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

Janajati

Meche

Being residents of the Mechi River banks and the neighborhoods in the district of Jhapa, they are aptly called the Meches. They are closer to the Bodos in civilization. According to historians, Meches were nomadic until a few decades ago. Their myth connects them with Limbus. They became settlers when the land range and forest frontiers of their free roaming became demarcated and restricted. They are animists and Ai Bali Khungri and Batho Barau are their principal deities. They also worship the deities of the forest. Their language derives from the Tibeto-Burman family. Meches are also called Bodos. They are at present engaged in farming. According to Census 2001, their population is 3,763.

ImageMeche is a minority nationality dwelling in the basins of the Mechi River, the river in the far-eastern border of Nepal. The Meche indigenous people derive their name from the Mechi River. Meches are a tribe who live in small communities in jungles and move from place to place frequently (Sharma, BS2052). Meches are also called Bodos in Asam areas. They have nowadays started to live in one place and in urban areas also. This tribe has been living in Jhapa from time immemorial (Timsina BS2057). According to the mythology of Meches, they are brethren of Rais, Limbus and Kirats, who settled in the Terai as they were left behind in course of their journey. According to the census of 2001 their population is 3,763.

In the field of language, Meches and Bodos appear very close to each other. In India Meches are described under the Kachhari community. In the Indian census of 1881, the Kachharis are shown to have 18 groups, including Bodo, Dimasa, Lalung, Madahi, Mech, Rabha, Sarania, Hojai, Garo, Rajbanshi or Koch, Chutiya, Moran, Hajong, Tippera, Mahaliya, Dhimal, Solanimiya and Phulgaria (Singh, 1994:431). The Meches of Nepal do not have written literature nor has a grammer been prepared. It does have a vocabulary though (Sharma, BS2051/52). This language has been placed in the Tibeto-Burman group (Basumatari-Meche, BS054-055). But there is less use of ª (kna), ` (ayan), 0f (ana), g (na), d (ma) in this language like in other languages of Tibeto-Burman family.

The settlements of Meche tribe are found in Jhapa district. There is a local saying that Meches are older than the name of the Mechi River. The name Mechi was given possibly because the river was flowing through a Meche settlement (Shrestha, BS2044). Campbell had first mentioned Meche and Bodos in 1839, saying that they were found in the area between Brahmaputra and Kankai rivers. Boche or Bodo are spread around Duars of North Bengal and Bhutan (Sharma, BS2052). Their settlements, in most of the cases, are based in jungles or on the banks of rivers and streams (Sharma, BS2051/52).

The way of living, costumes, ornaments, rituals and culture of Meches are unique and resemble those of the Bodo tribe of India. Birth pollution is not over until the umbilical of a newborn falls off its body. Their priest, Raja, makes the family purified. Marriage is of different types. The girl is paid money, too. The dead ones are buried and food and local beer are placed on the top of the tomb (Sharma, BS2052).

Meches observe Chharkela (the worship of Laxmi). They are very much fond of songs and dances. Drums, pipe and bamboo split canes are their musical instruments. They celebrate both the planting and harvesting of crops. Meches have 13 thars (clans). They have traditional village councils and the councils have a chief (Bista, BS1996). Their Gaunburas (village chiefs) are called Makhal. The vocations of Meches also vary with their thars (Basumatari-Meche, BS2054/55). Meches are animists and worshippers of nature. Mainao or Aibali Khungri and Batho Barau are their prominent gods and goddesses. River worship of Meches is famous. (Sharma, BS2052). For them siundi (a kind of milk and thorny plant) is a plant where gods and goddesses live. They do not worship idols nor do they have temples to gods or goddesses. They prepare fertiliser of ashes by burning fire in places and do farming by using such fertiliser for one or two years. Recently they have started to do agriculture work permanently. Agriculture itself is their main occupation. Likewise, some of them go for hunting and fishing. Meche women are very industrious. They are seen weaving clothes for their family's use by installing looms in almost every house.

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