Clan as middle name
By AJ Thaktok on April 20, 2012
We, the Sherpas, should be crystal clear as we were before; protecting the clan system that we have been following for thousands of years. The Sherpa are an ethnic group from the most mountainous region of Nepal, high in the Himalayas. Sherpas ancestors were migrated from Salmo Gang, Kham region in eastern Tibet to Nepal within the last 479-500 years. The reasons for the initial mountainous migration from Kham and then from Tsomo Tretung Lake was under the pressure of the general unrest created by the Mangol invasions, the campaign of Sultan from Kashgar against Tibet, and in search of Beyul (Shangri-La) as well. They primarily settled in the Solu-Khumbu district and then gradually moved further westward.
The term Sherpa is also used to refer to local people, typically men, who are employed as guides for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas, particularly Mt. Everest. They are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in their local terrain.
Sherpa society does not follow the caste system that exists in Nepal’s Hindu communities. Instead, there are four proto-clans or patrineal clans and seven newer clans, with clan identity inherited through their father. There are also five pseudo clans and khambas. First proto-clans are Minyakpa and its sub-clans are: Gardza, Thaktok, Goley, Pinaasa, Paakarma, Yulgongma, Shire and Khapa. Second proto-clans is Thimi and its sub-clans are: Salaka, Khambache, Goparma, Paldorje and Lhakshindo. Third proto-clan is Serwa and its sub-clans are: Lamaserwa and Lamagonpa. Forth is Chakpa clan which is called Chiawa. These four patrineal clans are called pure Sherpa clans, who emigrated to Solu-Khumbu four hundred seventy nine years ago, eighty two years before the birth of Lama Sangwa Dorje, the founder of Palriwa monastery in Pangbuche. The dis-location produces an increasing dis-integration of the original homogeneous proto-clans and is the split of the proto-clans, which adopt new clan names. Fifth is newer clans and they are: Nawa, Lhukpa, Chhuserwa, Sherwa, Shangup, Jungdomba and Mende. These newer clan’s ancestors came to Solu-Khaumbu after two hundred fifty years of the proto-clans or patrineal clans’ migration. Sixth is pseudo clans and they are Dhukpa or Dokpa, Tamang, Newar, Gurung, and Chhetri. These pseudo clans entered into marital or casual union with Sherpa girls, wear Sherpa dress and ornament, have Sherpa names, speak the Sherpa language and follow the Buddhist religion. Seventh is Khampa clans and they are Khamba and others Tibetan who migrated to Solu-Khumbu after 1945.
Traditionally, there are prohibitive restrictions in Sherpa marriage. Firstly, the rule of exogamy may under no circumstances be violated. Secondly, any marriage between the same origin or ancestors relatives is considered as incest and cross-cousin marriage is not allowed. Thirdly, sons and daughters of ceremonial friends (Nepali: Mit), may not marry, since these later consider one another as brothers or sisters. Therefore, Sherpas should not marry anybody from their own clan and between sub-clans. Such act will be punishable by law in their homeland and the Sherpa society abroad.
In Sherpa culture as well as various other cultures, traditionally a man and woman inherit his/her surname or birth name from his/her father. This means that lines of male descent (patrilineality) are seen as primary—that a child has no inherited name tying him or her to female ancestors (matrilineality). Moreover, it means that women have no matrilineal surnames of their own, but only "place-markers" indicating their relationship to men. Generally, birth name, family name, surname, married name and maiden names always are patrilineal surnames unless explicitly stated to be matrilineal surnames.
Recently, we have been hearing that some Sherpas were marrying within their own sub-clans, because it is difficult to identify who their patrineal sub-clans were. Also, the lack of awareness regarding our social system given to those younger generations from their parents. Some Sherpas are suggesting that we should use our clans and sub-clans names such as Thaktok or Salaka instead of Sherpa as the surname. I am wondering, how practical it would be if we used our clans or sub-clans names as surnames since the term Sherpa was already publicized and legally documented everywhere. Due to the reputation we have earned and being international renowned, it would not be wise to use clans or sub-clans names as surnames. It would be better and more scientific if we used our clans or sub-clans names as middle names and Sherpa as a surname. For example: Pasang Thaktok Sherpa instead of Pasang Thudu Sherpa or Nuru Salaka Sherpa instead of Nuru Jangbu Sherpa. In this way, our younger generations will clearly identify their clans or sub-clans names all the time and there will not be any confusion when they decide their union. Therefore, I would like to strongly suggest to all our Sherpa community that beginning from today, we start to use our clans or sub-clans names as middle names for our newborn babies and keep the surname Sherpa as it is and what we had owned. This way, we will be able to protect our Sherpa clan system for generations to come.
Mr. Thaktok, We are never been clear and the debate is still there like big elephant in the room, and congratulation to you, that you made it worse then ever. In one hand you are saying we don't have caste system, on the other hand, you have casted 4 clan as a pure Sherpa. The term "pure sherpa" sound very interesting, isn't it? people must be curious, what this pure sherpa consist of ? What material they use to form pure sherpa? If there is any special ingredient, please let Us know mr. Thaktok, We will be very thankfully to you, because everybody want to be a pure Sherpa rather then hybrid and non pure.
WE, THE SHERPAS are well known and praised around the world because of our bravery and unity, not because we were descended from Tibet , We been respected around the world because of our simplicity and generosity, not because we celebrate losar and fangee . We have been admired around the world because of our innocent ness and openness not because we follow 4 porto clan and different sub clan.
Defining sherpa through its ethnicity, culture, and considering indigenous people is too casual, true Sherpa virtue lies within our bravery, within our unity, within our simplicity, within our innocent ness. Therefore the pride and dignity that we have earned is solely by the virtue that is deeply rooted within us, this notion shouldn't be misinterpreted in anyway. It's our responsibility to safeguard our virtue from being abused by those people who carries their enigmatic ideology and try to mislead the public.
