May 22, 2017


[Whether in the Himalayas or in Caucasia the tribes referred to, it may be pointed out, war like. The foundation and maintenance of the kingdom of Nepaul and the invasion of India sufficiently prove this. Such too, were the assailants of the Roman empire, and the occupants of Pannonia, and such are the present inhabitants of Hungary. - Hyde Clarke, British philologist 1874:54.]

By B K Rana
One of the rare pictures of Magar people named  also as 'military tribe' by western writers.
Courtesy  J.  Forbes Watson and John William Kaye between 1868 - 1875
Writing on  the ‘Magyar or Madjyar’  and Magars’ antiquity, I enjoy a lot and one of the reasons for that may be – I myself am ‘an insider or a Magar’ and or even ‘Kyapchhaki[1] Rana[2] Magar’ by my descent or origin, if I may not sound a nativist here. The ‘tribal’ name so far, ‘Kyapchaki’ with single ‘h’ is enumerated in one of Brian H. Hodgson’s essays (Hodgson 1874:43) and which is further discussed as, being related to Tartar kingdom, by a British philologist Hyde Clarke[3] in his paper – Himalayan Origin and Connection of the Magyar and Ugrian - 1874.

Additionally, I am very recently in contact with a Hungarian researcher, Magdi Hun-Kipcsak of  ‘Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Shambala Memorial Foundation’ in Hungary. And interestingly, some sort of typographic similarity in between these two ethno-names ‘Kyapchhaki and Kipcsak’ also has led me to write this short note here again today on whether there is any sort of connection between ‘Magyar or Madjyar’  and Magars of the Himalayan region. I posted earlier on May 4, 2017 saying that 'not all western as well as Hungarian scholars themselves believe there are any relationships between the Magyars of Hungary and Magars of the Himalayan region.' 

What striking difference one can find, in addition to physiognomy, in these two groups of people is that the Magar people speak a language of Tibeto-Burman family whereas the Magyars speak Finno-Urgic, though some Magyar scholars contest no such language group did ever exist. Offering a table of Magar-Magyar comparative word-list, Hyde Clarke writes in his paper - "Among the tribes of Nepaul are to be counted the Magar, and it is quite within the compass of possibility that this is the true origin of Magyar or Madjyar." however, he also makes a remark that there could be other groups of people near the Magars such as: Limbus, Gurungs and Tamangs etc. that may have better preserved the 'prehistoric' language(Clarke 1874: 52). The word-list may be of some interest to the concerned people however, for 'river' in Magar, the author has 'folyam' which is not correct,  and likewise for 'within' - he has 'bhitar' which actually is  'bhitra'. Below I have posted as it appears in the paper, Clarke's comparative word-list of Magar and Magyar languages. 

              Magar                   Magyar                                             
Sun           nam                       nap
Day           namsin                    nap
Mountain      danda                     domb
Leaf          lha                       levél
River         folyam*                  khola*
Salt          cha                      
Hair          chham                     hajak
Dog           chhyu                     kutya
Goat          rha                      kaùris
Bitter        khache                   keseru
Crooked       gumche                    görbe
Good          gyepche                  
Handsome      schecheja                 szép
Sweet         jyucho                    édes
White         bocho                     fehén
I             gna                       én
He            hos                       ö
Who, what     hi                        ki
This          isene                     ez
That          osene                     az
Near          khwep                     közol
Where         kulak                     hol
Within        bhitar*                   be

While in search of their roots, a four member Hungarian research team headed by a television journalist and other three researchers had visited Magar villages in Nepal’s remote Rukum and Rolpa districts in the early 90s of the last century. Ferenc Lovass was a TV journalist. He filmed seven average twenty-minute documentaries during the excursion. And back home later in Hungary, several television channels aired those documentary films that aroused curiosity among the Hungarian people which was very natural. Since the films are in Hungarian language, I could not understand what the narrator was saying but a translated English text, as I have received here as, reads the following:

“According to Ferenec Lovass, there are only two places where you can experience such burial in the whole world: in the Szeklers and in the bushes among the high mountains of Nepal. Burial habits are so deeply rooted in a culture of people that this could be a testament to kinship. Unfortunately, the materials, documents and movies taken with Nepal did not really attract the interest of academic circles.”

Ferenc Lovass’ assertion above of Hungarian Szeklers and Nepal’s high mountain burial sites, as being similar and only two places in the whole world may be contested. It may seem possible though - as there are some similarities in between Siberian and Kham Magar shamanistic rituals.

Further to it, another translated version of a text in English says a  lot indeed, and is posted below without any change received here as it is as:

“Without creating any unrealistic expectation or sensation, we believe that burial habits, carved symbols of shreds, shamanism, runic writing, and farming (corn bonding, drying, jar and faeke (?) are the same as today in any Hungarian villages, where they are still in the traditional way), the way of weaving, the details of everyday life in our movie, the wretched ones, the origins of origin and the ancient language all contain a similar element that can be discovered by the layman, which deserves more curiosity for professionals.”
Magas, Mangar or Mangara, Magyar and Magar etc.

Ranjana Thapa Magar
Laszlo Magas[4] had played an important role by organizing 'the world's most successful picnic' for the fall of Berlin wall (Schubert 2011: 144). I am more interested here in his last name ‘Magas’ than whatever he was in Magyar Demokrata Forum and his contribution to the process of democratization in Hungary or elsewhere.

In the Mahabharata, a Hindu epic, section 6 chapter 12 there is a mentioning of ‘Maga, Magas or Magasa’[5] and in the same manner, the Kurma Purana 49.36 and Vishnu Purana 2.4.69 also have  ‘Mangar or Mangara’ in them. Some Indian and western scholars believe that ‘Maga and Magas or Magasa’ were the Magars in the ancient times but I  think it is still a matter of further studies. 

