INDIAN AND HIMALAYAN FOLK AND TRIBAL ARTS
2008 – 2016
KHAS or KHUS
an Himalayan Tribe
THE PEOPLE OF INDIA RACES AND TRIBES OF HINDISTAN LONDON 1868
PEOPLE OF INDIA.
A SERIES OF
WITH DESCRIPTIVE LETTERPRESS,
THE RACES AND TRIBES OF HINDUSTAN,
ORIGINALLY PREPARED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF
THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA,
REPRODUCED BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR
INDIA IN COUNCIL.
J. FORBES WATSON AND JOHN WILLIAM KATE
THE HIMALAYAN TRIBES
KHAS OR KHUS
“THE Kas, or Khus, now the dominant population of Nepal, were, until 1816, the
ruling tribe of the entire tract from the Sutlej to the Teesta.
They are called Purbuttiah, or Highlander, from their residence in the Hills ;
the term being chiefly confined to them, though equally applicable to other
tribes similarly located.
Their aboriginal stock is Turaniam ; a fact, says Hodgson,
” inscribed in characters so plain upon their faces, forms, and languages, that
we may well dispense with the vain attempt to trace it historically in the meagre
chronicles of barbarism.”
When the tide of Musulman conquest and bigotriy, from the twelfth century downwards,
swept multitudes of the Brahmins from the plains into these hills, they endeavoured to
make the natives converts to Hinduism, and thus to confirm the fleeting influence
which their learning and refinement gave them over an illiterate and barbarous
In order to secure their end, they granted to their earliest distinguished
converts, in defiance of the creed they taught, the lofty rank and honours of the
Khastriya order, which they also communicated to their progeny by the Hill-women.
Thus originated the now numerous, predominant, and extensively ramified tribe of
the Khas, which, favoured by the Brahminical system, became entirely devoted to
Subduing the neighbouring tribes, they “gradually merged the greater part of
their own habits, ideas, and language, but not physiognomy, in those of the
Hindoos, and the Khas language became a corrupt dialect of Hindi,” concealing
froom all but curious eyes its barbaric origin.
They are excellent soldiers, and form a considerable proportion of the Nipalese
Though more liable to Brahminical prejudices than other military
tribes of the country, they have no religious feelings which prevent them from
becoming excellent servants in arms, and they possess pre-eminently that masculine
energy of character and that love of enteiprise which distinguish so advantageously
the Nipal soldiery.
Despatching their meals in half-an-hour, and “satisfying the
ceremonial law by merely washing their hands and face, and taking off their turbans
before cooking, they laugh at the pharisaical rigour of our (Bengal) Sepoys, who
must bathe from head to foot and make puja ere they begin to dress their dinner,
must eat nearly naked in the coldest weather, and cannot be in marching trim
again in less than three hours.
The former will carry several days’ provisions on
their backs, the latter would deem such an act intolerably degrading.”
The present royal family of Nipal belong to the Sahi, or Sah, branch of the