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Federalism by Jill CottrellFederalism Issues in Designing a Federal System by Jill Cottrell in english language Download Powerpoint file Read more

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

Madhesi/ terai/ minorites

Kusunda

Kusundas are probably the most endangered species of the aboriginal ethnic groups of Nepal. They prefer to live separately and alienated from other people. They select secluded forest areas for their inhabitation. Sparsely found in the districts of Gorkha, Kaski, Salyan, Pyuthan, Dang, Dailekh and Surkhet, the Kusundas resemble the Chepangs in their observances. Male Kusundas are also known as Ban Raja (kings of the forests) and their women as Ban Rani. They have their own language. Some Kusundas call themselves Chhantyals. Others do not address themselves by their ethnic surnames. The Kusunda language and culture are on the brink of extinction. Instead of making their livelihood from agriculture, they prefer to forage for tubers for their food. They do not drink milk of bovines. Cow dung is almost taboo. Almost all of them are landless and illiterate. According to Census 2001, their total number is 164.

Also known as Banmanchhe and Banraja, Kusundas are an indigenous people of Nepal. Although a nomadic tribe used to roaming in the jungle to hunt animals and look for root foods like yam, dwelling in jungle itself, collecting taxes from other tribes in earlier times, Kusundas have now become an endangered tribe (Ukyab and Adhikari, 2057:11). Earlier, Kusundas were said to be living in areas like Dhading, Gorkha and Tanahu. They are also found in the Western Region. The Kusundas are worshippers of nature. They became marginalized due to intercaste marriages and change of clan names. They were identified in association with Chepangs (Bista, 1996; Sharma, 2044). In Dang Kusundas have been living in the vicinity of jungles by building houses (Rana, 2057). It has been noticed that there are settlements of Kusundas in Tanahu, Dang, Pyuthan, Rolpa and Surkhet (Rana, 2058). The districts having jungle areas from Dhading, Gorkha, Tanahu, Kaski and Makwanpur to the districts of the Midwestern Region are the traditional areas of settlement of Kusundas.

An investigation conducted during the year AD2000 discovered around 50 Kusundas in Tanahu, Kaski, Dang, Rolpa, Pyuthan and Surkhet. Out of these there were only seven Kusundas who were pure ones, that is those who were not born of parents who had intercaste marriages. Kusundas like Rajamama of Tanahu, Lil Bahadur of Pyuthan and Puni of Rolpa are some of the very few people who can give information about the language of Kusundas. According to the census of 2001, however, there are 164 Kusundas and those who can speak Kusunda language are 87.

The Kusundas tribe has a language of its own. In the opinion of BK Rana Magar (2058), this language is of Tibeto-Burman family while other scholars are of the view that this language seems to be of Burusasky family (Pokharel, 2057).

Kusundas, when a new baby is born, slaughter a wild fowl for sacrifice to worship the family deity and Kalbhairava. The purification rite of birth pollution is done by relatives on the elventh day. Marriage is not done within the family clan. The dead ones are buried. When they used to live in jungles, they would leave corpse of the dead behind and go to other places. They have recently started to perform funeral rites.

Kusundas, also called Banrajas, or kings of forests, would not come out of forest in the past. Women would, however, go to villages carrying meat and yam to barter with food grain. They used to determine the length of their stay on the basis of forecast by Dhami-Jhakri and Lamas. They used to kill cocks, wild cocks and pheasants.
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