Khasas were a north western tribe mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. They were probably the modern-day Kazakhs found predominantly in Kazakhstan a Central Asian Republic. It is not clear if the Khasas mentioned in Mahabharata were a migrant group from Khasakhstan or original Khasakhs. They were mentioned as barbarous tribes and to have arrived from diverse realms. Historical evidence suggests Khasa or Khas were Non-Vedic Aryans who entered Nepal and north west India from central Asia. They were mountain or hill dwellers. Majority of Chettris and Bahuns of Nepal are supposed to be their descendents(please refer to Khas Kingdom)
References in Mahabharata
Khasas arrived from diverse realms
Khasas were mentioned along with Chivukas and Pulindas and Chinas, Hunas, Pahlavas, Sakas, Yavanas, Savaras, Paundras, Kiratas, Kanchis, Dravidas, Sinhalas and Keralas. All these tribes were described as Mlechha tribes. Here they were described as the protectors of sage Vasistha and his cow against the attack of king Viswamitra. Khasas were described as a barbarous tribe along with the Chivukas (MBh 1,177)
At (7,11) the Khasas were mentioned as arrived from diverse realms. Khasas were mentioned along with the Malavas, Daradas, Sakas and Yavanas. Here they were mentioned to be vanquished by Vasudeva Krishna.
At (8,8) the Gandharas, the Madrakas, the Matsyas, the Trigartas, the Tanganas, the Khasas, the Pancalas, the Videhas, the Kulindas, the Kasi-kosalas, the Suhmas, the Angas, the Nishadhas, the Pundras, the Kichakas, the Vatsas, the Kalingas, the Taralas, the Asmakas, and the Rishikas were mentioned to be vanquished by Karna.
Pullindas and Khasas were mentioned together at (12,150)
Khasas in Kurukshetra War
The Pulindas, the Khasas, the Bahlikas, the Nishadas, the Andhakas, the Tanganas, the Southerners, and the Bhojas were mentioned as battling with the Pandya king who was on the side of the Pandavas. (8,20)
The Tusharas, the Yavanas, the Khasas, the Darvabhisaras, the Daradas, the Sakas, the Kamathas, the Ramathas, the Tanganas the Andhrakas, the Pulindas, the Kiratas of fierce prowess, the Mlecchas, the Mountaineers were mentioned as fighting for Duryodhana. (8,73)
- Khas Kingdom by Prof Surya Mani Adhikari,Tribhuvan University,Kathmandu,Nepal