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people who constitute about three-fifths the population of Nepal and a majority of the population of neighbouring Himalayan India (in Himachal Pradesh and northern Uttar Pradesh). They speak languages belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European family; the people are historically ancient, having been mentioned by the authors Pliny and Herodotus and figuring in India's epic poem, the Mahabharata. Their numbers were estimated to be about 20,000,000 in the early 21st century.