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 Why so many Nepalis have their lastname "SHRESTHA" ?

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Posted on 12-09-09 12:00 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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According to one Nepali Historian, there was Zero number of people who had 'Shrestha' as their last name. Now there are over Million Nepalis who have their last name 'Shrestha'. It sounds like every Nepali has some kind of connection with this last name.

Posted on 12-09-09 8:07 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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I assume you are telling a Joke. I am curious to know about your ethnicity because I am unable to figure out whether you are telling knowingly or unknowingly.
Posted on 12-10-09 12:55 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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SHRESTHA means #1 in their field according to shastras and puranas. It seems, by means of inheritance, many have got this title in Nepal. What if any curious thing you have found so far?

Posted on 12-10-09 1:00 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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I thought "Sarba-Shrestha" meant "the best" and plain Shrestha meant something less intense like "good" or something.

If you say I am wrong then I might have to call my Nepali teacher to get my money back. ;)

Posted on 12-10-09 1:04 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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@letsplaygolf ji, your "one nepali historian" is not a credible source, pls provide one if you want to have a rational discussion.

Posted on 12-10-09 1:16 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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* i have heard the same thing as mr. golfer did...and some more, which my shrestha frens might not like...so i will just keep my wise-ass mouth shut..however, i would like to know more on this issue, if anyone has any knowledge to share.. :)


Posted on 12-10-09 1:28 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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soulless, why dont u share even if it's 'tito satya'?

Posted on 12-10-09 1:45 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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The word shrestha comes from sanskrit  word "shresthi"-businessman.thus came the surname shrestha . -satyamihan joshi's book on kathmandus history.
Posted on 12-10-09 2:14 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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"Shrestha" is a broader last name that many Newars can have as a last  name just like Bahun can have "Sharma". So there are people of many newar last names who have decided to stick with Shrestha as last name instead of their "more specific family name". Shrestha can be Chaathare or Panchhare, Chhathare is Chhetris of Newari community.

The rise of  number of people with Shrestha has been drastic since 2007. This is mainly due to two factors. People deciding to stick with Shrestha last name instead elaborating with their specific family name  And 2nd reason, which is more important, is people of many so called lower castes putting shrestha as the last name - due to their inferiority complex or to get rise in social strata.

Posted on 12-10-09 2:26 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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The rise of  number of people with Shrestha has been drastic since 2007. This is mainly due to two factors. People deciding to stick with Shrestha last name instead elaborating with their specific family name  And 2nd reason, which is more important, is people of many so called lower castes putting shrestha as the last name - due to their inferiority complex or to get rise in social strata


Pokhari Bro

Thats what I exactly think about rise in shrestha last name.

Posted on 12-10-09 10:47 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Pokhari, I think you are totally wrong. "Shrestha" is NOT a broader last name that many Newars can have similar to  "Sharma". You can find Sharma Poudel, Upadhyaya Sharma etc. among bahuns, but have you seen any name Maharjan Shrestha, Tamrakar Shrestha, Sthapit Shrestha, Shahi Shrestha, etc.? Nor these lastnames are interchangeable as Sharma and Poudel, Sharma and Adhikari etc. are. 

Shrestha is as specific as any other last name among Newars. Satyamohan Joshi's claim about its link to the Sanskrit word "Shresthi" is more reasonable as a lot of Shresthas are somehow related to business however, if the data is properly collected, I believe the majority of Shresthas are farmers.

I once asked to Late Ashakaji Nanicha, who had a lot of knowledge on Newar Society and history, about the Shresthas. He was a highly respected GURU of my grand father's generation. Unfortunately his knowledge is not well documented and his lifelong accumulated knowledge is lost together with his sad demise some 20 years ago. 

