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संघीय प्रणाली प्रारुपका सवालहरुFederalism Issues in Designing a Federal System by Jill Cottrell in Nepali language Read more

Janajati

Byasi

The villagers of Byas village to the north of Darchula and the foothills of the Byas Himal are called Byasis. Also called Souka, these Mongoloid animists call themselves Rang. They have their own unique language and ways of life. Their 12th century scripts are found in the caves. Their dress is called chyungwala. The ancestral god of the Soukas of Rolpa is Namjung, who is a principal deity of Bon. Their major festival is called Dhhyoula. Byasis conduct the trade between Taklakot in Tibet and Darchula. They do not celebrate Hindu festivals. The front of their houses are festooned with Buddhist prayer flags called dharchyo. According to linguists, the Souka language is somewhat close to the Magar language. The census 2001 has revealed that their population is 2,103.

ImageAn indigenous people, Byasi, have been named so by outsiders after the Byas Himal in Darchula district of Far-west Nepal. The Byasis are also called Saukas. They, however, like to call themselves Rango after the name of the Ranga cloth worn by priests of the deity Namjung. This indigenous people, which inhabits areas of Kumaon in India as well, is a very small minority group in Nepal. Their face and physiognomy puts them in the Tibeto-Burman family. They live only in some areas of Darchula district in Nepal. A larger number lives in the area of Kumaon region in India across the border from Darchula. The Byasi live at high altitude, Tinkar and Chhangru VDCs as well as the lower Rapla and Sotala VDCs of Darchula district. Their population, according to the census of 2001, is 2,103.

The language of Byasi is different from other languages, it belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family. The language is similar to the Magar language. As the Byasi language has been found written in a cave and the writing dates back to the twentieth century, it is considered a rich language. The culture of Byasi is similar to other nature-worshipping groups that have fallen under the influence of Hinduism. The christening ceremony occurs seven days after the birth of the child. After the child is three months old, a feast is held celebrating the Buchho Bokne ceremony (Sharma, BS2052). Badani Puja is undertaken wishing the first-born son a long life, during which five kid goats are slaughtered for feasting to villagers. This ritual occurs between the age of one and twenty years and is called Bratabandha. The Chhewar ceremony of Byasi children is similar to that of the Majar's.

Although marriages are arranged the Byasi also follow the custom of marriage by capture. The boy elopes with the girl, and a week after goes to his father-in-law's house to get his in-laws' consent to the marriage. They boy offers alcohol and meat to his in-laws, which are partaken together in a ceremony. After the bride and groom eat and make others eat from the same pot, they engage in a dance known as Bhukko Nach. On this occasion, a special type of bread is eaten. The dead body is taken on a bed to the funeral pyre, and after constructing a house-like structure and putting clothes along with the dead body in it, burnt in the funeral pyre. The next day the Byasi again go to the place of funeral and purify the bones. The ashes are buried in the forest.

The Byasi wear a special type of dress known as Chyungwala. They play Bhailo on the occasion of the Dhawala Chad, which falls in the month of Fagun. They also hold festivities on the first day of the month of Magh and in Baisakh. Byasi women wear clothes that appear similar to those of Bhote women. The women are not much socially disadvantaged among the Byasis. There is practice of monogamous marriages. As the Byasi males have to travel for trade and business purposes, women look after the affairs of the household. The Byasi are divided into many subgroups, and some of the subgroups have names similar to Chhetris, like Bohora, Budathoki, etc.

Byasi are nature worshippers. They worship their ancestral deity, Namjung, as their main god, which is a revered figure in Bon religion. The worship of Namjung is carried out with special rituals. The priest ties a cloth, known as Nipujang, around the waist and a cloth, known as Benthelo, around the head. The priest has a respected place in Byasi society. It is said that as the Byasi engage in business by taking loans with interest from merchants they have come to be known as Sauka. Thus, their main occupation is trade and business. The Byasi engage in trading goods between Taklakot in China and Nepal and India. For people living in the northern regions, farming is not enough to maintain their livelihood. The Byasi living in Tinkar and Chhangru live in their villages for six months and come to live on the outskirts of the district headquarters of Darchula Khalanga for six months. The Byasi call this Kumcha. Compared to their brethern in India, Nepalese Byasi are economically disadvantaged and mired in poverty.

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