Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gurung's music and others

Music:

The Gurung have a rich tradition of music and culture. The Gurung have established the system of Rodhi which is a little similar to modern discothèques, where young people meet and share their views in music and dancing. They have their own music and dancing history. Some musical dances such as Ghatu and Chudka are still in existence. In many Gurung villages they are still performing these types of musical dances, which are performed either in a solo or in a groups. Gurung films have been produced which promote these musical dances.

Occupations:

Though only about half a million in number, the Gurung people have made distinct and immense contributions to history and culture and have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to world peace and progress. At present, the majority of Gurungs live in Nepal, where they form one of the many ethnic groups in the country. In Nepal, Gurungs have and continue to play significant roles in all spheres of the country’s development. Outside Nepal, many Gurungs, some in their renowned role as Gurkha soldiers, have lived and been exposed to diverse world cultures in areas as different as Bhutan, Europe, Hong-Kong, India, Japan, Korea, and the United States of America. In Nepal, Gurungs can be divided into two categories, highlanders and lowlanders (though Gurungs are predominantly highlanders). Highlanders living on the slopes of Himalayas still rely heavily on a pastoral and agricultural way of life. They grow rice, wheat, maize, millet and potatoes, normally on terraced mountain slopes. They also derive subsistence from sheep breeding for meat and wool, using fierce mastiffs as sheepdogs.

Many Gurung families, however, have another important source of income — the pensions and salaries of family members who are in the army. Among them are the legendary fighters of the British Gurkha Regiment, who were honored with Victoria Crosses for their bravery. Indeed Gurungs are renowned for their role as Gurkha soldiers, making unparalleled contributions in far flung places such as Europe during World Wars I and II, Burma, Malaysia, the Falklands, Africa, and India. Most recently,[ Gurungs have participated and continue to participate in most United Nations peacekeeping missions throughout the world.

Despite many pushes and pulls of modern day life, Gurungs are increasingly eager to learn, preserve, and celebrate their distinct cultural heritage and practices. This includes not only the various belief systems and cultural practices surrounding festivals, birth, marriage, and death rituals, but also the Gurungs’ own language Tamu Kwei, generally considered a Tibeto-Burman dialect. This focus on Gurung culture continues to provide invaluable insights and inspiration toward the future.

In an ever more interdependent world, Gurungs face the challenge of balancing the preservation of their unique cultural heritage with adaptation to the demands of modern life. The majority of Gurungs still struggle for basic opportunities to improve their livelihoods. As in the past, Gurungs need to invest in opportunities that build on their well-known attributes as people who are hard working, trustworthy, adaptable, and quick-learners in meeting the challenges of modern life in Nepal and beyond its boundaries. Gurungs seek support and guidance from individuals, institutions, and governments. As of 2001, the literacy rate among Gurungs was 59.79%.

Lachhiman Gurung, VC (born 30 December 1917) is a Nepalese recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Omendra Gurung is the first Police Community Support Officer in the UK. He is from Nazare (Samrong) village of Lamjung West Nepal.

Lifestyle:

Their traditional occupation was based on sheepherding, trans-Himalayan trade and farming. In the 19th and early 20th century, many Gurung were recruited to serve in the British and Indian,Gurkha regiments. Today, the Singapore, Police, Brunei reserve units and the French Foreign Legion incorporate ethnically Gurung members. While serving in the British Army they have earned more than 6 Victoria Cross awards. Gurungs are not only restricted to military occupations, many live in urban areas and are employed in all types of labor, business and professional services.

Gurungs trace their descent patrilineally, organized into two groups, or moieties of patrilineal clans.

A noted Gurung tradition is the institution of Rodhi where teenagers form fictive kinship bonds and become Rodhi members to socialize, perform communal tasks, and find marriage partners. But the institution is rarely in existence because of its notoriety in the community. 'Rodhi' literally means weaving and making of baskets.

Generally speaking, the Gurungs are divided into two castes (Jaat in the local tongue); Chaar and the Sohra. Within the Chaar jaat there exists further sub-divisions: namely, Ghale, Ghotane, Lama and Lamichhaney. Their cultural norms and values are greatly influenced by the Tibetans. Tibetan priests perform all rituals, and Chaar caste members are mainly Buddhists.

The Sohra jaat contains 16 castes, however there exist more than 50 further subdivisions, named by their occupations. Their tradition mainly relies on the Pye-taa Lhu-taa. They have their own priests, ghyabrey (or klihbri) and pachyu (or panju) who perform traditional Gurung Dharma rituals.

Religion:

Centuries of cultural influence from Tibet and its northern neighbours – which adopted the Tibetan culture to a heavy extent resulted in many Gurungs gradually embracing Tibetan Buddhism–particularly among Gurungs in the Manang region – over the centuries, particularly the Nyingma school.Gurungs generally believe in Buddha and bodhisattvas. Adherents also call upon Buddhist lamas to perform infant purification, seasonal agricultural, and funerary rites, as well as house blessing ceremonies.According to the 2001 Nepal Census, 69.03% of the ethnic Gurung were Buddhists, 28.75% were Hindus and 0.66% were Christians. Gurungs practice a form of Tibetan Buddhism heavily influenced by pre-Buddhist Tibetan religion (Bön). Characteristics of this influence include non-Buddhist belief in local deities and in an afterlife in the Land of Ancestors. Other traditional Gurung beliefs include spirit possession, supernatural forest creatures, shapeless wraiths, and spirits of humans that died violently, which populate locales. Gurung villages have their own local deities.

Gurung Dharma describes the traditional shamanistic religion of the Gurung people of Nepal. This religion shares aspects of the Tibetan Bon religion, and is often referred to as "Bön," however there exist significant distinctions between Gurung Dharma and Bön proper. Contemporary shamanistic rituals of Gurung Dharma such as blood offering rituals and ancestor and nature worship are no longer practiced by Tibetan Bönpa. Priestly practitioners of Gurung Dharma include lamas, klihbri, and panju. Shamanistic elements among the Gurungs remain strong and most Gurungs often embrace Buddhist and Bön rituals in all communal activities. Gurung Dharma in its purest form is now virtually extinct, however the religion is preserved to a large extent in Gurung traditions.

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