Nepali soldiers of British India, by Gustave Le Bon, 1885.

Monument to the Gurkha Soldier in Horse Guards Avenue, outside the Ministry of DefenceCity of WestminsterLondon.

khukuri, the signature weapon of the Gurkhas.

Supreme commander (KajiKalu Pande of Gorkhali forces; one of the most highly decorated Gorkhali commanders.

The Gurkhas or Gorkhas (/ˈɡɜːrkə, ˈɡʊər-/) with endonym Gorkhali (Nepaliगोरखाली) are soldiers native to the Indian subcontinent of Nepalese nationality and ethnic Nepalis of Indian nationality recruited for the British ArmyNepalese ArmyIndian ArmyGurkha Contingent SingaporeGurkha Reserve Unit Brunei, UN peacekeeping force and war zones around the world. Historically, the terms “Gurkha” and “Gorkhali” were synonymous with “Nepali”,[1] which originates from the hill principality Gorkha Kingdom, from which the Kingdom of Nepal expanded under Prithivi Narayan Shah.[2][3] The name may be traced to the medieval Hindu warrior-saint Guru Gorakhnath[4] who has a historic shrine in Gorkha.[5] The word itself derived from “Go-Raksha” (Nepaliगोरक्षा), “raksha” becoming “rakha” (रखा). “Rakhawala” means “protector” and is derived from “raksha” as well.

There are Gurkha military units in the NepaleseBritish and Indian armies enlisted in Nepal, United Kingdom and India. Although they meet many of the requirements of Article 47[6] of Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions regarding mercenaries, they are exempt under clauses 47(e) and (f) similarly to the French Foreign Legion.[7]

Gurkhas are closely associated with the khukuri, a forward-curving Nepali knife, and have a reputation for fearless military prowess. Former Indian Army Chief of Staff Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw once stated that:[8] “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gurkha.”


Prithvi Narayan Shah, First King of Unified Kingdom of Gorkha.

During the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814–16) between the Gorkha Kingdom (present-day Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal) and the East India Company, the Gorkhali soldiers made an impression on the British, who called them Gurkhas.[9]

British East India Company Army[edit]

Gurkha soldiers during the Anglo-Nepalese War, 1815.

The Anglo-Nepalese war was fought between the Gurkha Kingdom of Nepal and the British East India Company as a result of border disputes and ambitious expansionism of both the belligerent parties. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Sugauli in 1816.

David Ochterlony and British political agent William Fraser were among the first to recognize the potential of Gurkha soldiers in British service. During the war the British were keen to use defectors from the Gurkha army and employ them as irregular forces. His confidence in their loyalty was such that in April 1815 he proposed forming them into a battalion under Lt. Ross called the Nasiri regiment. This regiment, which later became the 1st King George’s Own Gurkha Rifles, saw action at the Malaun fort under the leadership of Lt. Lawtie, who reported to Ochterlony that he “had the greatest reason to be satisfied with their exertions”.

About 5,000 men entered British service in 1815, most of whom were not just Gorkhalis but Kumaonis, Garhwalis and other Himalayan hill men. These groups, eventually lumped together under the term Gurkha, became the backbone of British Indian forces.

As well as Ochterlony’s Gurkha battalions, Fraser and Lt. Frederick Young raised the Sirmoor battalion, later to become the 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Gurkha Rifles; an additional battalion—the Kumaon—was also raised, eventually becoming the 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles. None of these men fought in the second campaign.

Gurkhas served as troops under contract to the East India Company in the Pindaree War of 1817, in Bharatpur in 1826 and the First and Second Anglo-Sikh Wars in 1846 and 1848.[10]

During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Gurkhas fought on the British side and became part of the British Indian Army on its formation. The 8th (Sirmoor) Local Battalion made a particularly notable contribution during the conflict, and indeed 25 Indian Order of Merit awards were made to men from that regiment during the Siege of Delhi.[11]

Three days after the mutiny began, the Sirmoor Battalion was ordered to move to Meerut, where the British garrison was barely holding on, and in doing so they had to march up to 48 km a day.[12] Later, during the four-month Siege of Delhi, they defended Hindu Rao‘s house, losing 327 out of 490 men. During this action they fought side-by-side with the 60th Rifles and a strong bond developed.[13][14]

Twelve regiments from the Nepalese Army also took part in the relief of Lucknow[15] under the command of Shri Teen (3) Maharaja Jung Bahadur Rana of Nepal and his older brother C-in-C Ranodip Singh Kunwar (Ranaudip Singh Bahadur Rana) (later to succeed Jung Bahadur and become Sri Teen Maharaja Ranodip Singh of Nepal).

After the rebellion the 60th Rifles pressed for the Sirmoor Battalion to become a rifle regiment. This honour was granted then next year (1858) when the battalion was renamed the Sirmoor Rifle Regiment and awarded a third colour.[16] In 1863 Queen Victoria presented the regiment with the Queen’s Truncheon, as a replacement for the colours that rifle regiments do not usually have.[17]

British Indian Army (c. 1857–1947)[edit]

The Nusseree Battalion. later known as the 1st Gurkha Rifles, c. 1857.

Hindu Rao‘s house shortly after the siege

Gurkha soldiers (1896). The centre figure wears the dark green dress uniform worn by all Gurkhas in British service, with certain regimental distinctions.

From the end of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 until the start of World War I, the Gurkha Regiments saw active service in BurmaAfghanistan, the North-East Frontier and the North-West Frontiers of India, Malta (the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–78), Cyprus, Malaya, China (the Boxer Rebellion of 1900) and Tibet (Younghusband’s Expedition of 1905).

After the Indian mutiny of 1857-58, the British authorities in India feared the inclusion of Hindu castes in the army. They discouraged the Brahminical influence in the military as they considered the Hindu castes more susceptible to Brahminical values.[18] As a result, they discouraged the inclusion of Thakuri and Khas groups in the Gorkha units[18] and refused to recruit tribes other than Gurungs and Magars in the Gorkha units.[19] They also pressurized Prime Minister Bir Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana to include at least of 75% of the forces of Gurungs and Magars.[18]

Between 1901 and 1906, the Gurkha regiments were renumbered from the 1st to the 10th and re-designated as the Gurkha Rifles. In this time the Brigade of Gurkhas, as the regiments came to be collectively known, was expanded to 20 battalions within the ten regiments.[20]

2nd/5th Royal Gurkha Rifles, North-West Frontier 1923.

During World War I (1914–1918) more than 200,000 Gurkhas served in the British Army, suffering approximately 20,000 casualties and receiving almost 2,000 gallantry awards.[21] The number of Gurkha battalions was increased to 33, and Gurkha units were placed at the disposal of the British high command by the Gurkha government for service on all fronts. Many Gurkha volunteers served in non-combatant roles, serving in units such as the Army Bearer Corps and the labour battalions.

A large number also served in combat in France, Turkey, Palestine and Mesopotamia.[22] They served on the battlefields of France in the battles of LoosGivenchy and Neuve Chapelle; in Belgium at the battle of Ypres; in MesopotamiaPersiaSuez Canal and Palestine against Turkish advance, Gallipoli and Salonika.[23] One detachment served with Lawrence of Arabia, while during the Battle of Loos (June–December 1915) a battalion of the 8th Gurkhas fought to the last man, hurling themselves time after time against the weight of the German defences, and in the words of the Indian Corps commander, Lt. Gen. Sir James Willcocks, “found its Valhalla”.[24]

During the ultimately unsuccessful Gallipoli Campaign in 1915, the Gurkhas were among the first to arrive and the last to leave. The 1st/6th Gurkhas, having landed at Cape Helles, led the assault during the first major operation to take out a Turkish high point, and in doing so captured a feature that later became known as “Gurkha Bluff”.[25] At Sari Bair they were the only troops in the whole campaign to reach and hold the crest line and look down on the Straits, which was the ultimate objective.[26] The 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Gurkha Rifles (2nd/3rd Gurkha Rifles) was involved in the conquest of Baghdad.

Following the end of the war, the Gurkhas were returned to India, and during the inter-war years were largely kept away from the internal strife and urban conflicts of the sub-continent, instead being employed largely on the frontiers and in the hills where fiercely independent tribesmen were a constant source of troubles.[27]

As such, between the World Wars the Gurkha regiments fought in the Third Afghan War in 1919. The regiments then participated in numerous campaigns on the North-West Frontier, mainly in Waziristan, where they were employed as garrison troops defending the frontier. They kept the peace among the local populace and engaged with the lawless and often openly hostile Pathan tribesmen.[citation needed]

During this time the North-West Frontier was the scene of considerable political and civil unrest and troops stationed at Razmak, Bannu and Wanna saw an extensive amount of action.[28]

Gurkhas in action with a six-pounder anti-tank gun in Tunisia, 16 March 1943.

During World War II (1939–1945) there were ten Gurkha regiments, with two battalions each, making a total of 20 pre-war battalions.[29] Following the Dunkirk evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in 1940, the Nepalese government offered to increase recruitment to enlarge the total number of Gurkha battalions in British service to 35.[30] This would eventually rise to 43 battalions.

In order to achieve the increased number of battalions, third and fourth battalions were raised for all ten regiments, with fifth battalions also being raised for 1 GR, 2 GR and 9 GR.[29] This expansion required ten training centers to be established for basic training and regimental records across India. In addition, five training battalions (14 GR, 29 GR, 38 GR, 56 GR and 710 GR) were raised, while other units (25 GR and 26 GR) were raised as garrison battalions for keeping the peace in India and defending rear areas.[31] Large numbers of Gurkha men were also recruited for non-Gurkha units, and other specialized functions such as paratroops, signals, engineers and military police.

