Regmi Reserch (Private) Ltd, Kathmandu January 1, 1970. Regmi Research Series Year 2, No. 1, Edited By


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Regmi Reserch (Private) Ltd,

Kathmandu January 1, 1970.

Regmi Research Series

Year 2, No. 1,

Edited By:

Mahesh C. Regmi.



1. Nepal, Newar And The Newari Language. … 1

2. Nepal And The 1857 Indian Mutiny. … 16

3. Jajarkot. … 17

4. Land Taxation In Garhwal. … 18

5. Fiscal Privileges Of Rajputs And Thakurs, 1863. … 19

6. Law On Occupations, 1952. … 20

7. Ancient Lalitpur … 22


Regmi Research (Private) Ltd,

Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Nepal, Newar And The Newari Language


Baburam Acharya

('' Nepal, Newar Ra Newari Bhasha.'' Navakunja(Nepali, Monthly), Year 5, No. 1, Jastha 2026 (June 1969).

o3 Four centuries ago, a peot created the legend that Nepal owes its name to a sage called Ne. At another place, he gave the name of the sage as Nemi. Sylvain Levi has expressed the view that the term Nepal was derived from ''Nepa'' or Valley.2 But such a contruction is contrary to the rules of Sanskrit grammar.

Dr. Thomas young, supported by Sir George Grierson,3 holds that the terms Nepal and Newr have a common origin. On the contrary, according to Prof. Turner, either one of these terms is derived from the other. (Page 4). This, again, is contrary to the rules of philology. The view put forward by youg and Grierson appears to be correct. The original term from which both Nepal and Newr emerged might have been ''Nyarba''< which belongs to the […..] or Tamang dialect.4

The fisrt reference to the term Nepal is found in the Arthashastra of Kautilya,5 a minister fo the Mauryan Emperor Chandra Gupta. (321-297 B.C.). Kautilya mentions blankets called ''Bhingise'', which used to be exported from Nepal to Pataliputra (modern patna). The Magadhi languages spoken in Bihar at that time did not contain the sound ''ra'', which was always spoken as ''la''. In his inscriptions, Emperor Ashok describes himself as a ''Laja'' instead of ''Raja''. This shows that ''Newar'' was pronounced ''Nepal'' in Pataliputre. Kautilya clearly used this term to refer to a country.

1 Vide Pashupati Puran

2 Le Nepal, Vol. II, p. 66-67.

3 Linguistic Survey fo India, Vol. III, part I, p. 213.

4 Vanssittart, in ''Gurkhas'', writes, ''A Nebra is the progeny born of intercourse between a [….] and a Newar. The Nerba has the highest social standing among the Atharajat and ranks nearly equal to the Barathamang.'' (p. 142).

5 Arthaahastra, 2-11-30.


no such ancient reference is available to the term Newar. The term was first used bu Europeans who visited Nepal in the 18th century. It seems that the term was originally ''Nepar'', which later corrupted to ''Nebar[…..] then to ''Newar''. The term ''Nyarba'' has, however, retained the sound ''ba'' even now. (page 5). It appears to have borrowed the Tibetan suffix ''Pa''.6

Kathmandu valley appears to have been the original homes of the Nepars. Anand Bhikshu, a disciple of the Buddha, had visited this place7 as a refugee when Kapilavastu was devastated during the last days of the Buddha. (563- 483 B.C). the Jain saint Bhadrabahu too had come here when a famine [….] during the reign of Chandra Gupta Maurya. After the death of Ashok, Buddhist Chaityas and Bahals were constructed in Kathmandu Valley. Lichchhavi Kings constructed temples here. Kathmandu Valley, morever, was the capital of the Lichchhavi, Baish and Malla Kings. It is for this reason that Kathmandu Valley is sometimes called Nepal, although the term Nepal is more widely used to denote all territories ruled from Kathmandu.

The geographical area denoted by the term Nepal during the time of the Newars is not clear. Until the time of the Buddh, Vrijji and Malla republics existed in the areas south of Nepal. It n\may therefore be maintained that the (Page 6) Nepars too comprised a republic at the tiem. King Ajata-shatru (491-459) of the Sisunag dynasty annexed these two republics to his empire. It qwas then natural tant monarchy should have emerged among the Nepars as well. Grierson has given much praise to a Vamshavali compiled around the end of the 14th century.9 This work, called Gopal Vamshavali is in the Government Library. It contains a list of 32 Kirat Kings who ruled before the Lichchhavi Kingdom was founded. These Kings appear to be Nepars. In the Sanskrit language, the inhabitants of regions situated to the south-east of India are called Kirats. The Nepars of Nepal too lived in these south-eastern regions.10
6 In the Tibetan language, the suffix ''Pa'' is used to denore resisdence. An inhabitant of Syar is Syarpa, and of Dhuk, Dhukpa.

