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Magars are a Sino-Tibetan ethnic group of Nepalmarker and northern Indiamarker whose homeland extends from the western and southern edges of the Dhaulagiri section of the high Himalayas range south to the prominent Mahabharat foothill range and eastward into the Gandaki basin. According to Nepalmarker’s 2001 census, 1,622,421 people identified themselves as belonging to the Magar ethnolinguistic group, representing 7.14% of Nepalmarker’s population and making them the largest indigenous ethnic group in the country. According to the 2001 census, 74.6% of ethnic Magar were Hindus and 24.5% were Buddhists and the rest Christian Protestants.

The Magars are divided basically into seven clans or septs: Thapa, Ale, Rana, Budhathoki, Roka, Gharti and Pun. All the seven Magar clans intermarry one with the other. Of the early history of the Magars nothing whatever is known. The first mention of them is the fact that in A.D.1100, the Magar King of Palpa, one Mukunda Sen, invade and conquered the Nepal (Kathmandu) valley. It is always understood, however, that they have resided round about Palpa from time immemorial and that they were probably the earliest settlers of the Mongolian immigrants from the north. This part of the country was formerly divided into twelve districts, each under its own ruler, being known as the Barah, or twelve, Mangrath.

Some historians write Aramudi, 8th Century ruler of Kali Gandaki Region, was a Magar King. Jayapid [782-813 AD] whose other name was Vinayaditta, a king of Kashmir, invaded Kali Gandaki Region, a traditional homeland of the Magars of Nepal. Aramudi resisted the invasion and virtually defeated Jayapid.

Owing to the geographical position of their country, the Magars were amongst the first to receive immigrants from the plains of India. It follows, therefore, that a great number of their customs and ceremonies conform very closely to those of the Hindus of India. The Brahmans first found their way into Nepal amongst the multitudes of Indians, fleeing before the Mohammedan invasion in the twelfth century. They were the first to convert the local peoples to Hinduism. It is clear that the Brahmans found in their new mountain homes many willing converts, yet a large number refused to adopt the new faith. To the former the Brahmans granted the sacred thread, but to the latter they denied it; hence there sprang up such tribes as Rokas, Thapas, Budhathokis, Ranas and Ghartis, names which are to-day found amongst the clans of both the Chetris and Magars, but only those belonging to the former are allowed to wear the thread.

Language

Of the 1,622,421 Magar people in Nepalmarker, 770,116 speak a Magar language as their mother tongue. The Kham Magar of Rapti Zone speak Kham language. In Dolpa District, the Magar speak Tarali or Kaike language. The Magar languages are rooted in the Bodic branch of the Tibeto-Burman family. Magarkura speakers are Ale, Thapa, Rana. Similarly Khamkura speakers are Budha, Gharti, Roka, Pun, Jhankri and Kaike speakers are Tarali Magar of Dolpa/ Budha, Gharti, Roka, Jhankri.

Religion

In addition to shamanistic practices possibly brought from Siberia, the northern Magar practice Tibetan Buddhism in which their priest is known as Bhusal. The social process of Sanskritization has drawn southern Magar populations to develop a syncretic form of Hinduism that combines animist and Buddhist rituals. Hindu Magar villagers recognize three classes of priests- Rama, Jaisi and Dhami.

Generally speaking, Buddhist and Hindu practices are best developed among Magars living in contact with Tibetan Buddhists and Indo-Aryan Hindus respectively. They are less evident in Kham hinterlands particularly in rugged 3-4,000 meter ranges along the boundary between Rukum and Pyuthan-Rolpa districts. These hinterlands are geographically and therefore culturally isolated from the beaten tracks of transhimalayan trade routes and from rice-growing lowlands colonized by Hindu Indo-Aryans.

Occupations

Magars traditionally engage in agriculture and in the military. The Magars are prominently represented in Nepal’s military, as well as in the Singapore Police Force, the Britishmarker and Indianmarker Gurkha regiments, and they are also employed as professionals in the fields of medicine, education, government service, law, journalism, development, aviation and in business. They can be found doing well in many fields in East Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.

Magar Victoria Cross (VC) Winners

On total, 5 Victoria crosses were awarded to the Magars, who are:

Notable Magars

  • Late Professor Jagat Bahadur Singh Burathoki. Head of the Geography Dept. Tribhuvan University. Road Scholar.Father of Geography of Nepal.


  • Ram Bahadur Thapa Magar aka Badal, until recently, was defense minister of Nepal. He is very popular among Maoist cadres. He has dashing personality in the Maoist party. Despite being revolutionary leader, he is respected by many Magars and other ethnic communities in Nepal.






  • Balaram Gharti Magar,Former Cabinet minister and famous politician.




