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The term Madhesi people
Madhesi people
(Nepali: मधेशी) is ambiguous. Anthropologists use the term for people of Indian ancestry residing in the Terai
Terai
of Nepal
Nepal
and comprising various cultural groups such as Hindu caste
Hindu caste
groups, muslims, merchants and indigenous people of the Terai.[1][2] Many of these groups share cultural traditions and marital ties with people living south of the international border in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
and West Bengal.[3] In recent times, some politicians and journalists have used the term for all Nepali citizens of the Terai.[4] Migrants to the Terai
Terai
from the hills in Nepal
Nepal
and Tharu people
Tharu people
do not consider themselves as Madhesi.[5] Madhesi people
Madhesi people
comprise caste groups like Brahmin
Brahmin
and Dalit
Dalit
as well as ethnic groups such as Maithils, Bhojpuri and Bajjika speaking people.[6] Indian immigrants settled foremost in present-day eastern Nepal
Nepal
Terai
Terai
since the late 18th century, when the rulers of Nepal
Nepal
encouraged deforestation and agricultural development of this region.[7]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 History 3 Demographics of the Nepal
Nepal
Terai 4 Nepali citizenship 5 Culture

5.1 Languages 5.2 Religions 5.3 Marriage system 5.4 Cuisine

6 Tharu culture 7 Politics

7.1 Indian influence in Nepal
Nepal
Terai

8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading

Etymology The word madhesh is thought to be derived from the Sanskrit मध्य देश "madhya desh" meaning "middle country", which refers to "the central region, the country lying between the Himalayas and the Vindhya mountains".[5][8] History Since the late 18th century, the Shah rulers of Nepal
Nepal
encouraged Indian people to settle in the eastern Terai
Terai
through a series of subsidies granted to new settlers. A severe flood of the Koshi River followed by a drought caused famine-stricken Bihari farmers in the 1770s to 1780s to migrate to the Nepal
Nepal
Terai, where they converted forest to agricultural land. Immigration of people from neighbouring India
India
increased between 1846 and 1950.[7] They settled foremost in the eastern Nepal
Nepal
Terai
Terai
together with native Terai
Terai
peoples.[9] In the mid 19th century, Muslim
Muslim
people from the Awadh
Awadh
region were invited to settle in the far-western Nepal
Nepal
Terai, where they received large forested areas for conversion to agriculture.[10] Since the late 1940s, the term 'Madhes' was used by politicians in the Nepal
Nepal
Terai
Terai
to differentiate between interests of the people of the Terai
Terai
and of the hills.[11] In the 1950s, the regional political party Nepal
Nepal
Terai
Terai
Congress advocated more autonomy for the Terai, recognition of Hindi as a national language and increasing employment opportunities for Madhesi people.[12] During 1961 to 1990, the Panchayat government enforced a policy of assimilating diverse cultural groups into a pan-Nepali identity. Legal directives made it an offence to address inequality and discrimination of ethnic groups.[11] After the Panchayat regime was abolished following the People's Movement in spring 1990, disadvanted groups demanded a more equitable share of political resources such as admittance to civil service.[13] The Nepal
Nepal
Sadbhawana Party started lobbying for socio-cultural, linguistic and political rights of Madhesi people. The discussions on rights and demands of Madhesi people
Madhesi people
increased after the end of the Nepalese Civil War, in particular among Madhesi intellectuals and political elites.[12] The political parties Janatantrik Terai
Terai
Mukti Morcha and Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum advocated the idea of an autonomous Madhes
Madhes
province stretching all over the Terai
Terai
and organised violent demonstrations in 2007 to enforce their demands.[14] The United Democratic Madhesi Front formed by Madhesi organizations pressured the government to accept this concept of autonomy under the motto "One Madhes
Madhes
One Pradesh".[11] Several ethnic and religious groups in the Terai
Terai
opposed and resisted this policy under the leadership of Madhesi parties, foremost Tharu and Muslim people.[11][12] Conflicts remain between Madhesi people
Madhesi people
and ethnic groups indigenous to the Terai, between Madhesis and muslims, and between high caste and low caste Madhesis.[15] Demographics of the Nepal
Nepal
Terai The Nepal
Nepal
Terai
Terai
totals 33,998.8 km2 (13,127.0 sq mi), about 23.1% of Nepal's land area. As of 2001, about 48.5% of Nepal's population lived in the Terai, which had the highest density in the country with 330.78 people per sqkm.[16] As of June 2011, the Nepal Terai's human population totalled 13,318,705 people comprising more than 120 different ethnic groups and castes.[17] Nepali citizenship In 1952, a Nepal
Nepal
Citizenship Act was passed that entitled all those immigrants to obtain Nepali citizenship who had stayed in the country for at least five years. The Citizenship Act of 1963 entitled immigrants to receive Nepali citizenship if they were engaged in business and could read and write Nepali.[7] In 2006, the Nepal
Nepal
Citizenship Act was amended to the effect that people born before 1990 and residing permanently in the country obtained the right to Nepalese citizenship.[12] About 2.3 million people received citizenship certificates.[18] The Constitution of Nepal
Nepal
2015 contains provisions for a Nepali citizenship by naturalisation, which can be acquired by:[19]

