Khas people

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The Khas (खस) / Khasas or Khɒsiyas is a community of people, who were the mountain dwellers living in the southern shadow of the Himalayan range of the Indian Subcontinent from Jammu & Kashmir to Bhutan in the present day countries of Pakistan(in Gilgit Baltistan), India (in the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and the Darjeeling in West Bengal), Nepal, and Bhutan. Khas people in modern Nepal will not identify themselves as Khas, instead referring to themselves by the ethnic or caste identity.

According to 2011 census of Nepal, about 40% of total population are Khas.[1]

The Khasas were a warlike tribe who built three capitals over time: Taklakot in Tibet, and Sinja and Dullu in Nepal. From the 11th century, their powerful kingdom, known as the Khas Empire /Malla Empire (not related to the Malla Kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley), grew, covering much of west Nepal, Ladakh, Kashmir and western Tibet. As the empire fell apart during the 14th century, many of the ruling families migrated throughout Nepal.[2]

They are found throughout modern Nepal and Indian states (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Assam and West Bengal) as well as in Bhutan and Myanmar have their roots in the ancient Khas kingdom(Located in current Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal, Uttrakhand, and North-west Nepal -Karnali). Khas People of Garhwali, Kumaun, North side of Uttrakhand and North-West Nepal speak Garwali bhasa, Kumaon bhasa, Doteli Bhasa and Khas Bhasa respectively. Garhwali, Kumaun bhasa, Doteli Bhasa, and Khas Bhasa are almost same and these language are similar to modern Nepali language. The Khas people of the Dehradun area of Uttrakhand, and Himachal speak Hindi. Khas people of Garhwal, Kumaun, North side of Uttrakhand and North-West Nepal-Karnali area displays almost same behavior and language than Khas people of other parts. Parihar/Pariyar, and Bishwokarma are also considered as Khas people. The Khas language (Khas kura), modern day Nepali, became the national language when the Shah dynasty of Gorkha unified the middle Himalayan region into modern Nepal.[3]


According to a theory, proposed by German philologist, Michael Witzel, the Khas people may have their origins in Central Asia and migrated to Ancient India in the Himalayan region(Gilgit Baltistan, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and western Nepal- Karnali in ancient times. The period of migration remains ambiguous.[4] In Nepal the Khas people first settled around present day Humla and Jumla. The Khasa kings formed the famous Malla Kingdom, which ruled Humla from the eleventh century before collapsing and splintering into local chiefdoms during the fourteenth century.[5]


There is a possibility of Khas to have roots to Central Asia, due to language migration. The word Kazakh was a common term throughout medieval Central Asia, generally with regard to individuals or groups who had taken or achieved independence from a figure of authority.[6]

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  1. ^ url= Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal Archived February 18, 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Burghart, Richard (1984). "The Formation of the Concept of Nation-State in Nepal". The Journal of Asian Studies 44 (01): 101–125. doi:10.2307/2056748. 
  3. ^ Toba, Sueyoshi; Toba, Ingrid; Rai, Novel Kishore; Pathak, Lekhnath Sharma (2005). Diversity and Endangerment of Languages in Nepal (PDF) (UNESCO Kathmandu Series of Monographs and Working Papers: No 7 ed.). Kathmandu: UNESCO Kathmandu. 
  4. ^ Witzel, Dr. Michael (1976). "On the History and the Present State of Vedic Tradition in Nepal". Vasudha 15 (12): 17–24; 35–39. 
  5. ^ Kelly, Thomas L.; Dunham, V. Carroll (March 2001). Hidden Himalayas (PDF). New York: Abbeville Press. ISBN 9780789207227. 
  6. ^ Centralizing Reform and Its Opponents in the Late Timurid Period Maria Eva Subtelny. Iranian Studies. Vol. 21, No. 1/2, Soviet and North American Studies on Central Asia (1988), pp. 123–151