Pre-history about Dang valley and Tharu in generous People
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Pre-history about Dang valley and Tharu in generous People
The picturesque valley of Dang is located on 85.54 east longitude and 27.37-28.21 the north latitude. It is between the Chauria (Siwalik in India) range to the south and the Mahabharata to the north in the inner Terai region of mid-region of western Nepal. Though Dang and Deokhuri are two separate valleys, both of them constitute district called Dang-Deokhuri. The Churia range divides the two valleys from north to south. The southern valley is called Deokhuri surrounded by another Churia hill, the Duduwa near the border between Nepal and India. The Churia range is considered wery ancient particularly as the house of our early ancestors. It is argued that the Ramapithecus and ancestor of Homo spiens had lived in the remotest past of human being. These ranges provide them with a sutiable climatic condition. In 1982, geologist come to the conclusion that the early hominid group preferred to live in the around the Siwalik range of Nepal (Janak Lal Sharma- “Nepalma Manab jatiKo Purkha” (Ancestors of man in Nepal). Ancient Nepal, No 61-64 (Dec 1980-July 1981). P.1-121.
Thus the Siwalik range has been considered as the home of the early man probably from the early stage of human evolution. Ths Siwalik (Churia) belt of Dang is the same belt, where the fossilized form of the early human ancestors, the Ramapithecus was found at the Butwal Siwalik Range. A fossil of Ramapithecus were found in a place near Butwal, Lumbini Zone of Western Nepal in December 1980. It was discovered by Dr J.H. Hutchinson, G.E.Lewis and L.S.B. Leakey. The Ramapithecus has been studies from the piont of view of the development of Hominid and it has been proved that the Ramapithecus is the first in this chain, which existed about 14 million to 8 million years ago. Robert M.West first undertook the geological study of Dang valley from the American museum and teh Department of Mines of HMG, Nepal in 1976. Robert M. West and other -”Vertebrate Fauna from Neogene’s Siwalik Group Dang Valley Western Nepal” Journal of the Paleontology, V. 52 No. 5 (1878 P. 1015-1022)2. The team conducted its study in seventeen localities of Dang. At that time they discovered many fossilized froms of the verebrate animals; such as fish, crocodile, snake, tortoise and reptiles from different localities. Similarly, after six years (e.g. in 1982). Robert M. West- ” Synergic Vertebrate paleontology and Geology of Nepal; Summary of the 1982. Another expedition was conducted by the same team in the southern frige of the Dang valley. They succeeded in discovering the fossil of the horse. This is the first horse fossil that has ever been found in Nepal. All these fossil are now preserved at the Swayambhu Natural history Museum.
2. Tools of the Pre-Historic Man
Pre history covers the phase of the history before the beginning of the written records. when we come to study the pre-historic man, it is artifacts or stone implements that give us information about the ancient culture and the way of life. These tools quality and techniques also reveal the cultural advancement of the stone Age Industry. In Dang valley, many stone tools of middle Paleolithic and Neolithic age have been unearthed from different localities, from this evidence it is suggested that the people made third adobe in this valley from the Middle Paleolithic period.
When Gudrun Corvinus from the University of Germany took geological and Paleolithic environmental study of Dang in 1984 (Gudrun Corvius-”Prehistoric Discoveries in the Foot Hills of the Himalayas in Nepal 1984 AD”. Ancient Nepal, No. 86-88 (1985, PP 7-11)3. She collected numerous Paleolithic tools from Dang and Deokhuri along the Churia hills. The artifacts that she has collected are quartzite, silica and tuffacious materials. These are flake, core and core scrapper of the Paleolithic and Mesolithic times. Some of these tools are like Mesolithic in nature. Thus the stone tools of the three phrase represents their importance from Paleolithic to Neolithic period. The observation ot the caves of Chamere,Mulkot and Chillikot, located on the Mahabharata slope aslo support the Paleolithic settlement. The cave of Mulkot 11 Km north of Praseni on Ghorahi-Tulsipur road, is a very big one, it is 60 feet high with vast expansion in its interior. So, it must be an impotant particularly for the stone age man. If excavation is carried out, more thigs can be exposed here.
