Talk:Newar caste system

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General copy-edit. Removed a few instances of editorialization. The article still has several unsubstantiated claims, now marked as needing citations or clarification. Macwhiz (talk) 00:53, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Caste list[edit]

Before performing my copy-edit, I saw that the page had a section apparently for a list of castes, but no such list actually existed. A subject expert should add a ranked list of castes, from highest to lowest. Macwhiz (talk) 00:53, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

See http://web.comhem.se/~u18515267/CHAPTERIV.htm. Not sure if that's entirely reliable, but there it is.Flyte35 (talk) 04:23, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

More resources[edit]

Newar castes again by Stephen Greenwold. I hope this helps. Komitsuki (talk) 13:58, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Clan groups section/table[edit]

I spent quite a bit of time on the table of clan groups, separating different types of data that were combined into the same column (surnames and notes regarding them), as well as correctly using rowspans to group different surnames for each caste (instead of the "hack" of inserting <br> tags between surname groups). This is the correct way to use a table, correctly showing which data are associated with each other. Additionally, I tried to resolve some confusion that was probably the result of an incorrect edit of the data when it was copied from the source, including two castes that were grouped into one, and mention of castes again in the notes. Also, I took care of some other MOS problems (mis-use of quotes, linking, wording, etc.).

Slimshady995 disagreed, reverting all of it, with the edit summary "sorry the older one was much less clustered; plus the divisions you made gave the implication that some surnames were "higher" despite being of same caste"

If you mean "cluttered", the only differences in the presentation are, first, that the notes are (correctly, IMO) separated from the surnames so it's clear that they are notes. Because of the large number of non-English words in the notes, for non-Newari people, this helps to keep the two from being confused. As far as implication of different position of some surnames within the same caste being higher, I disagree. They are in the same order they were before. The second difference is that there is a horizontal line between them, clearly separating the surname groups, with the notes that refer to them, from other surname groups. There is no implication of seniority (at least none that was not there before).

While I believe this is the correct way to display the data, I would appreciate someone with access to the source verifying that the data correctly matches the source. There was a fair amount of confusion about which formatting differences (i.e. bold, italic) were stylistic, and differences in style that were simply accidental versus those that were intentional with some sort of (non-described) meaning. (Specifics to follow below...) —[AlanM1(talk)]— 17:48, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Table details[edit]

The formatting I used in the table generally follows the MOS (I believe) and is as follows:

  • The primary caste name in the Caste column is in bold. Any other caste names, as well as any other non-English words in any other column are in italics.
  • Single quotes (') have no use, and there is no reason to use double quotes (") since any proper names are capitalized and any foreign words are italicized.
  • Hyphens have no use. Dashes may be useful in some comments, but there are no current uses.
  • Multiple castes or surnames are separated by commas (,).
  • Multiple notes/comments are separated by semicolons (;).
  • Because of confusion over which caste names are just colloquial or language variations for the same caste and which are actually names of different castes, I decided against using parentheses that might have been used for the variations case, and just listed them separated by commas.

Here are some points of confusion I had with the old version:

  • The Chhathariya Srēṣṭha (Shivamargi) and Pāñcthariya Srēṣṭha (Shivamargi) castes had no horizontal line between them in the caste column, yet the position and spacing of things in the occupation and surname columns implied a line all the way across the table between the Maskey... and Shrestha surname groups (i.e. Maskey, etc. belonging to Chhathariya Srēṣṭha and Shrestha belonging to Pāñcthariya Srēṣṭha. Is this correct?

—[AlanM1(talk)]— 23:11, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

(time passes, more edits occur ...)

... And in the new version 625124180 by Slimshady995, dated 2014-09-11 18:23:36 (UTC):

  • We don't seem to have a clear statement of this, but is it correct that Buddha margi (and/or Buddhamargi) refers to all Buddhist Newar people? Similarly, does Shiva margi (and/or Shivamargi) refer to all Hindu Newar people? If so, isn't it correct that one or the other applies to all of the castes, and not just the couple they appear on? Or are there Buddhist and Hindu versions of those other castes, on equal footing with each other?
  • The caste names in the first column seem to be a mix of transliteration styles with diacritics (e.g. Pāñcthariya Srēṣṭha), and those without (e.g. Pancthari). There could also be the possibility that some of caste names are what the group calls itself, while others are what other groups call them. Shouldn't we stick to one translit and specify which group/language the word is from?
  • In Rajopadhyaya, Sharma, exactly what is meant by the note, "Referred to as Deo Bhaju or Deva Brahman, Purohit for Hindu Newars"?
  • In surname lists like "Maskey ..." and "Mulmi ...", there does not seem to be a reason to have them ending with "etc." any more than any other. All of these lists, by their own admission, are incomplete, so the "etc." really is implied on all of them, isn't it?
  • On the first line of the Pāñcthariya Srēṣṭha caste, the surname column contains "'Shrestha' proper". This column is supposed to contain just surnames. Why the single quotes (') and "proper"?
  • Similarly, on the surname value "Thimi Shresthas, Dhulikhel Shresthas, outside Valley Shrestha", the "Thimi" and "outside Valley" don't belong.
  • At Chhathariya Srēṣṭha, the occupations are Royal family, nobles and courtiers. However, the last group of surnames for that cast, starting with Mackey, includes the note "Courtiers and administrators". Should the occupations of the caste include administrators, or is this surname group (or one of its surnames) mis-placed? Similarly, the surname above it, "Vaidya", has the note, "Traditional Ayurveda physicians", even though physicians are not among the listed occupations of the caste. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 14:03, 12 September 2014 (UTC)


AlanM1 Hey. Sorry for the late reply. I will help you with whatever insights I have on this subject. I'll just list down my responses accordingly to the questions you asked-