7 Le Nepal, Vol. III, P. 188.

8 Le Nepal, Vol. II, p. 65.

9 Linguistic Survey of India, Vol. III, Part I, P. 214.

10 There exists considerable difference in the meanings of the Sanskrit term Kirat and the term as it is used in our language. In the 15th century, the Sen Kings of Makwanpur described areas occupied by Magars as ''Magarat.'' In the 16th century, the Sen Kigns conquered the hill regions east of the Dudhkoshi river as well as the Tarai regions of Saptari and Morang. The hill regions east of the Dudhkoshi were inhabited by Kirats, who were contemptuously called ''Kiruwa'' by the Bajis of the Tarai. The Sen Kings, on the analogy of ''Magarat'', gave the name of Kirat to regions inhabited by ''Kiruwa''. The term Kirat thus denoted a region and not an ethic community. In other words, Kirats inhabiting the Kirat regions alone are not Kirats. This has given rise to the confusion that the ancient Kirat Kings of Nepal actually belonged to the Kirat ethic community. (See Wright: History of Nepal, P. 10



It is strange that the Mahabharat, which started being compiled after the 2nd century A.D., contains on reference to Nepal.11 This work dates back to the last year of the rule of the Kirat Kings of Nepal. The Mahabharat, although it does not contain any direct reference to Nepal, mentions at one place that Bhimsen visited Videha and vanquished seven Kirat Chieftains in the area near the Aindra mountain.12 It is not clear whether this story is correct, but we can use it to understand the contemporary situation. Videha at that time comprised the present Darbhanga, Mahottari and Saptari. Sindhuli-Gadhi is the only mountain near this area. It lies on the main route from central Nepal to Videha. Petty Kirat Principalities appear to have existed in this area at that time. The Kingdom of Nepal and that of the Tharus in the Tarai must have been two of them. The othr five may have been those of Thamis, Khambus, etc in the hill regions. Thus this stiry proves that there existed petty Kirat principalities east and west of Nepal at that time. During the 1st century A.D., the Lichchhevis displaced the Nepars and founded the first Arya kingdom. By the 4th century A.D., these petty principalities appear to have beeb incorporated into the Kingdom of Nepal

No clear reference to the boundaries of Nepal during the Lichchhevi period is available. According to the Prayag inscription (circa 350 A.D.) of the Gupta Emperor Semundra Gupta, Nepal denoted the region situated between Kamrup(Assam) and Kirtipur (Kumaun).13 The Tista river forms a natural boundary between Kumrup and Nepal, although this is a matter of speculation. The Changu inscription of the Lichchhevi King Kanndev of Nepal (464-491 A.D.) describes how he crossed the Gandaki river and conquered Mallapuri.14 the Mall Kingdom of Parbat on the banks of the Kali river had not been founded at that time. It thus appears that this Mallapuri was situated in the Karnalli basin. Yaug Chwang, the famous Chinese traveler, who visited Nepal during the first half of the 7th century, states that Nepal covered an area of 4,000 li15 or 1,333 square miles. This shows that Nepal at that time extended at least from the Tista river to Sakhika-Lekh, that is, from Ilam to Pyuthan. King Jayapid of Kashmir invaded Nepal at the beginning of the 9th century.16 He was resisted by King Varmadev of Nepal on the banks of a river beyond the Gandaki. This big river may be the Bheri of the Karnali. But Nepal's decline had at in after the end

11 There is reference in the Karnadigvijaya Parva, but this is clearly a later addition.

12 Sabhaparva, 31-15.

13 Fleet, Gupta Inscriptions, p. 8.

14 Le Nepal, Vol. III, P. 14.

15 Bill, Budhist Records of The Western world, Vol. II, P. 80.

16 Rajatarangini, chaptr 4, 530-545.



of the Lichchhevi regime and the founding of the Baish regime in 880. during the 5 centuries of this regime, Tibet gradually encroached on its northern frontiers and it appears that Nepal had already lost the hill regions east of the Sunghlila. The Malla kingdom in the west had already become independent. The Karnat Kings of Simraungrh had founded a new kingdom in the eastern Tarai south of Nepal. The thus comprised only the hill regions from the Singhlila to the sakhika-lekh.

