December 4, 2007 at 5:42 pm 10 comments


Bhulai Chaudhari, General Secretary
Tharu Welfare Society, Nepal

My previous article printed in this newspaper drew attention among the interested intellectuals, who raised various questions. Hereby, I dare to clarify their misunderstandings through this new article based on facts.

Tarai and Madhesh

Firstly, I would like to clarify that in Tharu language, we call “lowland” as Tar and thus Tarai is more natural than “Ter” or Terrain aus pointed out by some.

If Lowland or Tar, would carry all the senses and meanings as mentioned by the ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ however, one thing we must understand that all lowlands do not mean wet, moisten, damp, drench and marshland. Some lowlands may be dry and fertile as well. Thus, as per the geographical features Tar/Tarai is more logical rather than Ter/Terrain. Even in our common practices we do not call Ter/ Terrain.

Another point where I would like to draw the attention is that the notion that the Tharus learnt to call ‘Tar and Upar’ (Low and High in English) words only after the introduction of English or Persian language into our sphere in completely wrong. A point to be noted, Tharu community is more than 3000 years old in this locality, thus the word “Tar” and “Upar” comes from the original Tharu language. (Read, Mr. Brayan Hodson; “Tharus are the pioneer of civilization stated by Willium Krooks”, 1870)

To the question that there is the presence of Terrain (not Tarai) in India, Bhutan and Bangladesh, my clarification in this regard would be that the Terrain is also found in other countries except those mentioned here. Geographically similar places could be found else where, but it does not make any harm to the Nepali Tarai and the Tharus in particular with Terrain found else where. The fact that Terai exists elsewhere as well also proves that “Madhesh” in particular is not only synonymous to Nepali Terai, however, Madhesh in particular still belongs to India but not in Nepal Tarai. The notion that Madhesh is synonymous to Terai is completely wrong.

Birat Nager: the capital of “Madhyadesh”?

It is not true that Birat Nager is the capital of Madhyadesh or “Matasyadesh” (fish country). In reality, Hastinapur was the capital of Madhyadesh or Matasyadesh. It would be wrong to claim Birat Nager as the capital of Madhyadesh only for the sake of proving the presence of Madhesh in the Nepali Tarai, as some Madhesi intellectuals do it regularly.

And also that Birat Nagar is not yet found in India and also at that time, Birat-Nagar was the capital of Birat Desh where Birat was the king and Arjun passed his underground life there during his exile period. How could it be that Dhristharasta-the King of Madhesh and Birat Raja-the king of Birat Desh at the same time rule over the same territory- that are in reality geographically apart [From Hindu Epic Mahabharata]. Thus it also proves that Madhesh has no relation whatsoever with Nepali Terai.

The fact is, Tarai is in Nepal but there is also the presence of Madheshi people in the Nepali Tarai, and they are also Nepali citizens. But, it does not mean that since Madhesi people have lived in Nepal’s Tarai- the place should be called Madhesh. There are also many aborigine ethnic groups like Tharus, Danwar, Rajbansi, Stayal, Jhangar ………….. and other hilly people living together in Tarai- who would not like to be called a Madheshi. So, it would simply be an injustice to call Tarai as Madhesh Pradesh in the name of Madheshi. Thus, it is more preferable to address Tarai rather than Madhesh.

Further, claiming that Tarai-as a “connotation of internal colonization” is a sheer ignorance which will add up to putting question mark on our own nationality and sincerity towards the nation- which some Madhesi intellectuals have been doing that as well, of late. It would also mean that one is refuting to being a Nepali national.

Back to History books:

Prithivi Narayan Shah, at first, married princess Indra Kumari Devi, the daughter of a Sen King called as Hemkarn Sen of Makawanpur. The Sen King did not send his daughter just after they got married, which was as per the Tharu culture and tradition. But as King Prithivi Narayan Shah got angry with the “Sen King”, the relation between them soured; finally, the Shah king attacked the kingdom of Makwanpur, where he got the victory. Then the Sen rulers moved towards Champaran(in India), wherein Sen Tharus could still be found.

Later, for the second time, King Prithivi Narayan married princess of Kashi and he brought many Indians to Nepal while returning home. Those Indians were mainly employed and assigned the task to take revenge with the Tharus. These Madheshi/Indian people from Kashi at first started propagating Madhesh philosophy in Tarai and in course of institutionalizing their philosophy, these Madheshi people gave birth to many administrative units like-“Madhesh Bandobasta Adda” or “Madhesh Report Niksari” or “Kumarichowk Madhesh Pahila Phant” in the Tarai region. The main task of such administrative units were mainly to punish and exploit people of the Tharu origin. But the Tharus never accepted such imposed philosophies rather in turn formed their own organization to counter such Madhesi units. Replacing the “Madhesi Baybastha”, the Tharus constituted “Gady(throne)-Chaurashi (for 84 Pragana),”- which is a Tharu Political Organization that came into existence mainly to replace the Madhesi system and it served the nation for long time. Thus, since then, the Madheshi people, time and again, have tried their best to establish Madhesh in Nepali Tarai, claiming Madhesh as Tarai.

