Badi people

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Regions with significant populations
   Nepal 38,603 (0.1% of Nepal's population)[1]
Nepali language (Khas kura)
Related ethnic groups
Licchavi, Khas people, Damai, Sarki, Kami, Gandarbha/Gaine

Badi (Nepali: बादी) is a Hill Dalit community in Nepal. The 1854 Nepalese Muluki Ain (Legal Code) categorized Badi as "Impure and Untouchable (Pani Na Chalne)" category.[2] Badi are categorized under "Hill Dalit" among the 9 broad social groups, along with Damai, Sarki, Kami and Gaine by the Government of Nepal.[1] 'Badi' means Vadyabadak, one who plays musical instruments, in Sanskrit.

According to 2011 Nepal census, Sarki make up 0.1% of Nepal's population (or 38,603 peoples).[1] Sometimes called untouchables among the untouchables, they have for decades been doomed to supporting their impoverished families through prostitution.


Badis trace their roots to the Licchavi dynasty in what is now northern India's Bihar state. According to a research paper by Thomas Cox, an anthropologist at Katmandu's Tribhuvan University, the tribe moved to Nepal. There they received land and money for providing concubines to small-time rulers in western Nepal. After 1950, as local royalty lost power in the pro-democracy movement, the Badis saw their clientele disappear. The tribe eventually turned to prostitution.[citation needed]

In 2005, the Supreme Court of Nepal ordered the government to extend formal citizenship to the Badis, establish retraining and alternative employment programs, and extend grants to poor families. The government stalled until in 2007, Badi activists threatened embarrass the government by undressing publicly in the capital Katmandu. Despite the legislation, discrimination against the Badis continues. Badi activists blame tradition, corruption, and Nepal's polarized government for the lack of change.[citation needed]

The Badi remain the lowest ranking untouchable caste in western Nepal. The rules of orthodox Hinduism dictate that members of the higher castes (Braham, Chetri, or Thakuri) cannot allow the Badi into their houses, accept water or food from them, use the same village pump, or even brush against them; although higher caste men are allowed to have sex with Badi prostitutes. "For many years, I thought it was my fate to be a prostitute," says a Badi prostitute. "Now I realize this system wasn't made by God. It was made by man."[3][4][5]


  1. ^ a b c "Nepal Census 2011" (PDF). 
  2. ^ Gurung, Harka (2005) "Social Exclusion and Maoist Insurgency". Paper presented at National Dialogue Conference at ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal peoples, Kathmandu, 19–20 January 2005.
  3. ^ Los Angeles Times: "Badi women of Nepal are trapped in a life of degradation" June 12, 2011
  4. ^ The Advocacy Project: "Born Into Prostitution – The Badi Women" Archived 2011-06-19 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Cox, Thomas E. (2000) "The Intended and Unintended Consequences of AIDS Prevention Among Badi in Tulispur" Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies: Vol. 20: No. 1, Article 8.