A total of 250,280[31] Gurkhas served in 40 battalions, plus eight Nepalese Army battalions, parachute, training, garrison and porter units during the war,[32] in almost all theatres. In addition to keeping peace in India, Gurkhas fought in SyriaNorth AfricaItalyGreece and against the Japanese in the jungles of Burmanortheast India and also Singapore.[33] They did so with considerable distinction, earning 2,734 bravery awards in the process[31] and suffering around 32,000 casualties in all theatres.[34]

Gurkha military rank system in the British Indian Army[edit]

Gurkha ranks in the British Indian Army followed the same pattern as those used throughout the rest of the Indian Army at that time.[35] As in the British Army itself, there were three distinct levels: private soldiers, non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers. Commissioned officers within the Gurkha regiments held a Viceroy’s Commission, which was distinct from the King’s or Queen’s Commission that British officers serving with a Gurkha regiment held. Any Gurkha holding a commission was technically subordinate to any British officer, regardless of rank.[36]

The 2/5th Royal Gurkha Rifles marching through Kure soon after their arrival in Japan in May 1946 as part of the Allied forces of occupation

British Indian Army and current Indian Army ranks/current British Army equivalents[edit]

Viceroy Commissioned Officers (VCOs) up to 1947 and Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) from 1947:[37]

Warrant officers

Non-commissioned officers

Private soldiers


  • British Army officers received Queen’s or King’s Commissions, but Gurkha officers in this system received the Viceroy’s Commission. After Indian independence in 1947, Gurkha officers in regiments which became part of the British Army received the King’s (later Queen’s) Gurkha Commission, and were known as King’s/Queen’s Gurkha Officers (KGO/QGO). Gurkha officers had no authority to command troops of British regiments. The QGO Commission was abolished in 2007.
  • Jemadars and subedars normally served as platoon commanders and company 2ICs but were junior to all British officers, while the subedar major was the Commanding Officer’s advisor on the men and their welfare. For a long time it was impossible for Gurkhas to progress further, except that an honorary lieutenancy or captaincy was (very rarely) bestowed upon a Gurkha on retirement.[36]
  • The equivalent ranks in the post-1947 Indian Army were (and are) known as Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs). They retained the traditional rank titles used in the British Indian Army: Jemadar (later Naib Subedar), Subedar and Subedar Major.
  • While in principle any British subject may apply for a commission without having served in the ranks, Gurkhas cannot. It was customary for a Gurkha soldier to rise through the ranks and prove his ability before his regiment would consider offering him a commission.[36]
  • From the 1920s Gurkhas could also receive King’s Indian Commissions, and later full King’s or Queen’s Commissions, which put them on a par with British officers. This was rare until after the Second World War.
  • Gurkha officers commissioned from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Short Service Officers regularly fill appointments up to the rank of major. At least two Gurkhas have been promoted to lieutenant colonel and there is theoretically now no bar to further progression.[36]
  • After 1948, the Brigade of Gurkhas (part of the British Army) was formed and adopted standard British Army rank structure and nomenclature, except for the three Viceroy Commission ranks between Warrant Officer 1 and Second Lieutenant (jemadar, subedar and subedar major) which remained, albeit with different rank titles Lieutenant (Queens Gurkha Officer), Captain (QGO) and Major (QGO). The QGO commission was abolished in 2007; Gurkha soldiers are currently commissioned as Late Entry Officers (as above).[36]

Regiments of the Gurkha Rifles (c. 1815–1947)[edit]

Princess Mary’s Own

Second World War training battalions[edit]

  • 14th Gurkha Rifles Training Battalion[38]
  • 29th Gurkha Rifles Training Battalion
  • 38th Gurkha Rifles Training Battalion[38]
  • 56th Gurkha Rifles Training Battalion[38]
  • 710th Gurkha Rifles Training Battalion[38]

Post-independence (1947–present)[edit]

Bravest of the brave,
most generous of the generous,
never had country
more faithful friends
than you.
Professor Sir Ralph Turner MC[39]

After Indian independence, and the partition of India, in 1947 and under the Tripartite Agreement, the original ten Gurkha regiments consisting of the 20 pre-war battalions were split between the British Army and the newly independent Indian Army.[31] Six Gurkha regiments (12 battalions) were transferred to the post-independence Indian Army, while four regiments (eight battalions) were transferred to the British Army.[40]

To the disappointment of their British officers, the majority of Gurkhas given a choice between British or Indian Army service opted for the latter. The reason appears to have been the pragmatic one that the Gurkha regiments of the Indian Army would continue to serve in their existing roles in familiar territory and under terms and conditions that were well established.[41] The only substantial change was the substitution of Indian officers for British. By contrast, the four regiments selected for British service faced an uncertain future, initially in Malaya; a region where relatively few Gurkhas had previously served. The four regiments (or eight battalions) in British service have since been reduced to a single (two-battalion) regiment, while the Indian units have been expanded beyond their pre-Independence establishment of 12 battalions.[42]

The principal aim of the Tripartite Agreement was to ensure that Gurkhas serving under the Crown would be paid on the same scale as those serving in the new Indian Army.[43] This was significantly lower than the standard British rates of pay. While the difference is made up through cost of living and location allowances during a Gurkha’s actual period of service, the pension payable on his return to Nepal is much lower than would be the case for his British counterparts.[44]

With the abolition of the Nepalese monarchy in 2008, the future recruitment of Gurkhas for British and Indian service was initially put into doubt. A spokesperson for the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which was expected to play a major role in the new secular republic, stated that recruitment as mercenaries was degrading to the Nepalese people and would be banned.[45] However, as of 2018, Gurkha recruitment for foreign service continues.

British Army Gurkhas[edit]

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles on patrol in Helmand Province in Afghanistan in 2010.

Four Gurkha regiments were transferred to the British Army on 1 January 1948:

They formed the Brigade of Gurkhas and were initially stationed in Malaya. There were also a number of additional Gurkha regiments including the 69th and 70th Gurkha Field Squadrons, both included in the 36th Engineer Regiment. Since then, British Gurkhas have served in Borneo during the confrontation with Indonesia, in the Falklands War and on various peacekeeping missions in Sierra LeoneEast TimorBosnia and Kosovo.[46]

Gurkhas in Hong Kong:

  • 26th Gurkha Brigade (1948–1950)
  • 51st Infantry Brigade (disbanded 1976)
  • 48th Gurkha Infantry Brigade (1957–1976; renamed Gurkha Field Force 1976–1997; returned to old title 1987 – c. 1992)

As of July 2018, the Brigade of Gurkhas in the British Army has the following units:

The Brigade of Gurkhas also has its own chefs posted among the above-mentioned units. Gurkhas were among the troops who retook the Falklands in 1982 and have served a number of tours of duty in the current War in Afghanistan.[47][48][49]

Indian Army Gurkhas[edit]

The 1st Battalion of 1 Gurkha Rifles of the Indian Army takes position outside a simulated combat town during a training exercise.

Upon independence in 1947, six of the original ten Gurkha regiments remained with the Indian Army.[40] These regiments were:

Additionally, a further regiment, 11 Gorkha Rifles, was raised. In 1949 the spelling was changed from “Gurkha” to the original “Gorkha”.[50] All royal titles were dropped when India became a republic in 1950.[50]

Since partition, the Gurkha regiments that were transferred to the Indian Army have established themselves as a permanent and vital part of the newly independent Indian Army. Indeed, while Britain has reduced its Gurkha contingent, India has continued to recruit Gorkhas of Nepal into Gorkha regiments in large numbers, as well as Indian Gorkhas.[42] In 2009 the Indian Army had a Gorkha contingent that numbered around 42,000 men in 46 battalions, spread across seven regiments.

Although their deployment is still governed by the 1947 Tripartite Agreement, in the post-1947 conflicts India has fought in, Gorkhas have served in almost all of them, including the wars with Pakistan in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999 and also against China in 1962.[51] They have also been used in peacekeeping operations around the world.[50] They have also served in Sri Lanka conducting operations against the Tamil Tigers.[52]

Singapore Gurkha Contingent[edit]

A trooper of the Gurkha Contingent of the Singapore Police Force gives directions to a member of the public.

The Gurkha Contingent (GC) of the Singapore Police Force was formed on 9 April 1949 from selected ex-British Army Gurkhas. It is an integral part of the police force and was raised to replace a Sikh unit that had existed prior to the Japanese occupation during the Second World War.[53]

The GC is a well trained, dedicated and disciplined body whose principal role is as riot police. In times of crisis it can be deployed as a reaction force. During the turbulent years before and after independence, the GC acquitted itself well on several occasions during outbreaks of civil disorder. The Gurkhas displayed the courage, self-restraint and professionalism for which they are famous and earned the respect of the society at large.[53]

Brunei Gurkha Reserve Unit[edit]

The Gurkha Reserve Unit (GRU) is a special guard and elite shock-troop force in the Sultanate of Brunei. The Brunei Reserve Unit employs about 500 Gurkhas. The majority are veterans of the British Army and the Singaporean Police, who have joined the GRU as a second career.


Victoria Cross recipients[edit]

There have been 26 Victoria Crosses awarded to members of the Gurkha regiments.[54] The first was awarded in 1858 and the last in 1965. For a detailed list of the recipients and their deeds, see the British Ministry of Defence website.[55] Thirteen of the recipients have been British officers serving with Gurkha regiments, although since 1915 the majority have been received by Gurkhas serving in the ranks as private soldiers or NCOs.[21] In addition, since Indian independence in 1947, Gurkhas serving in the Indian Army have also been awarded three Param Vir Chakras, which are roughly equivalent.[56]

Of note also, there have been two George Cross medals awarded to Gurkha soldiers, for acts of bravery in situations that have not involved combat.[21]

Treatment of Gurkhas in the United Kingdom[edit]

Nick Clegg being presented a Gurkha Hat by a Gurkha veteran during his Maidstone visit, to celebrate the success of their joint campaign for the right to live in the UK, 2009

The treatment of Gurkhas and their families was the subject of controversy in the United Kingdom once it became widely known that Gurkhas received smaller pensions than their British counterparts.[57] The nationality status of Gurkhas and their families was also an area of dispute, with claims that some ex-army Nepali families were being denied residency and forced to leave Britain. On 8 March 2007 the British Government announced that all Gurkhas who signed up after 1 July 1997 would receive a pension equivalent to that of their British counterparts. In addition, Gurkhas would, for the first time, be able to transfer to another army unit after five years’ service and women would also be allowed to join, although not in first-line units, conforming to the British Army’s policy. The act also guaranteed residency rights in the UK for retired Gurkhas and their families.

Despite the changes, many Gurkhas who had not served long enough to entitle them to a pension faced hardship on their return to Nepal, and some critics derided the government’s decision to only award the new pension and citizenship entitlement to those joining after 1 July 1997, claiming that this left many ex-Gurkha servicemen still facing a financially uncertain retirement. An advocacy group, Gurkha Justice Campaign,[58] joined the debate in support of the Gurkhas.

