Tag Archives: Nepal

Nepal in 1950s


Nepal is a small but ethno-linguistically rich Himalayan country that consists of eight of the world’s tallest mountains. Despite being small, Nepal is home to over one hundred languages. Where did these people originate? What are their histories? Unfortunately, due to scanty archeological and historical data, we do not know much about the Nepali linguistic communities.

Understanding population distribution i.e., where people live may tell us important things about origins and histories of a particular population. Basically, dense localization of a population in a particular area may suggest the population’s historical territory. Similarly, population spread may indicate migratory patterns of certain populations. If multiple populations harbor the same area, it is likely that gene flow between such populations may have occurred in the past.

Thus, to learn about the histories of different Nepali language communities, I looked at the census data from 1952-54, which is the first reliable census of Nepal. I obtained the data, formatted it, and cleaned it up a little bit.For this census, Nepal was divided into 9 census regions and 67 census districts (Fig.1). Although data for district level is available, I will focus on the regional data for this article.


Figure 1: Nine census regions in first Nepali census (1952-54 A.D.)

According to the census data, there were 8,473,478 people native to the 28,770 villages and cities in Nepal. Only five cities had more than 5000 inhabitants: Kathmandu (107K), Lalitpur (42K), Bhaktapur (32K), Nepalganj (11K), and Birganj (10K). Interestingly, Thimi, a town between Lalitpur, Kathmandu, and Bhaktapur also had 8.7K people. Migration rate, defined as people not present in their ancestral homes for six months or more, was negligible: 2.6% for the entire country and between 0.06-4.3% for the nine census regions. This makes sense because Nepal was very remote until recently. The first highway was constructed in 1960s before which traveling was probably very difficult, therefore rare. Closed to the western world until 1950, first available reports have also described Nepal as remote and rural and difficult to travel.

The negligible migration rates indicate that most Nepalis lived in their ancestral villages. Therefore, this census data may be useful in understanding the historical population structures within Nepal. Hence, I first looked at population density in each census region (Fig, 2).


Figure 2: Population density in the nine census regions in 1952-54

In the first glance, most populous region in Nepal was Western Hills and the least populous was Western Inner Terai. However, after accounting for geographical area, Kathmandu valley, which consists of three towns: Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur, was remarkably the most populous region within Nepal consisting of 5% of the entire population. Around 45% Nepalis lived east of Kathmandu valley, Western Hills comprised of 40% of the population, and 61% of the Nepali populations lived in the Hills (Eastern and Western Hills combined). The least populated region in the country was Far-Western Terai, likely because it was covered with dense malaria infested jungles.



Figure 3: Population size of different ethnolinguistic communities within Nepal in 1950s

From the data, major language groups appear to be Nepali, Maithili, Tamang (Lama), Newari, Tharu, Magar, Rai, and Limbu. Although currently over 100 languages are recognized in Nepal, in the 1950 Census reported around 36 language groups (Fig.3), probably in an effort to not contradict Prithvi Narayan Shah’s Divyopadesh  in which he has proclaimed that Nepal is a common ground of 4 varnas and 36 jaats. Many of the smaller language groups in Terai have been lumped into “Pradesh dialects.” Also, several of the High Himalayan languages recognized today are missing. Because the census was conducted by traditional revenue collectors, known as  jimmewals and patwaris, perhaps the Rana government thought that the burden of visiting the remote High Himalaya was not worth the negligible revenues it would extract from its inhabitants. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that these populations were not included in the first Nepali census of 1952-54.

My ultimate goal was to find clues about population histories of different ethnolinguistic groups within Nepal. Therefore, I used the “mother tongue” data to first see if I can learn anything about where different language communities lived in 1950s.



Figure 4: Ethnolinguistic diversity within Nepal in 1950

Figure 4 shows what proportion of population in each census region is contributed by which language community. For example, about 55% of population in Kathmandu were Newar, 40% were Nepali speakers, and the remaining 5% were Tamang. Although considered natives of Kathmandy valley, appreciable proportions of Newars were present outside of Kathmandu valley in Central Terai (5%) and Eastern Hills (4%). Newars were absent in all Terai regions.