And mistakes are committed sometimes from people from other community too, I would rather say that such mistakes are committed due to ignorance, without having adequate knowledge about who are the real inhabitants of Tarai and that “Madhesh” is not synonymous to Terai. That is why it could be found in some literatures as well Madhesh beign used for Tarai, but mind it never in any authentic records. So, it does not mean that if Tarai is referred sometime as Madhesh in some books, would mean that Tarai is Madhesh.

For example, NEFIN (Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities) has been addressing Madheshi problems for almost four years, though the Madhesis are neither Aadibasi Janjaati nor a member of NEFIN. But, in the future if the Madhesi issues are continuously being raised by such organizations, would it mean that the Madhesis will become Aadibasi Janjaati? Thus it means that only if Madhesi words here and there if referred in some informal documents of the past does not prove that Madhesh can replace Nepal’s Tarai.

Plight of Tharus

In the past, the whole of Tarai was in-habitated only by the Tharu population. But, later, the eastern Nepal Tarai was covered by migrants from India and the western Tarai covered by the migrants from the hills. At present, both the eastern and the western Tarai have been covered mostly by migrants and the Tharus are themselves living in a minority in their own home land.

In the southern part of the eastern Tarai(India included), there are still many Tharu villages, however, there is no Tharu population at all, but the name of the village is still Tharuwahi (for example near Laukahi in Bihar, India). In future, I think this case will become more common in both the East and the West Tarai, if Tharu community themselves do not take the present situation seriously.

Most of us know that the southern boarder of Nepal extended up to “Mungair Killa(Pillar)” in the south of Ganga River but due to the ill intensions of the Indian migrants brought from Kashi, Nepal lost most of its southern part, finally, squeezed into the present size. Nepal mainly lost its land because the Madhesis living in those areas remained silent over the Indian/British takeover. Further, claiming the Tarai as being the colonial sentiment of Madheshi people brings some negative sense against the country.

What is Tiruhut?

The meaning of “Tirhut” should not be distorted as some Madhesi people do. This Tirhut word has been advocated here in favor of Tharuhat. Mr. Al Beruni, a Muslim historian, in 11th century visited the Tirhut part and put forward the motion that it is in reality “Tharuhat”. He advocated that previously it was Tharuhat, then Tilhat and from Tilhat to Tirhut was its transformation. It is due to the ill intension of Madheshi people that Tharuhat is called as Tiruhut. More importantly, they don’t want to show the presence of Tharus in their own geography and in reality as well the presence of Tharus in Tharuhat is very low. Same is the case of Dhanusa district. In Dhanusa district, there is a village called Kurtha in the west of Janakpur which was in the past completely a Tharu village, but currently there is only one Tharu family led by Garbhu Dhami. This is almost from 20 years back record. This story was explained to me by a Mahaseth of the same village. His grand father was the first Mahaseth to settle there. He made me clear that his grand father came from India. But, these days who can believe that it was a Tharu village. This is what is happening in reality and a fact without any proof but with physically verifiable records.

Tharu People:

Tharus are aborigines of Nepal Tarai. They originated in Nepal and they are qualified Nepalis. (Dr.Babu Ram Acharya ” yf?sf] d”n 3/ sxf+”. If somebody says that they are migrated from India in the 15th and 16th centuries, they are making mistakes. They lack the knowledge about Tharus. Because, by DNA test, it is proved that the Tharus are resistant to Malaria(disease) and to acquire this immunity, a community would have to stay in a malarial environment for at least for 3000 years or more. It indicates that Tharu history in Nepal is more than 3000 years. So, the proponent of the 15th and 16th century of Tharu migration to Nepal from India is an irony and it should have been proposed intentionally for the humiliation of Tharu community.

The meaning of Tharuhat is a “Tharu Republic” as it is the transition of “Shakya Republic”. As Shakya Republic does not indicate only Shakya Tharus, in the same way Tharu Republic does not only mean Tharus. It is clear that the whole Tarai was once Shakya Republic from east to the west. (Sharma, Janak Lal, 2039 B.S.: Hamro Samaj: Yek Addhyan).