In a landmark ruling on 30 September 2008 the High Court in London decided that the Home Secretary’s policy allowing Gurkhas who left the Army before 1997 to apply for settlement in the United Kingdom was irrationally restrictive in its criteria, and overturned it. In line with the ruling of the High Court the Home Office pledged to review all cases affected by this decision.[59]

On 29 April 2009 a motion in the House of Commons by the Liberal Democrats that all Gurkhas be offered equal right of residence was passed by 267 votes to 246. This was the only first-day motion defeat for a government since 1978. Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, stated that “this is an immense victory … for the rights of Gurkhas who have been waiting so long for justice, a victory for Parliament, a victory for decency.” He added that it was “the kind of thing people want this country to do”.[60]

On 21 May 2009 Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced that all Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 with at least four years service would be allowed to settle in the UK. Actress Joanna Lumley, daughter of Gurkha corps Maj. James Lumley who had highlighted the treatment of the Gurkhas and campaigned for their rights, commented, “This is the welcome we have always longed to give”.[61]

A charity, The Gurkha Welfare Trust, provides aid to alleviate hardship and distress among Gurkha ex-servicemen.[62]

On 9 June 2015, a celebration called the Gurkha 200, held at The Royal Hospital Chelsea and attended by members of the royal family, commemorated the bicentennial of the Gurkha Welfare Trust by paying tribute to Gurkha culture and military service.[63][better source needed]

Gurkha Square in Fleet, Hampshire, which contains the Fleet war memorial, is named after the Gurkhas.[64]

Settlement rights[edit]

A 2008 UK High Court decision on a test case in London, R. (on the application of Limbu) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] EWHC 2261 (Admin), acknowledged the “debt of honour” to Gurkhas discharged before 1997. The Home Secretary’s policy allowing veterans to apply on a limited set of criteria (such as connection to the United Kingdom) was quashed as being unduly restrictive. The Court found that the Gurkhas had suffered a “historic injustice” and that the policy was irrational in failing to take into account factors such as length of service or particularly meritorious conduct.[65]

See also




Animism (from Latin anima, “breathspiritlife“)[1][2] is the religious belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence.[3][4][5][6] Potentially, animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork and perhaps even words—as animated and alive. Animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system of many indigenous peoples,[7] especially in contrast to the relatively more recent development of organised religions.[8]

Although each culture has its own different mythologies and rituals, “animism” is said to describe the most common, foundational thread of indigenous peoples’ “spiritual” or “supernatural” perspectives. The animistic perspective is so widely held and inherent to most indigenous peoples that they often do not even have a word in their languages that corresponds to “animism” (or even “religion”);[9] the term is an anthropological construct.

Largely due to such ethnolinguistic and cultural discrepancies, opinion has differed on whether animism refers to an ancestral mode of experience common to indigenous peoples around the world, or to a full-fledged religion in its own right. The currently accepted definition of animism was only developed in the late 19th century (1871) by Sir Edward Tylor, who created it as “one of anthropology‘s earliest concepts, if not the first”.[10][11]

Animism encompasses the beliefs that all material phenomena have agency, that there exists no hard and fast distinction between the spiritual and physical (or material) world and that soul or spirit or sentience exists not only in humans, but also in other animals, plants, rocks, geographic features such as mountains or rivers or other entities of the natural environment: water spritesvegetation deitiestree sprites, … . Animism may further attribute a life force to abstract concepts such as words, true names or metaphors in mythology. Some members of the non-tribal world also consider themselves animists (such as author Daniel Quinn, sculptor Lawson Oyekan and many contemporary Pagans).[12]


Old animism[edit]

Earlier anthropological perspectives, which have since been termed the “old animism”, were concerned with knowledge on what is alive and what factors make something alive.[13] The “old animism” assumed that animists were individuals who were unable to understand the difference between persons and things.[14] Critics of the “old animism” have accused it of preserving “colonialist and dualist worldviews and rhetoric”.[15]

Edward Tylor’s definition[edit]

Edward Tylor developed animism as an anthropological theory.

The idea of animism was developed by the anthropologist Sir Edward Tylor in his 1871 book Primitive Culture,[1] in which he defined it as “the general doctrine of souls and other spiritual beings in general”. According to Tylor, animism often includes “an idea of pervading life and will in nature”;[16] a belief that natural objects other than humans have souls. That formulation was little different from that proposed by Auguste Comte as “fetishism“,[17] but the terms now have distinct meanings.

For Tylor, animism represented the earliest form of religion, being situated within an evolutionary framework of religion which has developed in stages and which will ultimately lead to humanity rejecting religion altogether in favor of scientific rationality.[18] Thus, for Tylor, animism was fundamentally seen as a mistake, a basic error from which all religion grew.[18] He did not believe that animism was inherently illogical, but he suggested that it arose from early humans’ dreams and visions and thus was a rational system. However, it was based on erroneous, unscientific observations about the nature of reality.[19] Stringer notes that his reading of Primitive Culture led him to believe that Tylor was far more sympathetic in regard to “primitive” populations than many of his contemporaries and that Tylor expressed no belief that there was any difference between the intellectual capabilities of “savage” people and Westerners.[4]

Tylor had initially wanted to describe the phenomenon as “spiritualism” but realised that would cause confusion with the modern religion of Spiritualism, that was then prevalent across Western nations.[20] He adopted the term “animism” from the writings of the German scientist Georg Ernst Stahl,[21] who, in 1708, had developed the term animismus as a biological theory that souls formed the vital principle and that the normal phenomena of life and the abnormal phenomena of disease could be traced to spiritual causes.[22] The first known usage in English appeared in 1819.[23]

The idea that there had once been “one universal form of primitive religion” (whether labelled “animism”, “totemism”, or “shamanism”) has been dismissed as “unsophisticated” and “erroneous” by the archaeologist Timothy Insoll, who stated that “it removes complexity, a precondition of religion now, in all its variants”.[24]

Social evolutionist conceptions[edit]

Tylor’s definition of animism was a part of a growing international debate on the nature of “primitive society” by lawyers, theologians and philologists. The debate defined the field of research of a new science: anthropology. By the end of the 19th century, an orthodoxy on “primitive society” had emerged, but few anthropologists still would accept that definition. The “19th-century armchair anthropologists” argued “primitive society” (an evolutionary category) was ordered by kinship and was divided into exogamous descent groups related by a series of marriage exchanges. Their religion was animism, the belief that natural species and objects had souls. With the development of private property, the descent groups were displaced by the emergence of the territorial state. These rituals and beliefs eventually evolved over time into the vast array of “developed” religions. According to Tylor, the more scientifically advanced a society became, the fewer members of that society believed in animism. However, any remnant ideologies of souls or spirits, to Tylor, represented “survivals” of the original animism of early humanity.[25]

The term [“animism”] clearly began as an expression of a nest of insulting approaches to indigenous peoples and the earliest putatively religious humans. It was, and sometimes remains, a colonialist slur.

—Graham Harvey, 2005.[26]

In 1869 (three years after Tylor proposed his definition of animism), the Edinburgh lawyer, John Ferguson McLennan, argued that the animistic thinking evident in fetishism gave rise to a religion he named Totemism. Primitive people believed, he argued, that they were descended of the same species as their totemic animal.[17] Subsequent debate by the ‘armchair anthropologists’ (including J. J. BachofenÉmile Durkheim and Sigmund Freud) remained focused on totemism rather than animism, with few directly challenging Tylor’s definition. Indeed, anthropologists “have commonly avoided the issue of Animism and even the term itself rather than revisit this prevalent notion in light of their new and rich ethnographies.”[27]

According to the anthropologist Tim Ingold, animism shares similarities to totemism but differs in its focus on individual spirit beings which help to perpetuate life, whereas totemism more typically holds that there is a primary source, such as the land itself or the ancestors, who provide the basis to life. Certain indigenous religious groups such as the Australian Aboriginals are more typically totemic, whereas others like the Inuit are more typically animistic in their worldview.[28]

From his studies into child development, Jean Piaget suggested that children were born with an innate animist worldview in which they anthropomorphized inanimate objects, and that it was only later that they grew out of this belief.[29] Conversely, from her ethnographic research, Margaret Mead argued the opposite, believing that children were not born with an animist worldview but that they became acculturated to such beliefs as they were educated by their society.[29] Stewart Guthrie saw animism – or “attribution” as he preferred it – as an evolutionary strategy to aid survival. He argued that both humans and other animal species view inanimate objects as potentially alive as a means of being constantly on guard against potential threats.[30] His suggested explanation, however, did not deal with the question of why such a belief became central to religion.[31]

In 2000, Guthrie suggested that the “most widespread” concept of animism was that it was the “attribution of spirits to natural phenomena such as stones and trees”.[32]

The new animism[edit]

Many anthropologists ceased using the term “animism”, deeming it to be too close to early anthropological theory and religious polemic.[15] However, the term had also been claimed by religious groups – namely indigenous communities and nature worshipers – who felt that it aptly described their own beliefs, and who in some cases actively identified as “animists”.[33] It was thus readopted by various scholars, however they began using the term in a different way,[15] placing the focus on knowing how to behave toward other persons, some of whom aren’t human.[13] As the religious studies scholar Graham Harvey stated, while the “old animist” definition had been problematic, the term “animism” was nevertheless “of considerable value as a critical, academic term for a style of religious and cultural relating to the world.”[34]

Five Ojibwe chiefs in the 19th century; it was anthropological studies of Ojibwe religion that resulted in the development of the “new animism”.

The “new animism” emerged largely from the publications of the anthropologist Irving Hallowell which were produced on the basis of his ethnographic research among the Ojibwe communities of Canada in the mid-20th century.[35] For the Ojibwe encountered by Hallowell, personhood did not require human-likeness, but rather humans were perceived as being like other persons, who for instance included rock persons and bear persons.[36] For the Ojibwe, these persons were each wilful beings who gained meaning and power through their interactions with others; through respectfully interacting with other persons, they themselves learned to “act as a person”.[36] Hallowell’s approach to the understanding of Ojibwe personhood differed strongly from prior anthropological concepts of animism.[37] He emphasized the need to challenge the modernist, Western perspectives of what a person is by entering into a dialogue with different worldwide-views.[36]

Hallowell’s approach influenced the work of anthropologist Nurit Bird-David, who produced a scholarly article reassessing the idea of animism in 1999.[38] Seven comments from other academics were provided in the journal, debating Bird-David’s ideas.[39]

More recently post-modern anthropologists are increasingly engaging with the concept of animism. Modernism is characterized by a Cartesian subject-object dualism that divides the subjective from the objective, and culture from nature; in this view, Animism is the inverse of scientism, and hence inherently invalid. Drawing on the work of Bruno Latour, these anthropologists question these modernist assumptions, and theorize that all societies continue to “animate” the world around them, and not just as a Tylorian survival of primitive thought. Rather, the instrumental reason characteristic of modernity is limited to our “professional subcultures,” which allows us to treat the world as a detached mechanical object in a delimited sphere of activity. We, like animists, also continue to create personal relationships with elements of the so-called objective world, whether pets, cars or teddy-bears, who we recognize as subjects. As such, these entities are “approached as communicative subjects rather than the inert objects perceived by modernists.”[40] These approaches are careful to avoid the modernist assumptions that the environment consists dichotomously of a physical world distinct from humans, and from modernist conceptions of the person as composed dualistically as body and soul.[27]

Nurit Bird-David argues that “Positivistic ideas about the meaning of ‘nature’, ‘life’ and ‘personhood’ misdirected these previous attempts to understand the local concepts. Classical theoreticians (it is argued) attributed their own modernist ideas of self to ‘primitive peoples’ while asserting that the ‘primitive peoples’ read their idea of self into others!”[27] She argues that animism is a “relational epistemology”, and not a Tylorian failure of primitive reasoning. That is, self-identity among animists is based on their relationships with others, rather than some distinctive feature of the self. Instead of focusing on the essentialized, modernist self (the “individual”), persons are viewed as bundles of social relationships (“dividuals”), some of which are with “superpersons” (i.e. non-humans).

