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Old 9th July 2015, 02:03 PM   #1
sirupate
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Default Marking on Nepalese Kukri, correction for collectors

For a while now the name Papu has been associated with the mark below, and this type of kukri
Photo's from Benjamin Judkins collection, his (overall) very good article here and photo's on the link;
Benjamin Judkins Article
However the term Papu is incorrect, the problem has been that collectors have been trying to interpret from Devanagri to find its meaning, it is in fact written from an old local Nepali dialect and means Dhu in reference to Dhulkhel near Banepa in Nepal, and it is a makers mark.
I hope that helps clearing up any misconceptions regarding this mark.
My Thanks go to the following on helping me in regard to this matter;
Lt. Col. JP Cross (who as Major Titley 6th GR says 'Nobody knows more about Nepal than JPX!'
Buddhiman Gurung (Nepali Cultural Expert)
Captain Indra Gurung (formerly 1st RGR and kukri training Officer for RGR)
Major Titley (formerly 6th GR)
JPX and I on the front of a Nepalese National Newspaper
Lt. Col Cross and I in Nepal in 2009
Attached Images
  

Last edited by sirupate : 9th July 2015 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 9th July 2015, 08:27 PM   #2
Silver John
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Hi Sirupate,

That’s an interesting alternative hypothesis. How did you come to this conclusion?

I’ve been looking into this topic a little bit recently and I’m not 100% sold on the “Papu” interpretation, though it does seem to have it’s merits.

That said, this new “Dhu” interpretation has not yet been fleshed out. I can see a similarity between the Devanagari script for Dhu and this symbol (if you orientate it differently) but it does not look like a closer match than the slightly off "papu".

Can you expand on this explanation for us all? At present it does not seem clear why the “Papu” (or variant spelling) interpretation is without doubt incorrect or a misconception and the Dhu interpretation is an accurate correction.

Could you tell us what this “old local Nepali dialect” is if not Devanegari? Are you perhaps suggesting Newari, what with Dhulkhel being in the Kathmandu Valley?


It's always fascinating to see new explanations proposed.
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Old 10th July 2015, 11:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver John
Hi Sirupate, That’s an interesting alternative hypothesis. How did you come to this conclusion?

I didn't Paul, I am certainly no expert on Nepalese languages (let alone my own! Lol), which is why I asked the experts.
Straight away Captain Indra Gurung (formally 1st RGR) and Major Titley (formally 6th GR) said it was a makers mark and it was Lt. Col. JP Cross (who as Major Titley 6th GR says 'Nobody knows more about Nepal than JPX!') and
Buddhiman Gurung (Nepali Cultural Expert) that came up with the analysis of Dhu, and being who they are I was more than happy to accept their finding, which on my own site the other Gurkhas and Nepalese on there also did.
All the best Simon
PS Lt. Col. JP Cross used to lecture on Nepalese language in the main University in Nepal

Last edited by sirupate : 10th July 2015 at 11:25 AM. Reason: PS
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Old 10th July 2015, 05:19 PM   #4
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Many thanks for the reply Sirupate.

So this translation and interpretation comes from J P Cross and Buddhiman Gurung themselves? Wow, nice to have easy access to those two!

They definitely said that they said the mark is not Devanagari but an "old local Nepali dialect"? It is certainly an interesting idea, as there is a significant difference in the way that Dh(a) would be written depending on the old script type. In Pacumol it looks not too dissimilar, though not really particularly close either.

There is one significant problem with this theory that comes to my mind, though I am nothing like an expert, just a collector with a casual interest.