Human occupation in Nepal can be dated back at least to the Middle Pleistocene with the discovery of the handaxe culture there. From the evidence of handaxe in the Himalayan fothills, the presistoric occupation in Nepal has been shown to be of greater antiquity than hitherto expected. The handaxe point to connection with the Indian handaxe cultures and are the north-eastmost handaxe population of the Indian subcontinent. They also indicate that the Himalays formed the nothern boundary of the extension of the classical handaxe cultures in African and Indian tradition.
Occupation in Nepal foothills continued during the later Pleistocene and the earlier Holocene with the veriety of flakes and choppers industres, the oldest of which is a Lavallois prepared biade-flake industry at Arjun 3. In the Holocene, a microlithic industry in the classical Indian tradition is present in the Deokhuri valley in the west Nepal. While in east Nepal a very different Mesolithic indusry is found at Patu with adzes. scrapers, uniface and sumatraliths and no microlithic element at all. The Patu industry seems to have more affinites with wouth eastern Asia (with the Hoabinhinas) rather than with the classical Indian prehisoric cultures.(GUDRUN CORVINUS; The prehistory of Nepal: A Summary of the Results of the Last Ten Years of Research; Journal of the Nepal Research Centre”: Vol. X 1996, p.8).4
Prof. Ram Niwas Pandey of Tribhwan University carried out ther first pre-historic study of Dang in 1966. ( Janak Lal Sharma and N.R. Banjaree-”Neolithic tools from Nepal and Sikkim”. Ancient Nepal, No. 9 (1969) p.57.5 He found the Neolithic tools at Katuki Sewar, 2 Km south of Narayanpur on the pebble bed of a small stream. It is long Neolithc axe measuring 19cm in lenth, 7.3cm in cuttin edge and 4cm at the butt. The axe is made of whitesh grey fillet with a green core. similarly, 1968, Janak Lal Sharm (Ibid.p.57)6 from the Department of Archaeology, HMG found antother Neolithic axe from Gwar Khola, about a half mile east ot Targaon Airpot. It was made of greissic granite. It is 8.8cm long and the cutting edge is about 7cm diameter. Beside these two Neolithic axes Dilli Raj Sharma aslo found a Neolithic Celt at Bijaur during the fieldwork in 1981. (Dilli Raj Sharma-” Dang Upatyakama Prata Navapasankalin Aujar” (Neolithic tool found in Dang valley) Gorkhapatra Bhadra 1, 2039 B.S.).7 It was found at the time of the construction of Ghorahi-Tulsipur road, which was dug approximately 10 feet deep from the surface.
This is the Celt made in dark greenish Chalcedony Celica. Its lenth and surface are 7m and 5.3cm respectively. However, but its end is broken, it must have been round/narrow so that it can be used by fitting into the hole of a wooden stick. Thus, from the occurrence of different type of size of Neolithic tools, it is concluded that Dang is actually a proper meeting place of two cultures, one expanding from Assam and Sikkim and the other Nort Indian. The Garo and Naga hills of Assam. (H,D. Sankalia Pre-history in India and Pakistan. Indian University of Bambay, 1962), pp. 233-235)8 have found square size axes with resembles the tools of east Indian type and is apparently different from the Katuki Sewar’s. Gudrun Covins has come ti the conclusion that the tools of the Katuki Sewar was virtually taken from Tibet.(Corvinus-op. Cit. p.3)9 whether this tool was imported or even an indigenous as Dang Valley shows same influences of nearby Neolithic culture.
