Khas language and regional dialects (e.g; Doteli language) in Nepal
Kumaoni and Garhwali in Uttarakhand
Related ethnic groups
Pahari people, Kumaoni people, Garhwali people, Other Indo-Aryan
Khas people (Nepali: खस) also called
Khas Arya (Nepali:
खस आर्य) are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic native to the
Nepal as well as Kumaon and Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand
and speak the
Khas language (modern Nepali language). They were also
known as 'Parbatiyas' and 'Paharis'. The term "Khas" has now become
obsolete, as the
Khas people have adopted other identities such as
Chhetri and Bahun, because of the negative stereotypes associated with
the term Khas.
The hill 'Khas' tribe who are in large part associated with the
Gorkhali invaders are addressed with the term Partyā or Parbaté
meaning hill-dweller by Newars. The tribal designation
to in some contexts only to the upper-class
Khas group, i.e. the Bahun
and the Chhetri, but in other contexts may also include the low status
(generally untouchable) occupational
Khas groups such as Kāmi
(blacksmiths), Damāi (tailors), Sārki(shoemakers and leather
3 Notable people
4 See also
7 External links
Khas man of Nepal, as depicted in The People of
The origin of the
Khas people is uncertain, they are expected to
arrive in the western reaches of
Nepal in beginning of first
millennium B.C from the north-west. They have been connected to the
Khasas mentioned in the ancient
Hindu literature, as well as the
medieval Khasa Malla kingdom. It is likely that they absorbed
people from different ethnic groups during this immigration.
Khas were divided into "
Khas Brahmins" (also called
Bahuns and "
Khas Rajputs" (also called Chhetris). In the Kumaon and
Garhwal regions of
Uttarakhand in India, the
Khas Brahmins and Khas
Rajputs had a lower social status than the other Brahmins and Rajputs.
However, in the present-day western Nepal, they had the same status as
the other Brahmins and Rajputs, possibly as a result of their
political power in the Khasa Malla kingdom.
Copper Inscription by King of Doti, Raika Mandhata Shahi at Saka Era
1612 (शाके १६१२) (or 1747 Bikram Samvat) in old Khas
Until the 19th century, the Gorkhali referred to their country as Khas
Khas country"). As they annexed the various neighbouring
countries (such as
Newar of the
Newar people) to the Gorkha kingdom,
the terms such as "Khas" and "Newar" ceased to be used as the names of
countries. The 1854 legal code (Muluki Ain), promulgated by the Nepali
Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana, himself a Khas, no longer
referred to "Khas" as a country, rather as a jāt (species or
community) within the Gorkha kingdom.
Shah dynasty of the Gorkha Kingdom, as well as the succeeding Rana
dynasty, spoke the
Khas language (now called the Nepali language).
However, they claimed to be Rajputs of western Indian origin, rather
than the native
Khas Kshatriyas. Since outside Nepal, the Khas
social status was seen as inferior to that of the Rajputs, the rulers
started describing themselves as natives of the Hill country, rather
than that of the
Khas country. Most people, however, considered the
Khas and Parbatiya (Pahari or Hill people) as synonymous.
Khas people originally referred to their language as
Khas speech"), which was also known as Parbatiya ("language of the
Hill country"). The
Newar people used the term "Gorkhali" as a name
for this language, as they identified it with the Gorkhali conquerors.
The Gorkhalis themselves started using this term to refer to their
language at a later stage. In an attempt to disassociate himself
Khas past, the Rana monarch Jung Bahadur decreed that the
term Gorkhali be used instead of
Khas kurā to describe the language.
Meanwhile, the British Indian administrators had started using the
term "Nepal" (after Newar) to refer to the Gorkha kingdom. In the
1930s, the Gorkha government also adopted this term to describe their
country. Subsequently, the
Khas language also came to be known as
Jung Bahadur also re-labeled the
Khas jāt as
Chhetri in present-day
Nepal. Originally, the
Brahmin immigrants from the plains
Khas as low-caste because of the latter's neglect of
high-caste taboos (such as alcohol abstinence). The upper-class
Khas people commissioned the
Bahun (Brahmin) priests to initiate them
into the high-caste
Chhetri order, and adopted high-caste manners.