I'm not sure exactly when these kukri were made, I think most guesses for these span 1890-1920, but it was certainly in the Rana era. From what I have read, the Rana's essentially tried to wipe out all other forms of Nepali script other than Devanagari. Indeed, in 1906 the Rana regime banned Nepal Bhasa, Nepal Era and Nepal Lipi from official use. To me this makes it hard to accept that the mark would be any other form of "old local Nepali dialect". Especially as Dhulikhel would have most likely been Newar:

"Newar suffered heavily under the repressive policy of the Rana dynasty (1846–1951 AD) when the regime attempted to wipe it out.[34][35] In 1906, legal documents written in Newar were declared unenforceable, and any evidence in the language was declared null and void.[36] The rulers forbade literature in Newar, and writers were sent to jail.[37] In 1944, Buddhist monks who wrote in the language were expelled from the country.[38][39]"
from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newar_language

It's an interesting idea, especially as it looks at the symbol from a different orientation (rotated 90 degrees to the right). I can't say I'm sold on it though.
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Old 10th July 2015, 09:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver John
Many thanks for the reply Sirupate.
So this translation and interpretation comes from J P Cross and Buddhiman Gurung themselves? Wow, nice to have easy access to those two!

When your friends with people access tends to be easy these days.
I am lucky to have a lot of contacts and friends in the Gurkhas and the Nepalese army.
I have often wondered why some people have always thought they know more than renowned experts, especially in this case (Lt. Col. JP Cross, or JPX to his friends) when the expert has served with the Gurkhas and been involved with them one way or another since 1944. Who's first visit to Nepal was in 1947, when only two Englishmen a year were allowed to Kathmandu. Who has walked some 10,000 miles in Nepal finding old scrolls and gathering local folklore, often with a Gurkha and latterly (some 5000 miles) with Buddhiman (Dhampu to his friends), a lecturer on the Nepalese language at Kathmandu University, and someone the then King of Nepal asked to write a history of Nepal, a man who is revered for his knowledge on Gurkhas and Nepal, and who speaks around 8 different languages!
Did you know that there are three differents forms of Newari language? and that the kami in local areas probably had a degraded form of Newari? That the kami used the Dhu sign in their form of Newari, because they probably didn't know the Devanagri version, and on top of that each 'Jat' had their own language. When JPX was a lecturer in the University in the 1980's most of the village people outside the valley (who spoke their own language)– and a good many therein also – did not understand the Nepali of Radio Nepal.
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Old 10th July 2015, 10:31 PM   #6
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I have often wondered why some people have always thought they know more than renowned experts, especially in this case


Potentially inflammatory comments such as this have no place in this or any other discussion. Leave them out of your postings or you will find yourself back in moderated status.

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Old 11th July 2015, 06:45 AM   #7
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I didn't realise that was potentially inflammatory, and I've taken note Robert
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Old 11th July 2015, 06:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirupate
I have often wondered why some people have always thought they know more than renowned experts, especially in this case


I think you wonder this more often than most because the cornerstone of many of your arguments is an appeal to authority. Other posters rightly question or reject such logical fallacies and you are left wondering: ‘Why won’t these people just believe me? I spoke to a very important man, a man who knows a great deal about a great many things. Do these people really think they know more than this expert?’

You must remind yourself, JP Cross and Bhudiman Gurung have not come to this forum and posted a “correction” for the benefit of collectors (a number of whom are fluent in Nepali themselves). You, Sirupate, have posted this correction. To contextualise this for readers who are unfamiliar, I’d like to quote Berkley (Adimn and Mod extraordinaire) rather than try to say the same thing less eloquently:

For some time our friend Sirupate has been in the habit of making statements attributed to living individuals who have internet access. When he relates that he made an inquiry of these individuals regarding some topic, and they made reply, we are left in a scholarly quandary. When someone attributes a statement of fact to a published work, anyone can check the work to see if they are accurately quoting what the author said. When someone attributes a statement of fact to an unpublished private communication, no such verification is possible… To quote the late Ronald Reagan: "Trust, but verify".”

It is fair to say that this new hypothesis warrants close scrutiny. Even if the interpretation came to us direct from JP Cross himself it would still be open to scrutiny. Yes it would have a great deal more credibility, but experts make errors too. If the proclamations of “experts” were never challenged we would still believe that the earth is flat and located at the centre of the universe. Evidence is king.

The claim has now been clarified from “an old local Nepali dialect” to Newari script which may well have been “degraded”. Well now, that’s something we can all look into at our leisure.

At first glance the Newari Dh(a) symbols look even less like the mark on these kukri than the Devanagari version. So problem number one with this new hypothesis is that there is currently no obvious similarity between the symbol on these kukri and the word “Dhu”. The onus is on you to provide an image of the script for “Dhu” that you believe matches with the mark on these kukri.