For one century before its collapse, the Baish regime suffered from internal conflict and external aggression. In 1380 A.D., the last Baish King, Arjun Dev or Arjun Mall, was doposed by his ministers and replaced by a Rajput Called Sthiti Mall. During a period of 200 years, the kingdom of Nepal split into nearly 30 fragments, including Kathmandu, Gorkha, Lamjung, Tanahu and Makwanpur. Even then, the Kings of Kathmandu, Lalitpur Bhaktapur and Dolakha, which wre situated north of the Mahabharat mountain between the Trishuli and Tamakosi rivers, used to describes their territories as Nepal. This is the reason why the Nepal Mahatmya describes this region as Nepal. Later the kings of Dolakha began to call themselves Dolakhadhipati (lord of Dolakha) and not Nepaldhipati (lord of Nepal).17 The eastern boundary of Nepal thus contracted to the Sunkoshi river. Only the Mall Kings of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur called themselves Kings of Nepal until the end. The Kings of Gorkha, Makwanpur and other principalities regarded their territories as situated outside of Nepal.

In 1769 A.D. King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha founded the present Kingdom of Nepal. Since then, the territories comprising Nepal continued to expand. By 1792 A.D., the entire territory from the Tista river in the east to the Alaknanda river in the west began to be called Nepal. By 1805 A.D., the boundaries of Nepal had reached the Sutlej river in the West. In English maps published in 1811, Sikkim, Kumaun, Garhwal and Simla too have been placed inside Nepal. In 1816, the baoudaries of Nepal again contracted to the Mechi river and the Singhlila range in the east and the Mahakali river in the west. Nepal now denotes the territory situated within these boundaries. The inhabitants of this territory are called Nepalis and the Khaskura or Parbatiya) language, which is the national language, is called Nepali.
Nepal owes its name to the Nepar community. But with the passage of time, all connection between the two has been severed. The Nepali language ahd no connection with the language spoken by the Nepars. The term Newr might have been derived from Nepar, but the modern Newars have only linguistic affinities with the Nepars. In other words, the Newari language has evolved from the language spoken by the Nepars. But there is no evidence
17 See coin of Jayandra Singh Dev in Nepal Museum.

that the modern Newars are the descendants of the Nepars. The general belief that they may be due to the fact that all those speak the Newar language are regarded as Newars, and that no other definition is available. This leads uas to a discussion of the Newari language.

Philologists have expressed the view that the Newari language, like the Yakthumbe, Khambu, Sunuwar, Thami, Murmi and other dialects spoken in the hill regions of Nepal, belongs to the Tibet-Burman family.18 There dialects have no relationship whatsoever with Sanskrit, Hindi, Nepali and other Aryan language of India. Of course many words of the Indian Aryan and Tibetan language have infiltrated into the Newari language in the same manner as Arabic, Persian and English words have infiltrated into the Nepali language. But Newari verbs and numerals have no relationship with the Aryan languages. The rules of grammer and syntax too are different. According to Grierson, these are off shoots of the Tebetan language. But the fact is that there is as much difference between the Tibetan and Newari languages as with the Yakthumba and other dialects.

These non-Aryan dialects of the Himalayan regions may be divided into two categories, pronominal and non-pronominal, according to whether or not pronouns are put together with nouns and verbs. Thus in the Yakthumba dialecdt of the Tamor-Khola area, the sentence '' a man had two sons'' is written as follows:-

Lochochha Yami Thik-le Nechchhi Ku- sa Biya-Chhi.

In this sentence:-

Lochchha means some

Yami '' Man

Thik-le ''' In one.

Nechchhi '' Two

Ku-sa '' His sons

Biya-chhi '' They were
Thus the pronouns ''Ku'' and Chhi'' are joined with a noun and verb respectively.
18 Linguistic Survey fof India, Vol. III, Part II.


In the Khmbu dialect, the same sentence is read as follows:-

Tik-Pu Min-Po Sak-Pu Yu-Chu Mo.

