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Topics: Nepal, Buddhism, Sanskrit Pages: 8 (2584 words) Published: June 22, 2013
May 8, 2013

LUMBINI , THE BIRTH LAND OF THE BUDDHA, FROM THE MAGAR HISTORICAL LINGUISTIC STANDPOINT

Posted by The Himalayan Voice:
[The Lumbini Ashokan Pillar standing by the ‘Maya Devi Temple’ in Lumbini Garden speaks the fact. The writing on the pillar,- ‘hida bhagabvam jateti Lummnigame’ – exclusively provides a proof that the Buddha was born in present Nepal’s Lumbini some 2600 years ago. It is therefore worth the time discussing lexical importance of – ‘Lummini+game’ i.e. ‘Lumbini’ also. What has also been claimed is that Lumbini is other form of ‘Lhum + beni’. with an aspirated ‘l’ of which ‘Lhum’ means ‘a vast land or flat land’ and ‘beni’ means ‘confluence of two rivers’ in Magar Kura - a language spoken by the Magars of mid-hills of Nepal[1]. Lumbini is on a vast land or ‘Tarai’ of western Nepal. And also, there seem to have been some sizable waters around Lumbini in those days. Such as some springs at Lumbini and the Telar River flowing south east of it. They should have made a confluence near Lumbini.[2]]

By B. K. Rana
Introduction:

This short note was prepared for a talk in front of some inquisitive researchers, currently studying social change and development in the Himalayan country of Nepal. The Nepalese Hindu monarchy was abolished in 2008[3] and the marginal indigenous people – the IPs, who mostly profess Buddhism or worship nature, wanted secularism in the country. The current Interim Constitution of 2008, article 4 (1) specifically states that Nepal is a secular country. Since it is Interim Constitution secularism, therefore, has faced challenges or in other words it is not quite in practice. The atmosphere in the country appears hostile against the Buddhist and other religious minorities as intimidation and persecution continue unhindered.

After the 1990 people’s movement for democracy the Nepalese IPs assert Buddhism being their religious way of life and hence identity also. The Magar community, one of the largest groups of people in Nepal and by far the largest among the IPs in the country is in a ‘state of religious reawakening’ or returning back to Buddhism. I shall , in this note, discuss few lexical entries in the Pali Canon and ‘naming’ of the ancient Lumbini garden, the birth land of the Buddha, in a lexicographic context, however would also deal with some introductory remarks as well. The proper name word: ‘Lumbini’ is not Sanskrit[4] nor has it come from any other Indo-European languages. What could be the root of this word ? Could it have come from Magar language of central Nepal or any other local languages in the area ? If yes, what could have been the relationship of Lumbini to the Magar people and rest other indigenous peoples or IPs in the ancient times ?

Nepalese IPs Assert They Are Buddhists:

Most of the Indigenous peoples or the IPs of Nepal assert to be enumerated in the population census as the Buddhists as concerns their religious identity. They collectively form the biggest block of 37.38% of the total population of the country. Then they are followed by Brahman plus Kshatriyas and others, the so-called 'Upallo Jat' or 'upper class people' altogether, 36.56%, who secured 89.9% gazetted governmental civil service positions (Subba et al. 2002 – 74). These civil service government officers are the sole operators or in other words consumers of nearly 90% Nepal’s national resources. This opened up avenues for disagreements that culminated in the Maoists’ 10 years ‘peoples war’ and discontent from other social groups also. The Dalits or the 'Shudras or paani nachalne' or the water untouchables are 21.79 % , Muslims and other make up 4.27% of Nepalese population. The IPs and Dalits plus other disadvantaged groups constituted 63.44% of Nepali population in 2001[5].

The Magars are the largest ethnic group or indigenous people of Nepal by 7.14 % of the total population standing third only after Kshatriyas 15.80 % and Brahmans 12.74% (National Population...

References: Rana, B. K. 2001: 'राष्ट्रिय जनगणना, मगर समाज र बौद्ध धर्म ' - कान्तिपुर दैनिक - सम्बत् २०५७ साल फागुन १९ गते [ National Population Census, Magar Society and Buddhism '- Kantipur Daily- Friday March 02, 2001 ]
Subba, Chaitanya et al
[3] The first sitting of Nepalese Constituent Assembly on May 28, 2008 abolished the monarchy of Nepal.
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