Problem number two is that it the mark is on issued and inspected Nepalese Army kukri. Would such kukri simultaneously bear the stamp of Chandra Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana and a Newari stamp? Can anyone suggest why the Rana’s suppression of Newari writing might not apply to the weapons issued to their own soldiers?

Just to be clear, I am open to any and all interpretations; provided they are supported with something more than “So and So said it was so”

Last edited by Silver John : 11th July 2015 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 11th July 2015, 07:58 PM   #9
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I personally don't mind if you believe me or not, that is upto you. I have merely passed on information from the World's foremost expert on Nepal and the Gurkhas;

From JPX;

'Dear Simon,

Please use any information I give you unreservedly.'
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Old 11th July 2015, 08:38 PM   #10
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I do not own a "Papu" or "Dhu" marked kukri, do not read any Indo-Aran language, do not have any knowledge or opinion regarding the subject of this thread. I abhor, as I am sure the moderators and administrators here do also, inter-forum controversies. However, I have been quoted in a thread in which I had no intention of taking part. That being the case, I feel obligated to post my entire remarks, so that the context and tenor of my words are fairly represented. (Note, the person referred to in my remarks as "Goorkhali" is known as "Sirupate" in this forum.)

Quote:
Before this thread degenerates (as history indicates that it will) into an exchange of personal jibes between individuals, I will make a suggestion/request.
For some time our friend Goorkhali has been in the habit of making statements attributed to living individuals who have internet access. When he relates that he made an inquiry of these individuals regarding some topic, and they made reply, we are left in a scholarly quandary. When someone attributes a statement of fact to a published work, anyone can check the work to see if they are accurately quoting what the author said. When someone attributes a statement of fact to an unpublished private communication, no such verification is possible.
This forum has long suffered from the accusation that we favor one expert over another. If we do so, it is not by choice. There are many collectors and others - scholars, ex-Gurkhas, serving members of the military - who have much to contribute to our knowledge. They have, for whatever reason, not joined this group in the eight years we have been online. Nonetheless, they appear to be capable of doing so, since they routinely communicate with Goorkhali - presumably over the internet.
So today, I am going to extend to these individuals a sincere invitation to join this forum and become contributors to our knowledge. We welcome their knowledge and experience, and look forward to their communication. I personally entreat Goorkhali, who is on such close personal terms with them, to communicate this invitation. I truly hope they will come into the public forum to share their knowledge.
However, if they choose not to do so, I am not going to permit them to use Goorkahli as a medium for the communication of ideas which are not subject to verification or scholarly debate. In future, when ANY member of this forum begins to support any proposition by reference to private communications which cannot be verified, I am going to delete such references as soon as I see them. I believe this is the only way to fairly deal with this recurring problem.
Goorkhali has his own forum, where he is free to quote whatever sources he chooses. In this forum, I am going to insist that he, and every other member, adhere to the rule I have just announced. To quote the late Ronald Reagan: "Trust, but verify".
....

Quote:
Goorkhali: "Just read your post Berkley and understood, if I quote in future from their emails is that OK?."

I would prefer that they become members of the forum. If they are not willing to do so, you can ask them to communicate directly to me via email their consent to have you quote their private correspondence on a public forum. I believe you have my email address to share with them. If they confirm to me that they have no objection, then you can quote their emails to you....
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Goorkhali: "they seriously don't mind and know I publish their opinions, which I can't do anymore on here".

If their culture does not permit them to participate in open and honest debate, mine does not permit them to hide behind a veil of anonymity or appear through an intermediary who refuses to even allow them the opportunity of claiming that privilege directly. Whatever Eastern or martial culture they may be part of, as a practicing attorney for almost forty years, I am proud to be part of a culture which prizes public discourse subject to inquiry by those of opposing views.
If you, or they, do not understand this basic principle of Western civilization, so be it.
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Old 11th July 2015, 09:15 PM   #11
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Gentlemen, I believe that this thread has now come to a point where any further discussion will be pointless. Thread closed.

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