The census clearly shows that Terai was populated by various non-Nepali speakers. Even in 1950s, it is clear that Nepali speakers were widespread in Nepali Hills and Inner Terai, but were also virtually absent (<5%) from all of the Terai (Fig.4). Given the low migration rates, it is likely that the populations that lived in certain parts of Terai in 1950 were native to that region. For example, the majority of populations in West-Inner Terai (57%) and Far-Western Terai (60%) were Tharu, a tribe that is indigenous to dense, malaria-infested, impenetrable jungles, also known as chaar-kose jaadi that decorated Terai until very recently. Indeed,  Danagaura Tharu (Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Surkhet), Kathariya Tharu (Kailali), and Rana Tharu (Kailali and Kanchanpur) are indigenous to FW Terai. Tharu presence is also strong in  Mid-Western Terai (20%) and Central Inner Terai (12%). Indeed, Chitawania Tharu are known to be indigenous to Chitwan, Bara, Persa in Center Inner Terai. The presence of Tharu is appreciable as well in East Inner Terai (6% of the population in Sindhuli and Udayapur), perhaps due to large populations of Kochila Tharu in this region. They are virtually absent in Kathmandu valley and in the Hills but interestingly, also in the Eastern Terai, which was mostly populated by Maithili speakers, perhaps because this region was once the capital of an ancient Maithili kingdom of Videha.

Tamang and Magar communities were widespread in Eastern as well as Central Nepal. Surprisingly, 33% of Nepalis in Central Inner Terai (Chitawan, Chisapani Garhi, and Nawalpur) were Tamang, although Tamangs were also present in Eastern hills and perhaps even in the high-altitude regions in the East. After Nepali and Tamang speakers, Rai (13%) and Limbu (8%) were the most populous groups in the Eastern Hills whereas  Magar were the third most populous in East-Inner Terai (12%).

Although this data indicates that Eastern Nepal was more diverse than Western Nepal, it is biased against the smaller language communities. For example, almost all of the 14,261 Chepang lived in the Central Inner Terai but they only comprised 6% of the population. Many other language communities have much smaller population sizes (Fig.3). Hence, to know the whereabouts of smaller language communities, I asked what proportions of speakers lived in each census region. In other words, I asked how each language group was distributed across different census regions (Fig.5).


Fig 5: Distribution of language families within Nepal in 1950

This figure clearly shows that many smaller language communities are localized to a particular region, especially in the Hills and Terai of the East. About 60% of Nepali speakers were present in Western Hills, indicating that Nepali speakers were originally residents of Western Hills and later spread rapidly to comprise the majority of populations in many other census regions (Fig 3). Although this is consistent with previous reports of rapid Khas migrations within Nepal, it is important to realize that this migration must have happened steadily over several generations because migration rate throughout the country was very low.

Eastern Hills appear to be very diverse along with Eastern Terai.  Many smaller language communities such as Jirel, Thami, and Sunuwar appear to be residents of Eastern Hills. Although Maithili is the dominant population in Eastern Inner Terai, Jhangar, Dhimal, Bhojpuri, Rajbanshi, and Satar also appear to be restricted to this region. It would be interesting to see when different populations arrived in this region of Nepal and whether any gene flow among these populations have occurred.

Also interesting is the Majwari population, which is present discontinuously in Eastern Terai and  Mid-Western Terai. Who are the Majwari peoples? How and why they moved within Nepal remains to be understood. Similarly, Sherpa seem to have two distinct populations: a strong presence in Eastern Hills and a moderate one in Western Hills. Danuwar also appear to have spread from Eastern to Central Nepal.

This data has shown that smaller language communities in Nepal have historically localized to particular regions whereas larger populations have moved around. However, there are certain populations that present in Eastern and Western Nepal but not in the middle. When did these populations migrate into separate regions? Given migration was negligible in 1950s, did these populations migrated in ancient times? Did they originate from the same ancestral population? How long ago they split? These are some interesting questions that need further work.



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Filed under Anthropology, Human Evolution, Nepal

‘फ’ बाट फलावाङका फुत्त बहादुर फुयाँल (लोककथा)

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फलावाङका फुत्तबहादुर फुयाँलको फुर्ती नै अर्कै। फुलेको फराकिलो छाती, फररर परेको फलाटिनको फिर्फिरे कमीज, त्यसमाथि फराँसिला मिजास भएका फुर्तिला फुत्तबहादुर, अनी उनकी फ्यावुलोस वाइफ फूलमाया!