He told me that Shrestha is relatively new category of last name emerged in Nepal after failure of King Jayasthiti Malla's attempt to impose the social restructuring based on Hindu Cast. The King was trying to divide the society into Bramhin, Kshetriya, Vaishya and Shudra after his visit to India. King Jayasthiti Malla brought 36 Bramhins from South India to Nepal and asked them to suggest cast-based restructuring of Nepalese society. The hierarchical structure suggested by those Bramhins (Bramhin > Kshetriya > Vaishya  > Shudra) was hugely unpopular in Nepalmandal. A large group of people including some powerful Bhardars revolted against the King. The King somehow managed to control small groups who were classified into Shudra by assuring their professional rights and security of future generation but those who practiced Newar-buddhism and a large sector of Newars practicing hinduism rejected the division suggested by the King's Bramhins. Due to the mass rejection, there is no clear demarcation of brahmin, kshetriya, and vaishya among Newar population until now. Although it looks like Karmacharya, Guruvacharya, Rajopadhyaya, Mishra, Jha, Joshi, etc. (among Hindu) are in Brahmin category of Newars, some of them are more close to Shresthas too. I have also seen many Shresthas who have taken the bramhin education and do have rights and social acceptance to work as a bramhin in rituals. According to Late Ashakaji Nanicha, King Jayasthiti Malla awarded "Shrestha" last name to those powerful Bhardars who led the revolt against cast-based hierarchical division after consulting the Bramhins which was then adopted by the entire middle class newar population, mostly Hindu, who refused such cast-based division among Newars. Therefore the Shresthas are wide spread everywhere. 

Your feeling of recent uprise of Shresthas is not due to change of lastname by so called lower cast but due to the reach of communication and exposure of Shresthas from every corner. Previously you might have heard about Shresthas from KTM only, but now Shresthas from Bandipur, Baglung, Ilam, Dhankuta, Dolakha, Chainpur, or any part of country are being heard as well. There may be a few, who have changed to Shresthas to hide their own lastname for some reason, similarly, Shresthas might have dropped using it but I don't think those numbers are as large as it could impact the total Shrestha population. If one feel he can get advantage by changing his last name, he would certainly adopt Koirala, Dahal, Sharma, Upadhyaya or Nepal instead of Shrestha. What is their for them to be attracted special to Shrestha? Nothing. 

Also, Chhathare is NOT Chhetris of Newar. If you do not know about Chhathari and Paachthari Shrestha, why should you opine on this matter? The society has that division, but that was evolved in time merely due to economic differences (khandan pride). At one point, there was the division of tinthari, chaarthari, paachthari, chhathari, saatthari among Shresthas. Now, almost noone know about tinthari, charthari or satthari and very few people know about paachthari and chhathari. Probably, this division will not exist in the next generation. 
Last edited: 10-Dec-09 10:55 PM

Posted on 12-11-09 1:36 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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I was searching on google and I found this at : http://shrestha-history.blogspot.com/


" Shrestha or Shresta (Nepali: श्रेष्ठ), is a surname belonging to the community of people in Nepal and India and trace their origin to Northern-Indian roots. They originate from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in India. During the reign of the Shah kings in Nepal, Shresthas used to work mostly as laborer in India. Even amongst Shresthas, there is a differentiation of caste, called 'thari', the difference being mostly between "panch thari" (5th level) and "ccha thari" (6th level). It is speculated that there is an additional "das thari" (10th level).

Often people from various parts of Nepal who are considered of lower caste (Sarki, Damai, Chyame etc.) have changed their last name to 'Shrestha' and that is the main reason why the number of people bearing 'Shrestha' as their last name has grown exponentially in the last couple of decades. That is also the reason for above 80 percent of people who have 'Shrestha' as their last name can't speak the Newari language.

It is also believed that another caste "Pradhan", originally pronounced as "Pa-Ra-Dhaan". Which means, rice carrier, also came from central parts of India. During Rana rule, Pradhans from different parts of Nepal started to pour in to Kathmandu and mixed themselves with Newars living in the valley. They were called "Pa-Ra-Dhaan" because their job was to carry huge sacks of rice on their backs, to transport from local Newars in Kathmandu to outside of the valley. "

Posted on 12-11-09 8:09 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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It is totally stupid and incorrect. You just copied from somebody's personal blog posting.