foreign women who are married to a Nepali man; children of a Nepali woman and a foreign man.

Culture The culture of Madeshi people is complex and diverse. The Muslim
Muslim
and indigenous peoples speak their own languages and have distinct cultural traditions that differ from the Hindu caste
Hindu caste
groups. Latter comprise at least 43 distinct groups.[3] Many Muslim
Muslim
Madhesis claim origins in India, Afghanistan, Arabia
Arabia
and Persia.[20] They are influenced by the hierarchy of the Hindu caste system, with the difference that it is not based on the principle of pollution and purity, but on occupation.[21] Languages The National Population and Housing Census of 2011 knows of 123 languages spoken in all of Nepal
Nepal
and lists:[17]

3,092,530 Maithili speaking people (11.7% of Nepal's total population), of which 3,004,245 lived in the Terai; 1,584,958 Bhojpuri speaking people (5.98%), of which 1,542,333 lived in the Terai; 1,529,875 Tharu speaking people (5.77%), including 1,479,129 in the Terai; 793,418 Bajjika speaking people (2.99%), including 791,737 in the Terai; 691,546 speak Urdu (2.61%), including 671,851 in the Terai.

Muslim
Muslim
Madhesis speak Urdu primarily, but also Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Nepali and Maithili, depending on whether they live in the western, central or eastern Terai.[22] Religions Religions practised in the Terai
Terai
according to the National Population and Housing Census of 2011 are[17]

Hinduism with 11,308,620 followers Islam
Islam
with 1,105,533 followers Buddhism
Buddhism
with 472,469 followers Kirat
Kirat
with 190,458 followers Christianity with 137,723 followers Prakriti
Prakriti
with 63,747 followers Jainism
Jainism
with 2,169 followers Bon with 1,379 followers, less than 900 Bahá'ís
Bahá'ís
and less than 500 Sikhs.

The religious practices of the majority of Madhesi people
Madhesi people
are a mixture of orthodox Hinduism and animism.[23] Marriage system Muslim
Muslim
Madhesis practise the traditional nikah marriage, which is recognised by law.[10] Many practise endogamy.[24] Cuisine In 1989, a study on food consumption pattern was conducted with 108 people in a village in Chitwan district. Results of this study showed that the people consumed seven food items on average. Rice
Rice
constituted almost half of their daily food intake, supplemented by vegetables, potatoes, milk and dairy products. Less frequently they consumed meat, fish, eggs and fruit. About 13.7% of the total food intake of men was alcohol, whereas females consumed far less alcohol.[25] Maithil
Maithil
cuisine predominates in the eastern Terai, and Tharu cuisine among the Tharu people. Further west, the Muslim
Muslim
people around Nepalganj
Nepalganj
prepare Mughlai-influenced Awadhi food.[citation needed] Fruit commonly grown in the Terai
Terai
include mango, lychee, papaya, banana and jackfruit.[citation needed] Taro
Taro
root is an important crop, of which the leaves and roots are eaten.[citation needed] Sidhara is a mixture of taro root, dried fish and turmeric that is formed into cakes and dried for preservation.[citation needed] Freshwater snails are cleansed, boiled and spiced to make ghonghi.[citation needed] Immature rice is used to make a kind of gruel maar. Rice
Rice
and lentil dumplings are called bagiya or dhikri. The cakes are broken up and cooked with radish, chili, garlic and spices to accompany boiled rice.[citation needed] Tharu culture Main article: Tharu people Tharu people
Tharu people
do not consider themselves as Madhesi, but are indigenous people of the Terai.[5][26] They are resistant to malaria because of inherited alpha-thalassemia.[27][28] They are mainly involved in farming.[29] They decorate their houses using only natural materials like clay, mud, dung and grass.[30] Some Tharus practice the badghar system and elect a village chief, whose task is to work for the welfare of the village.[31] Rana Tharus in the far-western Terai
Terai
of Nepal
Nepal
traditionally live in longhouses with big families of many generations and pool their labour, income and expenditures.[32] Politics Although democracy has been reinstated in Nepal, the Madhesi community has called for a more inclusive democracy as they are fearful of remaining an underprivileged group.[33] Some Madhesi people
Madhesi people
want secession from Nepal
Nepal
and have formed various organisations and groups to help achieve this aim. For example, the Janatantrik Terai
Terai
Mukti Morcha is a separatist organisation founded in 2004 by Jay Krishna Goit with the aim of gaining independence for the Terai
Terai
region from Nepal.[34] Organisation members have been responsible for various acts of Terrorism
Terrorism
including bombings and murders.[35] Other armed outfits have appeared that also demand secession through violent means including the Terai
Terai
Army, Madhesh
Madhesh
Mukti Tigers and the Tharuwan National Liberation Front.[citation needed] There is also a movement that is demanding the secession of the Madhesh
Madhesh
region led by C. K. Raut, called the Alliance for Independent Madhesh.[36][37] The major Madhesi national political parties are:

Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum, Nepal[38] Madhesi Youth Forum Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Madhesh United Democratic Madhesi Front

Indian influence in Nepal
Nepal
Terai After the Nepalese Constituent Assembly
Nepalese Constituent Assembly
election, 2008, Indian politicians kept on trying to secure strategic interests in the Nepal Terai, such as over hydropower energy, development projects, business and trade.[39] By supporting the 2015 Nepal
Nepal
blockade, India
India
tried to dominate Nepal's internal politics and foment the conflict in the Nepal
Nepal
Terai.[40] See also

Demographics of Nepal

References

^ Savada, A. M. (1991). "Migration". Nepal
Nepal
and Bhutan : country studies. Washington, D.C.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. pp. 69–79.  ^ Gellner, D.N., Pfaff-Czarnecka, J. and Whelpton, J. (1997). Nationalism and ethnicity in a Hindu kingdom: The politics of culture in contemporary Nepal. London, New York: Routledge. pp. 128–149. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ a b Dahal, D.R. (2008). "The 'Madhesi' People: Issues and Challenges of Democracy in the Nepal
Nepal
Terai". In Gellner, D.; Hachhethu, K. Local Democracy in South Asia: Microprocesses of democratization in Nepal and its neighbours. New Delhi, Los Angeles, London, Singapore: Sage Publications.  ^ Dixit, K. M. (2017). Who is the Madhesi subaltern? Kathmandu: Nepali Times #847. ^ a b c Kabir, H. (2013). Education, Nationalism, and Conflict in Plural Society in Nepal: Terai
Terai
Region in the Post-Maoist Context (PDF). Hiroshima: Hiroshima University Partnership Project for Peace Building and Capacity Development. Discussion Paper Series Vol. 19.  ^ Hachhethu, K. (2007). "Madheshi nationalism and restructuring the Nepali state". International Seminar on Constitutionalism and Diversity in Nepal. Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu: Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies. pp. 1–12.  ^ a b c Dahal, D.R. (1983). "Economic development through indigenous means: A case of Indian migration in the Nepal
Nepal
Terai" (PDF). Contribution to Nepalese Studies. 11 (1): 1–20.  ^ Apte, V. S. (1957–1959). "मध्य madhya". Revised and enlarged edition of Prin. V. S. Apte's The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary. Poona: Prasad Prakashan.  ^ Guneratne, A. (2002). Many tongues, one people: the making of Tharu identity in Nepal. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.  ^ a b Dastider, M. (2000). "Muslims of Nepal's Terai". Economic and Political Weekly. 35 (10): 766–769.  ^ a b c d Miklian, J. (2008). Nepal’s Terai: Constructing an Ethnic Conflict. South Asia Briefing Paper #1 (PDF). Oslo: International Peace Research Institute.  ^ a b c d Kabir, H. (2012). The rise of new regional political force in Madhes
Madhes
and its consequence in post-conflict Nepal. Hiroshima: Hiroshima University Partnership Project for Peace Building and Capacity Development. Discussion Paper Series Vol. 15.  ^ Krämer, K.-H. (2007). "How representative is the Nepali State?". In Gellner, D. Resistance and the State: Nepalese experiences. New York: Berghahn Books. pp. 179–198.  ^ Hangen, S. (2007). Creating a “New Nepal”: the ethnic dimension. Washington: East-West Center.  ^ Lawoti, M., Hangen, S. (2013). Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Nepal: identities and mobilization after 1990. Oxon, New York: Routledge. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Bhuju, U. R., Shakya, P. R., Basnet, T. B., Shrestha, S. (2007). Nepal
Nepal
Biodiversity Resource Book. Protected Areas, Ramsar Sites, and World Heritage Sites (PDF). Kathmandu: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, in cooperation with United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. ISBN 978-92-9115-033-5. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ a b c Central Bureau of Statistics (2012). National Population and Housing Census 2011 (PDF). Kathmandu: Government of Nepal.  ^ Pathak, B., Uprety, D. (2009). Tarai- Madhes
Madhes