फुत्तबहादुरको फुर्ती को बारेमा त फेरीटेल नै छ: एकपल्ट गाउँमा फिटीक्कै पानी नपर्दा फुत्तबहादुर फजित भई फलावाङबाट फुत्त निस्केर फाँटै फाँट फटाफट हिंड्दै फर्पिङ्हुँदै फार्बिसगन्ज सम्म पुगे रे। फार्बिस्गन्जमा कताबाट एउटा फिरन्ते फकिर फेला परे रे। फकिर ले फुत्तलाई आफ्नो फन्दामा फँसाउन खोज्दा उल्टै फटाहा फकडालाईनै दस फन्को फनफनी घुमाएर पाता कसी दिए रे। फिटिफिटी परेका फटाहा फक्कडले फट मानी अफुसँग भएको वडेमानको फटिक दिन्छु भनेर फुत्तलाई फकाउन खोजेछन। फितला फकुल्लो हुन र फुत्त बहादुर? त्यत्तिकैमा फक्लक्क फुत्किनेवाला थिएनन् ति फटाहा फकिर! पीडाले फक्र्याक-फुक्रुक परेका फकिरले फटिकको हारको साथै विना पानीकै फकाफक फल्ने फक्फकाउँदो फर्सीको वियाँ दिन्छु भनेपछी मात्रै फुत्तले आफ्नो रिसानी फर्छाएका रे।

फिरन्ते फकिरले दिएको वडेमानको फटिक अनी फलाइलो फर्सीको वियाँ बोकेर फलावाङ फर्किदै गर्दा फेटावाल सिख फरिकसिंंहसँग उन्को भेट भयो रे। नीज फरिक सिंंह परेछन रे फलाटिनका ब्यापारी! फुत्तले फटाहा फकिरको कथा सुनाउँदा फरिकसिंंहले फजुल फगल्टा फकफक भनेर फुत्तलाई फट्कारेछन। आफुलाई फन्टुस फतौरो भन्दै फरिकर्सिंह फाँकिएपछी फन्कीएका फुत्तले पनि फिरन्ते फकिरले दिएको विना पानीकै फकाफक फल्ने फक्फकाउँदो फर्सीको एउटा वियाँ निकलेर फ्यात्त फ्यांकिदिए रे। फर्सिको वोट फस्टाइहाल्यो! फरिकसिंहले फलुवा फर्सिको विउको फर्माइस गरे, फुत्तले फलाटिनको। फुत्तले फर्सिको एउटा वियाँ दिएर फरिकसिंहसँग जीवनभरी फलाटिन लिने फर्स्योट गरे रे। त्यस दिन फुत्त बहादुर फुयाँलले आफ्नो फलालो फोहोरी फत्तु फाली फररर फर्फराउने फलटीनको नयाँ कमीज फेरेका रे। अनी त्यस दिन देखी फुत्तले फलाटिनको फिर्फिरे कमीज बहेक अरु केही फेरेकै छैनन रे।

फिरन्ते फकिरले दिएको वडेमानको फटिक, फलाइलो फर्सीको वियाँ, अनी फरिक सिंह ब्यापारीको फलाटिन बोकेर फलावाङ फर्कदै गर्दा फर्पिङंमा फुत्तले एउटा राम्रो फुलबारी देखे रे। फार्बिस्गन्ज देखी फर्पिङसम्मको लामो सफरले फतक्क गलेका फुत्तले त्यही राम्रो फुलबारिमा फजिरसम्म आराम गर्ने निधो गरेछन। फूलबारीमा फुलेका फुलहरु र फुलहरु विच उफ्रिरहेका फट्यङ्रा टिपिरहेको फिस्टे फल्कोनेटको अबलोकन गर्दै बस्दा उनको नजर फुलबारीको कुनामा फलेकमाथि फरिया फिजएर फुत्ततिरै फर्केर फल फकार्दै गरेकी फूलमायामाथी पर्न गयो रे। फुलमायाको फिलिङगी रूपले फुत्तको मनमा फोस्फोरोस हाल्या फसेलझैं फीलिङ फस्टिएछ। लभ-आट-फर्स्ट-साइट।