Guthrie expressed criticism of Bird-David’s attitude toward animism, believing that it promulgated the view that “the world is in large measure whatever our local imagination makes it”. This, he felt, would result in anthropology abandoning “the scientific project”.[41]

Tim Ingold, like Bird-David, argues that animists do not see themselves as separate from their environment: “Hunter-gatherers do not, as a rule, approach their environment as an external world of nature that has to be ‘grasped’ intellectually  … indeed the separation of mind and nature has no place in their thought and practice.”[42] Willerslev extends the argument by noting that animists reject this Cartesian dualism, and that the animist self identifies with the world, “feeling at once within and apart from it so that the two glide ceaselessly in and out of each other in a sealed circuit.”[43] The animist hunter is thus aware of himself as a human hunter, but, through mimicry is able to assume the viewpoint, senses, and sensibilities of his prey, to be one with it.[44] Shamanism, in this view, is an everyday attempt to influence spirits of ancestors and animals by mirroring their behaviours as the hunter does his prey.

Cultural ecologist and philosopher David Abram articulates and elaborates an intensely ethical and ecological form of animism grounded in the phenomenology of sensory experience. In his books Becoming Animal and The Spell of the Sensuous, Abram suggests that material things are never entirely passive in our direct experience, holding rather that perceived things actively “solicit our attention” or “call our focus,” coaxing the perceiving body into an ongoing participation with those things. In the absence of intervening technologies, sensory experience is inherently animistic, disclosing a material field that is animate and self-organizing from the get-go. Drawing upon contemporary cognitive and natural science, as well as upon the perspectival worldviews of diverse indigenous, oral cultures, Abram proposes a richly pluralist and story-based cosmology, in which matter is alive through and through. Such an ontology is in close accord, he suggests, with our spontaneous perceptual experience; it would draw us back to our senses and to the primacy of the sensuous terrain, enjoining a more respectful and ethical relation to the more-than-human community of animals, plants, soils, mountains, waters and weather-patterns that materially sustains us.[45] In contrast to a long-standing tendency in the Western social sciences, which commonly provide rational explanations of animistic experience, Abram develops an animistic account of reason itself. He holds that civilized reason is sustained only by an intensely animistic participation between human beings and their own written signs. Indeed, as soon as we turn our gaze toward the alphabetic letters written on a page or a screen, these letters speak to us—we ‘see what they say’—much as ancient trees and gushing streams and lichen-encrusted boulders once spoke to our oral ancestors. Hence reading is an intensely concentrated form of animism, one that effectively eclipses all of the other, older, more spontaneous forms of participation in which we once engaged. “To tell the story in this manner—to provide an animistic account of reason, rather than the other way around—is to imply that animism is the wider and more inclusive term, and that oral, mimetic modes of experience still underlie, and support, all our literate and technological modes of reflection. When reflection’s rootedness in such bodily, participatory modes of experience is entirely unacknowledged or unconscious, reflective reason becomes dysfunctional, unintentionally destroying the corporeal, sensuous world that sustains it.”[46]

The religious studies scholar Graham Harvey defined animism as the belief “that the world is full of persons, only some of whom are human, and that life is always lived in relationship with others”.[13] He added that it is therefore “concerned with learning how to be a good person in respectful relationships with other persons”.[13] Graham Harvey, in his 2013 Handbook of Contemporary Animism, identifies the animist perspective in line with Martin Buber’s “I-thou” as opposed to “I-it”. In such, Harvey says, the Animist takes an I-thou approach to relating to his world, where objects and animals are treated as a “thou” rather than as an “it”.[47]


A tableau presenting figures of various cultures filling in mediator-like roles, often being termed as “shaman” in the literature

Animist altar, Bozo village, MoptiBandiagaraMali in 1972

There is ongoing disagreement (and no general consensus) as to whether animism is merely a singular, broadly encompassing religious belief[48] or a worldview in and of itself, comprising many diverse mythologies found worldwide in many diverse cultures.[49][50] This also raises a controversy regarding the ethical claims animism may or may not make: whether animism ignores questions of ethics altogether[51] or, by endowing various non-human elements of nature with spirituality or personhood,[52] in fact promotes a complex ecological ethics.[53]


In many animistic world views, the human being is often regarded as on a roughly equal footing with other animals, plants, and natural forces.[54]


A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.[55] According to Mircea Eliade, shamanism encompasses the premise that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness. The shaman also enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. Shamans may visit other worlds/dimensions to bring guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements. The shaman operates primarily within the spiritual world, which in turn affects the human world. The restoration of balance results in the elimination of the ailment.[56]

Abram, however, articulates a less supernatural and much more ecological understanding of the shaman’s role than that propounded by Eliade. Drawing upon his own field research in Indonesia, Nepal, and the Americas, Abram suggests that in animistic cultures, the shaman functions primarily as an intermediary between the human community and the more-than-human community of active agencies — the local animals, plants, and landforms (mountains, rivers, forests, winds and weather patterns, all of whom are felt to have their own specific sentience). Hence, the shaman’s ability to heal individual instances of dis-ease (or imbalance) within the human community is a by-product of her/his more continual practice of balancing the reciprocity between the human community and the wider collective of animate beings in which that community is embedded.[57]

Distinction from pantheism[edit]

Animism is not the same as pantheism, although the two are sometimes confused. Some religions are both pantheistic and animistic. One of the main differences is that while animists believe everything to be spiritual in nature, they do not necessarily see the spiritual nature of everything in existence as being united (monism), the way pantheists do. As a result, animism puts more emphasis on the uniqueness of each individual soul. In pantheism, everything shares the same spiritual essence, rather than having distinct spirits and/or souls.[58][59]


Animist life[edit]

Animals, plants, and the elements[edit]

Animism entails the belief that “all living things have a soul”, and thus a central concern of animist thought surrounds how animals can be eaten or otherwise used for humans’ subsistence needs.[67] The actions of non-human animals are viewed as “intentional, planned and purposive”,[68] and they are understood to be persons because they are both alive and communicate with others.[69] In animist world-views, non-human animals are understood to participate in kinship systems and ceremonies with humans, as well as having their own kinship systems and ceremonies.[70] Harvey cited an example of an animist understanding of animal behaviour that occurred at a powwow held by the Conne River Mi’kmaq in 1996; an eagle flew over the proceedings, circling over the central drum group. The assembled participants called out kitpu (“eagle”), conveying welcome to the bird and expressing pleasure at its beauty, and they later articulated the view that the eagle’s actions reflected its approval of the event and the Mi’kmaq’s return to traditional spiritual practices.[71]

Some animists also view plant and fungi life as persons and interact with them accordingly.[72] The most common encounter between humans and these plant and fungi persons is with the former’s collection of the latter for food, and for animists this interaction typically has to be carried out respectfully.[73] Harvey cited the example of Maori communities in New Zealand, who often offer karakia invocations to sweet potatoes as they dig the latter up; while doing so there is an awareness of a kinship relationship between the Maori and the sweet potatoes, with both understood as having arrived in Aotearoa together in the same canoes.[73] In other instances, animists believe that interaction with plant and fungi persons can result in the communication of things unknown or even otherwise unknowable.[72] Among some modern Pagans, for instance, relationships are cultivated with specific trees, who are understood to bestow knowledge or physical gifts, such as flowers, sap, or wood that can be used as firewood or to fashion into a wand; in return, these Pagans give offerings to the tree itself, which can come in the form of libations of mead or ale, a drop of blood from a finger, or a strand of wool.[74]

Various animistic cultures also comprehend stones as persons.[75] Discussing ethnographic work conducted among the Ojibwe, Harvey noted that their society generally conceived of stones as being inanimate, but with two notable exceptions: the stones of the Bell Rocks and those stones which are situated beneath trees struck by lightning, which were understood to have become Thunderers themselves.[76] The Ojibwe conceived of weather as being capable of having personhood, with storms being conceived of as persons known as ‘Thunderers’ whose sounds conveyed communications and who engaged in seasonal conflict over the lakes and forests, throwing lightning at lake monsters.[76] Wind, similarly, can be conceived as a person in animistic thought.[77]

The importance of place is also a recurring element of animism, with some places being understood to be persons in their own right.[78]


Animism can also entail relationships being established with non-corporeal spirit entities.[79]

Other usages[edit]

Science and animism[edit]

In the early 20th century, William McDougall defended a form of Animism in his book Body and Mind: A History and Defence of Animism (1911).

The physicist Nick Herbert has argued for “quantum animism” in which mind permeates the world at every level.

The quantum consciousness assumption, which amounts to a kind of “quantum animism” likewise asserts that consciousness is an integral part of the physical world, not an emergent property of special biological or computational systems. Since everything in the world is on some level a quantum system, this assumption requires that everything be conscious on that level. If the world is truly quantum animated, then there is an immense amount of invisible inner experience going on all around us that is presently inaccessible to humans, because our own inner lives are imprisoned inside a small quantum system, isolated deep in the meat of an animal brain.[80]

Werner Krieglstein wrote regarding his quantum Animism:

Herbert’s quantum Animism differs from traditional Animism in that it avoids assuming a dualistic model of mind and matter. Traditional dualism assumes that some kind of spirit inhabits a body and makes it move, a ghost in the machine. Herbert’s quantum Animism presents the idea that every natural system has an inner life, a conscious center, from which it directs and observes its action.[81]

Ashley Curtis has argued in Error and Loss: A Licence to Enchantment[82] that the Cartesian idea of an experiencing subject facing off with an inert physical world is incoherent at its very foundation, and that this incoherence is predicted rather than belied by Darwinism. Human reason (and its rigorous extension in the natural sciences) fits an evolutionary niche just as echolocation does for bats and infrared vision does for pit vipers, and is—according to western science’s own dictates—epistemologically on a par with rather than superior to such capabilities. The meaning or aliveness of the “objects” we encounter—rocks, trees, rivers, other animals—thus depends for its validity not on a detached cognitive judgment but purely on the quality of our experience. The animist experience, and, indeed, the wolf’s or raven’s experience, thus become licensed as equally valid world-views to the modern western scientific one—indeed, they are more valid, since they are not plagued with the incoherence that inevitably crops up when “objective existence” is separated from “subjective experience.”

Socio-political impact[edit]

Harvey opined that animism’s views on personhood represented a radical challenge to the dominant perspectives of modernity, because it accords “intelligence, rationality, consciousness, volition, agency, intentionality, language and desire” to non-humans.[83] Similarly, it challenges the view of human uniqueness that is prevalent in both Abrahamic religions and Western rationalism.[84]

In art and literature[edit]

Animist beliefs can also be expressed through artwork.[85] For instance, among the Maori communities of New Zealand, there is an acknowledgment that creating art through carving wood or stone entails violence against the wood or stone person, and that the persons who are damaged therefore have to be placated and respected during the process; any excess or waste from the creation of the artwork is returned to the land, while the artwork itself is treated with particular respect.[86] Harvey therefore argued that the creation of art among the Maori was not about creating an inanimate object for display, but rather a transformation of different persons within a relationship.[87]

Harvey expressed the view that animist worldviews were present in various works of literature, citing such examples as the writings of Alan GarnerLeslie SilkoBarbara KingsolverAlice WalkerDaniel QuinnLinda HoganDavid AbramPatricia GraceChinua AchebeUrsula Le GuinLouise Erdrich, and Marge Piercy.[88] Animist worldviews have also been identified in the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki.[89][90][91][92]

See also


Abhira tribe

Abhira tribe

The Abhira tribe were a people mentioned in ancient Indian epics and scriptures as early as the Vedas. A historical people of the same name are mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.


