December 7, 2007 at 7:09 pm 1 comment



Tharus pervade all along the east-west lowland Terai belt as well as in the inner Terai villages of Chitawan, Dang, Surkhet and Udayapur. They are considered the first native people of that part of Nepal. According to the regions of their inhabitation, each respective Tharu clan has its own ethnic identity, dialect and culture. Tharus have their own languages but the respective Tharu languages are influenced by Awadhi, Bhojpuri and Maithili languages, depending on the regions of their inhabitation. Because of their facial and physical features, they are considered Mongoloid. They mainly practice Buddhism and Animism. The census of 1991 places the Tharus at 5.4% of the national total population of Nepal. Their main occupation is farming, and Tharus enjoy many similarities with the agro-based Jyapus of the Kathmandu Valley. According to Census 2001, their population is 1,533,879.

Tharus are largely populated indigenous minority nationalities who have settled all over Nepal along the whole of the Terai belt and the adjoining Inner Terai, including Udayapur, Chitawan, Nawalparasi, Dang, Deukhuri and Surkhet Valley from ancient times. Culturally and linguistically Tharus are divided into subgroups. Culturally the Tharus of Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari are known as Morang Kochila, the Tharus living in Udayapur, Saptari and the area west to it are called Western Kochila, those living in central and Midwestern Terai are called Katharia, Dangaha (Dangoura, Dangaura) and Desauri and those living in the far western region are known as the Rana Tharus of Kailali-Kanchanpur (Rajaure, BS2056).

The language of the Tharus of Mongoloid stock is related to Indo-European family of languages. The language of the Tharus of the area east of Bagmati to Mechi is influenced by Maithili. The language of the Tharus living in the west from Bagmati to Tinau is influenced by Bhojpuri, the language of Tharus from Tinau to Mahakali in the west is influenced by Awadhi and the language spoken particularly by Rana Tharus from Karnali to Mahakali is influenced by the Braja language or by Khadi Boli (Rajaure, ibid).

Tharus are rich in cultural heritage. Their verbally communicated literature is very rich. They have their own special costumes and dresses. Their ornaments have a unique style. They have handicrafts of their own style, which are prevalent in domestic use. Once the navel of a baby gets dried up completely, say in four or five days, the baby’s mother takes bath on the banks of a river and goes to simple worshipping of gods to purify herself from contamination of giving birth to a baby. The ritual of first haircut is performed by the child’s maternal uncle. Although marriages are traditionally arranged at an early age, some changes are seen in the marriage patterns nowadays. Marriage is either by arrangement or by elopement. Corpse of the dead is either cremated or buried. Tharus have their own community leader who is called Mahato.

Tharus are worshippers of nature heavily influenced by Hindus. They worship various spirits, gods and goddesses, including goddess of forest, rivers, streams and floods. A special type of priest, called ‘gurau’, is employed to satisfy the gods and goddesses by worshipping them. The guraus are of two types: those who worship the gods and goddesses for protecting villages and grain fields are called ban gurau and those who satisfy the ancestral deities and dead parents are called ghar gurau (Muller-Boker, 1999:75)

Tharus are well-known peasant farmers of the Terai. The state, having considered the Tharus as the source of income from land, has granted special privileges to them from time to time (see Krauskoff and Meyer, 2000). Besides agriculture, they are seen engaged in animal husbandry. Kamaiyas, however, live in the houses of their landlords, take loan from them and work in their farms in return. The government of Nepal declared Kamaiya system illegal on 17 July 2000. [NEFIN]



Entry filed under: Articles.

The Madhesis of Nepal Tarai Burning, But Politics Gets More Organised

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. madhesi putra  |  December 8, 2007 at 4:57 am

    it is really nice to know about our madhesi tharu brothers
    but this stupid Nefin, maoists, and the state are trying to divide and rule madhesh, and the culprit bhulai chaudhary is just enjoyin facilities from pahadia netas, and is an unsuccessful populist

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Celebration of 1,00,000

Madhesi Voice

United We Celebrate

People Celebrating faguwa (Holi), with the fun of music, quite popular among Terai people. Holi is celebrated each year on the eve of falgun purnima Faguwa (Holi) Celebration

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