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Chhetri

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Chhetri / Kshetri
छेत्री / क्षेत्री
Regions with significant populations
   Nepal 43,98,053 (16.6% of Nepal) (2011 census)[1]
Languages
Nepali(Khas-Kura) as mother tongue[2]
Religion
Almost all are Hindu[3]
Related ethnic groups
Khas people, Thakuri, Bahun
Selected ethnic groups of Nepal; Chhetri are members of the wider Pahari community (yellow).

Chhetri (Kshetri, or Chhettri) (Hindi: छेत्री , Nepali: क्षेत्री), synonymous with Kshetri (Nepali: क्षेत्री) and Khatri (Nepali: खत्री) are Nepali speaking peoples belonging to Khas people, an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group along with some Brahmins (Bahun), and Thakuris.[4][5][page needed]

Chhetri is considered corrupted form of the Sanskrit word Kshatriya.[6] According to 1854 Legal Code (Muluki Ain) of Nepal, Chhetris are the social group among the sacred thread bearers (Tagadhari) and twice-born people of the Hindu tradition.[7] Chhetris claim to be of the Kshatriya varna.[4] They make up 16.6% of Nepal's population according to the census of 2011, making them the most populous caste or ethnic community in Nepal. The majority of Chhetris speak Nepali[2], an Indo-Aryan language.[8][page needed][9]

Major Indo-Aryan languages of South Asia; Chhetri are native speaker of the Northern Aryan language Nepali (Purple)

Chhetris are primarily Hindu (99.48% according to the 2001 Census).[3] Those Chhetri who follow Hinduism may also follow Buddhism. The ancient religion of the Chhetri is Masto which uses nature worship and can still be seen in western Nepal's Karnali district and in India's Gorkhaland. In Nepal's hill districts the Chhetri population rises to 41% compared to 31% Brahmin and 27% other castes. This greatly exceeds the Kshatriya portion in most regions with predominantly Hindu populations.[10][11]

History

They are thought to be connected to the Khasas mentioned in the ancient Indian literature and the medieval Khasa kingdom.[12][13][page needed]

The Chhetris first settled in Sinja Valley of Karnali in Nepal.[citation needed] The ancient name of this Himalayan region was Khas-des. There are several recognized ways to enter the Chhetri caste apart from Jharra (pure) Chettri:

  • Having nothing but ancestors ultimately traceable to Kshatriyas.[citation needed]
  • The child of a Chhetri father and a woman from lower but "clean" castes is still Chhetri.[citation needed]
  • An arbitrary community can start following Chhetri caste rules (especially in diet), hiring Brahmin to conduct certain rituals and even writing dubious genealogy. Over generations these claims of Chhetri affinity become plausible to broader audiences.[14]

In the early modern history of Nepal, Chhetris played a key role in the Unification of Nepal, providing the core of the Gorkhali army of the mid-18th century.[15] Bir Bhadra Thapa was a Thapa of Chhetri group[16] and leading Bharadar during Unification of Nepal.[17] His grandson Bhimsen Thapa became Prime Minister of Nepal.[17]

Bhimsen Thapa, a leading Chhetri Prime Minister

During the monarchy, Chhetris continued to dominate the ranks of the Nepalese Army, police, Nepalese government administration, and one regiment of the Indian Army.[15]

Society

Mathabar Singh Thapa, a Kshetri Prime Minister & nephew of Bhimsen Thapa

The most prominent feature of Nepalese Chhetri society has been the ruling Shah dynasty (1768–2008), the Rana Prime Ministers (1846–1953), Pandey (Clan of Kalu Pande),Thapa (Family of Bhimsen Thapa), Thapa Kings of Jumla, Khadka Kings of Gorkha, Basnet Kings of Khaptad, Family of Abhiman Singh Basnet, Malla Kings of Khas Desh,etc. that marginalized the monarchy, and the Chhetri presence in the armed forces, police, and Government of Nepal. In traditional and administrative professions, Chhetris were given favorable treatment by the royal government.[8][page needed][18][19][page needed][20][21][page needed] Chhetri had dominated high military positions and monopolized the military force at the times of Chhetri autocratic administrators like PM Bhimsen Thapa and PM Jung Bahadur Rana.[22]

Rana Bahadur Shah, King of Nepal(1777-1799)

Links with Indian Royals

Chandra Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana and his immediate family

Rana dynasty of Chhetri ruler Jung Bahadur Rana[23] have marital ties with Maratha royal Gaekwad dynasty. Asha Laxmi Raje, the granddaughter of Chandra Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana(Chandra SJB Rana) was married to Prince Sangramsinhrao, son of former King Pratap Singh Rao Gaekwad of Baroda State.[24] Also, the Scindia Dynasty was maritally linked to Rana dynasty of Nepal by Queen Mother of Gwalior State Vijaya Raje Scindia. Her daughter Usha Raje Scindia married Pashupati Shamsher JB Rana. Their daughter is Devyani Rana who married to Kunwar Aishwarya Singh, son of Minister Kunwar Arjun Singh. Madhavrao Scindia who was former head member of Scindia Dynasty also married a Rana lady from Nepal.[25][26] Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia's mother was daughter of General Yuvaraj SJB Rana. Similarly, Dr. Karan Singh, former royal of Jammu and Kashmir (princely state), was married to Yasho Rajya Laxmi, daughter of General Sharada Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana and granddaughter of Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana.[27][28]