The word ‘Magas’ comes from a Sanskrit word ‘Maga’ which also means 'sun worshipping Brahmins' that lived in Sakadvip,(Saka > Scythians + Dvip> island). In Sanskrit ‘Magas’ also means warlike people of Sakadvip (Monier 1899: 772). The general nature and behaviour of a Magar is never like that of a Brahmin but 'straight-forward and warlike'. The Magars in the Himalayan region are mostly the animists or otherwise shamanists as well.   

Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner, whom Hyde Clarke writes, a distinguished scholar on Magyar, believed 'the tribe of Hunza as possibly connected to the Huns, the founders of 'the Hungarian nation' (Clarke 1874:53). In the early India as Panini's grammar, 4.1.175, (5th century B.C.) provides an example that, kings received their names from the place or people they ruled such as Kamboja, (now in east Afghanistan). There was Subarnakar Ranak at Gulmi in the 11th century and Shohab Rane of 'Magwar Vishaya' (Magar district)in 12th century Nepal. We have some historical records and epigraphical evidence also about them. Until few hundred years ago, the Magars of Nepal also, had their own homeland,(history books tell 'kingdoms or principalities') called Twelve Magarats. 

As Hyde Clarke has rightly pointed out in his paper as copied here also in the beginning, on top of this note that 'the founding and maintenance of the kingdom of Nepaul' had only been possible that the Magars played a major role for it along with some others in 1559 - that is to say in other words - to found the Gorkha kingdom, that grew and developed later into the present day Nepal.

Note: Please also see in connection with Hunza Valley tribe - Two Notes on the Kalash Tribe of Hindu Kush Mountain


Clarke, Hyde 1874: Himalayan Origin and Connection of the Magyar and Ugrain - The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol VII London - Trubner & Co. 57 & 59 Ludgate Hill, London.

Hodgson, Brian H 1874: Essays on the Languages, Literature, and Religion of Nepal and Tibet: Together with Further Papers on the Geography, Ethnology, and Commerce of those Countries. Trubner & Co., 57&59 Ludgate Hill, London.

Jha, D. N. - 2004: Early India, A Concise History . Manohar Publishers & Distributors, New Delhi.

Monier, Monier-Williams 1899: A Sanskrit-English Dictionary - London.

Schubert, Frank K. 2011 : Hungarian Borderlands: From the Habsburg Empire to the Axis Alliance, the Warsaw Pact and the European Union - The Continuum International Publishing Group - London/New York. 

Witzel, Michael 1991 : Nepalese Hydronomy Towards a History of Settlement in the Himalayas - Proceedings of the Franco-German Conference Arc-et-Senans, June 1990 - Centre Nationnal de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS.


[1] It means people belonging to  ‘Kyapchhak’ .  Both Hodgson and Clarke have written  ‘Kyapchaki’ .  Please see  Kipchaks .

[2] ‘Rana’ is an earned title in battle. It  comes from Sanskrit word 'rajanya' meaning ‘of the raja‘> ‘a king’ - a ruler or subordinate ruler etc.’ A full paper can be written on ‘Rana title’ the various rulers  enjoyed in the medieval  age  in south Asia and beyond.

[3] "It is to be noted that Brian Hodgson enumerates as a tribe of Magar, in Nepaul, the Kyapchaki. This may have given name to the well known Tartar kingdom, and become associated with Lesghian tribes in joint expeditions” (Clarke 1874:54)

[4] The New York Times, November 4, 2014 : Laszlo Magas helped organize a Pan-European picnic in Sopron on the Austrian border that, in 1989, provided a first death knell for the Berlin Wall. Hundreds of East Germans used the occasion to pour across the once-sealed frontier.

[5]  Tatra punya janapadasha chatwaro loksammta:

Magas (Magasha) ch mashkash chaiva manasa mandagasa tatha |33| ("तत्र पुण्या जनपदाश चत्वारॊ लॊकसंमताः मगाश च मशकाश चैव मानसा मन्दगास तथा |३३|")


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Csaba Hargita 
Date: Sun, May 28, 2017 at 8:31 AM

"Magas" - means "tall", or "high", however it's root "mag" means "seed", "core", "pip", "stone", "nucleus" or "heart (of sg.)
Reading your updates, I also would like to highlight some additional information more and also propose some technical corrections.

Technical corrections:

Magar                                  Magyar                                                   ...
Mountain      danda          domb (means                              "hill" in Hungarian)
River         folyam*            khola* (order of words mixed up)
Salt          cha               só(older form "sav", which mean "acid" today)
Hair          chham              hajak 
                              ("hajak" is plural, "haj" is singular)
Goat          rha                     kaùris 

(Kauris is a Finnish word for "goat". Magyar word is "kecske", but "bak" - male goat, "anya" - i.e. "mother" - female goat, "gida" - young male goat until reaching maturity, "gödölye" - young female goat until reaching maturity)

Bitter        khache        keseru (typo, right form: keserű)
White         bocho          fehén (typo, right form: "fehér")
Who, what     hi            ki ("ki" is only "who", "what" is "mi")

The Magar 'isene' and Magyar  'ez' (older form of "this" is "ezen" shortening is a normal linguistic procedure). That  osene az (older form of "that" is "azon" shortening is a normal linguistic procedure)
Near          khwep  közol (typo, right form: közel)
Within        bhitar*                   be ("be" means "in" only, right form for "within": "benn" or "benne". Maybe "bitorol" to possess something illegally, that is not the property of the one who possesses it now.)

Csaba Hargita