We already have plenty of confusion which hasn't been resolved yet as i have mention in my earlier article. "Sherpas marriage system ???" , if anyone hasn't gone through that article, I request you to do so. And here mr thaktok added more confusion by bringing his own data and adding the term proto, pseudo and pure sherpa in our clan system. We can somehow figure out his notion of proto-clan, but In what context he want to place pseudo-clan? does it signify or glorify of him being thaktok ? Is there any special definition of pseudo-clan? or is he just having fun, playing with it? We are desperate for the answer. And more importantly by Casting 4 clan as pure sherpa; if mr. Thaktok mean to say rest of the clan are non pure then we should be aware of him, because using such term will push us further into deeper debate and will divide us rather then unite.
Yes we are convinced that the basic notion of our clan system is to continue either patronal linage, or maternal linage. mr. Thaktok is only focusing on paternal linage thats unfair, and discriminative. he should be talking about maternal linage too. we Sherpas do respect both patronal and matronal linage. It's so significant to us because it doesn't discriminate against one another. And Mr thaktok might not have a knowledge of endogamy and exogamy rule, the one Sherpas has adopted was the endogamy not the exogamy
According to endogamy rule we can't get married Other then Sherpas, we have to find our met within sherpas, back then Breaking endogamy rule is consider serious offense even more serious then marriage between cousin. Its been enforced vigorously and we know that the ego of getting married within sherpas is still pretty much alive. This endogamy rule has been adopted not only by sherpas but also by other ethnic group. So far the endogamy rule has been fading away. people want their destiny be chosen with their own consent. And I don't think mr. Thaktok have power to revers this trend.
If we try to notice, in every statement about our clan system, there is been continuous effort going on towards manipulating people's mind, either by backing up with our religion or by using dictatorial language or something that makes the system looks real and and true and legitimate from every aspect. and mr. Thaktok has done it by reminding people with some kind of outdated law that use to existed earlier, but not anymore as there been lack of personal liberty. lets be clear mr. Thaktok; people don't need to be reminded about laws and regulation, they are all very aware of it and they also have common sense of not to get married within cousin. all they need is fairness and truth, which is very much lacking through out our marriage system. And also, Let's be within our territory, try to fix what is broken within us. touching chhetri, Newar, gurung..e.t.c doesn't help us solving our problem.
It seems mr. Thaktok have good scientific knowledge of genealogy and Without any doubt he believes that, " every clan that's been followed by formation of several sub clan are true paternal linage", and he want everyone to accept what he believes in. mr. Thaktok; If you really have a true faith in what you believe, you should have guts to testify it and be the man to terminate this debate forever, once you testify and prove it, you don't need those outdated laws to support your belief, rather the true history will be written and your name mr. Thaktok will be there with golden letters.
Back then our predecessor may not know, where to and how to track down our paternal lineage, but now time has changed and since you been well aware of genealogy it won't be too big deal for you to track down either paternal or maternal linage, also you are going to have plenty of supporter because good number of people believes what you believe in.
Sherpas are innocent But not stupid, we don't follow those hypocrite people who are trying to promulgate their mythic ideology without any truth and public consensus.
"SHERPAS DO RESPECT THE TRUTH and SHERPAS DO FIGHT FOR THE TRUTH" this is the message to all those hypocrite people who undermine sherpas and try to squeeze us into their speculative, confuse and narrow view.
I am always here to defend my statement. If there is anyone who is disagree with mine, he has his right to attack on my statement or if there is anyone, who's willing to faceoff and have this debate publicly, i will be more then happy to do that too. Long leave Sherpas....
Ngawang, I am not here to answer or oppose questions you have raised in your RAMAYAN that does not make any sense to Sherpa society. I found out from your opposing article and comments that you don’t believe in the Sherpa history and that you don’t trust the Sherpa mythologies. Also, that you hate the Sherpa tradition, culture and customs. You are mad as hell over our Sherpa community ancestors and leaders who worked hard to lift up Sherpa society. You don’t want to follow the natural law and order which evolved in Sherpa society for thousands of years. You also wrote that Sherpa clan system is wrong. Sherpa marriage system is unfair, and further more you are irritated from our whole Sherpa social systems. This is too bad for you.
It seems to me that you sound like an educated young man, but I can’t believe that you have such an ego that you would express such contentious views about Sherpa society. Keep in mind that without Sherpa history, mythologies, tradition, culture, customs, clan, marriage systems, community leaders, heroes known and unknown, we wouldn’t be where we are today and I salute them!
Since you don’t care about anybody and don’t want to follow the Sherpa social system, there is no question of unity and division regarding the Sherpa society because that is none of your business. However, I ask that you would please not express your very poisonous views on Sherpa society to the public places, that will poison other young Sherpa minds like yours. Bear in mind that my article is based on the facts I found in my research, and is only a suggestion. ASTU, Mr. Thaktok Sherpa
First of all nice to see you "taktok" back here in this platform. And i would like to thank NYC Sherpa Kyidug for providing this beautiful platform for our sweet, nasty and somehow interesting discussion.. I am hanging around this discussion with the optimism to find some light, at the end of the tunnel, thought it is possible or not. I know people are fad up with this discussion still I urge you to contribute If you feel like, if it makes difference.
I want to start this discussion by saying, "if you dont have question, you loss your life. if you don't have answer, you loss your destination." so we run our entire life figuring out these two things. To have a life and to have a destination.
Regarding our clan, one of german ethnologist " Micheal oppitz" did realize the problem in our clan system 47 years earlier, he did some research and wrote a book called Myth and Fact clan history of Sherpa in 1965. Even After I went through that book, I still could not get the truth at all. he himself called his book closer to solution. He didn't call his book as a solution. He wrote that book on the base of document which he indicated partly mythological and partly historical in nature. These both term " partly mythological" and "partly historical in nature" pushed me further into darkness, because these terms are by no means to reveal the truth in any way. Mythology is mythology, we cant force it on anyone. Its up to you if you have a faith on it or not. and "historical in nature" it self create confusion that, should we consider it a history or not. based on that document mr. Micheal speculated that, sherpas were migrated around 1533 from tibet, he collected data and created a clan chart. So far his chart has been well echoed by number of institution and individual with different data, including taktok.
