Wikipedia of Nepal
Nepal Bhasa origin
The word “Nepal” is believed by scholars to be derived from the word “Nepa:” which refers to the Newar Kingdom, the present day Kathmandu Valley. With Sanskritization, the Newar word Nepa became Nepal. The Newars of present day Nepal, refer to all the inhabitants of Kathmandu valley and its peripheries (called “Nepa:”) before the advent of Shah dynasty. The Nepal Sambat calendar, named after this Newar kingdom and devised 1100 years ago, is a national calendar used in Nepal and testifies to its antiquity.
Many historians and local traditions say that a Hindu sage named “Ne” established himself at the valley of Kathmandu during prehistoric times and that the word “Nepal” came into existence as the place protected (“pala” in Sanskrit) by the sage “Ne”. The etymology of the name Nepal means, “the country looked after by Ne”.
He used to perform religious ceremonies at Teku, the confluence of the Bagmati and Bishnumati rivers. He is said by legend to have selected a pious cowherd to be the first of the many kings of the Gopala Dynasty. These rulers are said to have ruled Nepal for over 500 years. He selected Bhuktaman to be the first king in the line of the Gopal (Cowherd) Dynasty. The Gopal dynasty ruled for 621 years. Yakshya Gupta was the last king of this dynasty. However, this mythology can be challenged as no such name as Ne exists in Nepali or other Sanskrit derived languages.
According to Skanda Purana, a rishi called “Ne” or “Nemuni” used to live in Himalaya. In the Pashupati Purana, he is mentioned as a saint and a protector. He is said to have practiced penance at the Bagmati and Kesavati rivers and to have taught his doctrines there too.
Nepal’s diverse linguistic heritage evolved from four major language groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, Mongolian and various indigenous language isolates. According to the 2001 national census, 92 different living languages are spoken in Nepal. The major languages of Nepal (percent spoken as mother tongue) are Nepali (57%)(2007 est.), Maithili (10%), Bhojpuri (7%), Tharu (4%), Tamang (5%), Newari/Nepal Bhasa (3%), Magar (2%), Awadhi (2%), Rai (2.79%), Limbu (1%), and Bajjika (1%). The remaining 81 languages are each spoken as mother tongue by less than one percent of the population. Nepal’s constitution, however, guarantees that, irrespective of what the official language is, all languages spoken in Nepal can be used for official purposes and documentation.
Derived from Sanskrit, Nepali is considered the language closest to Sanskrit and written in Devanagari script. Nepali is the official, national language and serves as lingua franca among Nepalis of different ethnolinguistic groups. Hindi—along with regional dialects Awadhi, Bhojpuri and Maithili—are spoken in the southern Terai Region. Hindi is also widely understood by Nepalis who have worked, studied or traveled in India. Many Nepali in government and business speak English as well. In the capital Kathmandu, Nepali, Nepal Bhasa (the Newar language) and English are the most widely understood languages.
Entry filed under: Nepal.