor and military elites in medieval Khas Kingdom and Gorkha Kingdom. The nobility of Gorkha Kingdom were mainly based from Chhetri families and they had a strong presence in civil administration affairs. The bulk of Prime Ministers of Nepal before democratization of Nepal belonged to this caste as a result of old Gorkhali aristocracy. Gorkha-based aristocratic Chhetri families were Pande dynasty, Basnyat dynasty, Thapa dynasty and Kunwars.

Thapa Surname list

Thapa is the surname commonly used by Nepali people belonging to the Chhetri(Kshatriya) caste of Khas group, an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group and Magar people, a Sino-Tibetan ethno-linguistic group.

Chaubisi Rajya Former confederation in Nepal

Chaubisi Rajya,Chaubise Rajya or Chaubisye Rajya were sovereign and intermittently allied petty kingdoms in South Asia that the Magar people ruled. Prithvi Narayan Shah ascended the throne of the Gorkha Kingdom in 1743 AD; he subsequently began the unification process of the present day country of Nepal. The Chaubisi Rajya were annexed during the unification from 1744 to 1816 AD. A parallel group of 22 small kingdoms, Baaisse Rajya, existed to the west of the Gandaki Basin.

Nepali Army Land service branch of the Nepalese Armed Forces

The Nepalese Army, formerly known as the Gurkha Army, is the land service branch of the Nepalese Armed Forces. The terms "Gurkha" and "Gorkhali" are synonymous with "Nepali". During the period of the Nepalese unification campaign, it was known as the Gurkha Army and later as the Royal Nepalese Army following the establishment of a Hindu monarchy in Nepal. It was officially renamed to the Nepalese Army on 28 May 2008, following the abolition of the 240-year-old Shah dynasty shortly after the Nepalese Civil War.

Kaji (Nepal) Old Nepalese high ranking official

Kaji was a title and position used by nobility of Gorkha Kingdom (1559–1768) and Kingdom of Nepal between 1768–1846. Many other contemporary kingdoms used the same title for their ministers.

Thapa Kaji

Thapa Kaji is a large social group of people of Chhettri caste in Nepal. Thapas of Uttrakhand And Himanchal State of India are considered as Pahari Rajput. Over a period of time, this community has spread to many parts of the world. The surname originated during the Khas Kingdom in Karnali region during middle age-it referred to a position/post of a warrior. Chhetri is considered a derivative form of the Sanskrit word Kshatriya.

Master Mitrasen Thapa Magar

Master Mitrasen was a Nepali folk singer, songwriter, dramatist and social worker. He left army in early age for the upliftment of Nepalese music and society. His contribution to different fields of Nepalese society is remarkable.

Magarat is considered to be the place settled and inhabited by Magars, one of the largest indigenous ethnic groups of Nepal. It is a geographical cluster of Federal Republic of Nepal which existed in the modern territory of Nepal before the Unification of Nepal by Prithivi Narayan Shah. It extended from the Budhigandki River in the East to Karnali River in the West.

Rana Jang Pande

Rana Jang Pande was the 3rd Prime Minister of the government of Nepal and the most powerful person in political scenario in three decades from the aristocratic Pande clan. He was one of the sons of Mukhtiyar Kaji Damodar Pande. He served as the Prime Minister for two terms, serving 1837–1837 and 1839–1840 AD. He became powerful after Bhimsen Thapa was arrested, and was declared Mukhtiyar and Commander in Chief. He was a grandson of Kaji Kalu Pandey who was the commander of King Prithvi Narayan Shah and the Mulkaji of Gorkha and a notable figure during the unification campaign of Nepal.

Kaji Biraj Thapa Magar played an important role in the Gorkha Kingdom. His leadership, prudence and courage all exhibit he was one of the important Gorkha Bhardars that helped Narbaupal Shah become King of Gorkha. He may also be seen as a 'King Maker' in the modern day term. According to different genealogies, he had taken Narabhupal Shah and his mother Malikavati in custody for three months. The Queen Mother and her son were secretly protected at his residence. After the death of his grandfather, Narabhupal Shah became the King of Gorkha in 1716 and died in 1743. His son, King Prithvi Narayan Shah, succeeding him began unification of small principalities to found modern Nepal.

Ranajit Pande was Nepalese politician, military personnel and courtier in the Kingdom of Nepal. He was member of the Gora Pande clan of Gorkha. He became Mulkaji of Nepal for a brief period in 1804 A.D.

Pande family

The Pande family or Pande dynasty was a Kshatriya (Rajput-Chhetri) political family that directly ruled Nepali administration affairs since the 16th century to 19th century as Mulkaji and Mukhtiyar. This dynasty/family was one of the four noble family to be involved in active politics of Nepal together with Shah dynasty, Basnyat family and Thapa dynasty before rise of Rana dynasty. Pande dynasty is the oldest noble family to hold the title of Kaji. This family was decimated from political power in 1843 CE from the political massacre conducted by Prime Minister Mathabar Singh Thapa as a revenge for his uncle Bhimsen's death in 1839.

Dalbhanjan Pande or Dalabhanjan Pande was a Nepalese minister, politician and military officer of the aristocratic Pande family. He had held ministerial positions and military offices. He jointly headed the military administration of Nepal in 1837 along with Mukhtiyar Rana Jang Pande.

The Kunwar family or Kunwor family or Kanwar family was a noble dasnami family in the Gorkha Kingdom and the Kingdom of Nepal. Kunwars were linked to the Thapa dynasty and family of Amar Singh Thapa by marital lineages and, thus, to Pande dynasty through the Thapa dynasty. Two branches of the Kunwars; Ramakrishna and Jayakrishna, were formed with opposite political aspirations. Bal Narsingh Kunwar supported Mukhtiyar Bhimsen Thapa while Chandrabir Kunwar supported Bada Kaji Amar Singh Thapa due to their marital relations with those families. Later, the Ramakrishna section of the family established the Rana dynasty of Nepal and styled themselves as Rana Rajputs while Jayakrishna section remained as Kunwars.

Rajputs of Nepal or anciently Rajputras are Rajput community of Nepal. As per the 2011 Nepal census, the population of Rajputs is reported at 41,972.

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Bibliography