Tharu communities in Kailali worry their traditional rules will die out

Dhangadi, May 17

People from Tharu communities, who used to draft their local law and run their community on their own independently, have started worrying that after the local polls their roles and norms would face a crisis in Kailali.

The folks have started holding discussions about their decade-long law and system of rule, which is most likely to die out with the federal structure of the country. They have urged the candidates and leaders to ensure their identity in the new law. “We don’t report any complaints and file cases with the security force and the administration. We have been exercising democratic norms for decades in our community. Nobody in the Tharu community feels injustice,” claimed Palturam Chaudhary of Hasuliya.

They have demanded that they must be given authority to issue recommendation letter for citizenship certificate, compulsory representation while drafting plans and policies, besides acting as magistrate to settle minor local issues in the locality. “It doesn’t mean that we don’t follow the government’s decree. However, we want to form bhalmansa (leader) committee legally in the new structure,” argued Gauri Shankar Mahato, a member of Tharu Welfare Assembly.

Bhalmansa is elected to draft a new law in the Tharu Community to run the community smoothly. A chiraki is chosen to disseminate the decision of the bhalmansa to the locals while a guruwa or an assistant guruwa is chosen to cure the sick people of the community. Similarly, a head of the family is chosen to run the family. The bhalmansa holds meetings among villagers as per their need and drafts laws.

Ashok Chaudhary, a Tharu culture expert said that the leader settles various disputes, assaults and complaints related to property sharing, among others. Further, s/he carries out various development activities taking the consent of locals.

Churna Chaudhary executive director of Backward Society Education, an organisation which has been conducting research  on Tharu community, said leaders have been holding discussions to conserve their tradition in Kailali, Kanchanpur, Dang, Banke, Bardiya and Surkhet.