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 weย abide by our duty when we share something in social networks such asย Face Book, Tweeter etc.

1) The correct name of oursย is Nepami or Newah not somethingย 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 duringย the past 240 years.ย Therefore, it is our duty not to offend our own brothers and sisters calling them Newar or Newari. Letโ€™s call them Newah.

2) Every community has names for their professions. It is not important to revealย them in publicย because such writings may offend the lower level people. So letโ€™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 invadedย Nepal Mandala.

4) We do have our own language, which is Nepal Bhasa, not Newar or Newari. Letโ€™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 andย 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. Letโ€™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 correctย original script of Nepal. Therefore,ย it is our duty to point outย that Nepal Lipiย (menaing script of Nepal) is theย script originated in Nepal hence itย has been knownย 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 โ€œNepali Only” (Khas language only)ย policy in Nepal.

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

เคœเคจเคฌเคนเคพเคฆเฅเคฏ: เคธเคพเคฒเฅ€เค—เฅ (Janabahadyo saleegu), not seto macchendra rathayatra;
เคฌเฅเค™เค—เคฆเฅเคฏ: เคธเคพเคฒเฅ€เค—เฅ (Bungadyou saleegu), not rato macchendra nath rathayatra;
เคธเคพเคชเคพเคฐเฅ (Saparu(, not gaijatra; เค•เฅเคฎเคพเคฐเฅ€ เคฆเฅเคฏ: เคธเคพเคฒเฅ€เค—เฅ (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 provideย 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. Letโ€™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)