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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
Bratabandh(traditional customs done by brahmins) (4).JPG
A Bahun man wearing the traditional Janai thread at Bratabandha ceremony in Nepal
Regions with significant populations
   Nepal3,226,903 (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]



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]

Royal funerary ritesEdit

Bahuns have sometimes been employed in funerary rites of the Shah kings of Nepal.[7] [8]After the Nepalese royal massacre, Bahun priests were employed to take up Katto but ended up in a dispute over the value of the gifts the received at the conclusion of the ceremony. They were eventually forced to leave the Kathmandu Valley in order to conclude the concubstantial requirements of the ritual. Katto refers to the meal given to the Brahmin priest on the 11th day of the death of the king[9] It was done in a belief that Katto eating Bahun consumed the wrong deeds of the deceased King.[9]


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.[10] 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.[11] EU mission also suggested the Nepalese government to deny Khas Aryas their proportional representation election quota.[12]

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. ^
  8. ^ Declan Quigley (2005). The character of kingship. Berg. ISBN 978-1-84520-290-3.
  9. ^ a b Nepala Rajakiya Pragya Pratisthana 2001, p. 27.
  10. ^ Aryal, Trailokya Raj (24 May 2017). "The Bahun narrative". Myrepublica. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  11. ^ Khadka, Suman (25 Feb 2015). "Drawing caste lines". The Kathmandu Post. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  12. ^ "The Kathmandu Post -PM briefs international community". Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  13. ^ Raj, Prakash A. (2006). Dancing Democracy: The power of a Third Eye. Rupa & Company. ISBN 9788129109460.
  14. ^ a b c d "Girija Prasad Koirala: The architect of democracy in Nepal". Dawn. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  15. ^ Westminster legacies. UNSW Press. 2005. ISBN 978-0-86840-848-4. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  16. ^ "Flight of a free bird". My Republica. 7 March 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  17. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (4 May 1999). "Man Mohan Adhikari". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  18. ^ "CPN Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal elected as 39th Prime Minister of Nepal". Xinhuanet. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  19. ^ "Prachanda elected Prime Minister of Nepal". The Hindu. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  20. ^ "CPN-UML Comrades Apart". Spotlight Nepal Magazine. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  21. ^ "Caste no bar". Nepali Times. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  22. ^ "The Original Maoist". Nepali Times. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  23. ^ "KP Sharma Oli-why Nepal's new PM isn't the right man for the job". Retrieved 2017-12-13.