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Magar

From Academic Kids

Magar is an ethnic group of Nepal and northern India whose homeland extends along the western and southern edges of the Dhaulagiri mountain range. According to Nepalís 2001 census, 1,622,421 people identified themselves as belonging to the Magar ethnolinguistic group, representing 7.14% of Nepalís population and making them the largest indigenous ethnic group in the country.

Of the 1,622,421 Magar people in Nepal, 770,116 speak a Magar language as their mother tongue. The Magar of Rukum and Rolpa Districts speak Kham language. In Dolpa District, the Magar speak Tarali or Kaike language. The Magar languages are rooted in the Tibeto-Burman family.

The northern Magar practice Lamaist Buddhism with a priest called a Bhusal. The social process of Sanskritization has drawn southern Magar populations to develop a syncretic form of Hinduism that combines animist and Buddhist rituals. Hindu Magar villagers recognize three classes of priest; Rama, Jaisi and Dhami.

The Magar traditionally engage in subsistence agriculture, pastoralism, craftsmanship and day labor. The Magar are prominently represented in Nepalís military, as well as in the British and Indian Gurkha regiments, along with the Gurung, Rai, and other martial ethnic groups from the hills of Nepal. Today, members of the Magar community are also employed as professionals in the fields of medicine, education, government service, law, journalism, development, and aviation.

Like other indigenous groups in Nepal, some members of the Magar community have joined the Nepalese People's War, a Maoist insurrection launched in 1996 to topple Nepal's constitutional monarchy. On January 9, 2004, Maoist militants declared a revolutionary autonomous regional government, the Magar Autonomous Region, based in Rolpa District in west Nepal.

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