May 4, 2017

IS THERE ANY RELATION BETWEEN MAGARS OF THE HIMALAYAN REGION AND MAGYARS OF HUNGARY ?

[According to the Hungarian descent myth and the custom of taking women from outside of men’s tribe and man moving around with his wife’s kindred or the Bulgars (Belar) and Alans (Dula) however do not refer to real event (Laszlo 1996:27). In the Kham Magar community, in west Nepal, also the three different groups: Pun, Gharti and Buda also move around with wife’s kindred (Oppitz: 1979 )]

By B K Rana

'Shaman of the Blind Country' (Schamanen im Blinden Land)  
Posted here tonight is a picture, seen on it possibly is a lead-role Kham Magar Shaman performing some shamanic ritual on a pole or tree – which may also symbolize a climb to the heaven.

In the beginning, according to the Kham Magar Shaman’s story, a man appeared from the north born without ancestry. His name was Rama Puran Chan. Note that, this name suggests  the story is understandably influenced by Hindu culture. Ram is a  name that has come here down from King Rama of Hindu epic Ramayan while other two 'Puran' and 'Chan' mean - 'full' and 'moon' respectively or ‘full moon’ together. About the Kham Magar Shaman, Michael Oppitz had posted some three hours' two part Youtube videos – ‘Shaman of the Blind Country – 1983’ which I had watched and listened to many times but unfortunately today, you won’t be able to find them running as they are not there but a preview video is available of course. Please click here for the video.

The shaman climbed the tree to understand the suffering of the mankind. And, in the ancient Hungarian tradition also, the sky once became as flat as the earth but later was pushed up by growing trees[1]. So what is the significance of trees here?

“These ascents took or take place, whether in the Vedic India, or in Siberia, or with the Kham Magar tribe of Nepal on the higher branches of specially cut trees. The feature is also retained in the idea of the Tree of Life, evergreen like the Nordic Yggdrasil or the later day Christmas tree." (Witzel 2013: 135-136). “Tree climbing is related to Bon, and Tengri too - because of the 3 level worldview where you can travel between[2].”

According to the Hungarian descent myth and the custom of taking women from outside of men’s tribe and man moving around with his wife’s kindred or the Bulgars (Belar) and Alans (Dula) however do not refer to real event (Laszlo 1996:27). In the Kham Magar community, in west Nepal, also the three different groups: Pun, Gharti and Buda also move around with wife’s kindred (Oppitz: 1979 )

“The descent myth and pairs of related peoples - Tartars and Mongols, Onogurs and Kutrigurs, Voguls and Ostyaks - the two branches always stem from two brothers” (Laszlo 1996:27).

Linguistically, if we believed ‘Onogurs’ to be the source of 'Hunor' or 'Onogurs' and 'Magyars', then Onogurs could also be the source or related to 'Mongars', 'Mongors' or 'Mugars' which may have become 'Magars' in modern times. But as concerns articulatory phonetics of the words: ‘Magar’ and ‘Magyar’, there is a discernible difference. The word ‘Magar’ has two syllables:  ‘ma+gar’(मगर) whose ‘g or ‘ga’ in the second syllable is simply as in the words: ‘good’, ‘gate’ and ‘great’ etc. whereas ‘Magyar’ is not ‘məgær’(मग्यार X) but 'Megyer’ - pronounced either ‘məzər’ or ‘mədʒər’ (मजर वा मज्जर)  - which probably has come from a prominent Hungarian tribal name - ‘Megyer’[3]. There is another explanation that 'the word 'Magyar' which is a native name for the Hungarian people' was Mogur in olden days (Barath 1983:28). The Magars of Nepal speak Tibeto-Burman language, an 18% random sample vocabulary of which, some linguists of the country seem to have found, similar to Hungarian, which Nepalese academia believed to be of 'Finno-Ugric' family language - the Magyars of Hungary speak. In fact, the Hungarian vocabulary has only 7.3% 'Finno-Urgic' words against which 92.7% is of non-Finno-Ugric origin (Barath 1983:11). The modern Hungarian scholars support this view  and one of them, Laszlo Maracz writes, "There is nothing like a Uralic or Finno-Ugric language family."

