OVERVIEW ABOUT MY COMMUNITY OF TAMANG
According to TAMANG Mythology of Tamang History Tamang is the very ancient tribe of Nepal. The Tamanga are original people of Yambu (Kattmandu). Nepalese history speaks that the Enlightened Manjushree made an ancient abode of Tamang in Yambu. The ancient Tamang song- “ Gyanaka Gyamse Phepkaziam or appeared from China” proves that the oldest tribe of Yambu (Kathmandu) is Tamang. There are dense Tamang settlement around the Yambu (Kathmandu) even today. In the course (way) of time, other races also settled in and around Yambu (Kathmandu) and gradually the Tamang people were displaced. The displacement is the result of today’s social structure. Dr. Anatoly Yakoblave Shetenko visited Nepal under the archaeological study programme under an agreement between Nepal and USSR. He discovered the tools, Weapons and apparatus of stone age (of about 30000 B.C.) at Budhanilkantha were the same as found in Govy of Mongolia, Asia and America. At present such apparatus of Mongolian stone-age are found in Yambu (Kathmandu, Budhanilkantha) which prove that the Mongolians (Tamangs) came via (by way of) Tibet and Himalayan to Nepal. It is evident that the Mongols were settled in Yambu (Kathmandu) from North before 30,000 (Thirty thousand) years ago. According to Janak Lal Sharma, those Mongols came from north are today’s Tamangs. According to the version of the dynasty of Nepal and Dr. Shetenkoko, Tamangs are the oldest tribe of Nepal. Source: book of Thu:Chen Thu:Jang, published years 1998, writer’s name of Moktan Dupwangel Tamang A mountainside village inhabited by Tamang
Selected ethnic groups of Nepal; Bhotia, Sherpa, Thakali, Gurung, Kiranti, Rai, Limbu, Newari, Pahari, TamangTamang are one of the indigenous inhabitants of Nepal. They have their own distinct culture, language and religion. Their ancestral domain (land) is popularly known as Tamsaling. Tamsaling’ means ‘Tam’ refers to the language spoken by Tamang people, ‘sa’ refers to the land and ‘ling’ refers to the territory or fragment. So, ‘Tamsaling’ mean the land of Tamang tonguespeaking people. Tamsaling extends from Buddigandaki in the West to Dudhkoshi in the East and from the Himalayan range in the North to Chure or Siwalik hills in the South.National Population Census of 2001 has traced 1282304 populations of Tamang indigenous peoples that comprise 5.6% of the total population of the country. Of this 70% of the Tamang people are inhabited in the Tamsaling region whereas 30% are sparsely distributed in other regions of the country. In Kavre district population of Tamang people is found 130261 according to the census of 2001. Of this 64063 are male and 66198 are female. Traditionally, Tamang are the followers of Buddhism. According to the 2001 census, 90.3% of the Tamang people follow Buddhism that makes up 47.3% of the total in the country. Hence, Tamang are the largest population who follow Buddhism in Nepal. Tamang people have their own mother tongue i.e. Tamang. The census of 2001 has traced 92% of the Tamang people speak in their own mother tongue. Tamang are rich in socio-cultural perspectives. They are the only indigenous nationalities who are least affected by the process of Nepalization (I would instead prefer Khasization). As a result of their success to maintain their distinct identity despite the state sponsored process of Khasization they are highly marginalized and exploited by the state because of which extensive poverty and illiteracy are found in large scale. Tamang are one of the largest indigenous nationalities of Nepal. They are densely populated in the central region and sparsely populated all over the country. They are also one of the highly exploited and marginalized indigenous nationalities due to which their socio-economic status is adversely affected. They are very rich in their culture but their economic condition is worse. Even after the restoration of Democracy in 1990, their economic status has not been changed.
Still there prevail differences about the origin of the word ‘Tamang’. But a common belief is that the word ‘Tamang’ has been derived from a Tibetan word “Tamag” which means ‘Ta’ refers to ‘horse’ and ‘Mag’ refers to ‘rider’. So Tamang are the ‘horse-riders or soldiers riding on horse. It is believed that after the Nepal-Tibet War some of the horse-riding soldiers of King Tsrong Tschong Gampo permanently settled in the Himalayan Hills of Nepal who were later recognized as the “Tamang” nationalities. But many scholars have opposed the above perspective that the Tamangs are the descendants of the horse-riding soldiers of King Tsrong Tschong Gampo. A foreign scholar Alexander Macdonald is one among them. According to him, Tamangs are the indigenous inhabitants of Nepal who were here before the state formation. He disagrees that Tamangs are the horse-riding soldiers of King Tsrong Tschong Gampo who were left behind after the Nepal-Tibet War. He puts forward his reasoning that there should be some mention of King Gampo in thegenealogy of Tamang nationality if it was so. But nothing has been found yet. In their language, the Tibetans call Tamang people as ‘Rongpo’ that means foreigners. Obviously, it also justifies that Tamangs are the indigenous inhabitants of Nepal, not the horse-riding soldiers of King Tsrong schong Gampo. A young scholar Ajitman Tamang redefines the Tibetan perspective of the word ‘Tamang’. He is of the view that in Tibetan ‘Ta’ means ‘entrance/gateway’ and ‘Mang’ means ‘large public or common people’. So, ‘Tamang’, in Tibetan means presence of large number of people at the entrance or boundary, which signifies the settlement of Tamang people in the border of Tibet i.e. in Nepal. It is also supported by the Tibetan usage of the word ‘Rongpo’ to Tamang, which means the foreigners, inhabited beyond the border of Tibet. Now it is obvious that the Tamangs are the indigenous inhabitants of Nepal, not the descendants of the horse-riding soldiers of King Tsrong Tschong Gampo as Tamang themselves do not possess the characteristics of a horse rider nor there a sign of their history directly associated with horses. Usage of the word ‘Tamang’It is still in the root of the research from when the word ‘Tamang’ has been in use to refer to the Tamang nationality of Nepal. Earlier Tamangs were known by various terminologies. Among these, ‘Murmi’ ils a popular term. Hamilton in 1802, Hudson in 1847 and Macdonald in 1989 have used the term ‘Murmi’ for Tamang people. Some scholars are of the opinion that during the regime of King Tribhuvan the then Prime Minister Bhim Shamsher had formally used the term ‘Tamang’ for the very first time under the request of Sardar Bahadur Jungabir who was also from the Tamang nationality. In 13th century, King Boom Degon (1253-1280), who had ruled the present Mustang region of Nepal, has scriptured the word ‘Tamang’ in his genealogy. This is the oldest written document ever found about the usage of the word ‘Tamang’ that exclusively refers to the Tamang nationality of Nepal.