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Who Are Nevahs?

Issue May 2019

Who Are Nevahs?

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar


Who are the Nevahs? Who have the rights to be called the Nevahs? These two questions have been asked among the folks in the Nevah community, and even outside the community. Some Nevahs believe they were the families of the Brahmin descent; others claim that they were Rajputs came with the Malla king. Then, we have some folks questioning themselves whether they were the Nevahs or not. Let us see who are Nevahs and who are not.


Recently, while I was listening to the Lahana: Nepal Bhasa (Nevah) language program on the Ujyaalo Radio Network, a famous writer Rajkarnikar was speaking to the anchor of this program and answering the questions. He happened to be one of the second-generation cousins of the founding father of the Krishna Pauroti bakery. As everybody needed to be, he was very proud of being the Rajkarnikar family of the Brahmin descent. He told how they became the descendants of the two Brahmans, who came to cook sweets for the Malla king.


The then one of the Malla kings of Patan brought two Brahmans from the South means the today’s India, Rajkarnikar told. They were for cooking sweets in the palace for the king. Those two Brahmin cooks remained in Patan, and they had their progeny who continued to work as the cooks at the Malla kings’ palace. In the course of time, they became Rajkarnikars even though they are Nevahs they were not Nevahs, is it not?


This story of the Rajkarnikars being the Brahmin descent caused me to ask two questions: first, whether the Brahmans work as the professional cooks, and whether Patan at that time had no professional cooks to satisfy the luxury of the Malla Kings for eating fancy foods.


Answer to the first question, yes, and some Brahmans work as a “bhan-chhe” means a cook, other work as priests, and many as politicians. Our Supreme leader popularly known as the iron man Ganeshman Singh once said, ”We have three categories of Brahmans; the first one is “dhungro fook-nay” means the blower in the kitchen (obviously a cook), the second category is of the blower of a conch shell (means a priest), and finally the third category is of a blower of a mike (politician). So, Brahmans would do all sorts of work. So, Rajkarnikars might be the families of the Brahmin origin.


The second question is whether the Patan of the Malla period did not have any cooks who could cook different kinds of sweets to the taste of the highly luxurious Malla kings and queens, princes and princesses. Certainly, Patan must have because Bhaktapur and Kathmandu had the excellent and lavish sweet makers called Madhikamis. Even today, following the tantric rituals, they cook varieties of sweets at the Taleju complex for making offerings to the Taleju Bhavani and for the Living Goddess Kumari on the occasions of different festivals held every year.


Madhikamis prepared and continue to prepare the sweetmeats in eight different auspicious symbols, and in the forms of different birds to offer the deities. The taste of each kind of sweets differs from one another. The ingredients used for different sweets are also diverse, and differ from each other. Unlike the sweets mainly made of the milk cakes (khu-va), the Nevah sweets are quite unusual and distinctive, provide distinct tastes from each other.


Then, the questions are why the Malla king brought two Brahmin cooks, and why those Brahmans did not give their family name to their progeny, and how their offspring became Rajkarnikar, which is certainly not the Brahmin name; Mr. Rajkarnikar did not address these questions.


Mr. Rajkarnikar gave the impression that at that time, Nepal had no folks who could cook sweets; so the Malla king had to bring those Brahmans. That was not a sound argument for making Rajkarnikars the Brahmin origin because at that time Patan had been far ahead of any countries in South Asia. Surely, some folks were the professional cooks. They could cook anything the Malla kings fancied.


Now, let us take on the Nevah claimed to be the progeny of the Rajput, who had also claimed to come with the Malla King to Nepal. He is a well-known writer and expert in culture in Bhaktapur. We call him Gongaju but he is actually a Gonga only.


In one of the issues of the Saturday supplement of “gorkhapatra:” a state-run newspaper, Gonga wrote that he was really a Rajput, as his ancestors came with the Malla king and then they became Nevahs because they mixed with the locals. Mixing with the locals whether they had upgraded or downgrade Gonga did not mention but they became Nevahs. I know some of my Gonga friends in Bhaktapur took the family name of Rathaur: surely the name of the Indian Rajputs.


Then, Gonga told the story of how his ancestors’ family name became Gonga. His ancestors were the palace workers. They had to work before dawn when a rooster crows. So, as soon as a rooster crows, his ancestors had to be in the palace. So, the palace folks probably the queen and princes and princesses had called them Gonga means a rooster in the Nevah language. Obviously, those Malla kings and other Malla royalties did not speak their original language if they had actually come from the south but the Nevah language.