Posted on 12-11-09 8:29 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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That blog was posted on Nov 9, 2009. This thread is started exactly a month later. There might be some connection. Neither the profile of  "Rajeswor Shrestha" nor the information he provided are trustworthy. It is similar to your reference to "one Nepali Historian", but you don't mention who that "one" is. So, stop such worthless rumors.

As far as the history of Shrestha, the writer of that blog does not seem aware about the position of Syasyah in Newar community. It is not hard to explore the root of Syasyah as they have tradition of Dyu Puja that they have preserved well. None of the Dyu Puja have link outside valley.

The "Pa-ra-dhan" deion of "Pradhan" is just a hollow assumption. "Pradhan" do not have any relation to "Dhan". What do you say if someone writes "Adhikari" came from the word "kar"- as they used to be car-mechanics.

All the Shresthas living out of KTM valley had well preserved their language and culture until two generation ago. I have traveled myself to various newar settlements in Ilam, Dhankuta, Baglung, Bandipur, Pokhara, Bharatpur, Tistung, Hetauda etc. where almost all of the older generation Shresthas were speaking Newar. They have their own dialects though. It was Panchayet, which imposed one-language policy strictly and imposed only one language to all new generation people through panchayeti education and banned other languages in education and public use. This cleansing effort of Panchayet has made hard to newer generation Nepalese (whose native language is different from Khas language and were spread in small clusters around the country) to keep up with their native language. 

I have met many Shresthas who hardly can speak Newar language but I have not met a single Shrestha whose grandparents were unable to speak Newar language.

Posted on 12-11-09 8:38 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Thanks chanaa_tarkari for your elaborated post.
Sorry form my ignorance.. but I didnt know that there are Newar Rajopadhyayas, Mishras and Jhas... can anyone else please shed some light on it..
Another thing, I dont think if i change my last name into Upadhyaya, anyone would believe that im a Khas bahun...
As far as reach of communication is concerned, I think you should actually visit some of the families in kathmandu itself where father is a Maharjan, and sons are suddenly Shresthas.
Looks like, you quoted a may be credible person on it, and then babbled your own baseless opinion [ last & second last paragraphs ]
Posted on 12-11-09 9:05 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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I did not reject the change of family names by a few people but I don't think they are that large in number that made you notice them everywhere since 2007. I have noticed the outbreak of communication after 2005 that made Shresthas heard more than before. 

Shresthas were largest number of people in lists. For example, just check the number of Shresthas registered in NEA or  any other professional lists and compare the numbers with others. The number keeps growing, I believe. Only few of them would be actually from those who have changed their family names. 

Posted on 12-11-09 9:35 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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चना दाई ले स्पष्ट पारी दिनु नै भयो यस बिषयमा। मैले जे लेख्न खोजेको थिएं , लेखी दिनु भयो । स्यस्य:  अर्थात श्रेष्ठ नेवार समुदायका अभिन्न अंग र संभवत किसान  समुदाय पछी जनसंख्याको हिसाबमा दोस्रोमा पर्नु हुन्छ। श्रेष्ठ समुदाय भित्र अनेक थर् र उपथर छन नै-  ब्राम्हण समुदायमा उपाध्याय वा शर्मा भित्र अनेक थर् भए जस्तै । श्रेष्ठ समुदाय भित्र मलाई जहाँ सम्म जानकारी छ - श्रेष्ठ, प्रधान, मास्के, राज भण्डारी ( मेरो हिसाब मा ब्राम्हण हुन ), अमात्य, बैद्य, पिया, चुके, भोछीभ्वय, ह्योजु, कोजु, माकजु , कर्माचार्य ( मेरो हिसाब मा तिनी पनि ब्राम्हण नै हुन), चंखेजु, बजिमय, पोते, बिजुक्छे, धुंजु , ध्वंजु र अन्य धेरै थर् हरु पर्दछन । मलाई भन्दा बढी चना दाई लाई थाहा होला।

