Government of Nepal
Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation

Department of Archaeology
National Museum
Chhauni, Kathmandu

January 28, 2023

व्यावसायिक र सृजनशील प्रशासन,विकास, समृद्धि र सुशासन



The English word Brahmin is an anglicized form of the Sanskrit word Brahmana. Brahman refers to the ‘Supreme Self’ in Hinduism or the first of the gods.

Brahmans are par excellence the performers of Hindu rituals, and caste status is profoundly tested by whether Brahmans are willing to perform rituals for non-Brahman castes (i.e., if they are willing, the caste for which they do so is a high caste). But most Brahmans do not perform rituals for others (most Hindus of all castes perform daily worship rituals) and many non-Brahmans perform rituals for their own and even other caste groups. “Only a subset of Brahmans are involved in priestly duties including teaching and preaching. They have also excelled as educators, law makers, scholars, doctors, warriors, writers, poets, land owners, politicians. The history of the Brahmans is associated with the Vedic religion of early India, usually referred to as Sanatana Dharma. Brahmans first come to notice historically in the Vedic period.

Brahmin-Hill together with Chhetri were people of Indo-Aryan ancestry who have migrated in large scale from northern India. Traditionally, Bahuns (called “Khas Brahmins”) were members of  Khas community  together with Chhetris (Khas Kshatriyas). Possibly due to political power of the Khasa Malla kingdom, Khas Bahun and Khas Rajput had high social status as indigenous plain Brahmins and Rajputs in the present-day western Nepal. Bahuns, regarded as upper class Khas group together with Chhetri, were associated mostly with the Gorkha Kingdom. Bahun (with Chhetri) are referred with tribal designation of Khas in most of the context than lower occupational Khas castes like Kami, Sarki, etc.

Clans and Surname

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. Kumain is a direct derivative of Kumaoni, meaning residents of Kumaon.Some of the surnames of Bahun are Adhikari, Dahal, Kafle, Prasai, Panta, Koirala, Oli, Acharya, Khanal, Bhattarai, Rijal, Ghimire, etc


According to the 2011 Nepal census, Bahuns (referred as Hill-Brahmin) appear as the second most populous group after Chhetri with 12.2% of Nepal’s population (or 32,26,903 people).Bahun are the second largest Hindu group with a population of 3,212,704 (99.6% of Bahuns). Bahuns are the largest group in 15 districts in Nepal: Jhapa, Morang, Kathmandu, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kaski, Syangja, Parbat, Gulmi and Arghakhanchi. Among these, Bahuns in Parbats (35.7%), Arghakhanchi (32.8%), Syangja (30.9%), Chitwan (28.6%), Kaski (27.8%) and Gulmi (25.2%) consist more than 25% of the district population. Kathmandu has largest Bahun population with 410,126 people (23.5%).

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. As per the Public Service Commission of Nepal, Brahmins (33.3%) and Chhetris (20.01%) were two largest caste group to obtain governmental jobs in the fiscal year 2017-18 even though 45% governmental seats are reserved for women, Madhesis, lower caste and tribes, people with disability and those from the backward regions. Similarly, in the fiscal 2018-19, Bahuns (34.87%) and Chhetris (19.63%) maintained 55% of their proportion in civil service as per Public Service Commission.

What Are Their Beliefs?

As just noted, most modern Brahmans do not espouse a doctrine of their superiority by birth above other peoples. It was also noted that many are now secularists. But most Brahmans respect the ancient (and many not-so-ancient) traditions of their forefathers. Some work to synthesize modern science and Hindu beliefs and practices. There are hundreds of “denominations” of Hinduism and Brahmans have a presence in many; so it is not easy to generalize on what Brahmans believe. Some would be devotees of Vishnu or his avatars of Krishna or Ram, some would be devotees of Shiva, and some would be devotees of the goddess in one of her manifestations. Others are followers of modern gurus. Few today have seriously studied, let along memorized, the ancient Vedas; but one is more likely to find a person knowledgeable about the Vedas and other Hindu texts and teachings among Brahmans than among any non-Brahman caste group.

Source : Wikipedia


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