Then, Gonga did not tell what work his ancestors did in the palace at that time so early in the morning when most of the folks would be still in bed. He wanted to keep others to guessing. However, the two things, every Nevah family did were the early morning sweeping the main passages of a house, and then emptying the toilet bowl called “kopra:” full of pooh and piss, and then cleaning it thoroughly and keeping it safely for the next night use. The Nevahs sweep their house in the morning even today but they need not have “kopra” because of the attached toilets.


None of the Nevah families does anything without sweeping the house. Most of the Nevahs still follow this culture. However, none of the Nevahs might have any “kopra” today because every house has a toilet if not a community toilet.


At that time, even the Malla palaces so lavishly built with so artistically carved wooden windows, and then a dug-down stone-water spout with so artistically carved stone deities, and large stone serpents going around the top edges of the dug-down spout supplied perennial water for the Malla royalties in their palaces. However, they did not built toilets because the scriptures said that toilets needed to be at least at the distant of 50 meters or more away from their residence. So, none of the Nevahs house had any built-in toilet in their houses at that time.


So, they used toilet bowl called “kopra” for night pissing and defecating. So, such a toilet bowl called “kopra” becomes full in the morning if everybody is doing their night pissing. However, the kings and queens and princes and princesses must have an individual “kopra”. So, the first thing folks needed to do must be emptying the toilet bowls and surely sweeping the palace floor, too.


However, the palace folks must have some other people doing these two important tasks in the palace early in the morning. They surely might not be the Gongas but somebody else then what the Gongas had done so early in the morning so that they had to rush to the palace at the early hours of every morning, our Gonga did not bother to mention it, and kept us guessing what actual jobs the Gongas did at the palace so early morning at that time.


Then a lady called Juhee Gubhani wrote an article titled “Are Rajopadhyayas Newras of Nepal?” trying to sort out what is what. I don’t now whether she herself is Rajopadhaya or not but she had nicely written the story and came to the conclusion Rajopadhayas are the imported folks, who accepted the Nevah language and culture. Surely, they are Nevahs but some of them have disappeared from the Nevah community to join the better community of that species others have continued to be proud of being Nevahs speaking Nevah language and following the Nevah culture strictly.


Now, let us see whether the Mallas had come from the south or they were homegrown.


The Licchavi royalties had ruled Nepal for more than five hundred years from 400 A.D. to 800 A.D. then, their rule lost the strength and their regime started off disintegrating into smaller pieces. The regime broke up into such small pieces that every neighborhood became an independent principality. The principals of neighborhood principalities became Thhakujus. Thus, Nepal became the home of a large number of principalities. This situation prevailed in Nepal for almost 300 hundred years or even more. Common folks had been facing troubles after troubles.


At that time, wrestlers were known as Mallas. Certainly, wresters were the strongest persons. So, they took over a few weak Thhakujus means running the neighborhood principalities, and fused them into a single principal, and it worked because common folks liked it. The emboldened Mallas captured more Thhakujus and built a large kingdom. Thus, Mallas became the rulers.


Once, they became the princes, kings and queens; they made up different stories, and they linked their origin with the southern sovereigns to lift themselves up above the common folks. So, they invented the stories stating their forefathers were the victims of the Muslims emperors of Hindustan, and they needed to flee. They fled with their family deity called Taleju. They made a stopover in Simrangud, and then they came over Bhaktapur, and then became the Malla kings. It became the part of the history of the Malla period. One historian after another simply copied it.


We know now how the Mallas linked their origin with the Hindustani princes and princesses.


Now, let us see how the Licchavis elevated themselves up. They grabbed the power from the Kiratis in early Christian era. Taking the advantages of the weakening Kiratis, the locals managed to hold the power and drive the Kirati rulers out of power.


Once, the regular folks became the royalties. They felt that they needed to take themselves higher up above the ordinary folks. They did not want to take the name of the defeated Kiratis. So, they searched and found the suitable name Licchavi. Thus, the Licchavi Kings came to exist from the ordinary Nevahs.


Then, the question often asked was whether the Kiratis were Nevahs or not. Professor Gautam V. Vajracharya Ph.D. Wisconsin, USA firmly said that the Kiratis were the Nevahs. Probably, they were the ancestors of the folks currently taking care of Lord Akash Bhairav in Kathmandu, I think.


