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

Janajati

Dhanuk

The Dhanuks, who are settled in the terai districts of Saptari, Siraha and Dhanusa, are either dalits or a minority indigenous people. Dhanuks are called Rajbanshis. Their physiognomy, language and culture are not different from those of Tharus (Ukyab and Adhikari, BS2057:33). They like to settle in river basins. The Dhanuks of eastern Terai are called Kurmi and Patel in the Western Terai (Chaudhari, BS2057). Since the minority naitonality of Dhanuks, like Tharus, are employed by landlords and well-to-do persons to do private household work. They look like Tharus indeed. They are influenced by Hindu religion and the Indian culture across the border.

Dhanuks are scattered from Morang in the east to the Terai in the west. But they Dhanuk are also found in Saptari, Siraha and Dhanusa in the east. Their main area of settlement streches from Saptari to Dhanusa in the plain inner valley south of the Churia hills. It is hard to tell the population of minority nationality of Dhanuks in Nepal. According to the census of 2001, the population of all types of Dhanuks is 188,150. The language of Dhanuks is the Maithili language used in eastern Terai. The rites of birth, death and marriage are performed by giving due importance like other tribes. The pregnant woman is kept in a separate home to arrange assistance from dagrin (midwife) of Chamar caste. The baby is caused to cry as soon as it is born. The ghosts are driven away by putting the branches of jujube and thrownaway shoes in the main gate of the house. The baby is given the milk of she-goat to drink. Chhaiti is done in six days and Barahi in twelve days. In Barahi, worships and festivities are arranged. Dhanuks do not marry withn the clan nor do they have the practice of cross-cousin marriage. In most of the cases, the parents seek the girl or the boy. Due to the influence of neighbours they also have the system of dowry.

When a Dhanuk dies, the corpse is cremated if the deceased is above 12 years of age and is burried if her or she is below 12 years. In some places Brahmins are appointed as priests while in other places they use Dhanuk priests (Chaudhari, BS2057). The houses of Dhanuks are plastered with mud and pictures are drawn of mud, too. Women go outside for work but a male member remains the head of the family. Lots of feasts are organized on various occasions. Some Dhanuks never drink spirit and jaand but Dhanuks in general have the practice of drinking raksi or spirit.

The houses of Dhanuks are built in cluster in the river basins and edges of forests. A group of ten or eleven households makes a bindar committee and five bindars constitute a praganna. The chief of praganna is called maijan. There is one post, called Chaurasi, above him. These institutions manage tribal reconciliation and settlement of disputes. Those who do not abide by rules are expelled from the ethnic group. Mandal, Mahato and Kurmi are their thars (clans).

Dhanuks believe in magic, witchcraft and ghosts. They are divided into two groups in terms of religion: those who worship Kali are called Kaliyaha and others are called Maharkhiya. Those who worship Kali eat meat of pig (pork) and drink spirit or wine, whereas Maharkhiyas do not do so. They worship a goddess called Gahil, who is one of five sisters. The other goddesses are Shitalmata and Goureya Gaiya. The main occupation of Dhanuks is working for big zamindars (landowners) and farming (Bista, 1996). Since they dwell in the river basins and the edges of forests, they do fishing and animal husbandry. Some people of various types within the Dhanuks are even big landowners, but the Dhanuks who belong to the group of minority nationality are absolutely landless. They earn their livelihood by working as agriculture labourer and household servants.

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