searching for identity based security (PDF). Kathmandu: Conflict Study Center. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Shrestha, S. and Mulmi, S. (2016). Legal Analysis of Citizenship Law of Nepal. A Comparative Study of the Nepal
Nepal
Citizenship Act, 2006 with the Constitution, Precedents, International Human Rights Obligation and Best Practices. Publication No. 190. Kathmandu: Forum for Women, Law & Development. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Sijapati, M. A. (2011). Islamic revival in Nepal: religion and a new nation. London, New York: Routledge.  ^ Thapa, S. (1995). " Caste
Caste
Hierarchy: The inter-Ethnic Stratification in the Muslim
Muslim
society of Nepal". Tribhuvan University Journal. XVII: 78–87.  ^ Dastider, M. (2007). Understanding Nepal: Muslims in a plural society. New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications. ISBN 978-81-241-1271-7.  ^ Khalid, S. (2016). "Nepal's ethnic Madhesis fight for dignity and equality". Aljazeera.  ^ Sijapati, M. A. (2012). "Mawdudi's Islamic Revivalist Ideology and the Islami Sangh Nepal". Studies in Nepali History and Society. 17 (1): 41–61.  ^ Ohno, Y., Hirai, K., Sato, N., Ito, M., Yamamoto, T., Tamura, T. and Shrestha, M.P. (1997). "Food consumption patterns and nutrient intake among Nepalese living in the southern rural Terai
Terai
region". Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition (6): 251–255. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Krauskopff, G. (1995). "The Anthropology
Anthropology
of the Tharus: An Annoted Bibliography". Kailash. 17 (3/4): 185–213.  ^ Terrenato, L.; Shrestha, S.; Dixit, K. A.; Luzzatto, L.; Modiano, G.; Morpurgo, G.; Arese, P. (1988). "Decreased Malaria
Malaria
Morbidity in the Tharu and Maithil
Maithil
People Compared to Sympatric Populations in Nepal". Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology. 82 (1): 1–11. PMID 3041928.  ^ Modiano, G.; Morpurgo, G.; Terrenato, L.; Novelletto, A.; Di Rienzo, A.; Colombo, B.; Purpura, M.; Marianit, M.; Santachiara-Benerecetti, S.; Brega, A.; Dixit, K. A.; Shrestha, S. L.; Lania, A.; Wanachiwanawin, W.; L. Luzzatto (1991). "Protection against malaria morbidity – near-fixation of the α-thalassemia gene in a Nepalese Population" (PDF). American Journal of Human Genetics. 48 (2): 390–397. PMC 1683029 . PMID 1990845.  ^ Guneratne, A. (2002). Many Tongues, One People: The Making of Tharu Identity in Nepal. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York. ISBN 0801487285.  ^ Meyer, K. W., Deuel, P. (1997). "The Tharu of the Tarai". Indigo Gallery, Kathmandu. Retrieved 2006-12-07. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Bellamy, B. (2009). Tradition in Transition: Tharu Traditional Governing System in Post-Conflict Nepal. ^ Lam, L. M. (2009). Park, hill migration and changes in household livelihood systems of Rhana Tharus in far-western Nepal
Nepal
(PDF). University of Adelaide.  ^ Gorkhapatra Sansthan (2007). "Tharu community calls for inclusive democracy". The Rising Nepal. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2006-12-07.  ^ "Terrorist Organization Profile: Janatantrik Terai
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Mukti Morcha (JTMM)". National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism
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and Responses to Terrorism
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(START). ^ " Nepal
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Timeline Year 2004". Retrieved 17 April 2017.  ^ "Nepal: Madhesis protest outside British embassy against 1816 treaty". 8 December 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2017.  ^ " Alliance for Independent Madhesh
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(AIM)". Retrieved 17 April 2017.  ^ "Madhesi Jana Adhikar Nepali Forum - Popular in Nepali Politics".  ^ Ojha, H. (2015). The India- Nepal
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Crisis. The Diplomat. ^ Mahato, R. (2016). "The endless transition". Kathmandu: Nepali Times. 

Further reading

Deepak Chaudhary. 2011. Tarai/ Madhesh
Madhesh
of Nepal; An Anthropological Study. Kathmandu: Ratna Pustak Bhandar.

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