Khas families, which could not afford to (or did not care to)
Bahun priests also attempted to assume the
Chhetri status, but
were not recognized as such by others. They are now called Matwali
Khas people of Nepal, as depicted in The People of
Khas women, photographed in 1880
Khas language, shown as "Nepali", in purple
Because of the adoption of the "Chhetri" identity, the term
rapidly becoming obsolete. According to
Dor Bahadur Bista (1991),
Khas have vanished from the ethnographic map of Nepal".
Khas people are referred as
Brahmin (commonly called
Khas Bahun) and
Rajput (commonly called as
Khas Parbatiya peoples at wedding in Narayangarh, Chitwan
Procession of Nepali
Hindu Wedding; groom wears Dhaka dress used only
Khas Parbattia community
Senior offering Dashain Tika; a feature of
Khas Parbattia community
Jhakri, a shamanistic practice evident in modern
Khas people in
In Kumaon and Garhwal regions of
Uttarakhand in India, too, the term
Khas has become obsolete. The
Khas (or Khasia) people of Kumaon
adopted the self-designation Kumaoni Jiagahari Rajput, after being
elevated to the
Rajput status by the Chand kings. The term
almost obsolete, and people resent being addressed as
Khas because of
the negative stereotypes associated with this term.
Bir Bhadra Thapa
Sanukaji Amar Singh Thapa
Bhimsen Thapa and Thapa dynasty
Jung Bahadur Rana and Rana dynasty
^ Khadka, Suman (25 Feb 2015). "Drawing caste lines". The Kathmandu
Post. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
The Kathmandu Post -PM briefs international community".
kathmandupost.ekantipur.com. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
^ a b Whelpton 2005, p. 31.
Dor Bahadur Bista 1991, p. 15.
^ John T Hitchcock 1978, pp. 112-119.
^ John T Hitchcock 1978, p. 113.
^ a b John T Hitchcock 1978, pp. 116-119.
^ a b Richard Burghart 1984, p. 107.
^ a b
Dor Bahadur Bista 1991, p. 37.
^ Richard Burghart 1984, p. 117.
^ a b Richard Burghart 1984, p. 119.
^ Richard Burghart 1984, p. 118.
^ Richard Burghart 1984, pp. 118-119.
^ Susan Thieme 2006, p. 83.
^ a b
Dor Bahadur Bista 1991, p. 48.
^ William Brook Northey & C. J. Morris 1928, p. 123.
^ K. S. Singh 2005, p. 851.
^ a b c Pradhan 2012, p. 22.
Dor Bahadur Bista (1991). Fatalism and Development: Nepal's Struggle
for Modernization. Orient Blackswan.
John T Hitchcock (1978). "An Additional Perspective on the Nepali
Caste System". In James F. Fisher. Himalayan Anthropology: The
Indo-Tibetan Interface. Walter de Gruyter.
K. S. Singh (2005). People of India: Uttar Pradesh. Anthropological
Survey of India. ISBN 978-81-7304-114-3.
Pradhan, Kumar L. (2012), Thapa Politics in Nepal: With Special
Reference to Bhim Sen Thapa, 1806–1839, New Delhi: Concept
Publishing Company, p. 278, ISBN 9788180698132
Richard Burghart (1984). "The Formation of the Concept of Nation-State
in Nepal". The Journal of Asian Studies. 44 (1): 101–125.
Susan Thieme (2006). Social Networks and Migration: Far West Nepalese
Labour Migrants in Delhi. LIT Verlag Münster.
William Brook Northey; C. J. Morris (1928). The Gurkhas: Their
Manners, Customs, and Country. Asian Educational Services.
Whelpton, John (2005). A History of Nepal. Cambridge University Press.
Khas people of Uttarakhand
Ethnic groups in
Nepal by by language family
Nepalese Central Tibetic
Lhomi (Sing Saapa)
Sunuwar and Rai
Lama clan (Tamang)
Over 25 distinct castes, major being Shresthas, Chathariya, Jyapu,
Rajopadhyaya Brahmins, Chitrakar, Khadgi, Manandhar,
Dhobi, Pode, Ranjitkar, Mali, etc.
of a distinct origin
Kisan of Oraon Sadri
Other peoples (M, D, i)
Dudh and Dhelki Khadiya/Bankariya
Mountain people (Buddhist/Animism)
Hill people (Eastern Paharis and Newars, Hindu/Buddhist)
Kirati (East, mostly Mundhum/Buddhist)
Terai (Madhesi, Tharu, Danuwar and Dhimal) (Lowland)
Nepali Muslim (South)
About one third of
Madhesi people are of Indian ancestry while the
other two thir