Barath has a  40 Magyar wordlist (see his book pages 25-26) among them is 'nap' which means the 'sun'  or 'day' also. In Magar Kura or Dhut (language)'nam' (nəm) means 'sky or space' and 'namkhan' (nəmkhɑn or nɑŋkhən) is for the sun. In both Magar languages a 'river or water' is 'di' or 'ri' and in Shauka language it is 'ti' and which essentially are all the same but in Magyar language it is 'folyo' (oldest form being 'itil') and a drink > 'ital' as well. The old Magyar 'itil' has 'ti' as in the Shauka 'ti' for a river or water. The Magyar word 'kar' and its meaning 'hand' is somewhat similar to the one I found in Kham Magar or Magar Kham (language) also and in Sanskrit ‘kar’ is hand too.

David Watters defines 'kar' in his - A Dictionary of Kham: Taka dialect ( a Tibeto-Burman language of Nepal - 2004:361) as 'arm'.

Csaba Hargita has contributed to this discussion with a 7 page Magyar wordlist of which a word for father in both Kham Magar and Magyar is 'apa'.

But a native author,  Karna Bahadur Budha Magar's - A Trilingual Dictionary of The Magar Language (Athar Magarat) 2011, has more elaborate definitions for those two words discussed above and the essence is absolutely the same. According to him - ‘apa’ also means ‘someone’s father’s sister’ or  - ‘husband’s father’ – also (Budha Magar 2011: 12). For the word ‘kar’ he has - bird’s wings - or ‘wings like instruments’ that help fly up in the sky. A bird's wings also may seem like human hands while stretched wide open.  It is also for ‘pressurizing someone to do something’(Budha Magar 2011: 35).

The Kham Magars  of mid-west Nepal speak different language than the Magars eastwards in the country or beyond: such as Darjeeling in India and Bhutan as well. Still this is quite a contested claim so far made by Nepalese linguists.

Culturally at Easter, some Hungarian youths sprinkling water to the group of young women also seems parallel to the young boys and girls splashing water on last day of mourning of a dead in Kham Magar group of people in Nepal - some kind of resurrection symbol. Do the Kham Magar youths have any knowledge of Easter and Christ's resurrection at all ?  It does not seem that they have it.

Interest in Magar People

Gore Bahadur Khapangi Magar  meets with two members of the Hungarian
research team  in Kathmandu.
In the early 1990's a four-member team of Hungarian researchers - Boda Sarolta, Kunckel Béla, Ferenc Lovass and Neumee Erika had visited Nepal. The researchers went to some Magar villages in west Nepal. As I am told here by a Magar intellectual, Bhup Nayaran Gharti Magar that, they had visited a Magar village some 5 hrs walk in Rukum from his house at Sulichaur, near Mijhing in Rolpa district. Birman Gharti Magar was their guide during the excursion. There is a Hungarian Women's Magazine with a page running in Hungarian and a line of which in google-translated English as posted as it is, reads – "the first strains came from the present-day Nepal"[4].

This a small note posting and; I have not been able up till now, to read their research findings. Have the research reports been published yet or did the team of researchers ever thought of sharing what they found or knew with Nepalese academia or the concerned Magar people of Nepal ?

a) Alexander Csoma De Koros, (The Hungarian Bodhisattva) first attempted to visit Central Asia via the Himalayan route but the British-Indian Government didn't allow him to enter Tibet. He was allowed to travel as far as Darjeeling where he died en-route in 1842.

Alexander Csoma De Koros' tomb in
Darjeeling, India.
b) Alexander Csoma De Koros thought 'Magyars and Mongols' had some ethnic relations. Gyula Laszlo does not seem attesting this  idea. Nowhere does he mention Koros' works and journey towards Tibet and death en-route at Darjeeling, India in 1842. Please see his book - The Magyars: Their Life and Civilization - 1996 )

c) We don't know for sure whether, Alexander Csoma De Koros had any knowledge that there were or are Magar people also  in Nepal. It was a closed country at that time but he probably had heard about the Magar people of Nepal, the reason primarily being, his employment with the East India Company to study and produce an English-Tibetan Dictionary, which he eventually did also. There were lots of British army people in the East India Company doing researches and publishing reports also on the Magars of Nepal. Offering a very high respect for Csoma De Koros, Tibor E. Barath addresses him as an "internationally reputed specialist in Sanscrit" citing the former's assertion that " The Sanscrit language shows no stronger relationship to any other language than it does to Hungarian" (Barath 1983:34). As concerns Sanskrit here, it has very heavily influenced Nepali and both Magar and Nepali languages are influenced by each other.