A mythical story has it that a Kirati King called Yalambar went with his troops of army to Kuruchhetra where Pandav and Kaurav armies were preparing for a war to decide who would be the master of the kingdom called Hastinapur. Most of the kings and princes with their respective armies went there either to assist Pandavas or Kauravas, so did Kirati King Yalambar.


When Lord Krishna: one of the heroes of the Kuruchhetra war saw the shining face of King Yalambar, he suspected that this man possibly must have an extraordinary power and strength. So, Krishna used his transcendental power to see Yalambar and find him out who really Yalambar was. Krishna saw Lord Shiva in the form of ferocious Bhairav in Yalambar. So, whichever side Yalambar would take would win the war easily in a short period of time. So, all the fraudulent and morally wrong kings and princes would remain alive that was not the Krishna’s mission. His actual mission was to finish off all those evils, and create a new clean society, and restore the divine order in Hastinapur. That was why the Kuruchhetra war was fought.


So, Krishna did not want King Yalambar engage in the war. Lord Krishna used his divine weapon called ‘sudarshun chakra’ and cut off the head of King Yalambar and sent it back to Nepal, and landed the head in the current Indrachok in Kathmandu. His progeny called him Akash Bhairav (akash means sky). Probably, the folks currently taking care of Lord Akash Bhairav are the direct descendants of the Kirati King Yalambar.


Since then the kings had been the incarnations of Lord Bhairav.


Kirati King Yalambar became the first direct form of Lord Bhairav. When his offspring became the kings they considered themselves as Lord Bhairav, and the tradition of the kings being Bhairav was set. The succeeding Licchavi kings also followed the tradition, and this tradition had continued until the Malla king before Pratap Malla.


King Pratap Malla then turned the wheel of the history to a new direction. He invented a story that he was really Lord Vishnu, and Lord Vishnu himself came in his dream and the lord ordered him not to visit Buddhanilkanth because he was the human form of the stone Vishnu (Buddhanilkanth) lying on the bed of several serpents woven into the braid. Since then the kings became the human form of Lord Vishnu; and kings did not visit Buddhanilkanth. Then, the Shah kings accepted the concept of the king being Lord Vishnu.


Even the Shahs had their ancestors the Khans probably the offspring of a Muslim emperor. The Nepali Army had inscribed the names of the ancestors of Shahs starting from a Khan in a long stone and set it on the wall of a hill in Nagarkot. How could they be the Khans when they were the natives of the hilly area called Gorkha?


Thus, the folks getting into power elevated themselves from the commoners to as high as Lord Bhairav, and then Lord Vishnu.


Even Jung Bahadur Kunwar elevated his status to the level of the Rajputs, who claimed to be the offspring of descendants of Lord Ram. As everybody knew if s/he had read or heard the brief history of Nepal of the Rana period, Jung Bahadur was an ordinary soldier, who had a rented lodge at Jaishideval, and he played games with the local folks.


When Jung Bahadur succeeded to be the king of Lamjung and Kaski, he changed his family name from Kunwar to Rana, and then he linked his lineage with the Indian Rajputs. It is a nice development for anybody to elevate from the ordinary folks to powerful Rajputs, who unfortunately surrendered their kingdoms to the mighty and shrewd Muslim warriors at the battles, and accepted the defeat, and let the Muslim emperors run the country, which the Muslims called Hindustan for several centuries, and let them introduce the Muslim culture, and even convert thousands probably hundreds of thousands Hindu Rajputs into the Muslim princes and princesses.


If we had not known this story, surely we would believe that the Ranas were actually the Ranas of Rajputana, and they came from there to rule over Nepal. Historians would simply copy this nice story and the Ranas would surely be the descendants of the progeny of Rajputs, who claimed to be the Lord Ram lineage. They would not be the locals of Nepal but foreign sovereigns who came to rule over the common folks in Nepal. That would be a nice made-up historical story.


Not only the Nepalese royalties had linked themselves with the foreign royalties and even with the divinity but also the Indian princes and kings also did the same. Some of them traced their ancestry to Lord Ram. So, they said that they had the divine spirits and they were sent to rule over the common folks. They had the rights to run the administration arbitrarily as did Lord Ram, who exiled his pregnant spouse: Sita just to honor the words of some crook fellows.


So, I have another question whether Rajkarnikar and Gongaju would like to take a DNA test to confirm that Rajkarnikars are the Brahmin-origin, and Gongas are of the Rajputs. Surely, that test would be final and then we would not have any controversies.


May 22, 2019

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