The Plains People: The tarai people are not one faceless group

October 20, 2006 at 10:52 am Leave a comment

The Plains People

The tarai people are not one faceless group; they are diverse and differentiated.

by Ramashish Prasad


Much of the tarai society has today become a unique amalgam of hill people and plains people. As in the hills, so too in the plains, there is a great diversity of culture and heritage among the people.


The Maithili Brahmans, Bhumihar Brahmans, the Rajputs and the Kayasthas wear the janai (sacred thread). Their numbers are comparatively small, but they enjoy high status because of their ranking in the Hindu caste system, their education and their property.


The Maithili Brahmans are priests whose lives are filled with rites and rituals. They still engage in their occupation as priests. The Bhumihar Brahmans, in contrast, generally live off the land, though they do not actually till. The Rajputs of the tarai are “Kshetriyas” who wear the janai. The Kayasthas formerly looked after the financial aspects of principalities and estates, but are now found mostly in government service and in professions such as teaching.
The commercial class comes next.   In   the   tarai,   they   are, among others,  the Sum, Teli, Kanoo, Kalwar, Rauniyar, Sonar, Rastogi and Kathbahniya. Though attitudes are changing, many upper caste Brahmans still will not eat with nor touch food “contaminated” by these castes. Next in the caste hierarchy are   ……..
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Entry filed under: Articles.

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