श्रेष्ठ जताततै देख्नु र इर्ष्या ले जलेर मर्नु दृष्‍टि भ्रम हो । नेवार समुदाय भित्र पढेका लेखेका अनी गरी खाएका श्रेष्ठहरु भए पछी धेरै देखिनु स्वाभाबिक हो नै। इर्ष्या ले जलेर अनाप सनाप लेख्छ र बक्छ भने राम राम मात्र भन्न सकिन्छ। चनदाइ ले भनी हाल्नु भो - २००१ को इन्जिनियर्स एसोशियशन मा दर्ता भएका ७ हजार सदस्य मध्ये ७ सय भन्दा बढी श्रेष्ठ थर् का थिए। बाँकी नेवार समुदायको उपस्थिती न्यून थियो र त्यो स्थिती बद्लिएको छैन।

केही गैर स्यस्य: समाज का थर हरुले आफ्नो जाती र थर् को महिमा नबुझेर परिवर्तन गरेका छन, केही नव स्यस्य: हुन खोजी  रहेका छन । त्यो स्वाभाबिक हो र तीनको संख्या नगन्य छन ।

Posted on 12-11-09 10:09 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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किन यी भद्रहरु यस्तो जातिय कुरा गरेर नेवार समुदाय भित्र चिसो यूद्द उत्पन्न गर्न खोजीरहेको छ ? यस्तो तल माथि बाहुन अछुत जस्ता कुराहरु गर्नु कुनैपनी समुदाय को लागि भलो को कुरो होइन।

मलाई त यस्तो लाग्छ, यहाँहरुलाई के लाग्छ कुनी?

Posted on 12-11-09 11:11 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Chana tarakari bro, your comment shows how ignorant you are.

First of all you take that all the brahmins who decide to put Sharma as last name will also add their specific last name too. Say Rajendra Neupane, according to you he will only put it as Rajendra Sharma Neupane. Not true, he might put it as only Rajendra Sharma. Similarly many Newar brahmin (Rajyopadhya) has began to take Sharma as last name.

Then you give me example of why not Maharjan Shrestha, Tamrakar Shrestha, Sthapit Shrestha and Shahi Shrestha. If you are a Newar or know about Newar, you should know that they are not entitled to take Shrestha as a last name. As Maharjan/Shahi falls into lower tier in Newar social strata and remaining two are buddhist Newar. Only Sishya category of Newar can take shrestha as last name but basically it has been a choice of mostly panchthare newars. But getting back to your compund last names recently adding shrestha after specific family name has began to appear mostly in intercast marriage, for example Hari Thapa Shrestha.

You also talk about there being no demarcation of bahun, chhetri and baisya in Newar. There is clear demarcation on some and there is thin on some. For example Rajyopadhya are clear Brahmin and marry within Rajyopadhya only. While Karmacharya, Joshi are taken as brahmin of lower strata than Rajyopadhya and they do marry with other higher newar caste. Jha and Mishra are also brahmin in Newar community for lower tier newars.

Now talking about Chhatriyas in newar, Malla, Pradhanang, Thakojuu (Tahkuri Kings), Patrabansha (Mahapatras), Mool, Malla, Amatya, Pradhan, Rajbhandari, Hada, Maskey, Pradhanang are clear Chattriyas of Newar community. Most of them originating from previous royalties or bharos (bharos is bhardar of early Malla and lichhawi timees)

Chana Tarakari, you also talk about failure of Jaya Sthiti Mallas of social demarcation. You are wrong. Newar is one of the most conservative society in Nepal and has followed the social norms established by Sthiti Malla very strongly. Like Saurav has pointed, anybody who came to Valley after the Sthiti malla was put in lower social strata (example: Nagarkoti) and anybody who married to outside to Newar were outcasted to mothers class. Where in case of other like in parbate, they are more liberal, and put into khatri, jaisi etc be still in part of parbate community. But in Newar, if a newar man marries a Gurung, their children is made Gurung and hence none newar. That was how the tradition was.