त्यस्ती राम्री फुलमायालाई फुत्किन नदिने फुत्तले निधो गरे रे तर उनिसँग कुरा गर्ने आँट आएन रे फुत्तको। फुत्तलाई परेछ फसाद! फुलमायाको सुन्दर्तामा मन्त्रमुग्ध भएर फुत्त चैं त्यही फुलबारीको फन्को लगाउन थाले रे। फाईनल्ली शाहसको फाँको हालेर फुत्तले फूलमायालाई एउटा फूल दिएछन। फुलमायाको फुर्फुरिने वानी त थिएन तरपनी फुलेको फराकिलो छातीलाई फररर फहराउने फलाटिनको फिर्फिरे कमीजले ढाकेका फराँसिला फुत्तबहादुर जस्ता फुर्तिला, फ्याशनेवल, र फ्रेन्डली नवजवानलाई देखेर फूलमाया पनि दंग परिछिन्। फुलमायाको फतफताउने वानी पनि थिएन, तरपनी फुत्तले फटाहा फक्कडसँग लिएको फटिकको फ्यान्सी हार बनाइदिन्छु भनेपछी त फुलमाया फुरुक्कै भाईहालिन रे! आफन्तको नाममा एउटै मात्रै फूफू भएको कुरा फुलमायाले फुत्तलाई बताइन रे अनी त्यही फकर्ताउली फास्फुसे फूफूसँग भेटेर फागुनमा फुत्तले आफ्नो बिहे फूलमायासँग फट्ट गरे रे।

फिरन्ते फकिरको फलाइलो फर्सिको बिउ अनी फरिक सिंह ब्यापारीको फलाटिन बोकेर वडेमानको फटिकको फ्यान्सी हार लगाई फलाटिनकै फरियामा बेरिएकी फिलिङगी फुलमाया सँगै प्रफुल्लितहुँदै फुत्तबहादुर फुयाँल फलावाङ फर्के। फलावाङ फर्केर फुत्तले फेदिको फांट पुरै फाँडेर आफ्नो घर बसाएछका छन। फुत्तको नयाँ घर उसलाई सार्है फापेको छ। फिरन्ते फकिरको फर्सी फलाइलो भा’को छ। फरिक सिंह ब्यापारीले पनि फलाटिन सालैपिच्छे पठाउदै गरेकाछन्। फूलमायाको माया पनि फुत्तले टन्नै पाएकाछन्। फुत्त बहादुरको फुर्ती नै अर्कै भएको छ। फुत्त र फुलमायालाई अब केही फिक्री छैन तरपनी उनीहरुको स्वभाब फेरिएको छैन। फालाफाल भये पनि फारो गर्ने बानी छ फुलमायाको, फुकाफाल भएकी छैनन्। फुत्तबहादुर पनि फाल्तु फाइफुट्टी लाउँदैनन्। फुत्त बहादुरको फर्सीको फयल अहिले फिन्ल्यान्ड देखी फ्लोरिडासम्म फैलिएको छ। दुनियाँ भरिका मान्छेहरु फुत्तसँग फकेबूक फ्रेन्डस भएका छन। आफ्नो बिहेको वार्षिकोत्सव मनाउन प्रतेक फागुनमा फुर्सद निकलेर फुत्त र फुलमाया फर्पिङको त्यही राम्रो फुल्बारिमा फोगिन र फुकुन्डालाई फर्सिको खीर र फलफूल खुवौंछन; फलाटिनको पछेउरा ओढाउँछन्। एक साल त ति फुकुन्डाहरु मध्ये ति फटाहा फक्कडसँग पनि थियो रे।

भोली भोली भन्दै भुँडी पल्टाउने भैरब अर्याल बाट प्रेरित र निस्ट २००० ब्याच सेक्सन-सिका सम्पूर्ण साथीहरुमा समर्पित||

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Filed under Nepal, Nepali Bedtime Stories


Many years ago (2003), Steve Robison, then co-ordinator of the Associated Students of College of San Mateo (ASCSM) told me about his dream of establishing a free and self-sustaining university. His envisioned students practicing what they learn in classes to support the campus community thus making it sustainable. For example, culinary students will prepare meals, horticulturalists/botanists will maintain the gardens, architects will design new buildings and so on. At that time this idea of free education seemed a distant possibility.

But now, free education is the new trend. Unlike Steve’s model of a physically existing self-sustaining university, a few successful free ‘universities’ have emerged over the internet. Salman Khan’s Khan Academy definitely led the way by providing free and easy to understand tutorials over the internet. His materials were so awesome that Bill Gates announced he was a huge fan on national TV. MIT has been offering free online classes over the internet for a number of years and recently MIT has launched MITx, a program that provides students with “the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of the material and earn a certificate from MITx” for a class titled Circuits and Electronics.