In this sentence:

Nik-Pu Means One

Min-Po '' Mna's

Sak-Pu '' two

Yu-Chu '' his sons

Mo '' were.
Here the pronoun ''Yu'' is joined only with the noun.

In Newari language, this sentence is read as follows:-

Chhahma Manuya Nihma Kaya Du.
Here pronouns are not joined to nouns or verbs. But the word ''Hma'' has been added to the numeral (Chha) to denote an animate object. The verb ''du'' is used also in the present tense.

The dialect spoken by Magers, who follow the Hindu religion, by Gurungs, Murmis and Syarpas, who follow Buddhism, and Newars, who follow both religions,are all non-pronominal. The dialects of Yakthumbas, Khambus Dhimals, Thamis, Hayus, Chapangs and other communities who follow neither religion are pronominal. The Sunuwars started adopting the Hindu religion aftr 1829 A.D. At that time, (Brian) Hodgsson found their dialect to be pronominal. But 50 years later, Grierson found that it was non-pronominal.1 This change during such a short period appears to have been the result of intercourse with Brahmans who were religions teachers and spoke the non-pronominal Nepali language. The Tibetan language too is non-pronominal. It is speculated that the Gurung, Murmi and Syarpa dialects have become non-pronominal as result of intercourse with Tibetan teachers. The Munda dialects of the Santhals and other communities inhabiting the hill regions of Bihar are pronominal. Philologists have included these languages in the Tibetan-Burman family. The Sataars inhabiting the eastern Tarai also speak a dialect similar to that spoken by the Santhals. Hence it may be appropriate to designate all the pronominal; dialects currently in use in Nepal as Tibet-

19 Linguistic Survey of India, Vol. III, part I, P. 199.

Burman. As stated above, the community speaking Tibeto-Burman dialects is called Kirats in the Sanskrit language.20 the dialects spoken by Magars and other communities were also included in the Kirat group, since they are pronominal. The opinion has therefore been expressed that the Nepar dialects too belonged to the Kirat group.

While no specimens of the Npari dialect are available, there can be no doubt that the non-Sanskrit words found in the stone inscriptions in the Sanskrit language left by Lichchhavi Kings in Nepal(Kathmandu) Valley are Nepari. They are all proper nouns. Hrere are some examples of such non-Sanskrit words.

The unpublished stone inscription left by Ratan Sangha at Deopatan coantain these words.

Dulang Khepung Hyaspring Dungprang Khenam.

All these are means of villages.

The word ''Khripung'', which is the name of a village, appears in the stone inscription of Shiva Deva found at Tulachhe Tole in Bhaktpur. This inscription has already been published.

The stone inscription located at Taujhya Tole in Lalitpur, which dates back to the period of Jishnu Gupta, contains the names of these villages: Thagwoo, Gangul, Asinko, Khadpring and Kankulang. This inscription too has been published.

The words ''Katung'' and ''Phirang'', which too are names of villages, are mentioned in the stone inscription (still unpublished) if Shiva Deva at Satungal. This stone inscription also contain the non-Snskrit words ''Kattarak'' and ''Kudhuthre'' which refer to taxes.
The words ''Bhatta'', ''Map-Choka'' and ''Pitalja'', which too refer to taxes, occur in the stone inscription of Lalitpur dating to the period of Narendra Dev.

The proper nouns appearing in the above-mentioned stone inscriptions, which were installed nearly 500 years after the destruction of the kingdom of the Nepar community, are harse-sounding. They might have been move so at the time when the Nepar Kingdom was in existence. Even now, words in the pronominal dialects sound very harsh. As a matter of fact, it is characteristic of every pronominal word to sound harsh. The more the
20 Northey and Morris: The Gurkhas, P. 66.

