Understanding Nepal’s Newah people, their language and culture

Kumari thikthak.comUnderstanding Nepal’s Newah people, their language and culture has been not easy as some of us are eager to share what we know before we take some time to preview what we write. We have a duty to disseminate the correct information. It is important that we abide by our duty when we share something in social networks such as Face Book, Tweeter etc.

1) The correct name of ours is Nepami or Newah not something else. All other terms such as Newar, Newari were imposed by Khas Barmu, a people mixed with Bahuns and Khas Chhetris, who arrived in Nepal Mandala during the past 240 years. Therefore, it is our duty not to offend our own brothers and sisters calling them Newar or Newari. Let’s call them Newah.

2) Every community has names for their professions. It is not important to reveal them in public because such writings may offend the lower level people. So let’s be careful not to offend our members of the community.

3) Newah is not just a community. It is a nation, which ruled historic Nepal Mandala for thousands of years till 1769 when Prithvi Narayan from Gorkha invaded Nepal Mandala.

4) We do have our own language, which is Nepal Bhasa, not Newar or Newari. Let’s call our language as Nepal Bhasa in English, too. It is a brand name, no one of us need to change it to any other term for the benefit of foreigners. Foreigners are suppossed to learn and use the correct term of Nepal Bhasa.

5) Nepal Bhasa has its own script which is called Nepal Lipi. Ranjana lipi is a part of Nepal Lipi. It is not the primary script. Let’s not be confuse ourselves nor confuse others. Some are confused that Ranjana Lipi is our primary script because it is alleged that King Mahendra submitted it as Nepal’s original script as the UNO did not accept Devanagar Lipi as Nepal’s primary script when Nepal applied for UNO membership. His advisors should have advised Nepal Lipi to be Nepal’s primary script. They were not able to do so because even the advisors were not informed of the correct original script of Nepal. Therefore, it is our duty to point out that Nepal Lipi (menaing script of Nepal) is the script originated in Nepal hence it has been known so.

6) Newah people may be highly educated compared to other communities in Nepal. But the truth is that they have yet to be mother tongue literate because of the “Nepali Only” (Khas language only) policy in Nepal.

7) Festival names in Nepal has been changed by the new rulers after they invaded Nepal Mandala in 1769, we must share the original names of those festivals for examples:

जनबहाद्य: सालीगु (Janabahadyo saleegu), not seto macchendra rathayatra;
बुङगद्य: सालीगु (Bungadyou saleegu), not rato macchendra nath rathayatra;
सापारु (Saparu(, not gaijatra; कुमारी द्य: सालीगु (Kumari dyosallegu), not indrajatra;

8) Mhapuja is performed to celebrate the New Year of Nepal Samvat, the original calendar of Nepal. They are part and partial, not separate.

9) Original Newah were all Vajrayana followers, who worshipped an integrated group of deities including the Buddha, Mahadya etc. The division of Newah into Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or Muslim is a very new.

There are several online portals which provide more information about Nepal Bhasa and Nepal Lipi such as www.nepal-lipi.com. One may visit them for detail information.

These are a few of many things we Newah are supposed to take note of. Whether we live in Nepal or abroad, we are first Newah, then only we become citizens of Nepal and other countries. Let’s share correct information about us, Newah, our language Nepal Bhasa, our script Nepal Lipi and our religion Vajrayana. Then only, we will be protecting and promoting our identity. Nepal Bhasa is our mother tongue, not Khas Bhasa. Let’s try to use Nepal Bhasa as much as we can use. If you are not literate of your own Nepal Bhasa, you may learn it as there are plenty of books have been published which are available in many bookstores in Nepal. They are also available online. Or you can visit www.nepal-lipi.com

– Dr. Suwarn Vajracharya

(Source of the photo: Thikthak.com)