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Bahun (Nepali: बाहुन) or Khas Brahmin[2](Nepali: खस ब्राह्मण) is a caste among Khas ethnic Pahari people. Bahun is a local colloquial term for the Nepali-speaking hill Brahmins. According to 2011 Nepal census, Bahun or Brahmin-Hill stands as second most populous group after Chhetri in Nepal.[1]

Bahun/Hill Brahmin/Khas Brahmin
बाहुन/पहाडी ब्राह्मण/खस ब्राह्मण
Gaze of a priest.JPG
Traditional Bahun priest at Kathmandu
Regions with significant populations
   Nepal 3,226,903 (12.2% of Nepal's population) [1]
Nepali language (Khas kura)
Om.svgHinduism (approx. all)
Related ethnic groups
Khas people, Chhetri, Kumaoni people, Garhwali people

According to 1854 Muluki Ain (Nepalese Legal Code), Bahuns were regarded as caste among sacred thread bearers (Tagadhari) and twice-born Hindus.[3] However, Muluki Ain ( 1962) removed the hierarchical divisions of Nepalis and declared all Nepalis as equal citizens. Present constitution very categorically declares all Nepalis as equals.



Selected ethnic groups of Nepal; Bahun are members of the wider Pahari (or Khas) community (yellow).

Traditionally, Bahuns (called "Khas Brahmins") were member of Khas community together with Chhetris (Khas Kshatriyas).[2] Possibly due to political power of the Khasa Malla kingdom, Khas Bahun and Khas Rajput had high social status as immigrant plain Brahmins and Rajputs in the present-day western Nepal.[2] Bahuns, regarded as upper class Khas group together with Chhetri, were associated mostly with the Gorkha Kingdom.[4] Bahun (with Chhetri) are referred with tribal designation of Khas in most of the context than lower occupational Khas castes like Kami, Sarki, etc.[4]

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.[5] Kumain is a direct derivative of Kumaoni, meaning residents of Kumaon.[5]


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).[1] 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.[1] 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%).[1]

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.[6]

Racism and BahunsEdit

Bahunbaad along with Bahun-Chhetri phenomenon has been dubbed as socio-political 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. This phenomenon is also found among other ethnic communities. Few indigenous ethnic communities are dominant over the several minorities in grasping the opportunities granted by positive discrimination policy of government resulting in marginalization of several minorities like chepang, raaute, bankariyaa etc. However, Nepali intellectuals have remain silent on such issues due to fear of reprimand. on the other hand, intellectuals fail to explain this dominance of Bahuns in regard to their roles in a traditional hindu society. Brahmins, sitting on the top part of Hindu society hierarchy lived by providing civil services or worked in courts of kings. This traditional role of brahmins, as learned intellectuals, is reflected in their dominance in current civil service of Nepal and India. Remaining part of the society living pastoral-agricultural life gave less importance to the work of brahmins. This phenomenon is also supported by Nepali proverb "padhi-guni koune kaam halo jotyo khaayo maam". This is also supported by the facts that Brahmins are very few in number in army and police, but they make preference to go in civil services, professors and other learned professionals. In the future Bahun and Chhetri will be provided with quota( currently government is proposing this to the parliament) for their representation at political level[7] Ethnic hatred against Bahun-Chhetri includes a former member of the Federal Socialist Party's revelation of their party's promotion of Bahun-Chhetri hatred using slogan of chopping Bahun-Chhetris off. Former Prime Minister of Nepal, Baburam Bhattarai 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.[8] EU mission also suggested the Nepalese government to deny Khas Aryas their proportional representation election quota.[9]

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "Nepal Census 2011" (PDF). 
  2. ^ a b c John T Hitchcock 1978, pp. 116-119.
  3. ^ Sherchan 2001, p. 14.
  4. ^ a b Whelpton 2005, p. 31.
  5. ^ a b Subba 1989, p. 30.
  6. ^ Dhakal, Amit (11 June 2014). "निजामती सेवामा सबैभन्दा बढी प्रतिनिधित्व राजपूत, कायस्थ र तराई ब्राम्हण". Setopati. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  7. ^ Aryal, Trailokya Raj (24 May 2017). "The Bahun narrative". Myrepublica. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  8. ^ Khadka, Suman (25 Feb 2015). "Drawing caste lines". The Kathmandu Post. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  9. ^ "The Kathmandu Post -PM briefs international community". Retrieved 6 April 2018. 
  10. ^ Raj, Prakash A. (2006). Dancing Democracy: The power of a Third Eye. Rupa & Company. ISBN 9788129109460. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Girija Prasad Koirala: The architect of democracy in Nepal". Dawn. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  12. ^ Westminster legacies. UNSW Press. 2005. ISBN 978-0-86840-848-4. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  13. ^ "Flight of a free bird". My Republica. 7 March 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  14. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (4 May 1999). "Man Mohan Adhikari". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  15. ^ "CPN Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal elected as 39th Prime Minister of Nepal". Xinhuanet. Retrieved 2017-12-13. 
  16. ^ "Prachanda elected Prime Minister of Nepal". The Hindu. Retrieved 2017-12-13. 
  17. ^ "CPN-UML Comrades Apart". Spotlight Nepal Magazine. Retrieved 2017-12-13. 
  18. ^ "Caste no bar". Nepali Times. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2018. 
  19. ^ "The Original Maoist". Nepali Times. Retrieved 2017-12-13. 
  20. ^ "KP Sharma Oli-why Nepal's new PM isn't the right man for the job". Retrieved 2017-12-13.