We surely have to respect mr. Micheal's acknowledgment of our problem, and his effort towards solution, even its not an actual solution. I also respect mr. Michael for his sole collection of demographic data, which could be consider historic. His demographic data indicate there were about 13,300 sherpas around 1965 .
I don't have actual data handy but, by now there might be more then 300,000 Sherpas living all around the world. This vast increment of Sherpa population within last 47 years seems astonishingly incredible , taktok ASTU might have worked in this increment, we should be expecting his ASTU more often, don't we?
If we go prior to Micheal oppitz, we will find the book written by Christoph Von furer-haimendorf professor of Asian anthropology, in 1964 he wrote a book called The Sherpas of Nepal Buddhist highlander, this is possibly the first anthropological study about Sherpas and the book has explicitly mentioned about Sherpas way of life i.e. culture. He wrote about Sherpas practicing polyandrous marriage (One bride and two or more then two groom at the same time), polygynous Marriage (One groom and two or more then two bride at the same time) he recorded 19 polyandrous and 5 polygynous among 236 marriages, he did mention about the behavior towards khambas and Yenba.. Who were consider untouchable, one Yenba girl been taken to khumjung as a slave, being part of the dowry of a girl from solu. Younger brother marrying elder brothers wife after elder brother have been deceased. People been used to pull plough as animal to cultivate the land. He also mentioned about 21 clan name and 7 of them worshiping different mountain as their clan deities, these all practices, tradition and different data pushed us further into confusion and raised a question like, how rational and relevant are those chart would be? how is it possible to verify that we are following the true paternal linage? we will always remain hunger to get the answer of these question. the book written by Christoph is base on the study done just 50-60 years earlier, there isn't any account of study done before 100-500 years, its all blank pages for us, these will remain mystery for us, if any body consider its as our glorious history, its up to them, i don't see any glory in there though We have to respect our predecessor for their innocent ness, that they had to go through lots of uncommon practices. and we also have to respect their hard work and unity for building up numerous religious institution throughout the region.
If we just try to have a history of our Sherpa sewa Kendra alone, which is more or less about 33 years. you will find 1000 and 1000 of document, which will illustrate each and every struggle we dealt with, to built that back bone to erect our heads up . So goes to NYC Sherpa kyidug. Which is more or less 14 years, they might have 1000 of documents which will show us how they are formed and how they collect each and every penny to build up their dream. These are the institution which will revel our history for the coming generation. And those 1000 and 1000 of document which reflect our hard work, our passion and our unity should be the glorious history for our forth coming 100 of generation. Yes we should be proud of our these achievement.
What we been doing is just following the chart and data base on speculation, what happen is that, we are so attached and obsessed with the chart that lead to form a big misconception and fear within us. the misconception is that, we start to think, the chart is our identity, chart is our history, chart is our culture which define us of being sherpa with unique feature. And the fear is that if we loose that chart we might get loss our identity, our history and our culture. If we try to clarify this misconception and fear and try to dig little more about this chart , we won't see any religious value in there , we wont't see any history been reveling there, we don't see any solid material to support it at all. What we would find is some kind of fable. so what we been doing is just worshiping the fable and fear of loosing it?
Is there any resemblance between the history that we been creating by forming a institution like Sherpa sewakendra, NYC Sherpa kyidug and The chart that has been created base on speculation ? We should be crystal clear without any doubt.
And now lets come back to taktok; People would not buy that you are doing any research on our clan and what you have written is fact. possibly you are just echoing the statement, that are already in books written by some foreigners, what you did is just polishing on it, we don't call it researcher we literally call it a copy machine. if you are a true researcher you must be somewhere in Mongolia or in tibet as you call the places like Salmo gang searching and digging hard to track down your taktok linage, and there should be a obvious media attraction with the head line such as "the extra ordinary person in the serch of his taktok linage, back 1000 and 1000 years" doesn't it sound incredible? but I doubt that you are somewhere in the state, having a dunkin' donut coffee with cream and sugar...
Here you are taktok, with absolutely lost and confused mind. You are confused because you don't know how to deal with all the question that has been raised in clan issue. And you are lost because you don't know that you are confused, though you are trying to give legitimacy to your confused and lost mind by attacking on me saying " Nawang, you don't make any sense you are this you are that and on and on and on....poor taktok used almost all negative attributes to undermine my loyalty towards Sherpas except one term and that is terrorist, he might have store it for the next attack. Here people might be thinking that, I should be attacking him back in same way to make it even, but I can't do so, because there isn't any bullet left for me to attack on him, all been used by taktok, I can only return his bullets coming towards me.
Beside him being confused and lost taktok wouldn't shy from taking refuse in our society again and again. taktok may not get this point. society consist of all kind of people some are conservative thinker like you some are liberal thinker like me, some are progressive thinker, some are neutral, some are good behavior some are bad, some are passionate, some are aggressive e.t.c.. This is the nature of society. It applies to all society not only sherpas. Same goes to institution, it consist of different minded people, with different point of view and some has same view and attitude as taktok do, they do raise the issue and hide them under the name of our institution. So taktok If you think all people in society are same as you, then there must be something wrong with you. You need lot more basic lesson to develop your mind.
