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Chhetri

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Chhetri or Kshetri
Regions with significant populations
   Nepal 43,98,053 (16.6% of Nepal) (2011 census)[1]
 India 6 million (approx.)
Languages
Nepali(Khas-Kura) as mother tongue[2]
Religion
Almost all are Hindu[3]
Related ethnic groups
Indo-Aryan peoples
Selected ethnic groups of Nepal; Chhetri are members of the wider Pahari community (yellow).

Chhetri (Hill Rajputs, Kshetri, or Chhettri), synonymous with Kshatriya and Khatri are Nepali language speaking warrior caste of Khas descent in Hinduism and also referred to as an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic community among Nepalis ans Indian Gorkhas consisting of Brahmins (Bahun), Thakuris, Kami, Damai, Sarki, Badi, and Gandarbhas.[4][5][6] Khas Chhetri (referred as Khas Rajput) were traditionally considered a division of Khas people with Khas Brahmin (commonly called as Khas Bahun).[7]

Chhetri is a derivative form of the Sanskrit word Kshatriya.[8][9] 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.[10] 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.[1] Chhetris speak an Indo-Aryan language Nepali language as mother tongue.[2][4][11][12]

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.[13][14]

History

They are thought to be connected to the Khasas mentioned in the ancient Indian literature and the medieval Khasa kingdom.[15][16][page needed]

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.[17] Bir Bhadra Thapa was a Thapa of Chhetri group[18] and leading Bharadar during Unification of Nepal.[19] His grandson Bhimsen Thapa became Prime Minister of Nepal.[19]

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.[17]

Society

Rana Bahadur Shah, King of Nepal (1777–1799) from ruling Shah dynasty

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, Basnyat Kings of Khaptad, Family of Shreepali Basnyat Abhiman Singh Basnyat, Kehar Singh Basnyat , 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.[11][page needed][20][21][page needed][22][23][page needed]

Physical Features & militarianism

Kalu Pande wearing Khukuri, leading Pande military officer
Mathabar Singh Thapa with a sword, a Kshetri Prime Minister & C-in-C

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.[24] There were 12 Basnyats, 16 Pandes, 6 Thapas and 3 Kunwar officers totalling to 51 Chhetri officers in the year 1841 A.D.[24] The most prominent officers at Shah administration were the Kazis which had control over civil and military functions like a Minister and Military officer combined.[25] Rana Jang Pande, the leader of Pande faction, was the Prime Minister of Nepal in 1841 A.D.[25] which might have caused large Pande officers at 1841. After the rise Rana dynasty(Kunwars), the number changed to 10 Basnets, 1 Pande, 3 Thapas and 26 Kunwar officers totalling to 61 Chhetri officers in the year 1854 A.D.[24]

Links with Indian Royals

Chandra Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana and his immediate family

Rana dynasty of Chhetri ruler Jung Bahadur Rana[26] 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.[27] 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.[28][29] 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.[30][31]

Gautama SJB Rana's son, Varun Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana was married to Padmaja Jadeja of Gujarat Jamnagar Royalty.[32]

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 c "Nepal Census 2011" (PDF). 
  2. ^ a b Dhungel 1998, p. 5.
  3. ^ a b c Dhungel 1998, p. 8.
  4. ^ a b Lawoti 2005, p. 91.
  5. ^ Bista, Dor Bahadur (1980). People of Nepal (4 ed.). Ratna Pustak Bhandar. pp. 2–4. 
  6. ^  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. 
  7. ^ John T Hitchcock 1978, pp. 116-119.
  8. ^ Singh, K.S.; Anthropological Survey of India (2005). People of India: Uttar Pradesh (3 pts.). Anthropological Survey of India. ISBN 9788173041143. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  9. ^ Hagen, T.; Thapa, D. (1998). Toni Hagen's Nepal: The Kingdom in the Himalaya. Himal Books. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  10. ^ Sherchan 2001, p. 14.
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^  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. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ "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. 
  15. ^ Kumar Pradhan (1984). A History of Nepali Literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 5. 
  16. ^  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. 
  17. ^ a b Gurung, Harka B. (1996). Faces of Nepal. Himal Books. pp. 1–33, passim. 
  18. ^ a b Regmi, M.C. (1995). Kings and political leaders of the Gorkhali Empire, 1768-1814. Orient Longman. ISBN 9788125005117. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  19. ^ a b Pradhan 2012, p. 22.
  20. ^ Burbank, Jon (2002). Nepal. Cultures of the World (2 ed.). Marshall Cavendish. ISBN 0-7614-1476-2. 
  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. Recruitment, Training, and Morale. 
  22. ^ Bajracharya, Bhadra Ratha; Sharma, Shri Ram; Bakshi, Shiri Ram (1993). Cultural History of Nepal. Anmol Publications. pp. 286–8. ISBN 81-7041-840-2. 
  23. ^  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. 
  24. ^ a b c Adhikari, p. 120.
  25. ^ a b Joshi & Rose 1966, p. 27.
  26. ^ a b Adhikari 2015, p. 120.
  27. ^ "Princess of Baroda Receives the Asia's Royal Woman of the Year at the 3rd G.O.D. Awards at the UN - G.O.D. AWARDS". godawards.com. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  28. ^ "A saffron lady in white -NepaliTimes". nepalitimes.com. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  29. ^ "Devyani Rana to marry Arjun kin | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  30. ^ "Coming up: 2017's 1st big royal wedding - Rediff.com". m.rediff.com. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  31. ^ "amp/news/asia/india/karan-singh-born-with-a-golden-spoon-1". m.gulfnews.com. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  32. ^ "Royal nuptials: Varun SJB Rana ties the knot with Padmaja Jadeja - The Economic Times". m.economictimes.com. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  33. ^ Shaha, R. (1990). 1769-1885. Manohar. ISBN 9788185425030. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  34. ^ Yadav, P. (2016). Social Transformation in Post-conflict Nepal: A Gender Perspective. Taylor & Francis. p. 39. ISBN 9781317353904. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  35. ^ Jha, P. (2014). Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal. Hurst & Company. p. 63. ISBN 9781849044592. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 

Sources

Further reading