The Chhathariya Srēṣṭha (Shivamargi) and Pāñcthariya Srēṣṭha (Shivamargi) are hierarchical i.e. the former is suppsoed to be higher than the latter in the traditional sense. Maskey and above belong to Chhthariya and Shrestha and below belong to Panchthariya. The confusion maybe in the Srēṣṭha and Shrestha. Srēṣṭha is overall caste including both Chhathariya and Panchthariya. But Shrestha here is a surname of mostly Pancthariya. The thing is many Panchthariya use "Shrestha" which even till 50 years ago was an exclusively Chhathariya Srēṣṭha surname. Such was a scale of this trend of adopting the surname "Shrestha" (I would guess to project themselves as part of Chhathariya Srēṣṭha caste and move up socially) that traditional Chhathariya these days are hesitant to marry their sons and daughters with a person named Shrestha, especially if she/he is from outside Kathmandu Valley

About the Hindu-margi and Buddha-margi. Historically only higher-castes people belonging to either of these religions referred to themselves or were referred to by lower-castes as such. So generally it was not so much as religion denoting terms but more of social status denoting terms. So when someone said Buddha margi it was to be assumed that person was Bajrachara Shakya or of Uraya caste. Lower castes (Jyapus and lower) usually call themselves Hindu although in true sense there is a lot of Buddhism,Animism and local folklore are mixed in it.

No idea on the transliteration although different researchers use different names. Some say Pancthari, others Pancthariya or Pancthare.

"Referred to as Deo Bhaju or Deva Brahman, Purohit for Hindu Newars" -

Newars never call people of Rajopadhyaya caste like "Hello there! Mr.Rajopadhyaya". They use the honorofic Deo(pronounced Dhyo) Bajye which literally means "God grandfather" denoting the Brahmin's "superiority". "Deva Brahman" is less local more Sanksritized version but carries the same meaning as Deva means God and Brahman is the caste name. Newars do not refer to any other Brahman (Khey Bahun or Madhesi Brahmin) as "Dhyo Bajye" so that distinction is made between Newars and non-Newars.

I guess the etc. is just to signify there are many others as well. The surnames listed in all of the castes of that table are in fact only the renowned or popular ones. There are literally over 500 surnames of Jyapu caste alone. Chhathariyas too have probably 50-60 or more.

'Shrestha' and 'proper' again to signify the very well known fact among Newars that a good proportion of people who write their names as Shrestha are in fact not Shresthas. If you know about Indian names then something similar to this would be something like Brahmins can write Sharma instead of their older traditional regional Brahmin names to signify where-ever they go that they are Brahmins. Similarly, only Shrestha Newars (i.e. Chhathare and Pancthare) can take up the name Shrestha, not other Newars. But Chhathare mostly stuck with their old names while Pancthare adopted the name Shrestha. But at the same time hordes of non-Shresthas also took this name.

Wouldn't want to offend anyone from Thimi or Dhulikhel but Newars of Kathmandu and Lalitpur and Bhaktapur consider people who write "Shrestha" from these places as Panctharis. Also, people from inside valley consider those who write Shrestha from outside valley to be Panchtharis unless they prove otherwise (like marriage patterns, social/wealth status, family genealogies)

Courtiers, nobles and administrators include all the wide-ranging jobs including Ayurveda physicians and administration. For spatial reasons it's not possible to include all the traditional jobs of Chhatahriyas which also includes military generals, prime ministers, secretaries, treasurers, advisors, district officers, even party/festival overseers, and many others. So you get the point? Overall, it is a position of leadership and administration hence those positions written.

Slimshady995 (talk) 17:17, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Sarma and Jha[edit]

also @Macwhiz: I don't think sarma and jha can ever be regarded as Newar.Nor they neither other call them Newar.And also They neither follow newar cultures nor can speak newari then how can it be written that they are newar.Jojolpa (talk) 03:09, 26 October 2014 (UTC)


Jojolpa if you are a Newar you will know that Sharma or Rajopadhyaya are an inseperable caste of Newars. All our karma kanda and purohitai are conducted by Rajopadhyaya or in Newari called Dhyo bajes. Yes the new generation of Rajopadhyayas maynot know Newari but I have seen/know many Rajopadhyaya who are 100% Newar, speak Newari and are proud to be called Newars. I have also seen one or two of them who once said to me they prefer to be called as Brahmins only, but majority of the people I have met acknowledge the fact that they are Newars. The problem is in people's mindset and thinking that Newars are 1 single caste when in fact it is a nation with dozens of caste comprising the 4 jaatis - Brahmins down to Sudras.

I knew 2 Jha surname Newars as well. They spoke better and shuddha Newari than me, and were from Bhaktapur. They also told me they were Newars but also pointed to me that they were Brahmins. Again, point here is that Newar is not 1 single caste. To non Newars it can be shocking to hear how Newar can be Brahmin and vice versa, but in fact, this is largely due to the very poor education system, as well as Newar Brahman population is very small compared to Khae bahuns so this might be the reason why this issue is never really mentioned or known to outsiders.

Nepalichoro255 (talk) 17:21, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Request[edit]

CorporateM may I have your attention please? Sharma and Jha should be removed from this article because they are not newar.They being newar doesn't contain any citation in this article and noone call them newar as well.Mayoj (talk) 01:49, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

Just because you haven't experienced it or are unaware of doesn't mean it is false, isn't it? Here are some citations -

http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft6k4007rd&chunk.id=d0e12515&toc.depth=1&toc.id=d0e12327&brand=ucpress;query=anthropology

http://nepalitimes.com/article/nation/nation-bhaktapur,597

Nepalichoro255 (talk) 08:36, 18 November 2014 (UTC)