Etymologically, he who can cast fear on all sides is called a Abhira.


Sunil Kumar Bhattacharya says that the Abhiras are mentioned in the first-century work of classical antiquity, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. He considers them to be a race rather than a tribe.[3] Scholars such as Ramaprasad Chanda believe that they were Indo-Aryan peoples.[4] but others, such as Romila Thapar, believe them to have been indigenous.[5] The Puranic Abhiras occupied the territories of Herat; they are invariably juxtaposed with the Kalatoyakas and Haritas, the peoples of Afghanistan.[6]

According to Jayant Gadkari tribes such as Vrusni, Andhaka, Satvatas and Abhiras after a period of long conflicts came to be known as Yadavas.

There is no certainty regarding the occupational status of the Abhiras, with ancient texts sometimes referring to them as warriors, pastoral and cowherders but at other times as plundering tribes.[8]

Along with the Vrishnis, the Satvatas and the Yadavas, the Abhiras were followers of the Vedas, who worshipped Krishna, the head and preceptor of these tribes.

Connection to Ahir

According to Ganga Ram Garg, the modern-day Ahir caste are descendants of Abhira people and the term Ahir is the Prakrit form of the Sanskrit term Abhira.[10] Bhattacharya says that the terms AhirAhar and Gaoli are current forms of the word Abhira.[3] This view gets support in many writings. However, it is also said that the Ahirs do not appear to be fully representative of the ancient Abhiras.[citation needed]

M. S. A. Rao and historians such as P. M. Chandorkar and T. Padmaja have explained that epigraphical and historical evidence exists for equating the Ahirs with the ancient Abhiras and Yadava tribe.[11][12][13]

Rule of the Konkan

From 203 to 270 the Abhiras ruled over the whole of the Deccan Plateau as a paramount power. The Abhiras were the immediate successors of the Satavahanas.[14]

Abhiras of Rajputana

During the reign of Samudragupta (c. 350), the Abhiras lived in Rajputana and Malava on the western frontier of the Gupta empire. Historian Dineshchandra Sircar thinks of their original abode was the area of Abhiravan, between Herat and Kandahar, although this is disputed.[15] Their occupation of Rajasthan also at later date is evident from the Jodhpur inscription of Samvat 918 that the Abhira people of the area were a terror to their neighbours, because of their violent demeanour.[15] Abhiras of Rajputana were sturdy and regarded as Mlecchas, and carried on anti-Brahmanical activities. As a result, life and property became unsafe. Pargiter[who?] points to the Pauranic tradition that the Vrishnis and Andhakas, while retreating northwards after the Kurukshetra War from their western home in Dwarka and Gujarat, were attacked and broken up by the rude Abhiras of Rajasthan.[16]

The Abhiras did not stop in Rajasthan; some of their clans moved south and west reaching Saurashtra and Maharashtra and taking service under the Satavahana dynasty and the Western Satraps.[17] Also founded a kingdom in the northern part of the Maratha country, and an inscription of the ninth year of the Abhira king Ishwarsena.


Dell EMC Unity

Dell EMC Unity

Dell EMC
Traded as NYSE: EMC (1986–2016)
Industry Computer storage
Founded 1979; 40 years ago


United States
Area served
Key people
Jeff Clarke
(President, Infrastructure Solutions Group, Dell EMC)
Products See EMC products
Parent Dell Technologies
Website www.dellemc.com/en-us/storage/unity.htm

Dell EMC Unity is one of Dell EMC’s mid-range storage array product lines. It was designed from the ground up as the next generation midrange unified storage array after the EMC VNX and VNXe series, which evolved out of the EMC Clariion SAN disk array.



Clariion’s predecessor, HADA (High Availability Disk Array) was developed in 1991 by Data General Corporation, one of the first minicomputer companies. HADA was designed to significantly improve the performance of commodity hard disk drives by running large numbers of them in parallel. It was one of the first products on the market with a cached RAID system, and featured hot-swapping and several other innovations.[2][3]

HADA was initially sold exclusively as an array with the company’s Aviion line of computer systems as the HADA (High Availability Disk Array) and later the HADA II [6] before being made available for broader open systems attachment and renamed CLARiiON in 1994.[4] Fibre Channel support was added in 1997.

As CLARiiON sales grew, Data General created a separate CLARiiON division and began selling the product both direct to Aviion and Data General MV customers, but also as an OEM offering to its systems competitors, including Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard and Silicon Graphics. CLARiiON was considered the primary value generator in EMC Corporation’s decision to purchase Data General in 1999.[7]

Development of the CLARiiON product line continued under EMC. The company introduced IP-based storage access in 2000.[8] In 2001, Dell and EMC entered into a partnership, and the CLARiiON line began being resold by Dell.[9] In 2002, the CX200, CX400 and CX600 entry-level lines were introduced, the result of the year-long collaboration between the two companies.[10] In 2003, CLARiiON became the industry’s first NEBS-certified storage system.[11]

Subsequent processor and bandwidth upgrades led to a new CX lineup (CX300, CX500, CX700) and a low-end, SATA-based CLARiiON array, the AX100 (now updated to AX150).

In May 2006, EMC introduced the third generation of CLARiiON, named CX3 UltraScale. The lineup, consisting of the CX3-20, CX3-40 and CX3-80, was the industry’s only storage platform to leverage end-to-end 4 Gbit/s (4 billion bits per second) Fibre Channel and PCI-Express technologies.[12] Later in 2007, the line was expanded to include a new entry-level storage system, the CX3-10.

Development continued until 2011, when EMC introduced the new VNX series of unified storage disk arrays intended to combine and replace both CLARiiON and Celerra products. The new suite of VNX SAN/NAS arrays included three product lines: an entry-level VNXe, the VNX5000 series and the VNX7000 series. The new VNX line was marketed as the only storage system offering automated file and block sub-LUN tiering using its FAST technology.[13]

In early 2012, with development continuing on the VNX lines, both CLARiiON and Celerra were discontinued. Development efforts in 2012 and 2013 included a strong focus on supporting data warehousing applications and multicore architectures, culminating in MCx, billed by some as the second generation of VNX. The massive hyperthreading enabled by multicore architectural support led to significant improvements in caching, file IOPS and database transaction rates.[14] In 2014, MCx support was added to the VNXe line.[15]

Dell EMC Unity was introduced in 2016. The new platform virtualized the “data mover” NAS functionality originally developed for the Celerra product line and moved it into software, simplifying hardware setup and enabling file system upgrades.[16] The transition from VNX to Unity was described by one Dell EMC insider as one of replacing an entire car part-by-part in the middle of a race, without pit stops. The improvements outlined in Chad Sacak’s blog post included a 3x performance boost, reduction from a 7U to a 2U form factor, almost 50% power consumption reduction and significantly faster rack installation.[17]

Dell EMC Unity’s new transactional file system supported traditional NAS use cases while better supporting transactional file applications. It included Fibre Channel, FCoE, NFS, SMB 3.0 (CIFS), and iSCSI protocols. All flash and hybrid Dell EMC Unity models were introduced in 2016, as were a new HTML5 user interface and, later that year, inline compression with inline dedupe scheduled for later in 2017.[18]

In May 2017, Dell EMC Unity was updated to support many new features and capabilities including Dynamic Pools. This is a new Pool type introduced in Dell Unity OE version 4.2.x allowing users to flexibly add 1 or more drives at a time. This helps reduce drive rebuild times and flash wear when compared to the use of Traditional Pools. A Dynamic Pool is created by default when creating a Pool in Unisphere with Dell EMC Unity OE version 4.2.x and later. Dynamic Pools are only supported on Dell EMC Unity All Flash Systems. Additionally with the May release, support for a 256TB file system and compression for file, block archiving to the cloud, thin clones with snapshots and AppSync integration for integrated Copy Data Management (iCDM), and Data-At-Rest-Encryption (D@RE) External Key Manager were all included.[19]

In June, 2017, roughly 10 months after the Dell EMC Merger finalized, Dell Technologies announced that cumulative bookings (sales and anticipated sales) of Dell EMC Unity All-flash and hybrid flash storage had surpassed US$1 billion.


System configurations as of February, 2017, based on Unity OE 4.1 OS, are as follows:

Attribute Unity 300/300F Unity 400/400F Unity 500/500F Unity 600/600F
Processor 2 x Intel 6-core, 1.6 GHz 2 x Intel 8-core, 2.4 GHz 2 x Intel 10-core, 2.6 GHz 2 x Intel 12-core, 2.5 GHz
Memory (Both SP) 48 GB 96 GB 128 GB 256 GB
Minimum/Maximum drives 5/150 5/250 5/500 5/1000
Maximum raw capacity* 2.34 PBs 3.91 PBs 7.81 PBs 9.77 PBs
Max IO modules 4 4 4 4
Max number of pools 20 30 40 100
Max LUN Size 256TB 256TB 256TB 256TB
Max File System Size 64 TB 64 TB 64 TB 64 TB
Max LUNs per array 1,000 1,500 2,000 6,000
  • Maximum raw capacity may vary.[21]

In June, 2017, Dell EMC announced four new models:

Attribute Unity 350F Unity 450F Unity 550F Unity 650F
Processor 2 x Intel 6-core, 1.7 GHz 2 x Intel 10-core, 2.2 GHz 2 x Intel 14-core, 2.0 GHz 2 x Intel 14-core, 2.4 GHz
Memory (Both SP) 96 GB 128 GB 256 GB 512 GB
Minimum/Maximum drives 6/150 6/250 6/500 6/1000
Maximum raw capacity* 2.4 PBs 4.0 PBs 8.0 PBs 16 PBs
Max IO modules 4 4 4 4
Max number of pools 20 30 40 100
Max LUN Size 256TB 256TB 256TB 256TB
Max File System Size 256TB 256TB 256TB 256TB
Max LUNs per array 1,000 1,500 2,000 6,000
  • Maximum raw capacity may vary.[21]

Technology and Architecture

The Dell EMC Unity product line includes the hybrid (flash SSD + magnetic HDD) 300/400/500/600 models, the all-flash 300F/400F/500F/600F models, and the Dell EMC Unity VSA virtual appliance deployable on vSphere. The basic enclosure for the hybrid and all-flash models is a 2U box with 25-2.5-inch drive slit expansion trays, called a Disk Processor Enclosure (DPE). A 15-drive 3.5-inch hybrid DPE variant is also available. Additional storage can be added using disk-array enclosures (DAEs), available in 2U 2.5-inch 25-drive, 3U 3.5-inch 15-drive and 3U 2.5-inch 80-drive configurations.[22]

