Sunday, December 9, 2012

Newari languge


The Newa are the indigenous people and the creators of the historical civilization of Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. The valley and surrounding territory have been known from ancient times as Nepal Mandala, its limits ever changing through history.Newars have lived in the Kathmandu Valley since prehistoric times, and immigrants that arrived at different periods in its history eventually merged with the local population by adopting their language and customs. 

Newars are a linguistic and cultural community of mostly Tibeto-Burman and some IndoAryan ethnicities. They are bound together by a common language and culture.Their common language is Nepal Bhasa ("Newari" according to Statistics Nepal) or the linguistic progenitor of that language. Scholars have also described the Newars as being a nation.
According to Nepal's 2001 census, the 1,245,232 Newars in the country are the nation's sixth largest ethnic group, representing 5.48% of the population. In 2001, there were approximately 825,000 native speakers of Nepal Bhasa. Many Newar communities within Nepal also speak their own dialects of Nepal Bhasa, such as the Dolakha Newar Language. Nepal Bhasa is of Tibeto-Burman origin but has been heavily influenced by land-Aryan languages like Sanskrit,pali,Bengali and Maithali.People living in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. They make up about half the population of the valley. Most are Hindu, but some practice an Indian form of Buddhism. The Newar have a wide range of occupations; they have traditionally been noted as architects and artisans, the builders of the famous temples and  shrines of Kathmandu. Painting and sculpture flourished among them in the 10th–16th centuries. The Newar population of Nepal is estimated to be about 540,000
a people inhabiting the valley of Katmandu in Nepal; some Newar live in urban areas in the eastern and western parts of the country. Population in Nepal, about 550,000 (1971, estimate). Small groups have also settled in India. The language of the Newar is Newari (Nepal Bhasa); it is used for literature and newspapers. A considerable number of Newar also speak Nepali. Buddhism, the religion of the Newar, has been strongly influenced by Hinduism. The Newar are the descendants of the ancient population of Nepal. In the Middle Ages they formed several feudal principalities. Their main occupations are land cultivation and livestock raising. Various handicrafts are well developed; the Newar are widely known for their jewelry.

Even today the populations of both Patan and Bhaktapur are largely Newar. But present day Kathmandu plays host to a large number of migrants from different parts of the country  and also the neighboring countries.

The economy of the valley depended on the rice cultivation and the trade between India and Tibet. Reflecting on the fertility of the valley and its strategic position for trade between India and Tibet, it could be said that Newars were primarily farmers and traders.
Sound economic position and the stable and strong Malla regime gave the people abundant time development of art, architecture and culture. This led to the growth of major urban complexes; the cities. The prosperity is still visible if we go to the Durbar Square.
Newars speak Newari, which is an independent language with its own script and a rich literature. It belongs to the Himalayan group of the Tibeto-Himalayan branch of the Tibeto Burmeli sub family of languages, it seems likely that the earliest stratum of the Newar population may have come from Tibet and then over a long period evolved into its present form through the inter-mingling of immigrant people, including indo-Aryans from the south.
In Nepal the historical research is still in its infancy and very little is known concerning the development of Newari culture and society. But there are very good grounds for believing that the Newars were Buddhist in religion. The ancient Newars were predominantly Buddhist but with the political domination of Hindu rulers, the Newar religion has grown complex with new practices and beliefs. Many Newars today practice Vajrayana tradition of Buddhism but they also have very strong faith in Hinduism and perform Hindu rituals of feast and fasting as well. There is no line of distinction between Hinduism and Buddhism among Newars.But there is a queer division of Newars on the ground of caste introduced by a Malla king. The Newars are divided into levels corresponding to the occupation they are engaged in and their social position in defined accordingly.  
The highest class is of course the priestly class. Priesthood is handed down to the sons by the fathers. Shakya, Bajracharya become priest by birth. Then comes Pradhan, Joshi, Rajbhandari etc. who used to be recruited for governmental services and as the advisors to the King. Then there is the workers’ class. The farmers, artisans and craftmen belong to this class. There are untouchables who are supposedly the cleaners and butchers. The whole social structure of Newars is built on this caste system. With time and the changing mores the attitude towards caste system is definitely changing but even today we find many Newars pursuing their traditional occupation because it is assigned by their caste.
Today we find Newars scattered in various parts of the Nepal but the essentially originated in the Valley. In today’s fast life we see that Newars are still finding time for jatras, pujas, and social ceremonies with equal enthusiasm to continue their unmatched cultural heritage.