Being originally from Nepal, a country that suffers severe higher secondary education bottleneck, I became very excited when I first heard of MITx. So I tweeted it and put it as my facebook status. But I was thrilled to hear that MITx was not the first online university and two artificial intelligence professors at Standford are doing something even better!

Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig heard Salman Khan give a talk at TED and launched their own academy at Stanford which is now becoming Udacity, a free university to learn computer programming language and artificial intelligence. The best thing about Udacity is that if you are the top student in their classes you may have a job waiting for you in the leading industries in the world.

Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education (TED talks)

What does Udacity mean to students in the US?
I think this is a revolution in education. For hundreds of years many students have tried to buy university brand names by paying thousands of dollars in tuition. The higher the brand name of an University, higher the tuition fees. Two incentives to pay such outrageous fees are: the university name and networking with the alumni. Third minor incentive is the quality of education. Ultimately, the hopes of new graduates is to land a good job in a leading company. Unfortunately, none of the Universities care if you do not get a job. Once you graduate (and pay all the fees without which you dont graduate), the only correspondence you get is from alumni association asking for donation.

The cool thing about Udacity is that instead of earning money from student tuition, they make their money by helping students get a job. According to Wired, this is how it works: large companies pay 10-30% of an engineers’ first year salary to employment agencies. Udacity may generate most of their income from such companies by helping their top student obtain jobs. So, the education is free but money to run the university comes from top multibillion dollar companies. This cannot get more sweeter.

What does Udacity mean to the world?
If the world’s smartest person was born in a remote village in the middle of a mountain, (s)he may never realize her/his potential because the opportunity to learn is so little. Even if we imagine a 100% literate world, lack of high schools and universities forces many intelligent students worldwide to choose jobs that is far below their potential. Only a few lucky ones with enough collateral get visas to come to a developed country for higher education. Thus we are wasting talent with current educational model.

In theory, universities such as Udacity revolutionize education for the brilliant students in every corner of the world. Even if you were born in Mustang, a remotest state in the Himalayas, you can be taking a class in artificial intelligence and be admired by two best AI experts in the world. If you excel companies such as Google may be vying to hire you to design a driverless car. This is not a distant possibility; this is a commonplace at Udacity. Hence, it is an educational revolution.

On the incongruence between theory and practice
Free internet education has tremendous discrepancies between its hypothesized potential and realized potential in the global sense. Yes, we in theory it has tremendous potential but in practice, very few countries in the developing world are using it. According to World Internet Stats, the use of internet is the lowest in Africa followed by Asia with only 14% and 26% of the population using internet (average world-wide internet use 33%). Furthermore, this statistic is further inflated by developed nations both Asia (China, India, Japan) and Africa (South Africa). On a country level, of the 58 African countries, only 5 countries in Africa (9% African countries) have more than 5% internet users whereas 46 countries (81% African countries) have less than 1% internet users. Similarly, of the 35 Asian countries, only 4 (11.4% Asian countries) have over 5% and 23 (66% Asian countries) have less than 1% internet users. These statistics are corroborated by statistics from Khan Academy: virtually all of Khan Academy users are in developed countries.

The lack of internet use in developing countries is because of lack of infrastructure. Most countries in Asia and Africa are devoid of DSL. Because of geography, it is difficult and expensive to build infrastructure in most developing countries; hence telephone lines are nonexistent. Without telephone and DSL, most people in developing nations are without internet.

A simple to do list
Industrial revolution wedged a huge gap between the developed and developing nations. Internet revolution will forge a bigger gap if developing nations do not act now. Those nations that have nationwide internet service will benefit by incorporating internet in economics, communication, media, and education. Merchants in the developing countries with internet will be communicating globally and trading in dollars, whereas those in countries will be wasting their goods because they cannot sell all of it locally. More importantly, students in the countries will be using internet to learn about Salman Khans and Bill Gateses and interacting with Sebastian Thruns and Peter Norvigs and aspiring to land jobs in Googles and Bidus. Those in countries without internet will be struggling to find inspirations from their corrupt local leaders. Yes building internet infrastructure is expensive but since mobile phones are becoming increasing popular, investing in broadband services to increase internet users is a must for developing nations.