Its common sense , if you raise any issue publicly, and someone else raises a question against it. then, its your responsibility to defend your issue yourself instead of taking refuse in society. here, taktok raised the issue as its been his own business, but when its time to deal with the issue he is making it up societies business, so taktok should be crystal clear, if he doesn't have a capability to handle the issue, he better not to make it his business at first place. taktok won't stop there, he went further up to show his stereotype behavior by turning his head from genealogy to mythology, which has puzzled all of us. let's hope he won't turn his head to any other .......logy anymore. that's not the end right there. On top of him being confused, lost and stereotype he stir up all the terms like mythology, clan, history, culture, marriage system, tradition, custom together into one big bowl and served it in front of our society, he wont acknowledge that, those term which been put together could have different meaning, for example mythology itself couldn't be align with truth, and couldn't be consider culture. culture itself could be influential, clan should have true linage either from father side or mother side, history should consist of truth to avoid controversy. Tradition and costume could be differ from place to place. Any System thats been placed should serve everyone fairly without any discrimination. So, We can clearly see the contradictory behavior of the terms that's been put together. Mixing it up and serving is done not only by takok, there is lot more people, some time they even include our religion in there and make it perfect tonic for confuse the innocent mind, when such a tonic is served with ingredient such as religion, we just drink it without any hesitation, because spiritually we consider religion as our ultimate way for the liberation. We never ask what other component been used along with religion, what effect does it have , how reliable are those other ingredient? We never felt to ask these question before we drink, we just keep on drinking and drinking, those people who served us that tonic, them self had it pretty much enough to confuse them self and rest of us. This been happening from long long time, as time went by we feel curious to learned about those ingredient in the tonic separately and we encounter numerous question, we try to find the answer from every aspect, but there isn't any which settle down the issue.
If we try to see this discussion and situation through broader prospective, we will find the CONFUSION which has lead all of us including me and taktok into this debate.
And we are trying our best to explain and clarify the situation through our own prospective. So far who is making sense, it's up to the public.
This, I simply call "NATURE of SEEING" . I don't mind, if taktok call it "MAHABHARAT"
Finally, I want taktok; not to be intimidate by my education label , because he might be overestimating my proficiency, I have just 2 years college degree from Tribhuwan university not from Oxford university, which I don't really consider a well educated person, all I consider myself is, just ME "Nawang Sherpa" My article might consist of error in grammar, sentence, phrases e.t.c. And some people might have hard time understanding it. at list i owe thank to taktok, because he is the one seems to understand my article clearly. THANK YOU taktok.
I want to wrap up my part of the respond to this issue by saying "Don't worry about society, society is been like this from the beginning, consist of different mind, and it's gonna remain so for the rest of it's existence. If you try to change it into your way, its gonna hit you back hard, therefore, If possible change yourself." I hope taktok would not interpret this as i am turning world upside down.
I will always be here to defend my article, i wish to have further debate on this issue if anyone wish to..and I want taktok be part of it as always and wish him good luck for further debate...
Long leave Sherpas.......
With the issue of our clan, there is been numerous debate took place prior to this one. So far I haven't seen such a intense, straight forward, and open view that Nawang has placed. Nawang make absolute sense to me and I hope He will make sense to all those people who care about the future of their child, grand child, great grand child......we are keep coming back to same discussion again and again because there is obvious big black hole, no one have yet answered, those people who consider them self as a historian, yet haven't came up with one unified chart and data, as Nawang said, we keep seeing different data again and again. Though Nawang has raised a legitimate question, i want nawang to express his view more towards solution too. Thank you.
Thank you all for the positive remarks on my view. As far as the question about solving the problem, it's quite a heavy lifting upon us, the most easiest way out is what we been doing for long long time, just ignoring the problem at all, don't even think there is any problem exist, also with the grace from people like taktok and pg lama, in general and in mainstream media the problem is not a problem at all, instead it is been some kind of blessing directly handed out by lord Buddha, even more precious then that, thus people forget what Buddhism really teaches us rather follow and respect the speculative chart more then the religion.
In buddhism, to be ignorant is like to be already dead before a actual dead. So if we see through buddhist prospective, we are all quite a dead here, yet we are calling ourself a Buddhist. So far the ignorance have worked out pretty well to give a life to our problem. Now the question we are facing is that, the ignorance towards problem should be our ultimate answer? And the certain follow up question would be, Should we consider ourself a true Buddhist?
I am here neither to destroy our clan nor to destroy our culture, I am here to urge people to give a true meaning to our clan which should be through either paternal linage or maternal linage, not through the speculative chart forced by pg lama and taktok.
I have tried to focus more towards solution in my previous article "Sherpa marriage System ????" which is posted prior to start of this discussion by taktok. so I am reposting the same article here, as my view towards solution. Thank you.
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4/17/2012 9:04:53 PM
In regard to our marriage system....
After reading different articles from different book, web site and news paper, I couldn't get how Sherpas marriage system i.e. Cast and RU System will shape our future. How it will achieve it's subjective of passing down to younger generation? The term culture and religion used in ru system itself raises big question. Recently I made a little effort to read some books based on buddhist religion, which has certainly changed my way of thinking about our religion and i found my self far from what religion teaches us. We still need lot more religious lesson which will free us from the world of ego, hatred, fear, ignorance, loneliness and selfishness, we are far from such a wisdom. If we go through the fundamental principle of Buddhism, it will vigorously reject the mythology and embrace the truth and reality, it seems the fundamental of Buddhism is very much lacking in our society. Regarding our ru system, i find serious misuse of religion On defense of it, that need to be addressed, What does culture really refers to is simply the way of life adopted by the people as it fits to them, it could be differ from place to place. people with the same faith living In different places could have different way of life or culture. People with same faith doesn't necessarily have to have same culture. Good culture neither need dictatorial language nor need religious back up to save it, good culture consist of glory and the beauty in itself that people get felt in love with, and follow it. It is true that Religion do influence the culture but not vice versa, people need to know these basic things before aligning religion and culture together.
