|Regions with significant populations|
|Khas, Kumaoni, Garhwali|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Nepali people, Pahari people, Kumaoni people, Garhwali people, Other Indo-Aryan peoples|
Khas people (Nepali: खस) also called Khasias (Kumaoni/Garhwali: खसिया) are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group being the native speakers of the Khas language (modern Nepali language) are found natively in present-day Nepal as well as Kumaon and Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand, India. 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 Khas refers 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 workers).
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.
Traditionally, the 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.
Until the 19th century, the Gorkhali referred to their country as Khas des ("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.
The 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 terms Khas and Parbatiya (Pahari or Hill people) as synonymous.
The Khas people originally referred to their language as Khas kurā ("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 with his 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 "Nepali language".
Jung Bahadur also re-labeled the Khas jāt as Chhetri in present-day Nepal. Originally, the Brahmin immigrants from the plains considered the 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. Other Khas families, which could not afford to (or did not care to) pay the Bahun priests also attempted to assume the Chhetri status, but were not recognized as such by others. They are now called Matwali (alcohol-drinking) Chhetris.
Khas language, shown as "Nepali", in purple
Because of the adoption of the "Chhetri" identity, the term Khas is rapidly becoming obsolete. According to Dor Bahadur Bista (1991), "the Khas have vanished from the ethnographic map of Nepal".
Procession of Nepali Hindu Wedding; groom wears Dhaka dress used only by Khas Parbattia community
Jhakri, a shamanistic practice evident in modern Khas people in Darjeeling, India
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 Jimdar Rajput, after being elevated to the Rajput status by the Chand kings. The term Khas is 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
- Basnyat family
- Whelpton 2005, p. 31.
- Dor Bahadur Bista 1991, p. 15.
- John T Hitchcock 1978, pp. 112-119.
- John T Hitchcock 1978, p. 113.
- John T Hitchcock 1978, pp. 116-119.
- Richard Burghart 1984, p. 107.
- Dor Bahadur Bista 1991, p. 37.
- Richard Burghart 1984, p. 117.
- Richard Burghart 1984, p. 119.
- Richard Burghart 1984, p. 118.
- Richard Burghart 1984, pp. 118-119.
- Susan Thieme 2006, p. 83.
- Dor Bahadur Bista 1991, p. 48.
- William Brook Northey & C. J. Morris 1928, p. 123.
- K. S. Singh 2005, p. 851.
- Pradhan 2012, p. 22.
- Dor Bahadur Bista (1991). Fatalism and Development: Nepal's Struggle for Modernization. Orient Blackswan. ISBN 978-81-250-0188-1.
- 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. ISBN 978-90-279-7700-7.
- 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. ISBN 978-3-8258-9246-3.
- William Brook Northey; C. J. Morris (1928). The Gurkhas: Their Manners, Customs, and Country. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 978-81-206-1577-9.
- Whelpton, John (2005). A History of Nepal. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521804707.