  • Lok Deep Thapa, respected English-language journalist, Chief Editor - The Rising Nepal and General Manager - Gorkhapatra Corporation


  • Pro Dr Trilok Pati Thapa,Institute of Medicine,Tribhuvan University,Kathmandu.


  • Dr. Gobinda Prasad Thapa retired Assistant Inspector General of Nepal Police.


  • late Lt. Col. Narayan Singh Pun (Ex. Minister) Mediator of Government and Maoist. Army helicopter pilot and owner of Karnali Air.


  • Gore Bahadur Khapangi (Ex. Minister)He played major role to establish the Nepal Magar Association


  • Suresh Ale Magar Revolutionary Maoist leader (member of legislature parliament.)


  • Fatik Thapa (Member of legislative parliament)Leader of magar community.


  • M.S Thapa Leader of Magar Community,President of Rastriya Janamukti Party (Member of parliament), great writer of magar language, lawyer and a social activist.


  • Pardip Thapa famous magar journalist.


  • Sanjog laaphaa famous magar actor.


  • Rom Bahadur Thapa, former Inspector General of Police,Nepal Police, Highest ranking police officer in Nepal; Consul General of Nepal to Calcutta.


  • Khadga Jeet Baral, highest decorated and honored Inspector General of Police(ret.), ambassador of Nepal to Burma, Member of the U.N, and former Member of Parliament.


  • Pramila Thapa Magar is Nepal's female black belt champion and world black belt sparring champion and 10-board breaking champion. She is the first female Tae kwon do coach in Nepal. She is also first female 4th Dan champion in Nepal, awarded from king Birendra. The belt is a special three-inch thick black belt with gold embroidery.


  • Vim Charan Thapa, campus chief,writer; sharada, parkhal, and other many books.


  • Prakash Thapa Magar, Ex-Boxer, Nepal champion and South Asia Champion.


  • Uttam Raj Thapa Magar, Chess Champion of Nepal, 2008 - present.


  • late Arun thapa magar, the famous singer("ritu haruma timi "by late Arun thapa was ranked seventh among the world's most popular songs in a BBC survey in 2003.


  • Dr Harsha Bahadur Budha Magar, first PhD holder from Magar community, historian, writer, and social worker.


  • Maj Gen (Retd) Om Bahadur Pun, Nepal Army.


  • Maj Gen (Retd) Nar Bahadur Budhathoki, Nepal Army.


  • Lt Col (Retd) Lal Bahadur Pun, very first Nepali citizen to pick up the rank of Lt Col in the British Army's history.


  • Kulbir Thapa, the very first Gurkha to win Victoria Cross (VC) in recognition of his valor and bravery. He was from Palpa. He served in 3rd Gurkha Regiment (GR). He received Victoria Cross in France in 1915.


  • Karna Bahadur Rana was also from 3rd GR. He received VC in Egypt in 1918.


  • Lal Bahadur Thapa was from 2nd GR. He received VC in Tunisia in 1943.


  • Tul Bahadur Pun (born 23 March 1923) was from Myagdi. He served 6 GR. He received VC in Burma in 1944. He is a living recipient of the VC. He later achieved the rank of Honorary Lieutenant. In addition to the Victoria Cross, Pun has been awarded 10 other medals, including the Burma Star.


  • Netra Bahadur Thapa was from 5th GR. He received VC in Burma in 1944. Five VC winners were from Magars out of 13 Gurkhas VC winners.


  • Master Mitrasen Thapa, famous musician, singer in Nepali language. "Malai Khutrukkai Paryo Jethan Timro Bahini Le.."


  • Biraj Thapa Magar, the very first Army Chief in Nepal Army's history. Sarbajit Rana and Abhiman Singh Rana Magar are other army chiefs in Nepal Army.


  • Late Bhimdarshan Roka, famous Nepali poet.


  • Brigadier General (Retd) Dilmansingh Thapa Magar, first Magar to pick up the rank after the fall of Rana Regime in Nepal.


  • Brigadier General Prem Prakash Thapa Magar, Nepal Army.


  • Brigadier General (Retd) Lok Bahadur Thapa Magar, Nepal Army.


  • Brigadier General Shyam Bahadur Thapa Magar, Nepal Army.


  • Col (Retd) Shri Prasad Budhathoki, Indian Army. Former Cabinet Minister of Nepal.


  • Hony Maj Gen Giri Prasad Budhathoki, famous former cabinet minister of Nepal.


  • Bhim Kumari Budha Magar, former cabinet minister, Nepali Congress Central Committee member.


  • AIGP (Retd) Dhalman Thapa, Nepal Police.


References

External links




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