I am sherpa, proud to be sherpa and i always want to see the well being of Sherpas all around the world. I do support our religion i do support our rich culture and I am for the survival of our clan too. It's our responsibility to save and pass it down to the younger generation with great pride and dignity. To do so,It has to be on rock solid base, there shouldn't be to any doubt or confusion. But here, it seems big misconception about our ru system that has been followed for long time. We can clearly see our ru system doesn't have any facts and it doesn't serve everyone equally. Since our ru system has been base on fable, It created lot of confusion, doubt and raised lots of question that has contributed ru system being as a myth. Are the younger generation ready to follow the system that is base on myth ? It is remain to be seen. If the ru system is base on fact and it serve every one equally that will definitely make sense to be respected and pass it down. as we know the culture based on myth and culture which doesn't serve everyone equally will disappear as time goes by, at the same time new culture emerges in this age of globalization.
What surprises me most is that , "without knowing the truth keep imposing same baseless system in the name of culture and religion" Its quite embarrassing. And more surprising is that people just follow it without hesitation, and feel proud of it. Furthermore i am surprise to see people calling someone a blood related brother or cousin without knowing if he really is or not, especially the "swage bhai" and " upa thar" culture, i never got any idea what these 2 term refers to, we haven't got any definition until now. All We read is "4 thar Bhata chute ra gako" they are "Had nata" We never read why chutera gako? how chutera gako ? when chutera gako ? And how they became had nata? Make no mistake, by denouncing swage bhai and upathar, iam not advocating marriage between cousin, rather I strongly condemn such relationship, i bet this common sense do exist more in younger generation then in our predecessor. My key argument is that, "Are those all swange bhai and upa thar are cousin and really blood related?" Does those people who are calming they are blood related, have guts to testify it? Is there any one who can clarify that the creation of upper cast, lower cast, swage bai and upathar are mentioned in our religion text book? isn't there any discrimination while creating it ? These question has remain unanswered in the mind younger generation.
Different data are found in different article regarding our ru system . According to pg lama in sherpaworld.com, has mentioned about 10 Sherpa ko lalmohar during the period of king surendra bir bikram, If we use common sense 10 sherpa ko lalmohar should indicate 10 different roots. And he claim that 10 root is the extension of 4 roots with the help of some kind of fable. If there is just 4 roots, why didn't they just say 4 Sherpa ko lalmohar. Sherpasanchar.com claim 5 roots, some are still counting, God knows when they gonna finish counting. now what this 4 roots, 5 roots and those who are still counting, has to do with 10 sherpa ko lal mohar and pg lamas fable? Does it make sense to any one? I didn't get it. Instead of finding truth, some people interpreted it as our social norms and social values and given impunity from any question being asked. Some people don't feel shy to consider it as our glorious history and extra ordinary work. I want to say, it is a absolute mess and confusion but the irony is that, following such mess and confuse system has been given the sign of civilization by those people who want to keep this mess alive as it is.
More importantly, the creation of lower cast upper cast and the corrupt system of swage bhai, where some clan doesn't have any but some has as much as 13, This certainly has disproportionately effected at least 7 out of 10 Sherpas, God knows how many has to sacrifice their true love and how many are refrain from expressing their feelings, our younger generation has every right to know, what is the reason or logic behind creation of such social unfair and corrupt system? If there is any kind of pattern, logic or formula to create it, and it's our social norms and values who is the creator of it and Why it is not being created these days? Certainly These question has to be answered.
As we talked about culture, tradition and rituals, taboos are to be found profoundly and has played convoluted role in every community including Sherpas, it has been imposed in various way for various reason, especially in earlier time when people are very much influenced by superstitious belief. lot of taboos are forgotten as its value faded in itself but some are still indulge until these days. For example, imposing taboo against marrying lower cast, swange bhai and marrying other then sherpas with different religion, imposing taboo against lower cast from letting them in, e.t.c. all these system doesn't have any justification of social and human equality. When these kind of system, laws and taboos are created with narrow mind and strongly tied with narrow interest, it will fail to serve everyone as an equal recipient of justice and social equality. This can be clearly seen in our marriage system as a whole
If We have little consciousness about the future of our child and grand child, lets not make them a scape goat of such corrupt system. We will be held accountable for passing it down, Let's give them the truth. Lets give them more hope, let's workout for the solid base. Let's be proud of being a Sherpa. We will be the history for the coming generation, let's put hand together, bring the issue socially on the table, have a healthy debate, try to bring right solution, Instead of following hearsay, collecting data base on fable and imposing same myth again and again. it's enough, all We see is different data in different article. Different fable and confusion after confusion, this is not how we shape our future. We have to find more concrete way to shape our future. Concrete future only comes from concrete foundation, following hearsay, myth or fable wont create concrete foundation, that's for sure. this lesson should be learned by those who are collecting the data, base on fable. Our child and grand child deserve better future and better life
So far no one dare to ask what's the truth behind ru and cast system. not even well educated Scholars. It is just made taboo. people are either manipulated by that taboo or deprive from the truth. people who made this corrupt system a strong taboo by backing it up by our religion and named it our culture. It is serious disrespect to our holly religion. I haven't seen any one raising this issue. Religion never dictate on whom to get married and whom not to, and culture of swage bhai, upa thar and lower cast are nowhere to be found in religion. Matter of fact the swange bhai is not even Sherpa word. It seems Swange bhai were created after sherpas get interfere with different cultural group with different religious people. We are forced to follow such corrupt system with the threat like you will be cursed if you don't follow or you will be ousted from community. this kind of dictatorial language will neither bring any positive result nor last for ever.
we can't dictate on the future of our child or limit the destiny base on fable, taboos or the data that is collected by some mg sherpa, lg sherpa or dg Lama,..... having said that, once again i am not encouraging younger generation to break the bond between our brotherhood relation, either from father side or mother side. We have our rich culture of respecting both side, it's our great culture. We have to save it and encourage younger generation to respect the relation like chu chu, ajee, au, uru, mau, cha chang, ani.... e.t.c. these are the relation directly relate to father and mother so called "Had nata" we can't deny it. But I am not for respecting taboos and unknown relation like upa thar, swage bhai , meet bhai lower cast upper cast e.t.c unless they are blood related. After all truth should matter not the fable.
