Baalighare tradition still exists in Banke villages

Nepalgunj, October 3:

The ancient Baalighare tradition is still being practised in the rural areas of Banke district. According to this tradition, Dalit workers, mostly those working as tailors and ironsmiths, are given foodstuff as salary once a year.

Manjit Pariyar, 30, of Chisapani, Banke, sews clothes under Baalighare tradition for 16 families every year. Pariyar receives 15 to 25 kg of rice, 5 kg of wheat and 5 kg of maize from each family as his wage in a year. Pariyar said he is able to feed his family for only about three months in a year from this wage. “We are barely surviving working under this tradition, how will I be able to provide education to my children?,” he asked.

Padmakala BK of the same village said: “When my husband was young he used to work for 20/25 families but now he is able to work for only 4/5 families and the wage is not enough for us to survive.” “Our community is being ignored by the government and NGOs,” Singh Kami said. Resham Pariyar said: “Baalighare tradition is an example of labour exploitation of Dalits because the foodstuff we receive is barely enough for six months.”

“We are being abused just for being Dalits; we are compelled to play band music in others’ weddings just for belonging to Damai caste,” Pariyar said.

Director of the Janasewa Bikas programme, Kiran Giri, said the Baalighare tradition must be ended, as it is being used for the Dalits’ exploitation.