I have no faith in the corrupt politicians of developing countries; hence I do not expect the narrow-minded government depleted of visionary leaders to bring any positive changes in near future. Also, most NGOs are top heavy (spending 70% of their budget paying their executive staff) and can do little. The most important constituents to bring any change will be local entrepreneurs. Providing grants or microloans to encourage educators and businessmen to incorporate internet in their daily lives may bring innovative methods of increasing internet use in developing countries. For example, Mahabir Pun, a Raymond Magsaysay awardee has incorporated internet in education, animal breeding, monitoring global warming, and tele-medecine (more on Pun’s work).

Khan Academy and Udacity are not only great resources for youth and students worldwide but Udacity’s model of harvesting talent from all corners of the world can also be beneficial for companies. Hence, large companies should explore the opportunities of investing in internet infrastructure in developing nations because it is in their interest to find hidden talents and hire them. May be there are Marc Zuckerbergs and Sergey Brins somewhere in the Sahara desert in Chad and the mountains of Nepal, with 1.8% and 7% internet users respectively.

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Google’s ngram reveals a few historical facts about Nepal

Nepal in English books (1500-1790AD)Google’s ngram allows anyone to mine English textbooks scanned by Google to track dynamics of words in the Western world since 1500AD. I decided to spend this Sunday afternoon to mine English textbooks to learn about history of knowledge of Nepal in the West. It is apparent that India (1520AD) and China (1570) were known to the Western world at least 200 years before Nepal (not mentioned until 1680).

Father Guillespie (Read Father Guillespie’s account of Prithvi Narayan Shah’s acquisition of Lalitpur form 1795AD), probably one of the first to write about Nepal mentions a road via Macwanpur (Makwanpur) leads to Nepal, an “ancient and independent” country, from India. In his account he mentions that Nepal has three principle cities: Cathmanda (Kathmandu) which extends to Thibet(Tibet), Lelit Pattan which borders Macwanpur, and the third city of Bhatgan (Bhaktapur) which borders Ceratas (Kirantas). He also mentions Timi (Thimi) and Cipoli (Siphal may be??) as two small towns. Father Gillespie claims to have witnessed the defeat of the king of Patan,  Gainprejas  by Gorc’ha king Prithvi Narayan Shah. Gillespie writes that Gainprejas paid his soldiers by digging the Treasures of Tolu, which was possessed by Prithvi Narayan Shah upon winning the battle. He claims he saw the treasure that Shah acquired.

Gillespies appears to exaggerate and fantasize about Nepal and portray it as a barbaric and exotic nation. For example, Father Guillespie mentions two religions practiced in Nepal (Kathmandu valley): Baryesu, a religion of Tibetan origins whose practitioners “pluck out all the hair from their heads” and Hindu religion “practiced in its greatest purity” which was adulterated by Mohammedans in India. Hence, his account should not be taken as a historical fact; however it is fascinating to read a document about Nepal in English, from 1700s.  A few memorable mentions from Gillespie are Banga, a castle 3 miles west of Lelit Pattan (not sure if this castle still exists) and the statue of Budhanilkantha. Another book from 1750, Memoir of a Map of Hindoostan also mentions Srinagar, Nepal, and Morung  as countries indepent of Tibet. Hence, these two articles from 1700s appear to corroborate at lest two facts about Nepal:  existence of Limbuwan in the east of Bhaktapur and existence of Morong as a state described by Iman Singh Chemjong in Kirantkalin Vijaypurko Sankshipta Itihaasa (1975). Awesome!!!

Currently, there is a considerable debate on whether Prithvi Narayan Shah unified Nepal or expanded Gorkha and whether he should be viewed in a positive or a negative light. In A view of the rise, progress, and present state of the English Government in Bengal (1772) a Governor of Bengal writes that Rajah of Nepal repeatedly pressed the English to send military aid. This is the time Prithvi Narayan Shah attached Kathmandu valley which again corroborates Iman Singh Chemjong‘s description of Gorkhali attacks in the Valley (Kirantkalin Vijaypurko Sankshipta Itihaasa (1975)). Furthermore, the Governor writes of an “advantageous trade” with Nepal “by which a considerable quantity of gold, and many other valuables were imported. The Rajan being now dispossessed of his country…by the Rajah of Goercullah (Gorkha) the usual channel of commerce has in consequence been obstructed.” This suggests Prithvi Narayah Shah stopped export of riches of the Kathmandu to the English; hence those who view his capture of the valley negatively should reconsider their views.

