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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



The dwindling community of Kisans has only about 700 members left at present. They live in the villages of Dhulabari and Dhaijan of Jhapa District. Their language is Dravidian, and their script is Uraun. The traditional name of these people is Kuntam. At present, however, they are known by various other names, such as Kuda, Kora, Mirdha, Kola, Morbha, Birhor, and Nagesia. The men have the tradition of marrying their maternal cousins (maternal uncle's daughters). A widow may also be allowed to marry the younger brother (brother-in-law) of her deceased husband. The Kisans have their own king. Their ancestral deity is Samalai Mahaprobha. The Kisans both practice cremating or burying their dead. Animist and nature worshippers as they are, the Kisans had the infamous practice of killing their women accused of being witches. Though likely to be compared with the Uraun farmers of Orissa and Bihar in India, many characteristics of the Nepalese Kisans' ways of life, however, do not conform to them. The Kisans are farmers. Almost 90 percent of them are illiterates. The Census 2001 has revealed that they numbers 2,876.

Found only in two VDCs of Jhapa district of Nepal, Kisans are an indigenous tribal group belonging to the Dravidian race of Orissa. This tribal group was called Urav in the past. It is said that this minority nationality was brought from Orissa of India to make them work in agricultural operations. So, it was called Kisan (or farmer) (Bhattarai, BS2056). The traditional name of this minority nationality is Kuntam (Ukyab and Adhikari, BS2057:8) Their community leader is conventionally addressed as raja (king).

The settlements of Kisans are in Khuttidangi, a locality situated in the north of Dhulabari VDC and in Dhaijan VDC-8 of Jhapa. This tribe is famous in Orissa of India, although it is found nowhere else in Nepal. According to the census of 2001, the population of Kisans is 2,876. The language of Kisans is Dravidian, but in India they use Oriya script (Singh, 1994:437). From this perspective the language of this minority nationality is quite advanced. There are Nepali Kisans who speak Maithili language very well.

The prosperity and culture of the minority Kisans is comparable to that of Urav Kisans of Orissa and Bihar. A newly-born baby is christened on the twelfth day of its birth while birth pollution is over in six days (Bhattarai, BS2056). It is a practice to marry maternal uncle's daughter. Likewise, marrying widow of elder brother is allowed. It is customary to either bury or cremate the corpse of dead ones. They celebrate Bhadra Ekadashi (11th Lunar day during late October to early September) as a special festival. They believe in ghosts and spirits. Similarly, they are fully confident of the existence of witches.

Socially, this tribe has its own organization and practices. The head of society is called Raja (king), who decides the social rituals and practices. Kisans have many thars (clans) or family titles. They are nature worshippers. Their family deity is ‘Samalai Mahaprobha'. Their religious and social functions are officiated by a priest called Baiga.

The main occupation of Kisans is agriculture, but they also make straw and bamboo mats and sell them in market. They raise chicken and pigs, too. They are gradually becoming landless although they owned some land in the past.

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