Until now, we have very much relied on cast, fable and taboos to determine our destiny. God knows For how long we have to be in this dilemma. Despite their hard work towards building up our community Media like sherpaworld.com, sherpasanchar.com.np and Some people representing our nonprofit association including NYC sherpakyidug are eager to keep alive same dilemma and same unresolved mess again and again, before doing so, I urge them to have a healthy debate to see the problem with broader prospective, develop their conscience towards truth, try to listen to the heart and mind of younger generation, try to find the answer of some question that has blindfolded us. yet it hasn't been done, all they do is sees problem with too narrow prospective, lacking of discernment, fear from self created dogmatic belief and more importantly not considering all those confusion and mess as a problem, rather wraps it up with the term culture and religion and trying to give it a constituency which has contributed this debate unresolved until now and no one knows for how long.
Even though there is so much unanswered question and unresolved debate, Some people seems to be agree to solve this problem just by writing their ru as last name. But in my opinion, unless we resolved the underlying problem of 10 Sherpa ko lalmohar, different roots, different fable, cast system and discriminatively created taboos and swage bhai, i don't think it will be the absolute solution though Every one agree to write ru as last name.
Finally It is true that social norms and social values are essential for the survival of our culture, but when these social values and norms are discorded from its subjective and itself raise question then that need to be addressed and need to tackled for the formation of solid base. As we know, we Sherpas often get attack from non Sherpas regarding our history and culture. Certainly the credit goes to undocumented history and lack of solid base. The inconvenient truth is that, the problem lies within us. Yet We haven't try to point out what is the root cause of our problem. Getting to know the problem and fixing it won't destroy our identity or our existence rather it will give us sense of competence, sense of unity and pave the way for coming generation. Either we deal this issue with great ambition and hope for the solid base for our younger generation or just let it be and watch for demise of our clan culture.
All this social unfair, acceptance of myth, following discriminative system doesn't really define our pride and dignity of being Sherpa. This is all my personal opinion and this article reflect my own point of view, So i am solely responsible for all the content in this article. If anyone is offended by it and want clarification, I will be ready to testify it personally or publicly.
Thank you Long leave Sherpas......
It's very educative and enlightening going through Nawang's article. His thorough explanation about the problem and the situation that we are in should definitely ring the bell to all those people who are in confusion. It is really really great thought. Nawang's article must have pushed people to think twice before opposing his view, usually there use to be big outcry within this web community if anyone speaks out against our social system, but surprisingly we didn't see any single person opposing Nawang except AJ Thaktok. but he seems to have knocked out off the ring set by himself. Anyway it seems big changes in people's thought not only here, coincidentally recent t.v. Show by Amir khan "satyamev jayate" has gained so much popularity and media sensation around the world to fight against all those social system and custom which has distorted numerous family, and cost 1000 of life. It is definitely a big issue, our media and institution like NSSP, Sherpa student forum, sherpaworld.com, sherpasanchar.com.np, sherpakyidug.org should push this issue further to shed more light on, to open up peoples mind.
Here is Link to tv show "Satyamev Jayate" many people might have seen it, if not you can enjoy and at the same time try to feel the pain people have gone through and realize how cruel our social system and custom has been.
This issue would have been quite relevant fifty years ago, but now, I have doubts on its relevancy. These days, a big percentage of Sherpas marry non-Sherpas, a big percentage of Sherpas, especially in the U.S., name their children with Anglo-saxon names, and a big percentage of Sherpas, even in Khumbu, let alone Kathmandu or New York, do not speak Sherpa. So in the middle of all this chaos where our language and identity is rapidly getting chipped away, why would most people see much relevance in adding our "Ru"s as middle names? When John Sherpa, walking around Jackson Height in his hip-hop jeans and listening to Jay-Z on his iPod, can barely speak Sherpa but speaks fluent English, does it even matter whether his last name is Sherpa, let alone adding a "Ru" to his middle name?
Addressing problem through mr. Thaktok prospective, mr. Nawang prospective and expressing concern of mr. khumjung doesn't really grasped the root cause of the problem at all. In my opinion, root cause of the problem is strongly tied with patriarchal society that we been living in. The Influence of patriarchy and male dominance in our society have left women out from their existence in clan system.
if we try to find the truth about our existence in this world, we will find women, who nurture us from the formation of fetus to fully grown child in their womb for 9 month and finally give a birth by putting their life in verge of death, thereafter continuous to nurture us through breast feeding until we stand on our own legs. Now, Here we are with fully grown mustache and muscles calling ourself civilized superior human being advocating clan system base on paternal linage, isn't it ironic?
We know our development of flesh,blood and bone occur inside women's womb and Women's are the one who put their life in danger while giving birth to a child, still credit goes to man for our existence and follow paternal linage instate of maternal linage. I am not saying man doesn't play any role in our existence, they do have more or less 20-30 minutes of intense mutual intimacy workout, say "HELL NO", if i am wrong.
This is been quite a issue here for long time, individual seems to have courage to address the issue up front and challenging the system, but our numerous institution like nssp, sherpasanchar, sherpakyidug e.t.c. seems to remain silent, it is very surprising.
My brothers and sisters, it's been a prominent issue lying here for some time, and we don't have to be surprise. Our institution are very good at ignoring the real issues which could have long lasting effect on generation to come, they are not worried about such issue at all .