Gautama SJB Rana's son, Varun Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana was married to Padmaja Jadeja of Gujarat Jamnagar Royalty.[29]

Religion

Mainstream Nepali Hindu Bride

Almost all Chhetris are Hindu.[3] As per 2011 Nepal census, Chhetris are the largest Hindu adherents in the nation with 43,65,113 people which is 99.3% of total Chhetri population.[1] Chhetri religion began with shamanism and nature worship.[citation needed]

Notable people

References

  1. ^ a b "Nepal Census 2011" (PDF). 
  2. ^ a b Dhungel 1998, p. 5.
  3. ^ a b c Dhungel 1998, p. 8.
  4. ^ a b Bista, Dor Bahadur (1980). People of Nepal (4 ed.). Ratna Pustak Bhandar. pp. 2–4. 
  5. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress document: Savada, Andrea Matles, ed. (1991). "Nepal: A country study". Federal Research Division. The Caste System. 
  6. ^ https://books.google.com.np/books?id=6QVuAAAAMAAJ&dq=chhetri+people&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=corrupt+Kshatriya
  7. ^ Sherchan 2001, p. 14.
  8. ^ a b  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress document: Savada, Andrea Matles, ed. (1991). "Nepal: A country study". Federal Research Division. Social Classes and Stratification. 
  9. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress document: Savada, Andrea Matles, ed. (1991). "Nepal: A country study". Federal Research Division. Ethnic Groups. 
  10. ^ Dahal, Dilli Ram (2002-12-30). "Chapter 3. Social composition of the Population: Caste/Ethnicity and Religion in Nepal" (PDF). Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  11. ^ "Nepal in Figures 2008" (PDF). Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  12. ^ Kumar Pradhan (1984). A History of Nepali Literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 5. 
  13. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress document: Savada, Andrea Matles, ed. (1991). "Nepal: A country study". Federal Research Division. The Three Kingdoms. 
  14. ^ Prayag Raj Sharma (1977). "Caste, social mobility and sanskritization: a study of Nepal's old legal code". Kailash: A Journal of Himalayan Studies. 5 (4). 
  15. ^ a b Gurung, Harka B. (1996). Faces of Nepal. Himal Books. pp. 1–33, passim. 
  16. ^ https://books.google.com.np/books?id=gnJuAAAAMAAJ&dq=bhimsen+thapa+chhetri&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=Leading+chhetri
  17. ^ a b Pradhan 2012, p. 22.
  18. ^ Burbank, Jon (2002). Nepal. Cultures of the World (2 ed.). Marshall Cavendish. ISBN 0-7614-1476-2. 
  19. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress document: Savada, Andrea Matles, ed. (1991). "Nepal: A country study". Federal Research Division. Recruitment, Training, and Morale. 
  20. ^ Bajracharya, Bhadra Ratha; Sharma, Shri Ram; Bakshi, Shiri Ram (1993). Cultural History of Nepal. Anmol Publications. pp. 286–8. ISBN 81-7041-840-2. 
  21. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress document: Savada, Andrea Matles, ed. (1991). "Nepal: A country study". Federal Research Division. Society. 
  22. ^ Adhikari, p. 120.
  23. ^ a b https://books.google.com.np/books?id=dtSIz1vwg4YC&pg=PA33&dq=jung+bahadur+rana+chhetri&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZprnKrpXTAhVEKo8KHbmOCB8Q6AEIHjAB#v=onepage&q=jung%20bahadur%20rana%20chhetri&f=false
  24. ^ http://www.godawards.com/news/princess-of-baroda-receives-the-asias-royal-woman-of-the-year-at-the-3rd-god-awards-at-the-un
  25. ^ http://nepalitimes.com/news.php?id=8711#.WOkSwxnA7qA
  26. ^ http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-devyani-rana-to-marry-arjun-kin-1030364
  27. ^ https://m.rediff.com/amp/news/special/coming-up-2017s-1st-big-royal-wedding/20170203.htm
  28. ^ https://m.gulfnews.com/amp/news/asia/india/karan-singh-born-with-a-golden-spoon-1.1210292
  29. ^ https://m.economictimes.com/magazines/panache/royal-nuptials-varun-sjb-rana-ties-the-knot-with-padmaja-jadeja/amp_articleshow/51435770.cms
  30. ^ https://books.google.com.np/books?id=YiURDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA39&dq=jung+bahadur+rana+chhetri+peoples&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiToJvRp4zTAhVLKo8KHdXdD-IQ6AEIJTAC#v=onepage&q=jung%20bahadur%20rana%20chhetri%20peoples&f=false

Sources

Further reading