The first four drives in a Dell EMC Unity DPE are system drives that contain the Dell EMC Unity OE (Operating Environment). Any remaining drive space is available for storage pools, with a minimum configuration of five drives for the 300/400/500/600 models, and six drives for the 350/450/550/650 models (including the four system drives). The drive bays are accessible from the front of the rack. The storage processors (SPs), optical/twinex network ports, 10 Gb Base-T RJ45 ports, power supplies, IO module slots, backend SAS ports, management port and service port can be found in the rear of the DPE. The IO modules are configurable, supporting configurations that include 4 port 16GB Fiber Channel, 10GbE Base-T, 1GbE Base-T, 2 port 10GbE Optical (SFP+ and Twinax), 4 port 10GbE Optical (SFP+ and Twinax) and 12Gb SAS for backend expansion (Only for Dell EMC Unity 500 and 600). Dell EMC Unity supports Active Twinax cables only – there is no support for passive Twinax.[21]

Dell EMC Unity SPs contain a built-in battery backup unit (BBU) that will supply power to the SP long enough to dump cache contents into an M.2 SSD. This cached content can be restored once power is restored or a malfunctioning SP is replaced. Each M.2 SSD also contains Dell EMC Unity OE boot image.[21]

The Dell EMC Unity OE is based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). Unity provides block and file access to hosts and clients. Dell EMC Unity is an Asymmetric Active-Active array and is Asymmetric Logical Unit Access (ALUA) aware.

Dell EMC Unity’s Multicore Cache dynamically adjusts cache sizes according to the read and write operation, minimizing forced flushing when the high watermark level on the cache is reached. This functionality can be augmented through the implementation of Dell EMC’s fully automated storage tiering (FAST) cache. FAST cache monitors incoming I/O for access frequency and automatically copies frequently accessed data from the back-end drives into the cache. It can extend existing cache capacities up to 2 terabytes.

Dell EMC Unity OE provides block LUN, VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) and NAS file system storage access. Multiple different storage resources can reside in the same storage pool, and multiple storage pools can be configured within the same DPE/DAE array. Each storage pool is tiered based on the performance characteristics of the storage technology used, with SSD-based storage at the top “extreme performance tier,” serial-attached SCSI (SAS) in the middle “performance tier” and near line SAS (NL-SAS) in the bottom “capacity tier.” RAID protection is applied at the tier level.[23]

Dell EMC Unity uses FAST VP (Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pools) algorithms to move “hot” (high-demand) data to SSD and “cold” (low-demand) data to NL-SAS. The policy can be adjusted using Unisphere. In-pool tiers can be expanded using any supported stripe width.[24]

As of Dell EMC Unity OE 4.1, inline compression is available for block LUNs and VMware VMFS Datastores in all-flash pools.




Irreligion (adjective form: non-religious or irreligious) is the absence, indifference to, or rejection of religion.[1] According to the Pew Research Center‘s 2012 global study of 230 countries and territories, 16% of the world’s population is not affiliated with a religion, while 84% are affiliated.[2]

Irreligion may include some forms of theism, depending on the religious context it is defined against; for example, in 18th-century Europe, the epitome of irreligion was deism,[3] while in contemporary East Asia the shared term meaning “irreligion” or “no religion” (無宗教, Chinese pron. wú zōngjiào, Japanese pron. mu shūkyō Korean pron. mujonggyo), with which the majority of East Asian populations identify themselves, implies non-membership in one of the institutional religions (such as Buddhism and Christianity) and not necessarily non-belief in traditional folk religions collectively represented by Chinese Shendao and Japanese Shinto (both meaning “ways of gods”).[4]

According to cross-cultural studies, since religion and fertility are positively related while secularism and fertility are negatively related, secularism is expected to decline throughout the 21st century.[5] By 2060, according to their projections, the number of unaffiliated will increase by over 35 million, but the percentage will decrease to 13% because the total population will grow faster.



The term irreligion is a combination of the noun religion and the prefix ir-, signifying “not” (similar to irrelevant). It was first attested in French as irréligion in 1527, then in English as irreligion in 1598. It was borrowed into Dutch as irreligie in the 17th century, though it is not certain from which language.[8]


  • Secular humanism embraces human reason, ethics, social justice, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the bases of morality and decision making. Secular humanism posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god.
  • Freethought holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or other dogma. In particular, freethought is strongly tied with rejection of traditional religious belief.
  • Spiritual but not religious” rejects organized religion as the sole or most valuable means of furthering spiritual growth. In contrast to religion, spirituality has often been associated with the interior life of the individual.
  • Theological noncognitivism is the argument that religious language – specifically, words such as God – are not cognitively meaningful. It is sometimes considered as synonymous with ignosticism.
  • Antireligion is opposition to religion of any kind. It can describe opposition to organized religion, religious practices, religious institutions, or specific forms of supernatural worship or practice, whether organized or not.
  • Atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist or, in a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. There are ranges from Negative and positive atheism.[9]
  • Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable.[10]
  • Agnostic atheism is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact.[11]
  • Apatheism is the attitude of apathy towards the existence or non-existence of god(s).[12][13]
  • Deism is the philosophical position that rejects revelation as a source of religious knowledge and asserts that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to establish the existence of a Supreme Being or creator of the universe.[14][15][16]

Human rights

In 1993, the UN’s human rights committee declared that article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights “protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief.”[17] The committee further stated that “the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one’s current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views.” Signatories to the convention are barred from “the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers” to recant their beliefs or convert.[18][19]

Most Western democracies protect the freedom of religion, and it is largely implied in respective legal systems that those who do not believe or observe any religion are allowed freedom of thought.

A noted exception to ambiguity, explicitly allowing non-religion, is Article 36 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China (as adopted in 1982), which states that “No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.”[20] Article 46 of China’s 1978 Constitution was even more explicit, stating that “Citizens enjoy freedom to believe in religion and freedom not to believe in religion and to propagate atheism.”[21]


Although 11 countries listed below have nonreligious majorities, it does not mean that the majority of the populations of these countries don’t belong to any religious group. For example, 68% of the Swedish population belongs to the Lutheran Christian Church,[22] while 59% of Albanians declare themselves as religious.[citation needed] Also, though Scandinavian countries have among the highest measures of nonreligiosity and even atheism in Europe, 47% of atheists who live in those countries are still members of the national churches.[23]

A Pew 2015 global projection study for religion and nonreligion, projects that between 2010 and 2050, there will be some initial increases of the unaffiliated followed by a decline by 2050 due to lower global fertility rates among this demographic.[24] Sociologist Phil Zuckerman‘s global studies on atheism have indicated that global atheism may be in decline due to irreligious countries having the lowest birth rates in the world and religious countries having higher birth rates in general.[25]

According to Pew Research Center’s 2012 global study of 230 countries and territories, 16% of the world’s population is not affiliated with a religion, while 84% are affiliated.[2] A 2012 Worldwide Independent Network/Gallup International Association report on a poll from 57 countries reported that 59% of the world’s population identified as religious person, 23% as not religious person, 13% as “convinced atheists”, and also a 9% decrease in identification as “religious” when compared to the 2005 average from 39 countries.[26] Their follow-up report, based on a poll in 2015, found that 63% of the globe identified as religious person, 22% as not religious person, and 11% as “convinced atheists”.[27] Their 2017 report found that 62% of the globe identified as religious person, 25% as not religious person, and 9% as “convinced atheists”.[28] However, researchers have advised caution with the WIN/Gallup International figures since other surveys which use the same wording, have conducted many waves for decades, and have a bigger sample size, such as World Values Survey; have consistently reached lower figures for the number of atheists worldwide.[29]

Being nonreligious is not necessarily equivalent to being an atheist or agnostic. Pew Research Center’s global study from 2012 noted that many of the nonreligious actually have some religious beliefs. For example, they observed that “belief in God or a higher power is shared by 7% of Chinese unaffiliated adults, 30% of French unaffiliated adults and 68% of unaffiliated U.S. adults.”[30] Out of the global nonreligious population, 76% reside in Asia and the Pacific, while the remainder reside in Europe (12%), North America (5%), Latin America and the Caribbean (4%), sub-Saharan Africa (2%) and the Middle East and North Africa (less than 1%).[30]

The term “nones” is sometimes used in the U.S. to refer to those who are unaffiliated with any organized religion. This use derives from surveys of religious affiliation, in which “None” (or “None of the above”) is typically the last choice. Since this status refers to lack of organizational affiliation rather than lack of personal belief, it is a more specific concept than irreligion. A 2015 Gallup poll concluded that in the U.S. “nones” were the only “religious” group that was growing as a percentage of the population.[31]

Country Percentage of population
who are nonreligious
Date and source
 Czech Republic 75 [32]
 Estonia 70 [33]
 Netherlands 68 [34]
 Vietnam 63 [33][35]
 Denmark 61 [33]
 Sweden 54 [33]
 United Kingdom 53 [36]
 Albania 52 [37][38][39]
 Japan 52 [33]
 Azerbaijan 51 [40]
 China 51 [33][35][41]
 New Zealand 48 [42]
 Russia 48 [35]
 Belarus 48 [35]
 Uruguay 47 [43]
 France 44 [33]
 Cuba 44 [44]
 South Korea 56 [35][45]
 Finland 43 [33]
 Hungary 43 [35]
 Iceland 42 [46]
 Latvia 41 [35]
 Chile 38 [47]
 Belgium 35 [35]
 Australia 30 [48]
 Bulgaria 30 [35]
 Germany 21–34 [49][50][51][52][53]
 Luxembourg 30 [35]
 Slovenia 30 [35]
 Spain 29 [54]
  Switzerland 26 [55]
 Canada 24 [56]
 Slovakia 23 [35]
 United States 26 [57]
 Argentina 21 [58]
 Botswana 21 [59]
 Jamaica 21 [60]
 Lithuania 19 [35]
 El Salvador 19 [61]
 Singapore 17–19 [62]
 Italy 18 [35]
 Ukraine 16 [63]
 Nicaragua 16 [64]
 Belize 16 [65]
 South Africa 15 [66]
 Croatia 13 [35]
 Guatemala 13 [67]
 Austria 12 [35]
 Portugal 11 [35]
 Costa Rica 11 [68]
 Philippines 11 [35]
 Colombia 11 [69]
 Suriname 10 [70]
 Honduras 9 [69]
 Brazil 8 [71]
 Ecuador 8 [72]
 Peru 8 [73]
 India 7 [35]
 Ireland 7 [74]
 Mexico 7 [69]
 Venezuela 6 [69]
 Serbia 6 [35]
 Poland 5 [35]
 Bolivia 5 [75]
 Greece 4 [35]
 Montenegro 3 [76]
 Panama 3 [77]
 Turkey 3 [35]
 Romania 2 [35]
 Tanzania 2 [35]
 Paraguay 2 [78]
 Malta 1 [35]
 Iran 1 [35]
 Uganda 1 [35]
 Nigeria 1 [35]
 Thailand <1 [79]
 Bangladesh <1 [35]


Sylvain Lévi

Sylvain Lévi

Sylvain Lévi
Born March 28, 1863
Died October 30, 1935 (aged 72)
Paris, France
Scientific career
Fields Sanskrit languageliteratureBuddhism
Institutions Collège de France
Notable students Paul DemiévillePaul PelliotMarcel Mauss

Sylvain Lévi (March 28, 1863 – October 30, 1935) was an influential orientalist and indologist who taught Sanskrit and Indian religion at the École pratique des hautes études.[1][2]

Lévi’s book Théâtre Indien is an important work on the subject of Indian performance art, and Lévi also conducted some of the earliest analysis of Tokharian fragments discovered in Western China. Lévi exerted a significant influence on the life and thought of Marcel Mauss, the nephew of Émile Durkheim.