Our institutions do talk about our prosperity and history but they are not worried about Sherpas been define as a high altitude porters in numerous dictionaries as a primary definition. Our institution do talk about saving our sherpa language and culture, but they are not worried about our language without script, and sherpas celebrating losar in different date. Our institution do talk about sherpas as well renowned and dignified tribal group but they are not worried about sherpa name been abused and used as a brand name by numerous private enterprises, Our institution do call them self a conscious and civilized society, but they are not worried about discriminative social system that has unfairly treated within Sherpas. Our institution do call them self promoter of buddhism and organize numerous wong but, they are not worried about lord Buddha been drag down to India.
Its a shame that our institution took months and months to issue just a statement denouncing m..f..icon Shoes maker, not to mention about NSSP, NSSF they are all well educated intellectual and well decorated personnel, they are not suppose to get into all this mess, they are just suppose to induct them self, felicitating them self, have a nice photo shoot, organize a picnic to have a fun on and on.....and i am sure, one day they will organize a successful camping for our brothers and sisters, then we should be very very proud of these institution. Say "HELL NO" if I am wrong.
I am here once again to respond the issue, i hope you will bear with me 10 more minute.
What i've been doing is, searching some one who could stood strongly to their word, values and what they believe in. specially those who wrote books and who are in the support of current cast and clan chart, I want to bring those people into dialog to make this issue more transparent. Actually i want them to win over me on this debate and throw me out into the garbage.
Though they might have been good person and have performed their duties promptly in their private life, i am labeling them absolute hypocrite, selfish and coward person. In this particular issue, they feel them self proud and courageous to issue their monolog statement throughout books and media but could not show their courage to get into dialog, this behavior can only be attributed as a hypocrite, selfish and coward nothing less. But they may not have realize being hypocrite, selfish and coward since they been in a deep sentiment of saving our culture considering them self researcher and historian.
Saving anything including language, traditions , culture and system need very much practical approach, there is no doubt on that, lets be practical and try to get right sense from these two different scenario,
1st scenario, Lets say, Aj taktok is from khumbu has a son name TJ THAKTOK , age 27 educated with good moral character, respectful to everyone, felt in love with beautiful girl from solu Name LJ GOLEL, age 24 also educated, dear to all her families and relatives, they both are truly into each other and made for each other, they do have common sense of not to get married with cousin and close relatives.they did try to find if there is any relation, but they didn't find any close relation within 10 of generation either from father side or mother side. finally they get married had healthy little babies, both TJ THAKTOK and LJ GOLE are very much in favor of saving sherpa culture and tradition so they speak in sherpa with their child taught sherpa tradition celebrate losar and fangi together, they also observed dumjee, manirimdu with all families and on and on....
after some year their cute little daughters appeared on stage on the eve of losar beautifully dressed in sherpa apparel singing and dancing shabru, winning the heart of 100 of people. Both couple are very proud of their daughter performing on stage keeping their culture alive. This scenario seems perfect typical Sherpa family having a happy, healthy and harmonious life.
Here comes 2 nd scenario.
On this scenario i would like to bring some folks who wrote book and who are in support of current clan system from earlier debate . Folks like sangya Tenzing lama Sherpa, pg lama, Chopel, Sange, Subchintak, thamongawang, Salaka_phujung, e.t.c
on second scenario, people found out Affair between THAKTOK and GOLE, certainly this relation is not digested within folks like sange tenzing lama sherpa, pg lama, Chopel, Sange, Subchintak, Nawang thamo, salaka_pujung e.t.c. these folks are trying to separate THAKTOK and GOLE from each other so some people are pulling one side of girls hand and some on the other side of boys hand, they are trying to separate couple physically as we see in Bollywood and kaliwood movies, sange tenzing lama sherpa is pulling and saying this is against my book, pg lama is pulling and saying, this is against my fable, Chopel is pulling and saying, they are gatichada and against our ethics, salaka_pujung is pulling and saying, they can't go against our culture. Sange is pulling and saying, this is sinful because its clearly mentioned in our religion. ThamoNgawang is pulling and saying, we have to save ru like we celebrate losar and dumji, Subchintak is pulling and saying, these people are social enemy we have to eradicate them.
some ill hearted people under name of sherwee rigsung lopta are saying they are animal and rotten potato, they should be ousted from our community. Some are saying they are cousin, some are saying they are haad nata, some are saying they are swange Bhai, some are saying they are upa thar, some are saying they are brother clan, some are saying they are sub clan on and on...
They finally separated couple apart and broke their heart into 100 of pieces, shattered their dreams forever, burned their heart and soul together, defamed their family, couple remain helpless,
at the same time those folks who separated two heart apart are keep on chanting "om mani peme Hun" "om mani peme Hun" "om Mai peme Hun " because they consider them self true Buddhist and trying to maintain their faith in buddhism simultaneously.
Is this what Buddhism is all about?
Is this what civilization is all about ?
Is this what harmonious society is all about?
Is this what saving our culture and history is all about?
is this what our ethics is all about?
Is this what our pride and dignity is all about?
Is this what Sherpa is all about?
I am very much wondering What kind of society are we creating here?
2nd scenario that I have mentioned can also be applied if you are marrying lower cast. this 2nd scenario is neither my speculation nor my imagination, it does take place in real life, we can clearly see from the link to reality tv show "satyamev jayate" by jk_sherpa.
the formation and creation of clan base on patriarchy is neither sherpa history nor sherpa culture. As Milan_gr have mentioned fundamentally problem goes back to patriarchal system that we been living in and male dominance in our society, so problem have not only plagued Sherpas, it also effected broader community, comparatively it has plagued more in hindu community then in Sherpa community, though Lots of Hindu community are open enough and forward enough to deal this issue by creating shows like "satyamev jayate" but our Sherpa community is still lacking such a motivation and aspiration.
Seeing these two different scenario, We should be civilize enough and conscious enough to differentiate which one is saving our culture and which one is destroying.
My trust goes to our younger generation and i believe they are all civilized and conscious enough to differentiate the right scenario and also sophisticate enough to respect blood relation if they are blood related, respect cousin if they are cousin, but will definitely condemn and reject, if anybody try to force myth upon them. after all choosing destiny should not be plagued by myth created by some hypocrite people.