Madhesi People

Madheshi people in Nepal are basically Indian people who have migrated to Nepal from India however, do qualify as a Nepali citizen and presently inhabit the Nepali Tarai. So, if anybody deviates from this sense, it is his/her ill intension.

Tharu perception on Madhesi

When we Tharu people think about the Madhesis and experience their acts and behaviors being in the same vicinity, we get pretty annoyed. We become more afraid of Madheshi community than other communities. The question is what have the Madhesis given to us? Their attitude and behaviors that is only to take from us is also irritating. Instead of helping our community, the Madhesis have always abused us. No Madhesi writers have ever written even a single word in our favor? However, they have abused us only? And the Madhesis further abusing us claim that we learnt language and started to speak only after the arrival of the ARYAs is too humiliating.

Our concern in only that if the Madhesis have the right to demand their identity from the state, we the Tharus too have the right to demand our rightful identity.
2007-12-04 20:48:13



Entry filed under: Articles.

Promises unkept The Madhesis of Nepal

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Uttam Sunuwar  |  December 5, 2007 at 7:03 am

    Your article is neither able to capture essense of Tharu nor make any clarification of the issue you are trying highlight. Even after going thru it for 3 times I cannot make sense of what you are trying to say, cannot differentiate what is Tharu and what are Madhesh or Tarai.Perhaps you are trying to bring out in light the plights of Tharus but the way its written rather confuses people.

  • 2. madhesi putra  |  December 5, 2007 at 11:49 am

    bhulai chaudhary ji
    it looks like you are very socially and politically naive person
    the word madhesi just didnt origin itself, in fact the word madhesi used to be the weapons of the pahadia people to show domination over the people hailing from the terai, derogatoryily mispronouncing it like madise, marsya, etc., and consequently we people from terai whether tharus, mithilas, bhojpurs etc. used the same word Madhesi as our own self defence weapon and call us Madhesi proudly. it was just an opportunity to call ourselves as madhesis, as a defence mechanism.
    u need to understand that the pahadia rulers are trying to divide us by trying to give us different words or origins.
    the best thing u need to do is go to c k lal’s place and take some advices on this issue.

    have a good day

  • 3. pramod  |  December 5, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    well ii do agree with madhesi putra about the confusion
    it is just divide and rule politics
    we need to be aware
    can u be sure that here in valley u will be respected if u try to call ueself tarains
    the response will be same
    since the perpose was to humiliate instead of madhesi u may be called kamaiyya or some thing else
    i hope u must be aware of the plight of the tharus in western nepal
    it wasnt madhesi who took all their land and settled pahadi migrant
    it was policy of the then mahendra dictator
    and it is well known fact that eastern tharu are brotherly living with so called madhesi.easter tharus are more prosperous than tharus living in western part of nepal
    even their culture ,tradition and language to some extent are different
    so we all people living in tarai are madhesi
    and we consider tharu as our community member just as we too are part of a whole communty tharus too are

  • 4. Pushkar  |  December 5, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Bhulai Ji,
    It is totally ridicules writing. I am compelled to criticize you again that you are still unaware about the identity and definitions of Madhesh and Madheshi. You should know that there are 4 types of definition 1. Based on Geographical analysis 2. Ethnic /racial analysis 3. Colonial analysis. 4. Social-cultural-religious analysis. First of all I suggest you to learn about these four aspects before to write such things.

    You mentioned Madheshi people are Indian people! It is totally a limit crossed idiocy. You should first know about the origination of exiting India and Nepal. Afterward talk about the Madhesh/Madheshi’s identity and its’ origin. You must know the Madhesh and Madheshi exist before the birth of existing India and Nepal. So how come Madheshi are basically Indian people. I think even uneducated people, all most all blind, and deaf also know too about the history of Mithila, Sita and its association with Madhesh and Madheshi. Did you forget the history that you learned during your schooling that Raja Jank or father of Sita was a King of Mithila and Janakpur was a capital of former Mithila state! I just gave you this example because you are unable to understand the scholarly language and neither considers the concerned authentic literature,

    Or would you like to challenge the Hindusm History? Do you dare to submit any research based proof that could challenge the Ramayana (a holy Hindu script)?

    Only mentally paralysed people can say that Madheshi are Indian people.

    If you have any further remarks, please writ me, your article is also posted in Nepal Officers Online, so you could monitor the discussion,

  • 5. Suman  |  January 18, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Article full of errors and propaganda!! Just so many errors to point out.

    Editors should have at least correct very obvious things like.

    “It is not true that Birat Nager is the capital of Matasyadesh” (fish country). In reality, Hastinapur was the capital of Madhyadesh or Matasyadesh”

    Also, see

  • 6. Son of of Tirhut  |  January 20, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    The most stupid writer ever written. He himself seems confused.