In summary ngram can be a valuable tool for scholars, both in Nepal and in the West to study history of ancient Nepal. For example, Francis Hamilton’s  An account of the Kingdom of Nepal documents the details of Kirants in 1819 which is similar to Limbuwan’s history in Iman Singh Chemjong‘s  Kirantkalin Vijaypurko Sankshipta Itihaasa (1975). Also, there may be valuable old resources that have been masked by a surge of recent documents that may shed more light on history of Nepal.


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Fiction: A story about Late HMK Dipendra B. B. Shah

पर्खाल भीत्र र बाहिर (दिपेंद्रको असहज मृत्युको बारेमा लेखिएको कथा) by Dr. Kavitaram Shrestha (cartskrs@hotmail.com)

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13th Century cave paintings found in Nepal

Right when a team of archeologists exploring were returning back, a shepherd enlightened them of a cave with “remarkable paintings.” The mural, 25 feet wide with delicate paintings of Tibetan lineages, are believed to be painted in 12-13th century. The Annapurna conservation project and Nepali Government will be working on to preserve and protect the paintings. The archeologists have not made the site public yet. A brief report about the painting can be listened to at NPR Day to Day.

Recently, multistoried caves were discovered in Mustang by National Geographic Team. Interestingly the researchers found, among other archeological treasures, human bones that seem to be from two distinct human populations. The first human population seems to have crossed the Himalayas a few thousand years ago and the second team seems to have arrived at Mustang about a few hundred years ago, according to Lost cave temples, a PBS documentary.

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Nepali Flag: The symbols and values

By Smita Poudel


A flag is the symbol of nationality, national unity, and pride of a nation. Almost all of them are rectangular or square. The flag of Nepal, however, is of unique appearance. This is particularly because of its shape and the symbols used.

The flag is formed by two triangles, one stacked upon and slightly overlapping the other, as if joined together on one side. The surface is dark red and the edge is blue.In the top triangle is a crescent moon; the sun is in the lower triangle. The sun and moon both are white.The flag’s origin is fully religious and has a Vedic or ancient significance. It is not the outcome of any political movement. In fact, the triangular flag is the archeological heritage of the Aryans. It has a very important place in Eastern culture and civilization. The triangular flag, or Dhoja, can be seen in temples, where it is worshipped. The flag is actually a symbol of extreme faith.

The shape of the current flag was determined at the very beginning of the history of modern Nepal, and the credit for it goes to King Prithvi Narayan Shah.

Above the crescent moon in the top triangle are eight small triangles in what looks like a smaller version of the sun partially eclipsed by the moon. The moon has been used as the symbol of Elixir and is believed to give eternal life. Every religious ritual is done according to the waxing and waning of the moon. The moon even reflects the peaceful and friendly attitude of the Nepali people.

The sun in the lower part has 12 triangles altogether. The sun is the heavenly symbol of fire. It is even the symbol of life because it provides the heat necessary for living beings. It soaks up the water and gives it back in the form of rain, making food production possible on earth. According to the Hindu religion, Sun is one of the Dev or Gods among five Gods or the Panchadev (“pancha” means five and “dev” means god). The history of the worship of the sun is connected with ancient Vedic rituals. Even the 12 signs of the zodiac and the 12 months are related to the movement of the sun.

The sun is taken as the head of the planets and a symbol of the soul. Similarly, the moon is taken as the head of the asteroids and a symbol of the heart. The sun even symbolizes eternal light.

The colors used in the flag also have religious and emotional significance. Red symbolizes closeness and blue symbolizes distance, whereas white symbolizes neutrality. Red is related to fire and blood, and blue is related to the vast sky and deep sea. Red is the symbol of extreme heat; blue is the symbol of extreme cold. It seems quite meaningful that the sun, the moon, and the blue and red colors are used together. Red symbolizes bravery. It shows that the Nepalese are brave by birth. It is even the symbol of good luck in Hinduism. Blue symbolizes knowledge, wisdom, honesty, tranquility, and peace.

Red has the quality of arousing love, enthusiasm, and energy to the soul. It is even believed that red is the first color used by human beings. Red is used in the Nepali flag to reveal our brave history.

In fact, the flag has always remained as the symbol of national unity, bravery, and the cultural and religious faith of the Nepalese people.

Original Article at:


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