Beside pre-historic impotance, Dang also possesses historical importance too. since the ancient time, Dang valley has been the home of Tharus. Tharus are one of the major indigenous tribal terai people of Nepal. In Dang valley of inner terai Nepal they are living in theis vally since Paleolithic and Neolithic period. Gudrun remark it while she was taking geological and Paleolithic environmental study of Dang in 1984.(Gudrun Corvinuus- “Pre-historic Discoveries in the foothills of the Himalays in Nepal, 1984. Ancient Nepal, NO. 86-88 (1985) pp, 7-11).10 According to NR Banarjee & J.L. Sharma” Tharus of Dang have been living from two hundred thousands years ago in Dang Valley.”(N.R. Banerjee & J.L. Sharma- “Neolithic Tools from Nepal & Sikkim”, Ancient Nepal, No. 9 (1969 p. 57).11
3. About Tharus Indigenous People
Enduring Malaria diseases, the tharu caste has been preserving the environment from the ancient time, living with the wild animals like elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, bears, crocodiles, snakes etc from Mechi to Mahakali in the nothern and southern portion Charkose Jhadi (dense forest of Nepal)
In may ways, the economic history of Nepal has been a history of a clear geographical and political division between the pahar (hills) and the madhes (the Tarai plain) Geographically, madesh means mid-land, since the Tarai plain is situated in between the hills of Nepal and India, it is considered mid-land or frontier zone, this image of Tarai could have been originally linked to its deadly malaria and relatively not healthier environment. Such a division is aslo reflected in the demographic division particularly in terms of ethnic power structure and control. (Nanda R. Shrestha, Landlessness and Migration in Nepal, P. 166).12 First of all, Terai was opened for the immigrants of Bihar and Bangali. Indian people who heavily deforested the dense forest of Eastern & Mid-Tarai land of Nepal.
Joshi and Rose (1966:10) accurately note that the most important group numerically, socially, and politically in much of Nepal is composed of Indo-Aryans, Migration from the plain as well as hill areas of northern India. They inhabited more fertile lower hills, river, valleys and plains. The second major group consists of communities of Mongolian origin, which inhabit the higher hills from the west to the east (also Caplan 1970). A third and much smaller stratum comprises a number of tribal communities such as the Tharus and the Dhimals of Tarai; they may be remnants of indigenous communities whose habitation predates the advent of Indo-Aryan and Mongolian elements. (Nand R. Shrestha p. 166).13
The Terai citizens are also viewed as having a closer affinity with India than with Nepal; their loyalty to the central authority of Nepal is always suspected rather than expected by the ruling elite’s. They are often called the madhesis. While the term madheshi literally means a Terai (plain) inhabitant, colloquially it has a demeaning connotation-an alien or an uncivilized immigrant from northern India (Ibid. p. 167).14
The land settlement efforts in Terai made by successive goverments can be divided into three major period (Ojha 1983). They are pre-unification period (1769-1816), post-war period (1816-1950) & aften (1950 at present).
After 1950s Chitawan Resettlement Project (1954-1956), and Resettlement in Nawalparasi (1985) was launched in the inner Terai and Terai. Malaria eradication program had been launched in Nepal in the nationwide basis since 1964, after that Terai become the healthier, attractive and accessible place for the hill people. Hill Tarai migration become the trend. The indigenous Tharu people of Dang were forcefully displaced from their original place. Their rights on land, water and forest were snatched. They become landless and bonded labors. Not only did they lose their territory but also they lost their own Tharu language, culture. Religion (Pantheism) and art. According to Mahes Chaushary ” Between the census period of 1961 to 1971. Within ten years interval near about 61000 tharus were forced to migrate from Dang ot outside (Banke, Bardia, Kailali, Kanchanpur and even in Indian U.P. border. Now a days so called Madheshi (Jha and high caste) people and linguistics are saying that tharus have not their own original mother tongue, their mother language is Maitheli, Bhojpuri and Awadhi, l.e. Civil Society forum Workshop for Research Program or Social Inclusion and Nation Building in Nepal Day 2, Session presented paper, wwwSNV.). This type of idea cannot promoted integration but it promoted disintegration and we can say that this is not the nation building process. where as the Mowist insurgents have been declared Terai region as two freed zones such as estern Terai Madhesi freed zone and western Terai Tharu freed zone.
However the tharu language of Terai is suppressed by Maithali, Bhojpuri and Awadhi language speaking people but the tharu people are accepting their entity of Tharu language because there are the unity among the dilect of different Tharu language, so their effort is worthless.
