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Nepali is the official language of Nepal, spoken in some of the north eastern regions of India. Explore its history, literature & writing style.

Nepali Language

Nepali language, originally, belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is one of 22 official languages of India, incorporated in the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India. The official language of Nepal, it is spoken in some north eastern parts of India. In India, the influence of Nepali language can be seen in the state of Sikkim as well as the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, where it has been declared the official language. It is also widely spoken in the state of Uttaranchal and Assam. Also known as Nepalese, Gorkhali and Gurkhali (which means the 'language of Nepali Gorkhas'), the language has a rich cultural history. The oldest term used to describe Nepali is "Khaskura", which came from the rice growing Indo-Aryan settlers, known as Khas.

It is said that some 500 years back, the Khas settlers migrated towards the east, in the lower valleys of the Gandaki basin, mainly because the place was well suited for rice cultivation. One of their extended families settled in Gorkha, a small place between Pokhara and Kathmandu. Around the year 1700, an army of Gurungs, Magars and other hill tribesmen came together under Prithvi Narayan Shah. They set out to conquer dozens of small principalities in the foothills of the Himalayas. The Gorkha replaced the former homeland of the Khas as the military and political headquarters. Khaskura was renamed as Gorkhali, i.e. language of the Gorkhas. After Nepal became the new center of political initiative, Gorkhali, language of Gorkha, came to be known as Nepali.

Related To Other Indian Languages
Nepali is considered to be the easternmost of the group of Pahari languages (languages spoken in lower Himalayan ranges of northern India). It is spoken in the areas that fall in the Himalayan ranges, like Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Sikkim. Nearby countries, like Burma and Bhutan, are also influenced by this language and it is also spoken there too. However, the Nepalese spoken over there is a mixture of Tibeto-Burman languages. This language also resembles Hindi, the official language of India, to quite an extent, as it uses many derivations from Sanskrit.

Nepali Literature & Writing Style
Nepali language boasts of its own collection of great literature. During the later half of the 19th century, Sundarananda Bara wrote the Adhyatma Ramayana in Nepali. Bhanubhakta is famous for writing another version of Ramayana in the Nepali language. A short collection of folk stories, known as Birsikka, has also been compiled in the language. Some time back only, a new version of the Holy Bible was taken out in Nepali. Laureates like Poudyal, Devkota, and Sama have contributed greatly to Nepali literature. Nepali language is written in Devanagari script and can be easily understood by Hindi and Urdu speakers.