    Somewhere you have mentioned that there was Thruwahi in Bihar, then why don’t you claim that part was once part of you stupid Janjati’s land. I accept you as indegenous people of western Nepal but it doesn’t mean you can go against madhesi people, we have always been living as brothers but these days some oppertunist from your community they claim themselves to be non-madhesi. So do get respect from Khasiya people in form of Kamaiyas, who have put you such condition in western terai, Dang and Chitwan?

    Why aren’t you people called Nepali till up to date?

    If you people keep on doing this kind of activities you will be n o where, neither Pahadi nor Madhesi.

    You people have immigrants of Thar(Rajsthan, India) having the title Rana, singh and some more, why don’t you spell them out of your community.

    Don’t you know how you people were treated in Western terai, you daughers and sister were gifted by elite pahadi people (ruler class) to one another in the form of things.

    I know you people have more grievances than we. We can share the power and rights once our autonomous terai is obtained. Let’s join our hand and declare out entire terai as sinle autonomous state.

    Jai Madhes/Tharuhat/Terai!!!!!

  • 7. Sushil Chaudhari  |  February 27, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Bhulai Ji
    I am agree with you . Tharus are the Adibasi of Tarai not madhesi. I know Madhesi community are dominated by Pahadis but Tharus are exploited from both side. We can say easily that they have written magrint history and Bangsawali too. We are all Nepali there is no problem but if anyone dare to challenge Tharus and their habitant we could not control our patience . Now who from where is not imprtant How to include in maimstreem of development is current ageda for discussion. We need to comromise to build nation in new era.

  • 8. crazybrtguy  |  February 28, 2008 at 6:55 am

    This article is not very good but it obviously brings out some points to consider.
    As regards to the comments given by Mr. Sushil and others regarding the declaration of declaring Madhesh as an autonomous state, all I can say is YOU GUYS ARE FREAKIN’ RETARD PEOPLE.
    First of all, I don’t understand the point of arguing of the past history and digging out each other’s pros and cons instead of having a rational thinking of What is wrong? What is right?

    I don’t think it is a good idea to let terai be an autonomous state no matter what to stupid people like you guys to run the show.

    I am a madhesi too. And let me tell you sth plain and clear,

    UNITED WE STAND- It doesn’t mean that all madhesis only stand and fight …it means everyone from each and every caste people in madhesh needs to stand up for issues of terai no matter he is of pahade origin or madhesi origin.

    Also, regarding the point that Mr. Pramod and other dull minded useless trash are saying, Let me tell you sth about the usage and creation of words.

    If somebody calls you “MADSHYA” or sth like that, don’t you figure out that he can’t pronounce properly or may be he is not used to see our faces. Right, that is where the problem is…

    Division and choice of words is everywhere and there is nothing to argue on that. Even in US, people who follow hindu religion are called Hindus and people who follow muslim religion are called Muslims. Now if you start arguing to them by telling that they are trying to intimidate you by telling that you are Hindu or Muslim, then YOU are foolish and they are NOT.

    So try to understand, it was that word “MADHESI” that has made all of us still now and we retain our identity. Tharus, Pahades, Sunuwar, Danuwar, etc is the same.
    If you are fighting for what they have told you till now, i am sorry brother, its not worth a fight.
    Its time to think about the future, think about harmony and peace, think about equality and working together.

    We have seen the history of separated regions, India and Pakistan, Sri Lanka with Tamil Tigers, Bangladesh and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, etc.
    Nobody is happy….the war is never-ending.
    If you think that pahades from Nepal is giving problems today and calling you Madhesis today, tomorrow after autonomy, there will be some other people from India who will be calling us by different derogatory name later.
    Its not something so simple as Nepalese people from pahad are our enemies and those from India are friends. No, i don’t accept that even God comes here and tells me.
    At least, people from Nepal feel that madhesh or terai, whatever you guys say, i don’t want to argue on that, is a
    part of Nepal. They believe that it is a revolution for rights and not separate land or state.
    In other case, if we become autonomous, hahha….we are DHOBI KA GADHA NA GHAR KAA NAA GHAATKAA..

    Stick to the basic brothers…

  • 9. crazybrtguy  |  February 28, 2008 at 7:32 am

    I am sorry sushil, i didn’t mean to aim bad remarks on you. The comments are targeted to other madhesi brothers who are arguing for autonomous state.

  • 10. Dr Ramesh  |  February 28, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Why you Madhesi are trying to make from Tharu- madhesi.
    What you want is clear- make all living in Terai Madhesi- and then to show muscles to Pahade. Though we Pahade are stupid(you think like this), we at least understand your desire.

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