dialect ceases to be pronominal, the less harsh-sounding it becomes. Thanks to the impact of the Aryan languages of India, Newari as they are spoken now-a-days is more sweet-dounding than even the Nepali language. This proves that the Newari language was once pronominal, though it is now non-pronominal, and that it was spoken by the Kirat community. Physiognomy is the primary criterion for identifying the race to which any particular community belongs. The Aryans have generally a white a wheastist complexion, are tall, and heavily bearded, have a long and sharp nose, a wide forehead and big eyes. But the Aryans who came from the east gradually lost such physiognomic features as they began coning under the influence of the local climate and environs and started establishing matrimonial relations with non-Aryans. The complexion of the non-Aryan of the south eastern regions vary according to the countries inhabited by them. The complexion of the non-Aryan Kirats inhabiting the Himalayan regions is of a Mongolian type. That is so say, they have a flat nose, with prominent cheek-bones their face is flat, and their eyes are small. They do not have much hair on their face. In the cae of Kirats inhabiting Nepal, however, these features are fully found among some of them and partially aming some others. The second criterion is language or dialect. Those who speak the languages of the Aryan group are identified are Aryans, while those who speak the Kirat dialect belong to the Kirat community. There are, however, instances in ehich communities belonging to one race have forgotten their own languages and adopted those spoken by other races. One example is the Tharu community of the Tarai region. The Tharus have a Mongolian complexion but they speak the Aryan language of India, while the India Aryans are divided into different castes as Brahman and Kshatriya, the Tharus are not so divided. As such, the Tharus are regarded as Kirat community, even though they speak Aryan dialects.

Communities aming the Kirats are distinguished by the dialects spoken by them. Byt there is no restriction whatsoever in commenaal or merital relations among members of any community speaking a particular dialect. All membersof the Magar community are equal. The Gurungs are said to be divided into Charjat and Sorhajat. But this division is not of any significance. The murmis are divided into 12 different sub-communities and 18 different castes, but this division is of recent origin. The same is […] of the Sunuwrs, who are said to be divided into 10 sub-communities and 12 different castes. The other Kirat communities such as the Themi, the Haua, the Chepang, the Baramu and the

Dhimal, have the same equality a the Magars. The Yakthumbas and the Khambus speak different dialects. […] belonging to two different communities, they share the same kitchen and establish matrimonial relations among themselves.



but the Newars, though their mather-tongue is Kirat, practice casteism and untouchability like the Aryan of India. Their physiognomy conatains Aryan features. Hence it is definite that the Newars do not belong to the Kirat community. In order to show how this Aryan community moved into the heartland of Nepal, ceased speaking its pen language, adopted the Newari language, and thus came to be known as Newars, it is necessary to go back into a certain period in te history of Nepal.

During the second century A.D., missionaries sent by Ashok visited the heartland of Nepal and started converting Nepars to Buddhis. As it was difficult for old persons from the warm regions of Bihars and Uttar Pradesh to stand the cold climate of Nepal, young Budhist monks and nuns were sent to Nepal. These monls and nuns propagated Buddhism and gradually mixed themselves with the Nepars, thus infusing Aryan blood among them. Tis process continued for along time. The Newars then came to be known as Newars, who ere cultured and civilized. They made considerable progress in the fields of agriculture, sculpture, etc. But having lost their fighting spirit as result of their conversion to Buddhism, the Newars were [……] conquered by the Lichchivis from Bihar. The Lichchhavis, who had entered into Nepal during the middle of the first century, custed the Newars from seats of power, and drove them off from one Newar settlement after another. The Lichchhavis ruled Nepal Valley for 800 years. The Newars fled and lived among the neighboring Murmis. The Newars, who thus mixed themselves with the Murmis, came to be known a ''Nyarwa''. Those Newrs who continued to stay in Nepal valley were known as Paharis. But they had to live a miserable life. The number of such Newars still surviving is very small. It is likely that there will be no Pahari Newar in the next 2000 years. They follow Buddhism. But being poor, they cannot invite Gudhaju priests to perform their religion rites. They speak the Newari language. Grierson [..] wrong in staying that the dialect spoken by them is distinct from the Newari language. He would not have committed such a mistake at all had he got a specimen of the Newari dialect as spoken in Dolakha.

The Lichchhacis were described by the Brahmans of Uttar Pradesh as degraded Kshatriyas.21 The Lichchhavis, on the other hand, regarded themselves a sacred as the water of the Gangas.22 As they wre adherents of Hinduism, they brought with them people belonging to such diverse castes as Brahmans, Baniyas, farmers, sculptors, Dums and Dusads. Groups of people continued to migrate into Nepal Valley from Bihar and Utter Pradesh during subsequent periods of time. As they migrated in small groups, instead of in large ones, they forgot their own dialects and adopted the Newari language.
21 Manusmriti, Chapter 10 Stanza 22.

22 Stone –inscription of Jaya Dev II, located at Pashupati. Indian antiquary, Vol. IX.

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