Madhesh

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

Aerial view of Madhesh plains near Biratnagar of Nepal

Madhesh is the fertile and humid region of Nepal in the Terai belt of Southern Nepal. The indigenous Nepalese people who have connection to Bihar of India and historically lived here are identified as Madhesi people. The region's name in Urdu as referred by Muslims is ترای tarāī 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".[1]

Climate[edit]

Biratnagar, 26°N, 87°E
Climate chart (explanation)
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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

Region[edit]

Nepal Government has differentiated Madhesh into "Outer" and Inner Madhesh Valleys of Nepal.

The 2011 national census counted 2.3 million population (10% of the national total) lives in the inner Terai and 10.3 million population(45% of the national total) lives in the Outer Terai.

History[edit]

The "Madhesh" is a Nepali morphological derivative of Madhyadesh (Sanskrit) or Majjhimadesh (Pali) and means the Middle Country signifying its location in the middle of Ancient Nepal and Indian Kingdom of Awadh (which lies in modern-day india).Terai (also written as Tarai) is presumed to be derived from Persian, meaning “damp”, and denotes the land at the foothills of mountains, often damp and swampy.

Modern History The upper Madhesh including Chure region was heavily forested with Sal before heavy logging began in the 19th century, particularly for use as railroad sleepers. Foresters of the British Raj . The migrant colonies from Mid-Hills occupied the Chure and Upper Madhesh during 1930-70. A vast deforestation took place on upper lands of Madhesh in the name of Flood Victims, relief camp, Mahendra Highway Construction etc. Inner Madhesh valleys historically were agriculturally productive but endemic to malaria. Some parts were left forested by official decree during the Rana dynasty as a defensive perimeter .The British believed that plainsmen generally die if they sleep in the malaria infested zone before November 1 or after June 1.[2] British travelers to Kathmandu went as fast as possible from the border at Raxaul in order to reach the hills before nightfall.[3] Until 1958, Madhesh residents (Terai people) as well as Indians were required to stop at the border town of Birgunj to obtain passport before proceeding to Kathmandu. Passports were then checked at Chisapani Garhi on the route to Kathmandu. Before 1951, one’s nationality appears to have been determined primarily on linguistic basis. Nepalese subjects were the “hill folks” who spoke Nepali or hill languages such as Newari, Magar and Gurung etc. For this reason passports were not required for people traveling to Kathmandu valley from the eastern or westerns hills.’ (Gaige: 88). Thus, in early 1950s language was the major factor for separating as well as discriminating Madheshi as outsider. Acquisition of land assets were linked to citizenship issues. Since the knowledge of writing and speaking Nepali language was the clause in the Citizenship Act of 1960s for obtaining citizenship certificate, it was intentionally formulated to deny citizenship to Madheshi. The Madheshis of Terai, who have been living for several generations, are denied citizenship certificate due to their in-competency in Nepali language and without citizenship, land registration deed (lalpurja) is impossible and hence so many Madheshi are Landless today.In 1956, Raghunath Thakur established “Madhesi Mukti Aandolan” to oppose and fight the discrimination and exploitation against Terai residents. He agrued that Terai came under section 73 of UN charter and Terai was an autonomous region. Terai also had every right to make its own foreign policies. He later formed “Madhesi Janakrantikari Dal” to continue Madhesh Revolution. The organizations major objectives were to snatch power from Nepalese government for self governance; to choose capable Madhesis to make thir own army, police and bureauocrats; to hold domestic and international trade of Madhes to Madhesi people; to enforce law made by Madhesis in Madhesh; to give every Madhesi land’s ownership to Madhesi people; to chase away all the enemies who had authority from Madhesh. In sixties, Thakur went to India to meet different leaders to have his say and popularize his movement. He met then President Dr. Sharba Palli Radhakrishna. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Acting Prime Minister Guljari lal Nanda , Prime Minister Morariji Desai, Agriculture Minister Jagjiban Ram , Home Minister Y.B. Chauhan, Industrial Development Minister Farukhdeen Ali Ahmed, Communication and Parliament Minister Ram Sughav Singh , Minerals and Mines Minister Channa Reddy, Transportation Minister Dr. B.K.R.B. Rao, Rail Minister C.N.Punatha, Law Minister Govinda Menon, Aviation Minister Dr. Karna Singh, Trade Minister Dinesh Singh, Information Minister K.K. Shah , Education Minister Dr. Trigul Sen, Planning Minister Ashok Mehata, Labour and resettlement minister Jai Sukhalal Hathi and other leaders like Dr.Ram Manohar Lohiya, Acharya J.B.Kripalani, MP Mrs. Sucheta Kripalani, Raghunath Thakur also meet with different newspapers editors , ambassadors and Chief Minister of Bihar Pandit Binodananda Jha, CM K.B. Shahaya and distributed his book about Madhesi people. He used to burn patrolmen in his forehead infront of Indian parliament. When asked what he was