Why such a concern ?

Some Hungarian enthusiasts and researchers look very much concerned about the Magars of Nepal today and which is very understandable too. Since one decade or so, few of them are in constant touch with this author also. But the academia in the both countries does seem indifferent towards it.

a) From the 'Huns' comes 'Hungary' and the two cities' names 'Buda' and 'Pest' became a compound name 'Budapest' and capital city of the country in 1873.

b) The name word 'Buda' seems to have come from 'King Bleda', King Attlia the Hun's brother ( http://www.biography.com/people/attila-the-hun-9191831 ).

c) There are two different septs among Kham Magars in Nepal today: 'Buda' (or sometimes 'Budha') and 'Pun'. Some Nepalese historians believe Huns, while being attacked, got dispersed and arrived in the Himalayan region also. They established their kingdoms. There was a ‘Hun Nripati’ (Hun King) in Kaski, in the west mid-hills of Nepal. And those 'Huns' later called themselves - the Magars. (Janaklal Sharma - Hamro Samaj: Ek Adhyan - 2039:269 . Literally 'A Study on Our Society' - 1982: 269). But we do not have any reliable historical, epigraphical or solid archaeological evidence available for this claim. Interestingly further to it, a Hungarian researcher communicated with me that she found Amazighs of north western Africa claiming ‘Pun nation’ as their ancestors[5].In relation to this claim please click here for author's another light note.

d) There is a group of people in far west Nepal called Vyas Valley and Uttaranchal India, also. They are 'Saukas' but outsiders call them 'Byasis' - the people that live in Vyas valley at Tibet-Nepal border.( After the Rig Vedic - Vyas). These people also have 'Budathoki' or 'Buda' clan and believe they are the descendants of Sakas. While on a mission to those areas in late 1999, I found some kind of similarity in between Magar language and their language also.

Conclusion

Not all Hungarians as well as western scholars believe there are any relationships between the Magyars of Hungary and Magars of the Himalayan region. More researches required, preferably a joint team, both from Magyar and Magar people and seminars, cultural exchanges or sharing of ideas would be good thing to do. The Nepal Hungary Friendship Association may play some role for the benefit of both Nepal and Hungary[6].

References
__________

Barath, Tibor E. 1983: The Early Hungarians in The Light of Recent Historical Research : Montreal H3B 3K3 Canada.

Budha Magar, Karna Bahadur 2011: A Trilingual Dictionary of The Magar Language (Athar Magarat) 2011 - Publisher Jitman Pun Magar, Kakri 4, Rukum, Nepal.

Laszlo, Gyula 1996: The Magyars: Their Life and Civilization - Corvina Books Ltd. Budapest Hungary.

Oppitz, Michael 1983 : The Wild Boar and the Plough : The Origin Stories of the Northern Magar – Kailash, Ratna Pustak Bhandar, Kathmandu, Nepal.


Witzel, Michael 2013 : The Origins of the World's Mythologies - Oxford University Press.

Watters, David 2004: A Dictionary Of Kham: Taka dialect (a Tibeto-Burman language of Nepal), Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu.



For a PDF of this article please click here >




[1] Csaba Hargita wrote it to me in one of his emails 4 years ago. He sent to me a 7 page Magyar vocabulary also.
[2]  Zoltán Hoppár Facebook messenger communication. May 1, 2017
[3] Some two years or so ago, I had asked a Magyar student here at Harvard how he would pronounce the name word ‘Magyar’ and then he had pronounced it  ‘məzər’ or ‘mədʒər’ (मजर वा मज्जर)  but not maɡyär(माग्यर). In the same manner, on July 12, 2013 I had discussed it with Csaba Hargita  also over Skype. His answer was also the same.  Coming from a prominent tribal name word ‘Megyer’, it probably became Magyar > ˈmaɡyär/ (माग्यर) later.  
[4] Hungarian Women's Magazine: Where a fair number of relatives still live - Nepal Magars - “10 thousand years older kővésetek and writing about them, are intact and waiting for decoding. The first MAGAR strains came from the area of present-day Nepal!”
[5] Monique Hongroise, (Facebook messenger communication>  Saturday April 29, 2017): “I wrote you about the Amazighs so much, because they told me that their ancestors was the PUN nation and I read about Puns in the articles about Magars as well, and this surprised me.”
[6]  This post is an edited version of authors two Facebook posts of October 3, 2014  and November 2, 2014.