Bahun (Nepali: बाहुन) or Khas Brahmin(Nepali: खस ब्राह्मण) or Nepali Brahman is a caste among Khas people. Bahun is a local colloquial term for the Nepali-speaking hill Brahmins. According to 2011 Nepal census, Brahman/Bahun or Brahmin-Hill stands as second most populous group after Chhetri in Nepal.
बाहुन/ ब्राह्मण/खस ब्राह्मण
|Regions with significant populations|
|Nepal||3,226,903 (12.2% of Nepal's population) |
|Ancient: Khas-Kura Modern: Nepali|
|Hinduism (approx. all)|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Khas people, Chhetri, Kumaoni people, Garhwali people|
Traditionally, Bahuns (called "Khas Brahmins") were members of Khas community together with Chhetris (Khas Kshatriyas). Possibly due to political power of the Khasa Malla kingdom, Khas Bahun and Khas Rajput had high social status as indigenous plain Brahmins and Rajputs in the present-day western Nepal. Bahuns, regarded as upper class Khas group together with Chhetri, were associated mostly with the Gorkha Kingdom. Bahun (with Chhetri) are referred with tribal designation of Khas in most of the context than lower occupational Khas castes like Kami, Sarki, etc.
Clans and surnamesEdit
Bahuns were divided into two clans on the basis of residency. The Bahun residents east of Mahakali river were known as Purbiya Bahun and west of the river were known as Kumain Bahun. Kumain is a direct derivative of Kumaoni, meaning residents of Kumaon.
According to 2011 Nepal census, Bahun or Brahmin-Hill stands as second most populous group after Chhetri in Nepal with 12.2% of Nepal's population (or 32,26,903 peoples). Bahun (Hill-Brahmins) are the second largest Hindu group with Hindu population of 3,212,704 (99.6% of Bahuns) as per the 2011 Nepal census. Hill-Brahmins are largest group in 11 districts in Nepal; Jhapa, Morang, Kathmandu, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kaski, Syangja, Parbat, Gulmi and Arghakhanchi. Among these, Bahuns in Parbat (35.7%), Arghakhanchi (32.8%) and Syangja (30.9%) consist more than 30% of district population while Kathmandu consists largest Bahun population with 410,126 (23.5%).
Bahuns have the highest civil service representation with 39.2% of Nepal's bureaucracy while having only 12.1% of Nepal's total population. The civil service representation to population ratio is 3.2 times for Bahuns which is fourth in Nepal. Kshetris represent 5.6 times in civil services to their percentage of population, which is the highest in Nepal.
The main festival that Bahuns celebrate is the Bada Dashain, which also is the biggest Nepali festival. Tihar or Deepawali is the second biggest festival for Bahuns. However, as these two festivals are celebrated by almost everyone in Nepal and as Bahuns are Tagadharis, the biggest exclusive Brahman festival is the Janai Purnima. Apart from these festivals, the Brahman community also celebrates other festivals like Nag Panchami, Makar Sankranti, MahaShiva Ratri, Krishna Janmashtami, Ram Nawami and Chaitra Dashain. The monsoon festivals of Teej are primarily dedicated to Goddess Parvati and her union with Lord Shiva and is celebrated by majority of Nepali Khas Arya women.
Cuisine and Brahman dietEdit
The Bahun cuisine is heavily inspired by the general North Indian cuisine. Major dishes originating from the Bahun community are:
Bahunbaad along with Bahun-Chhetri phenomenon has been dubbed as sociopolitical dominance of Khas-Pahades in Nepal. This dominance has emerged a critical condition for Bahun and Chhetri males for depriving of opportunities due to quota and Reservation for other castes. Former Prime Minister of Nepal, Baburam Bhattarai, who is also a Brahman,had argued that Khas Arya dominates the 80% institutions in Nepal and meritocratic system should not be introduced in Nepal. Opposingly, it is widely known that the Bahun-Chhetri dominance was based on formal legal system and the guilt of state capture is targeted by quota-reservation supporters. EU mission also suggested the Nepalese government to deny Khas Aryas their proportional representation election quota.
Despite the lack of reservation quotas for Bahuns, Bahuns continue to dominate the bulk of Nepal’s bureaucracy, judiciary, and public offices along with high level posts in security forces and political parties.
However, most Bahuns condemn the idea of Bahunbaad and seem to support equality in all sectors.
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