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Janajati

Kushbadia

Kushbadias or Kuhbadias are mobile tribe of mid-western Terai region. They are known as Pattharkattas also. They are found in Banke and Bardia districts. They settle temporarily around the cities or close to the villages and move from place to place to sell their products. Their facial features subscribe to some lesser Mongoloid strains. They ascertain their origin in east Bhairahawa. Carving stone grinding slates and wheels and weaving ropes and making brooms are their major professions. They also hunt birds and animals and gather fruits and tubers. All of them, with some exception, are landless. Their subsistence base is depleting and their products are being replaced by industrial products everyday. They are striving hard for survival. Almost 95 percent of them are illiterate. They are basically animists and worship Masounia as their principal deity. They strongly resemble the Tharus in their ways of life, language and dress patterns. Kushbadias bury their dead. After the burial, they sit around the cemetery and drink potent moonshine. According to Census 2001, their total number is 552.

ImageAn indigenous people, Kushabadiya, which are found only in Banke and Bardiya districts of Mid- western Development Region, are similar to Tharus in appearance, outlook and customs. They are nature worshippers (Ukyab and Adhikari, BS2037:10). Kushabadiyas are also called Kuhabadiyas by pronouncing 'sh' as 'h'. Local people also call them 'Silkat' or 'Pattharkatta', meaning one who cut stone (GC, BS2057). Because they are nomadic, Kushabadiya can be compared to Rautes. The only difference is that Rautes roam in jungles whereas Kushabadiya go around the vicinities of settlements. Recently, however, they have started to settle at one place (Gautam and Thapa Magar, 1994:354).

The settlement of Kushabadiyas is in Nepalgunj, Indrapur, Manikpur of Banke and Gulariya and Mathurapur of Bardiya. They claim that they came from somewhere in Bhairahawa. They can also be found in the border areas of India. As regards the population of Kushabadiyas, there are 210 people from 35 households in Banke (Gautam and Thapa Magar, 1994:356) and 150 people in Bardiya (GC, BS2057). Some families have come from India also. In the census of 2001 their population is 552. They use Abadhi language while talking to outsiders and a separate language of their own while talking among themselves.

Kushabadiyas have distinct rites for birth, marriage and death. They slaughter pig, worship family deities and drink spirit when a son is born in the family. The shave the hair of both son and daughter when they are two years old. When the daughter attains two or three years of age, they announce her marriage. They prefer marriage with close relatives. They observe mourning when someone in the family dies. The corpse of the dead is buried and the participants of funeral procession drink spirit sitting around the tomb (Ukyab and Adhikari, BS2057:10).
Kushabadiyas eat coarse rice and maize as their food. They also eat the meat of mice, cat, gohoro (iguana), fox, cock, goat, etc. The Kushabadiyas of Banke do not engage in agricultural operations whereas those of Bardiya do. Raising pigs and asses is their characteristic feature. They take pride in hunting.

They have their own social organization. A community chief, namely Badghar (head), is elected to solve various problems that arise in the community. They abide more by their own customs than by law. Kushabadiyas worship their family deity called Masaunia. They worship Mahishasur, too. They become purified after having water sprinkled over them by a washerman. They offer pig as sacrifice to their family deity (GC, 2057). Their main occupations are chiselling pickle stones and grinding stones, and making ropes and broom for sale in the market. Some of them in Bardiya even do farming. Animal husbandry, pig farming and hunting are their traditional occupations.

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