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संघीय प्रणाली प्रारुपका सवालहरुFederalism Issues in Designing a Federal System by Jill Cottrell in Nepali language Read more

Janajati

Magar

Large numbers of Magars live in Palpa, Tanahu, Myagdi, Pyuthan, and Rolpa. They are also found in Arghakhanchi, Syangja, Parbat, Baglung, Dolpa, Surkhet, Sindhuli and Udaypur. Their ancesteral land is known as Magarat. Research scholars opine that the Sen kings and Thakuris of the Magrant districts are also Magars. These facts make the Magars as one of the most pervasive ethnic groups of Nepal. Their language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman family, and they have their own unique dress codes and culture, which are doomed to extinction. They are Buddhist by religion . The Magar priest is called Bhusal. According to the census of 2001, the population of Magar is 1,622,399. They are the largest group among nationalities or indigenous peoples of Nepal.

ImageMagar is the largest group among the indigenous peoples and nationalities of Nepal. They are settled mainly in Palpa, Gulmi, Myagdi, Rukum, Salyan and Rolpa (Ukyab and Adhikari, BS2057:45). Their traditional land area was referred to as Athara Magarat or the eighteen regions of Magars and Bara Magarat or the twelve regions of Magars. The area belonged to what is today called Karnali and Gandaki regions. According to their mythology, the Magars evolved from two types of caves, namely Pelma Khar Pu or barely dispersing cave, and Yoma Khar Pu, or hornet's cave and scattered in all four directions (Budhamagar, BS2059). A great majority of them are also settled in Arghakhachi, Syanja, Parbat, Baglung, Dolpa, Surkhet, Sindhuli and Udayapur. Magars are found, more or less, in almost all the districts of Nepal. According to the population census of 2001, the Magar population stands at 1,622,339.

Magars have their own language which belongs to the Tibeto-Burman family and has three divisions called Kham, Kaike and Magarati. Magars have their own separate costumes and cultures. Even the rituals of Bara Magarat, Athara Magarat and Dolpa are slightly different (Budhamagar, BS2053). They have, like those of Gurungs, singing and dancing groups such as Ghatu, Kaura, Jhabre, Nachari, etc. Magars are basically followers of Buddhism. Even though majority of them are Hinduized, they worship hunting gods and goddesses within their families and outside, the gods of dead ancestors or their grandfathers and grandmothers. They have adopted their own practice of worship. They bury their dead and they have their own belief system regarding life after death (Hitchcock, 1966:25-34). From the perspective of their faith system, they appear as worshippers of nature or as animists. They believe in shamanism and their dhami (the faithhealer or a kind of shaman) is called Dangar and their jhankri (another kind of faithhealer or shaman) is called Rama. The traditional spiritual and social leader of Magars was called Bhusal who was very influential in the early days (Bista, 1996:66). Magars have an informal cultural institution, called Bheja. Bheja performs religious activities, organizes social and agriculture-related festivities, brings about reforms in traditions and customs, strengthens social and production system, manages resources, settles cases and disputes and systematizes activities for recreation and social solidarity (Dhakal, 1996). Christening ceremony is held on the fourth day in Bara Magarat, whereas the naito lagaune or navel-fixing ceremony is held on the twenty-second day in Rukum. In many places relatives are employed in lieu of priests for the job of conducting such ceremonies. There is a special cultural practice of offering phultika (literally ‘marking forehead with wet rice grains and offering flower') to the firstborn son. A ritual of anna prasan or starting of cerealfeeding is held in the sixth month if the baby is a boy and in the fifth month if it is a girl. The Magars of Pipaldanda and Humik in Palpa district, however, perform the cerealfeeding ceremony by touching the baby's mouth with cooked rice three times on the very day of christening ceremony (Baral and Magar, BS2050:62).

Magars prefer endogamy and the practice of cross-cousin marriage is prevalent among them. Both marriages by arrangement and/or marriage by agreement between bride and bridegroom are in vogue. Marriage does not generally take place within one clan. The Magars of Than, Humik and Pipal Danda in Palpa district, however, have been practising marriage within clan or family by infringing upon the general rule, ie marrying within blood relations after an interval of seven generations is over (Budha Magar, BS2053). Magars living in alpine areas subsist on animal husbandry and those living in lowlying areas depend on agriculture for their living. Magars are skilled in woodwork, stonework and mining. Women are good at weaving and knitting of blankets, ghums (a kind of raincoat made with bamboo threads and leaves) and shawls of sheep's wool and/or goats' wool. They are good at weaving bhangro (a kind of coarse cloth made by spinning thread of the plant of bhang [hemp]). The status of women in Magar society is high. They run their own independent pewa (a property of strictly personal ownership) property. They have, however, no entitlement to a share in inherited property.

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