Co-Founds the École française d’Extrême-Orient in Hanoi, Vietnam

Sylvain Lévi was a co-founder of the École française d’Extrême-Orient in Hanoi.

According to the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Lévi was the (one of the) founder(s) of the École française d’Extrême-Orient (French School of the Far East) in Hanoi.[3] The École française d’Extrême-Orient’s website notes that the school was founded in Hanoi in 1902.


He was also an early opponent of the traditionalist author René Guénon, citing the latter’s uncritical belief in a “Perennial philosophy”, that a primal truth revealed directly to primitive humanity, based on an extreme reductionist view of Hinduism, which was the subject of Guénon’s first book, L’Introduction générale a l’étude des doctrines hindoues. That was a thesis delivered to Lévi at the Sorbonne and rejected.


  • Le Théâtre Indien, Deuxième tirage, 1963, Publié à l’occasion du centenaire de la naissance de Sylvain Lévi, Bibliothèque de l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes, IVe section, 83e Fascicule, Paris, Distributeur exclusif: Librairie Honoré Champion.
  • Lévi, S. 1898. La doctrine du sacrifice dans les Brâhmanas, Paris : Ernest Leroux, Bibliothèque de l’École des Hautes Études-Sciences religieuses [= BÉHÉ-SR], vol. 11.
  • Lévi, S. 1966. Id., avec une préface de L. Renou, 2e éd., Paris : Presses Universitaires de France, BÉHÉ-SR, vol. 73.
  • Lévi, S. 2003. Id., réimpr. de Lévi 1966, avec une postface inédite de Ch. Malamoud, Brepols : Turnhout, BÉHÉ-SR, vol. 118.
  • Le Népal: Étude historique d’un royaume hindou, Sylvain Lévi, 3 vol. 1905–08, Paris
  • Nepal: Historical study of a Hindu kingdom, Sylvain Levi, Ancient Nepal, 44 installments, 1973–90.
  • Asvaghosa, le sutralamkara et ses sources, S. Lévi, JA, 1908, 12, p. 57-193
  • Autour d’Asvaghosa, Sylvain Lévi, JA, Oc-Déc. 1929, p. 281-283
  • Kanishka et Satavahana, Sylvain Lévi, JA, Jan–Mars 1936, p. 103-107
  • Le Bouddhisme et les Grecs, S. Lévi, R.H.R. 23 (1891), p. 37
  • L’énigme des 256 nuits d’Asoka, Sylvain Lévi, JA 1948, p. 143-153
  • Les études orientales, par Sylvain Lévi, Annales du musée Guimet numéro 36, Hachette 1911, ANU DS1.P32.t36
  • Les grands hommes dans l’histoire de l’Inde, par Sylvain Lévi, Annales du musée Guimet numéro 40, Hachette 1913, ANU A DS1.P32.t40
  • Les seize Arhats protecteurs de la loi, Sylvain Lévi et Édouard Chavannes, JA 1916, vol. II, p. 204-275
  • Le sutra du sage et du fou, Sylvain Lévi, JA, Oc-Déc. 1925, p. 320-326, ANU pBL1411.A82.L4
  • L’inde civilisatrice, aperçu historique, S. Lévi, Paris 1938
  • L’Inde et le Monde, par Sylvain Lévi, Honoré Champion 1926, ANU G B131.L4
  • Madhyantavibhangatika, tr. S. Lévi ?, ANU BQ2965.Y3
  • Mahayanasutralamkara, exposé de la doctrine du Grand Véhicule selon le système Yogachara, tr. française Sylvain Lévi, Librairie Honoré Champion, 5 Quai Malaquais, Paris 1911, réimpression Rinsen Book Co. Kyoto 1983 (ISBN 4-653-00951-1) ANU BQ3002.L48.1983.t2
  • Maitreya, le consolateur, S. Lévi, Mélanges Linossier, II, pp. 362–3 & pp. 355–402
  • Matériaux pour l’étude du système Vijnaptimatra, Sylvain Lévi, Paris Chanmpion 1932
  • Nairatmyapariprccha, Sylvain Lévi, JA, Oct-Déc. 1928, p. 209-215
  • Notes indiennes, Sylvain Lévi, JA, Janv. Mars 1925, p. 26-35
  • Notes sur les manuscrits sanscrits provenant de Bamiyan et de Gilgit, S. Lévi
  • Observations sur une langue précanonique du bouddhisme, S. Lévi, JA Nov-Déc. 1912, p. 511
  • Sur la récitation primitive des textes bouddhiques, Sylvain Lévi, JA, Mai-Juin 1915, p. 401-407
  • Une langue précanonique du bouddhisme, S. Lévi, JA 1912, p. 495-514
  • Vijnaptimatratasiddhi, Sylvain Lévi, Paris 1925, ANU AA BL1405.B8
  • Vimsika-Vimsatika de Vasubandhu, tr. S. Lévi, Bibliothèque de l’École des Hautes Etudes fascicule 245-1925 et 260-1932 Paris
  • JA = Journal Asiatique



Lord of the Animals
Shiva Pashupati.jpg
The Pashupati seal, showing a seated and possibly ithyphallic figure, surrounded by animals.
Affiliation Incarnation of Shiva
Region India and Nepal

Pashupati (Sanskrit Paśupati) is an incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva as “lord of the animals”. He is revered by Shaivites throughout the Hindu world, but especially in Nepal, where he is commonly known as Pashupatinath and regarded by Hindus as the national deity.[citation needed]


Paśupati “Lord of all animals” was originally an epithet of Rudra in the Vedic period[1] and now is an epithet of Shiva.[2]

The Deity

Pashupatinath is an avatar of Shiva, one of the Hindu Trinity. He is the masculine counterpart of Shakti.

The five faces of Pashupatinath represent various incarnations of Shiva; Sadyojata (also known as Barun), Vamdeva (also known as Uma Maheswara), Tatpurusha, Aghor & Ishana. They face West, North, East, South and Zenith respectively, and represent Hinduism’s five primary elements namely earth, water, air, light and ether.[3]

Puranas describe these faces of Shiva as [3]


Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal

Though Nepal is an officially secular state, its population is predominantly Hindu, and Lord Shree Pashupatinath is revered as a national deity. The Pashupatinath Temple, located at the bank of the river Bagmati, is considered as the most sacred place in Nepal. The mythology hold that Lord Pashupatinath started living in Nepal in the form of a deer, then when he saw the Kathmandu Valley and he was overwhelmed by its beauty.


Lingam image of Lord Pashupatinath in his Mandsaur temple, India.

A Pashupatinath temple is sited on the banks of the Shivana river in MandsaurMadhya PradeshIndia. It is one of the most prominent shrines in Mandsaur, and Lord Shiva in the form of Lord Pashupatinath is its primary deity. Its main attraction is a unique Shiva Linga displaying eight faces of Lord Shiva. The shrine has four doors, representing the cardinal directions.


MTBF (mean time between failures)

MTBF (mean time between failures)

MTBF (mean time between failures) is a measure of how reliable a hardware product or component is. For most components, the measure is typically in thousands or even tens of thousands of hours between failures. For example, a hard disk drive may have a mean time between failures of 300,000 hours. A desired MTBF can be used as a quantifiable objective when designing a new product. The MTBF figure can be developed as the result of intensive testing, based on actual product experience, or predicted by analyzing known factors. The manufacturer may provide it as an index of a product’s or component’s reliability and, in some cases, to give customers an idea of how much service to plan for.Most sources define this term to mean average time between failures .



Regions with significant populations
   Nepal 425,623 (1.6% of Nepal’s population)
Nepali language,

Thakuris (Nepaliठकुरी) are a caste in Nepal.

Thakuris have traditionally constituted the ruling and warrior classes, resulting in high social status. Traditionally, the Thakuris’ main occupations involve government, agriculture and military.

Known Thakuri surnames

In alphabetical order, the commonly known Thakuri surnames are:




Polished kukri.jpg
A polished khukuri.
Type Knife
Place of origin Indian subcontinent
Service history
Used by Gurkha
Production history
Manufacturer Gurkhas
Unit cost $50–150
Produced 1810
Mass 450–900 g (1–2 lb)
Length 40–45 cm (16–18 in)

The kukri or khukuri (Nepaliखुकुरी khukuri) is a knife, originating from the Indian subcontinent, associated with the Nepali speaking Gurkhas of Nepal and India. The knife has a distinct recurve in the blade. It is used as both a tool and as a weapon in the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally, it was, and in many cases still is, the basic utility knife of the Gurkha. It is a characteristic weapon of the Nepalese Army, the Royal Gurkha Rifles of the British Army, the Assam Rifles, the Assam Regiment, the Garhwal Rifles, the Gorkha regiments of the Indian Army, and of all Gurkha regiments throughout the world, so much so that some English-speakers refer to the weapon as a “Gurkha blade” or “Gurkha knife”. The kukri often appears in Nepalese and Indian Gorkha heraldry and is used in many traditional rites such as wedding ceremonies.

The kukrikhukri, and kukkri spellings are of Indian origin,[1] the original Nepali term being khukuri.


Colonel Gambhir Singh Rayamajhi Kshetri, a Gorkhali Commander armed with a Khukuri in his left hand and Talwar on his right.

Gorkhali Chief Minister (Kaji) and Army Head Kalu Pande wearing a Khukuri on his chest.

Researchers trace the origins of the blade back to the domestic sickle and the prehistoric bent stick used for hunting and later in hand-to-hand combat.[2] Similar implements have existed in several forms throughout the Indian subcontinent and were used both as weapons and as tools, such as for sacrificial rituals.[citation needed] Burton (1884) writes that the British Museum housed a large kukri-like falchion inscribed with writing in Pali. Among the oldest existing kukri are those belonging to Drabya Shah (c. 1559), housed in the National Museum of Nepal in Kathmandu.