doing, Thakur replied, “Justice is lost or vanished from India and Nepal. I am in search of it with the help of petromax in the broad daylight” while struggle for Madhesis , he died on june 21, 1981 with rulers’ conspiracy. In 1960′s to end the discrimination and exploitation against the indigenous people of Western Terai “Terai Liberation Front” was established. As the terai resident were deprived of citizenship and there land were being taken by Nepalese from hills, fighters from Terai Liberation Front to take up arms against the discrimination. They started an armed revolution with guerilla war strategy. Following this, Nepalese government started to kill the leaders of the groups. In June 1963, Nepalese Police killed a leader, Ramji Mishra. Similarly, in august 1967, the chairman of the group, Raghunath Raya Yadav, was shot dead by the Royal Nepalese Army. Also in august 1969, another chairman Satyadev Mani Tripathi was shot dead in Nautunawa , boarder of Utter pardesh. So, 1951, many organizations had revolted with or without arms against the atrocities of central rulers, but each time they were suppressed. The king, parties, organizations, groups’ influenced by sub nationalism and individuals made divide and rule policy in Terai and suppressed Terai people. The atrocities and exploitation from feudalism and colonialism is still going on. Terai Congress Vedanand Jha had established Terai Congress in 1951. “The party’s objectives were (a) establishment of an autonomous terai state, (b) recognition of Hindi as a separate language; and (c) adequate employment of tarai people in the Nepal civil service.” (Source: Gaige, 1975) Assassination attempt of King in 1962 Durga Nanda Jha attempted to assassinate King Mahendra of Nepal in January 1962 in Janakpur to oppose imposition of the autocratic Panchayat Regime in 1961. He blasted a bomb targeting the car in which the king was traveling. He was later shot to death on 1963 AD (2020 BS). He was inspired from martyr Bhagat Singh of India. Madhesh Movement 1980s-1990s Leaders: Ganjendra Narayan Singh, Ram Janam Tiwari Sadbhavana Council and Party Gajendra Narayan Singh founded the Nepal Sadbhawana Party (NSP) in 1985. He took the Madhesi cause to National and International Level to raise awareness about the ongoing discrimination. Gajendra Narayan Singh, president of the Nepal Sadhbahavana Party, died on January 23, 2002. His body was taken to Saptari Sewa Ashram at Koiladi in Saptari District in Nepal and cremated with full state honours on January 25. Singh led a very simple and austere life and spent most of his time in the Ashram he created in 1991. In July 2001, he created the “Gajendra Narayan Public Welfare trust” and donated all his property and belongings to the trust. The trust was to look after the poor, helpless and the backward communities in the southern districts of Nepal. Singh entered politics in 1947 and joined the Nepali National Congress, (presently the Nepali Congress) but left the party in 1980s to form a cultural forum known as Nepal Sadbhavana Parishad, which was turned later into a political party, the Nepal Sadhbhavana Party (NSP). Singh went into exile to Dharbanga in 1960, when King Mahendra seized control of the country after putting into prison the leaders of the ruling Nepali Congress in the brief period when Nepal experienced multi-party democracy between 1959 to 1960. Unable to visit his home, he lived a life in penury until he returned to Nepal in 1977. Singh continued to champion the cause of Terains throughout his political career. He left the Nepali Congress only when he felt that B.P. Koirala and his party continued to discriminate against the Terains. He continued to wear the traditional Dhoti and Kurta in the parliament while the official dress was the “Daura Suruwal”. Despite opposition from the Pahadi parliamentarians, Singh was not ashamed to speak in Hindi in parliamentary debates. Singh’s pet objective was to get full citizenship rights to a majority of Terains who were born and brought up in Terai. From the configuration of electoral districts, regions to recruitment in the army and Police, the Terains were and continue to be discriminated against in every field. G.N. Singh despite being abused by the media, other political leaders and the bureaucracy continued to fight for the Terain cause. Singh on his return from exile believed that the interests of the Terains would best be served by working within the Panchayat system and accordingly stood for elections in 1980 in Saptari district. When the counting was going in favour of G.N. Singh, the workers in the counting hall chased away Singh’s supporters and the results were declared in favour of another candidate. Undaunted, he continued to stand for elections and won in all but one. Soon after the bomb blasts by the Janawadi Morcha of Ram Raja Prasad Singh near the Palace in the eighties, G.N.Singh was arrested and kept in chains for many months. In spite of his incarceration G.N. Singh held no grudge against Late King Birendra or the monarchy itself. It was his view that the monarchy was the unifying factor and it was only the King who could help the Terain cause. In the initial stages G.N.Singh had many youngsters who flocked round him and worked genuinely for the cause. They were never given due encouragement and G.N.Singh like a banyan tree held everyone together but never allowed any leader to come up to take his place