You also mention on one hand that most of the Shrestha are farmers, that is not true. Original Shresthas are not supposed to do farming, speically in the Kathmandu valley. Remember the newari cast devision was strictly based on labour and only jyapus were supposed to farm. There might be two reasons why the chanatrakari have seen shrestha doing the farming - one by economy hardship and another he may have seen the rich maharjans, suwals, duwals, tandukar etc jyapu taking Shrestha surname to rise the social status.

Yes, you will see most of newars doing the business? Why? the answer is clear why will Shahas (conquerers) will recruit the Newar in the Army and keep themselves in the danger. And Divya Narayan Shrestha clearly mentioned the danger of it in his Divaupadesh. So there has been only few Newars taken into Army. In whole Shaha dynasty after fall of Malla you will come across only 3 names of prominent Newar bhardar and all three times major thing happend. King Rana Bahadur shah was killed in Kaji Tribhuban Pradhan's house. Gagan Singh Rajbhandari's murder caused the kotparba and Colonel Uttar Dhor Rajbhandari was one of the mastermind of Bhandarkhal parba.

You have also cited Satya Mohan Joshi as Shrestha coming from Shresthi  of lichhawi times (which might be the origin of Seth or Mahaseth of  Baishya caste in India). That might have some relation to business class Shisyas.

But lets get back to original question: "According to one Nepali Historian, there was Zero number of people who had 'Shrestha' as their last name". That is right, If you dig into history you will not see Shrestha mentioned in the past. You talk about Jayasthimalla, Do you see any Shrestha class mentioned in jaya sthiti malla ko jati byabastha? I doubt there is but I can not confirm as I do not have that book with me. (Jayasthiti Mall ko jati byabastha by former Chanceller of TU. Dr. Chandra Prasad Gorakhali).

The most influential factor in rise of Shrestha number is because of  newars of lower social strata like dali, namarmi, jyapus, kashai, malalakar, ranjit, chitrakar etc taking the shrestha last name to raise their social status. That is a dumb as many of the lower newar castes were higher castes or royalties in the past. For example: Kashais are the descendants of Mahishpal Abhirs and Gopalis were the gopal kings. According to Dr. Jagdish Chandra Regmi, most of the Jyapus are from licchawis. According to Bashu Pasha, Malis/Malakars (Gathus) are the descendants of Kirati kings, According to Bhakti Das Shrestha/Rajendra Shrestha Manandhars have some greek blood and came from Shalmiya country of west india. Even when you look at facial feature of  lower class newars they look more aryan than other higher class newars - for example Kashai, chyame, dhobi etc.

Caste is what but the power. We have seen Magers converting to Kunwar and then uplifting to Rana and then proclaiming themselves to of rajput dynasty. Was it long ago that KC's or khatris were made chettris by Bir Sumsher and Nakarmis to pani chalne from Sudra. And offcourse look at the fall of the legacy of Newars - who once had Biggest Nepal from Assam to Kashmir  (much bigger than before sugauli ko sandhi)  and who were taken as proudly by Chandragupt Maurya and SamundraGupta Maurya for bravery from braveness to coward by the Khas conquerers who had most hard time even winning the tiny Kirtipur and had to take helpof lies and trickery to win.

Now getting back to letsplaygolf
There was a ridiculos, illogical comment by Letsplaygolf about pradhan associating with Dhan. Pradhan is one of the highest tier of Newar social class. Any body carrying dhan will not have been put in such rank by pure south indian conservative brahmin like Lambakurna bhatta into higher social strata who can marry to royal kings.

Posted on 12-11-09 11:44 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Oh pokhari,

तँ मुजी लाई के के न थाहा भए जस्तो लेख्दै छस् नि जांथा.


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