Sunday, July 14, 2024

Chhetri: The History Behind The Name

The term “Chhetri” is thought to derive directly from the Sanskrit word “Kshatriya,” which refers to a lineage and class of “warriors.” The history behind the name: Chhetri goes way long as the word itself.

According to Nepal’s 1854 Legal Code, this group is the most important social group among the Tagadhari or holy thread carriers. Furthermore, it should be noted that these name-bearers have double populations. The Hindu faith is practiced by almost all Chhetris.

According to the 2011 Nepal census, they make up 16.6% of the country’s population. This incredible numerical significance highlights investigating and comprehending this group’s rich cultural heritage and distinctive customs. Let’s dive deeper into the Chhetri and the history behind the name.

Pie chart of population by caste

In Demogrphy

The Chhetris have the title of being Nepal’s most populous ethnic group. In fact, according to the 2011 Nepal census, they are the largest community of Hindu believers in the entire country. Accounting for 4,365,113 people, or 99.3% of the total Chhetri population.

Their demographic importance is significantly more obvious in Nepal’s hill areas. Where they account for 41% of the population, surpassing Brahmins at 31% and all other castes at 27%. This impressive numerical presence attests to the Chhetri community’s deep roots in culture and important contributions to Nepal’s social and historical fabric.

Khas people in traditional attire

The History

The Chhetris are said to be tied to the Khasas mentioned in ancient Indian literature as well as the medieval Khasa kingdom.

The Chhetris played a crucial part in Nepal’s early modern history. To begin with creating the backbone of the Gorkhali army in the mid-18th century. Bir Bhadra Thapa, a senior Bharadar whose grandson, Bhimsen Thapa, went on to become Nepal’s Mukhtiyar or Prime Minister, was a notable Chhetri figure during this period.

Other notable political personalities from the Chhetri community include Swarup Singh Karki, Abhiman Singh Basnyat of the Basnyat dynasty, and Damodar Pande of the Pande dynasty. Notably, Jung Bahadur Rana, the Rana family’s founder,

Other notable political and military personalities from the Chhetri community include Swarup Singh Karki, Abhiman Singh Basnyat of the Basnyat dynasty, and Damodar Pande of the Pande dynasty. Notably, Jung Bahadur Rana, the Rana dynasty’s founder, was also a member of the Chhetri community.

In Political History

Throughout history, the Chhetris held considerable power over the Nepalese military. Particularly under the reigns of dictatorial governors such as Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa and Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana. In fact, there were 51 Chhetri officers in senior military posts in 1841 A.D., including 12 Basnyats, 16 Pandes, 6 Thapas, and 3 Kunwar commanders.

The Kazis were the most senior officials during the Shah regime, controlling both civil and military tasks, much like a combination Minister and Military officer. Rana Jang Pande, the Pande faction’s leader, was even Prime Minister of Nepal in 1841 A.D., which may explain why there were so many Pande officers at the time.

Following the establishment of the Rana dynasty, the number of Chhetri officers shifted. Increasing with 61 Chhetri officers totalling 10 Basnyats, 1 Pande, 3 Thapas, and 26 Kunwar officers in 1854 A.D.

Chhetris have continued to dominate senior officer ranks in the Nepali Army. accounting for 74.4% of total senior officers in 1967. This trend continued in 2003, 2004, and 2007, with Chhetris accounting for 38.1%, 54.3%, and 55.3% of senior officers, respectively. Chhetris’ continuous presence in the Nepalese military attests to their historical legacy and enduring significance in defining Nepal’s political and social landscape.

Khas women

The List of Chhetri Caste

The Chhetri include the following caste:

  • Adhikari
  • Baniya
  • Basnet 
  • Bisht
  • Bhandari 
  • Bohra 
  • Burathoki 
  • Chauhan
  • Gharti 
  • Karki 
  • Khadka 
  • Khatri/Khatri Chhetri
  • Khulal 
  • Kunwar 
  • Pande/ (not to be confused with Brahmin Pande)
  • Rana 
  • Raut 
  • Rawal 
  • Rayamajhi 
  • Rokka Thapa

In The End

The history of the name: The Chhetri have long held socio-political power in Nepal. Despite their contributions to Nepalese society in the past, they are presently denied quotas and reservations in government services and other sectors. This is because they believe they have already benefited unduly from their privileged position in society.

It is critical to appreciate the contributions of all Nepalese communities. This includes Khas Arya, and they must be protected from any type of discrimination.  Hope you like, comment your thoughts and additional knowledge on this and let us know which ethinicity woud you like to see next.

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