The kukri came to be known to the Western world when the East India Company came into conflict with the growing Gorkha Kingdom, culminating in the Gurkha War of 1814–1816.[citation needed] It gained literary attention in the 1897 novel Dracula by Irish author Bram Stoker. Despite the popular image of Dracula having a stake driven through his heart at the conclusion of a climactic battle between Dracula’s bodyguards and the heroes, Mina’s narrative describes his throat being sliced through by Jonathan Harker’s kukri and his heart pierced by Quincey Morris’s Bowie knife.[3]

All Gurkha troops are issued with two kukris, a Service No.1 (ceremonial) and a Service No.2 (exercise); in modern times members of the Brigade of Gurkhas receive training in its use. The weapon gained fame in the Gurkha War and its continued use through both World War I and World War II enhanced its reputation among both Allied troops and enemy forces. Its acclaim was demonstrated in North Africa by one unit’s situation report. It reads: “Enemy losses: ten killed, our nil. Ammunition expenditure nil.”[4] Elsewhere during the Second World War, the kukri was purchased and used by other British, Commonwealth and US troops training in India, including the Chindits and Merrill’s Marauders.[citation needed] The notion of the Gurkha with his kukri carried on through to the Falklands War.

On 2 September 2010, Bishnu Shrestha, a retired Indian Army Gurkha soldier, alone and armed only with a khukri, defeated thirty bandits who attacked a passenger train he was on in India. He was reported to have killed three of the bandits, wounded eight more and forced the rest of the band to flee.[5] A contemporaneous report in the Times of India, that includes an interview with Shrestha, indicates he was less successful.[6]


A Kukri (Top) with the traditional Karda (middle) and Chakmak (bottom). The Karda and Chakmak are used as a utility knife and a sharpening tool respectively

The kukri is designed primarily for chopping. The shape varies a great deal from being quite straight to highly curved with angled or smooth spines. There are substantial variations in dimensions and blade thickness depending on intended tasks as well as the region of origin and the smith that produced it. As a general guide the spines vary from 5–10 mm (31638 in) at the handle, and can taper to 2 mm (116 in) by the point while the blade lengths can vary from 26–38 cm (10–15 in) for general use.[citation needed]

A kukri designed for general purpose is commonly 40–45 cm (16–18 in) in overall length and weighs approximately 450–900 g (1–2 lb). Larger examples are impractical for everyday use and are rarely found except in collections or as ceremonial weapons. Smaller ones are of more limited utility, but very easy to carry.

Another factor that affects its weight and balance is the construction of the blade. To reduce weight while keeping strength, the blade might be hollow forged, or a fuller is created. Kukris are made with several different types of fuller including tin Chira (triple fuller), Dui Chira (double fuller), Ang Khola (single fuller), or basic non-tapered spines with a large bevelled edge.

Kukri blades usually have a notch (kardakaudaGaudiKaura, or Cho) at the base of the blade. Various reasons are given for this, both practical and ceremonial: that it makes blood and sap drop off the blade rather than running onto the handle and thereby prevent the handle from becoming slippery;[7] that it delineates the end of the blade whilst sharpening; that it is a symbol representing a cows’ foot, or Shiva; that it can catch another blade or kukri in combat. The notch may also represent the teats of a cow, a reminder that the kukri should not be used to kill a cow, an animal revered and worshipped by Hindus.[citation needed] The notch may also be used as a catch, to hold tight against a belt, or to bite onto twine to be suspended.[original research?]

The handles are most often made of hardwood or water buffalo horn, but ivory, bone, and metal handles have also been produced. The handle quite often has a flared butt that allows better retention in draw cuts and chopping. Most handles have metal bolsters and butt plates which are generally made of brass or steel.

The traditional handle attachment in Nepal is the partial tang, although the more modern versions have the stick tang which has become popular.[citation needed] The full tang is mainly used on some military models but has not become widespread in Nepal itself.[citation needed]

The kukri typically comes in either a decorated wooden scabbard or one which is wrapped in leather. Traditionally, the scabbard also holds two smaller blades: an unsharpened checkmark to burnish the blade, and another accessory blade called a karda. Some older style scabbards include a pouch for carrying flint or dry tinder.[citation needed]


A Gurkha officer of the Gurkha ContingentSingapore Police Force patrols around Raffles City during the 117th IOC Session. He wears the distinctively tilted Hat Terrai Gurkha, the kukri can be seen attached to the back of his belt

The Biswakarma Kami (caste) are the traditional inheritors of the art of kukri-making.[8] Modern kukri blades are often forged from spring steel, sometimes collected from recycled truck suspension units.[8] The tang of the blade usually extends all the way through to the end of the handle;[citation needed] the small portion of the tang that projects through the end of the handle are hammered flat to secure the blade. Kukri blades have a hard, tempered edge and a softer spine. This enables them to maintain a sharp edge, yet tolerate impacts.

Kukri handles, usually made from hardwood or buffalo horn, are often fastened with a kind of tree sap called laha (also known as “Himalayan epoxy”). With a wood or horn handle, the tang may be heated and burned into the handle to ensure a tight fit, since only the section of handle which touches the blade is burned away. In more modern kukri, handles of cast aluminium or brass are press-fitted to the tang; as the hot metal cools it shrinks, locking onto the blade. Some kukri (such as the ones made by contractors for the modern Indian Army), have a very wide tang with handle slabs fastened on by two or more rivets, commonly called a full tang (panawal) configuration.

Traditional profiling of the blade edge is performed by a two-man team; one spins a grinding wheel forwards and backwards by means of a rope wound several times around an axle while the sharpener applies the blade. The wheel is made by hand from fine river sand bound by laha, the same adhesive used to affix the handle to the blade. Routine sharpening is traditionally accomplished by passing a chakmak over the edge in a manner similar to that used by chefs to steel their knives.

Kukri scabbards are usually made of wood or metal with an animal skin or metal or wood covering. The leather work is often done by a Sarki.


Gurkhas at kit inspection showing kukri in France during World War I

Kukri knife and scabbard on display at the Imperial War Museum North


The kukri is effective as a chopping weapon, due to its weight, and slashing weapon, because the curved shape creates a “wedge” effect which causes the blade to cut effectively and deeper. Because the blade bends towards the opponent, the user need not angle the wrist while executing a chopping motion.[citation needed] Unlike a straight-edged sword, the center of mass combined with the angle of the blade allow the kukri to slice as it chops.[citation needed] The edge slides across the target’s surface while the center of mass maintains momentum as the blade moves through the target’s cross-section. This gives the kukri a penetrative force disproportional to its length. The design enables the user to inflict deep wounds and to penetrate bone.[citation needed]


While most famed from use in the military, the kukri is the most commonly used multipurpose tool in the fields and homes in Nepal. Its use has varied from building, clearing, chopping firewood, digging, slaughtering animals for food, cutting meat and vegetables, skinning animals, and opening cans. Its use as a general farm and household tool disproves the often stated “taboo” that the weapon cannot be sheathed “until it has drawn blood”.[citation needed]

The kukri is versatile. It can function as a smaller knife by using the narrower part of the blade, closest to the handle. The heavier and wider end of the blade, towards the tip, functions as an axe or a small shovel.



  • Keeper (Hira Jornu): Spade/Diamond shaped metal/brass plate used to seal the butt cap.
  • Butt Cap (Chapri): Thick metal/brass plate used to secure the handle to the tang.
  • Tang (Paro): Rear piece of the blade that goes through the handle.
  • Bolster (Kanjo): Thick metal/brass round shaped plate between blade and handle made to support and reinforce the fixture.
  • Spine (Beet): Thickest blunt edge of the blade.
  • Fuller/Groove (Khol): Straight groove or deep line that runs along part of the upper spine.
  • Peak (Juro): Highest point of the blade.
  • Main body (Ang): Main surface or panel of the blade.
  • Fuller (Chirra): Curvature/Hump in the blade made to absorb impact and to reduce unnecessary weight.
  • Tip (Toppa): the Starting point of the blade.
  • Edge (Dhaar): Sharp edge of the blade.
  • Belly (Bhundi): Widest part/area of the blade.
  • Bevel (Patti): Slope from the main body until the sharp edge.
  • Notch (Cho): A distinctive cut (numeric ‘3 ‘-like shape) in the edge. Used as a stopper when sharpening with the chakmak.
  • Ricasso (Ghari): Blunt area between the notch and bolster.
  • Rings (Harhari): Round circles in the handle.
  • Rivet (Khil): Steel or metal bolt to fasten or secure tang to the handle.
  • Tang Tail (Puchchar): Last point of the kukri blade.


  • Frog (Faras): Belt holder specially made of thick leather (2  mm to 4  mm) encircling the scabbard close towards the throat.
  • Upper Edge (Mathillo Bhaag): Spine of the scabbard where holding should be done when handling a kukri.
  • Lace (Tuna): A leather cord used to sew or attach two ends of the frog. Especially used in army types.
  • Main Body (Sharir): The main body or surface of the scabbard. Generally made in semi oval shape.
  • Chape (Khothi): Pointed metallic tip of the scabbard. Used to protect the naked tip of a scabbard.
  • Loop (Golie): Round leather room/space where a belt goes through attached/fixed to the keeper with steel rivets.
  • Throat (Mauri): Entrance towards the interior of the scabbard for the blade.
  • Strap/Ridge (Bhunti): Thick raw leather encircling the scabbard made to create a hump to secure the frog from moving or wobbling (not available in this pic).
  • Lower Edge (Tallo Bhag): Belly/curvature of the scabbard.


Kukris can be broadly classified into two types: Eastern and Western. The Eastern blades are originated and named according to the towns and villages of Eastern Nepal.[9] The Eastern Khukuris are Angkhola Khukuri, Bhojpure Khukuri, Chainpure Khukuri, Cheetlange (Chitlange) Khukuri, Chirwa (Chiruwa) Khukuri, Dhankute Khukuri, Ganjawla Khukuri, Panawala Khukuri, Sirupate Khukuri translates as Siru grass leaf like.[10] Khukuris made in locations like ChainpurBhojpur, and Dhankuta in Eastern Nepal are excellent and ornate knives.[11] Western blades are generally broader. Occasionally the Western style is called Budhuna, (referring to a fish with a large head), or baspate (bamboo leaf) which refers to blades just outside the proportions of the normal Sirupate blade. Despite the classification of Eastern and Western, both styles of kukri appear to be used in all areas of Nepal.

There is Khukuri named after Gorkhali General Amar Singh Thapa called Amar Singh Thapa Khukuri. This Khukuri is modelled on the real Khukuri used by the Gorkhali General.[12] The real Khukuri used by Amar Singh Thapa is archived at National Museum of Nepal and is more curvy in nature than other traditions.[13]


There is a popular proverb in Nepali as follows:

Sirupate Khukuri ma Laha chha ki chhaina?
Translation: Does your Sirupate Khukuri have enough iron?

See also