In this context one renowned person of Tharu community Ex-Attorney General Mr. Rama Nanda Prasad Singh rightly said, “The fanciful unfounded marligned and false story about the Tharu community has done much damage to the community’s growth and progress which both the government of Nepal and India have in view(Rama NBanda Prased Singh, Ex-Attorny General of Nepal, At a press conference in Patna (India), May 17, 1988, p.1).15 The old census of Tharus in India as quoted by Indian writer S.K. Srivastava shows that their number is gradually decreasing. According to him, the census of 1881 enumerated their total population in U.P. Province as 27172 whereas in 1971, the number was 2238. In the 1951 census (India) Tharus were not enumerated separately. (S.K. Srivastava, The Tharus -A study In Culture Dynamics, Agra University Press, 1958, p.9.).16
In Nepal, the total population of Tharus according to the 1952-54 census was 359600 out of 8235500, making them the fifth largest ethnic group in the country. According to this census the majority lived in the Far-Western Terai (Banke, Bardia, Kailali nad Kanchanpur districts jointly). in the census 1971, the Tharu population is 495881 out of 11555983 and the Tharu language is the sixth major spoken language in the country. According to this census the largest number of Tharus in one single district is found in Kailali District (103939) of Seti Zone, Bardia District (77496), of Bheri Zone is the second position while Dang-Deokhuri (72475) of Rapti Zone comes third. Althouth in the census of 1952-54 the highest Tharu populated district was dang, But, after malaria eradication most of the Tharus were migrated from dang to Kailali, Bardia district. In the latest census of 2001, the population of Tharus are 1533879 which cover fourh-largest group in Nepal.
4. About Tharu king Dangisharan:
According to the legend, Sukaura was no more then a palace of the king Dangisharan. It is also believed that the name Dang was given after Dangisharan he might have come from the medival period. The fragment and its artistic design aslo support its medieval characters. His successors were Lughu Dangi, Apar Dangi, Chital Dangi, Arang Dangi, Magar Dangi, Sarang Dangi, Uragsen, Madalasa Rani, Madalsa Rani, Manikya Parikchek and Ratna Parikchek.
In such a historical and geographical background, Tharus are the original people, the pionner of civilization and with typical socio-cultural assets in Dang. If these national property is conserved and promoted, there is good possibilities of cultural tourism and socio-economic development of indegenious Tharu is in Dang contributing in natioal economic development.
1. (Janak Lal Sharma- “Nepalma Manabjati Ko Purkha” (Ancestors of man in Nepal). Ancient Nepal, No 61-64 (Dec 1980-July 1981). P.1-12.
2. Robert M. West and other -”Vertebrat Fauna from Neogene Siwalik Groupo Dang Valley Western Nepal” Journal of the Paleontology, V. 52 No. 5 (1878 P. 1015-1022)
3. (Gudrun Corvius-”Prehistoric Discoveries in the Foot Hills of the Himalayas in Nepal 1984″. Ancient Nepal, No. 86-88 (1985, PP 7-11)
4. (GUDRUN CORVINUS; The prehistory of Nepal: A Summary of the Results of the Last Ten Years of Research; Journal of the Nepal Reserarch Centre”: Vol. X 1996, p.8)
5. (Janak Lal Sharma and N.R. Banjaree-”Neolithic tools from Nepal and Sikkim”. Ancient Nepal, No. 9(1969) p.57
7. (Dilli Raj Sharma-” Dang Upatyakama Prata Navapasankalin Aujar” (Neolithic tool found in Dang valley) Gorkhapatra Bhadra 1, 2039 B.S.).
8. (H,D. Sankalia Pre-history in India and Pakistan. Indian University of Bambay, 1962), pp. 233-235)
9. (Corvinus-op. Cit. p.3)
10. (Gudrun Corvinuus- “Pre-historic Discoveries in the foothills of the Himalays in Nepal, 1984. Ancient Nepal, NO. 86-88 (1985) pp, 7-11)
11. (N.R. Banerjee & J.L. Sharma- “Neolithic Tools from Nepal & Sikkim”, Ancient Nepal, No. 9 (1969 p. 57)
12. (Nanda R. Shrestha, Landlessness and Migration in Nepal, P. 166)
13. (Nand R. Shrestha p. 166)
14. (Ibid. p. 167)
15. (Rama NBanda Prased Singh, Ex-Attorny General of Nepal, At a press conference in Patna (India), May 17, 1988, p.1)
16. (S.K. Srivastava, The Tharus -A study In Culture Dynamics, Agra University Press, 1958, p.9.)
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