Maghi brings no joy for freed Kamaiyas

Bardiya, January 13 :

Though Maghi festival is nearing, there is no air of festivity in the settlement of freed Kamaiyas in Bardiya.

Their desire to celebrate Maghi with fanfare remains limited to fantasy and daydreams though the government freed them on September 18, 2000.

The government has not managed shelter, food or clothes for the freed Kamaiyas so far.

“There is no certainty of getting work everyday and we need extra money to

celebrate the festival, so

we can’t do so much to celebrate Maghi despite our yearning,” former Kamaiya Jaliram Chaudhari said.

Some 400 households of freed Kamaiyas are living in temporary camps after capturing the land of the Cotton Development Committee at Juktinagar in Bardiya three years ago. The Tharu community celebrate Maghi festival and splurge on wine, rice and meat.

This year, all they will have are potatoes and green vegetables.

Bhikhini Tharu, 70, harvesting her potato crop, said, “This is our Maghi. We celebrated the festival by having potatoes last year. It is the same this year too.”

“I have 10 members in my family. I could not fulfill their demands for meat and bread this festival as I have no money,” another freed Kamaiya, Kaliram said.