Madhesh

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Coordinates: 26°57′05″N 85°02′52″E / 26.9515°N 85.0479°E / 26.9515; 85.0479

Madhesh region of Nepal near Biratnagar

Madhesh(Nepali: मधेस) is "the low-lying land of Gangetic plain. " [1] The region's name in Urdu as referred by Muslims is ترای tarāʼī meaning "lands lying at the foot of a watershed" or "on the banks of a river; low ground flooded with water, valley, basin, marshy ground, marsh, swamp; meadow".[2]


Background

Madhesh(Nepali: मधेस) refers to an area within the Terai region east of Parsa and west of Sunsari districts. Madhesh is thought to be a centre of some ancient Civilisation of Madhesi people. Historically, this region has been a part of Mithila from southernmost eastern and central part of Madhesh. Princess Sita of Mithila, the consort of Lord Rama is believed to have been born in madhesh according to hindu mythology.

Climate

Biratnagar, 26°N, 87°E
Climate chart (explanation)
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Levoyageur
Janakpur, 31°N, 77°E
Climate chart (explanation)
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: World Weather Information Service

Biratnagar in Nepal near the eastern edge illustrates several differences:

  • Moving inland and away from monsoon sources in the Bay of Bangladesh, the climate becomes more continental with a greater difference between summer and winter in Nepal.
  • In the far western Terai, which is five degrees latitude further north, the coldest months' average is 3°C (5°F) cooler.
  • Total rainfall markedly diminishes from east to west. The monsoon arrives later, is much less intense and ends sooner. However, winters are wetter in the west.

Region

Nepal Government has differentiated Terai into "Outer" and "Inner" Terai.

The 2001 national census counted 10.3 million population (45% of the national total) lives in the outer Terai.

History

The Terai was heavily forested with Sal before heavy logging began in the 19th century, particularly for use as railroad sleepers. Foresters of the British Raj on another side of Nepalese International Forestry border were of the opinion that in ancient times the Terai was cleared and cultivated. After Buddhism went into decline, the area was largely abandoned, and quickly re-vegetated with shrubs and trees, but took much longer — centuries perhaps — for Sal forest to return.[3]

Inner Terai valleys historically were agriculturally productive but extremely malarial. Some parts were left forested by official decree during the Rana dynasty as a defensive perimeter called Char Kose Jhadi, meaning four kos forest; one kos equals about 3 km (1.9 mi). A British observer noted, Madhesis and Bihariss generally die if they sleep in the Madhesh before November 1 or after June 1." British travelers to Kathmandu went as fast as possible from the border at Raxaul in order to reach the hills before nightfall.[3]

Except for indigenous Tharu people with genetic resistance, a malaria eradication campaign by Nepal Government in the 1950s using DDT made the Inner Terai habitable for the first time.

Ethnic groups

Main article: Madhesi people

Tharu people have been living in the Terai for many centuries, and reputedly had an innate resistance to malaria. Following the malaria eradication program using DDT in the 1960s, a large and heterogeneous non-Tharu population settled in the region.[4]

Pahari farmers from the mid-hills moved to the plains in search of arable land including Brahmin, Chhetri and Newar. Tharus constitute the traditional population of entire Terai and Bhojpuri consist of population in Eastern and Central Terai. High caste migrants from the hills have purchased, or otherwise got hold of large landholdings. Together with traditional Tharu and Bhojpuri landlords, they constitute the upper level of the economic hierarchy, which in the rural parts of the Madhesh is determined to a large extent by the distribution and the value of agriculturally productive land. The poor are the landless, or near landless, Madhesh Dalits, including the Musahar and Chamar, as well as the traditional fishermen, the Mallaah, and some of the hill Dalits. In particular the Musahars rarely get other work than hard farm labor.[5]

Economy

The Terai is the most productive region in Nepal with the majority of the country's industries. Agriculture is the basis of the economy.[6] Major crops include rice, wheat, pulses, sugarcane, jute, tobacco, and maize. In the eastern districts from Parsa to Jhapa they support agro-based industries: jute factories, sugar mills, rice mills and tobacco factories.

Cities over 50,000 population in Nepal's Madhesh include:

Janakpur|| Dhanusa|| align=right | 67,192 || transport hub, agro-industry, education, health care, pilgrimage site

Municipality District Census 2001 Economy
Biratnagar Morang 166,674 agro-industry, education, trade/transport Hub
Birganj Parsa 112,484 trade/transport hub, agro and other industry


For a more comprehensive list, see List of cities in Nepal.

Mahendra Highway crosses the Terai from Kankarbhitta on the eastern border in Jhapa District, Mechi Zone to Mahendranagar near the western border in Kanchanpur District, Mahakali Zone. It is the only motor road spanning the country from east to west.

Tourism

See also

References

  1. ^ Turner, R.L. (1931). "A Comparative and Etymological Dictionary of the Nepali Language". K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, London. 
  2. ^ Platts, J. T. (1884). "A dictionary of Urdu, and English.". W. H. Allen & Co., London. 
  3. ^ a b Guneratne, A. (2002). Many tongues, one people: the making of Tharu identity in Nepal. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. 
  4. ^ Terrenato, L., Shrestha, S., Dixit, K.A., Luzzatto, L., Modiano, G., Morpurgo, G., Arese, P. (1988). "Decreased malaria morbidity in the Tharu and Maithil people compared to sympatric populations in Nepal". Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 82 (1): 1–11. PMID 3041928. 
  5. ^ Hatlebakk, M. (2007). Economic and social structures that may explain the recent conflicts in the Madhesh of Nepal. Norwegian Embassy, Nepal
  6. ^ Sharma, R. P. (1974). Nepal: A Detailed Geographical Account. Kathmandu: Pustak-Sansar. 

1 Vivaswan Kumar, “Whole Tarai Belongs To Madhesh: Historical Facts,” American Chronicle, March 30, 2009. 2 Vidya Bir Singh Kansakar, "Nepal-India Open Border: Prospects, Problems and Challenges," Institute of Foreign Affairs, Kathmandu, Nepal, 2001. 3 Hari Bansh Jha, Nepal’s Border Relations with India and China, Eurasia Border Review, Vol.4, No.1, Spring 2013. 4 Ibid. 5 Kansakar (2001), op. cit. 6 C. U. Aitchison, A Collection Of Treaties, Engagements And Sanads Relating To India And Neighboring Countries, Vol. 2, Bengal Printing Company Ltd., 1863. 7 Kumar (2009), op. cit. For More information on Madhesh and Madheshis, see latest book (1st Edition)-Madhesh Ko Itihaas By Dr C K Raut.

External links