I will always be open to dialog, if folks who are in support of current clan chart and the authors who wrote book base on speculation, should have any objection on my view
Finally, I would like to thank every one who supported my view here on this page and encouraged me through their email.
Thank you for your time.
Long leave Sherpas...
We have seen plenty of discussion about Sherpas marriage system, but no solution yet.
Problem of caste and inter caste marriage has been somehow easing as population gets more educated and independent, but ru problem seems going nowhere even people are educated. I have two suggestion on ru.
There are about 30 to 36 different ru name exist in sherpa tribe depending on different study, those different ru name has been distributed unevenly among 4 proto-clan as their sub clan without any justification and without any reasonable logic, certainly that has contributed ru chart being different stander and questionable. This situation is not only difficult but it is impossible to explain younger generation why there is different stander without any reason. So instead of distributing unevenly, why not distribute evenly and have each proto clan with equal number of sub clan ? If all those 30-36 clan name is distributed evenly among 4 proto clan, that will be more convincible and understandable to younger generation.
Even there are more then 30 different ru name. they don't have equal right, current ru chart is absolutely favorable to lamas and chiawas only which made ru chart looks discriminative and suspicious, so why not make all rus be independent and make each of them have equal right as lamas and chiawas. This will end discrimination, suspicion and less likely to raise question against ru chart.
Say "HELL NO" if my suggestion doesn't make any sense.
It's always good to know something that you don't know.
My curiosity about this discussion about marriage system and clan issue took me in search for book written by Christopher von furer-haimendorf "Sherpas of Nepal Buddhist highlander" , which is said to be the first anthropological study about Sherpas, this book is result of study done by professor haimendorf between 1953-1962.
Going through this book is like new adventure as it contain plenty of thing that I have never heard of, Such as "THE CLAN AS RITUAL UNIT", I don't know if we still have such a ritual,
According to book,
Pari-lha-tsen karbu, associated with a mountain in khumbu, worshipped by the Paldorjee clan.
Tonal-lha-tsen karbu, associated with an area north of Gokyo, and Long-gyo, associated with a dried-up lake close to Gokyo, worshiped by the Thaktu clan.
Tawoche-lha-tsen, associated with the mountain Tawoche above pangboche, worshiped by the Nawa clan.
Loudze-lha-tsen, associated with the mountain mountain Loudze (Lhotse) near Mt. Everest, worshiped by the chusherwa clan.
Arkamtse-lha-tsen karbu, associated with a locality above Tangnak, worshiped by the Sherwa clan.
Chiawitsa-kyung karbu, associated with a locality above maralung, worshiped by the Chiawa clan.
Karte Gyelbu, (king of karte), associated with the village of Karte in Tibet, worshiped by the Mende clan.
Beside these rituals, book has mentioned about 21 clan name as follows. Chiawa, chusherwa, gardza, Gole, Goparma, Jongdomba, Khambadze, Lakshindu, Lama, Lhukpa, Mende, Munming, Nawa, Paldorje, Pankarma, Pinasa, Salaka, Shangup, Sherwa, Shire, Thaktu.
Among these 21 clan name, only three recognized groups of 'brother clan' whose member do not inter-marry, are
Gole, pinasa and Thaktu;
Paldorje and Salaka.
Nawa and Lhukpa.
Though there isn't any mention of how/when/why did they create brother clan.
So, This data is suggesting, out of 21 clan name 17 are all independent, this 21 clan name is also reflected on sherpakyidug.org page "facts about sherpas" but sherpakyidug has indicated with 18 individual clan, there are no mention of 4 proto clan followed by several sub clan which is been highly Publicized among Sherpas as our ethics, culture, history e.t.c.
if first anthropological study about Sherpas is suggesting 17 independent clan what could be the logic and reason behind promoting 4 Proto clan followed by several sub clan as a clan history? This could be legitimate question. If there is any dated material earlier then this book written by christopher, then there could be base for argument to promote clan history with 4 proto clan, other wise we should be promoting the fact written in book by Christopher.
Our marriage system, from the beginning has been influence by many things one good example is illustrated in book clearly, as we know sherpas ethics respect both paternal linage as well as maternal linage, disrespecting maternal linage is consider equal as disrespecting paternal linage. Let me illustrate the fact from the book, page 47 " The recent marriage of Tsiring Tenzing Lama, the most important man of solu and self-styled political leader of the Sherpas, with his father's father's brother's daughter's daughter, who stood to him in a relationship equal to that of a cross-cousin" this facts suggested that Sherpas ethic is been influence by power and has been compromised.
There are lot more to learn about Sherpas in this book, and I suggest everyone to read this book before promoting anything that could effect 1000 of peoples life. Without knowing the truth, most of the time we see people promoting someone else word of mouth, that will not only effect others but it will eventually effect oneself.
Here is my speculation why 4 proto clan and different sub clan,
The Reason behind promoting 4 proto clan followed by different sub clan could be the influence of autocratic rule by monarch in nepal for 100 of years under slogan, "Nepal char jhat chattis barna ko phool Bari ho"
Not from this generation but people from 3 rd, 4 th generation who have special interest of incline towards monarch and loyal to monarchy might have been imitating the slogan "Nepal char jhat chattis barna ko phool Bari ho" into our clan chart, therefore even there are 17 or more independent clan name, those people with special interest have squeezed it in to 4 proto clan followed by more or less 30-36 different sub clan and spread it as our clan history.
We have seen the discrimination created by the slogan "char jhat chattis barna ko phool Bhari" where bahun and Chettris were made superior above baise and sutra and created a system of government that served bahun and chettries best interest, Like wise in our clan history among 4 Porto clan, lamas and chiawa were made superior above other clan and have served lama and chiwas best interest. This is my speculation and say "HELL NO" If my speculation doesn't make any sense.