Timeline

Vedic/Mythical Period Ikshyaku or Okkāka becomes the first significant king of Madhyadesh (Madhesh) Vedic/Mythical Period King Janak rules, capital at Janakpur; Sita, the Goddess of Ramayan, born (after 34 generation of Ikshyaku) c. 1500 BC Manusmiriti (2/21) defines the boundary of Madhyadesh (Madhesh) 563BC Siddhartha Gautam (Buddha) born in Kapilvasu, Majjhimadesh (Madhesh) 268-31 B.C Emperor Ashoka rules 249 BC Emperor Ashoka visits Lumbini, tax reduced and entitled to the eight part only. ca. 353-73 AD Emperor Samudragupta c.500-600 AD King Salhesh rules, capital at Mahisautha, Siraha c. 1300 AD Harisinghadev rules, capital at Simraunagadh (currently Bara, Madhesh) 1325 AD Sultan Gayasudhin Tuglak attacks Simraunagadh 1513 – 1774 AD Sen Kingdoms in Palpa, Makawanpur, Chaudandi, Bijaypur, Morang 1526 AD Mughal Empire established c. 1764 AD British East India Company gains control over many parts of Madhesh 1768 AD Gurkha ruler Prithvi Narayan Shah attacks Kathmandu;Dismisses 12000 Tirhutia (Madheshi) armies of Jay Prakash Malla 1774 AD Prithvi Narayan Shah attacks Makwanpur 1814-16 AD Anglo-Gurkha War Madheshis fight on the British side 1816 AD British-Nepal Treaty on 8 December; British hands over Terai region between west of Koshi and east to Rapti river to Nepal 1846 Kot Massacre takes place; Jang Bahadur becomes prime minister 1860 AD British-Nepal Treaty; British gifts Terai region between Rapti and Mahakali rivers to Nepal for their support to the East India Company for suppressing Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 to 1859 in India 1911 AD King George V of Britain visits Terai and hunts 21 tigers, 8 rhinos, and a bear. 1923 Dec 21 Nepal changed from British protectorate to independent nation. (MC, 12/21/01) 1934 AD Jan 15, An 8.4 Richter scale earthquake kills thousands of people in Nepal/India 1950-51 AD Ranas fall; King Tribhuvan regains control; interim constitution promulgated 1951 AD Terai Congress formed led by Vedanand Jha 1952 King Mahendra ascends throne 1952 Nepal Citizenship Act promulgated 1955 Nepal admitted to the United Nations 1956 Nepalese government starts malaria eradication 1956 Raghunath Thakur established the Madhesh Liberation Movement 1957 Imposition of Nepali as sole language for education sparks protests 1958 End of visa provision for Madheshis to enter Kathmandu 1960s Terai Liberation Front established 1962 King Mahendra issues constitution unfavourable to Madheshis 1963 Nepalese Police kills Ramji Mishra, the leader of Terai Liberation Front 1964 New Citizenship Act makes it harder for Madhesis to acquire citizenship. 1964 ”Land Reformation Act” promulgated; massive land seized from Madheshis 1967 Royal Nepalese Army kills Raghunath Raya Yadav, the leader of Terai Liberation Front 1969 Chairman of Terai Liberation Front Satyadev Mani Tripathi killed 1972 King Birendra ascends throne 1981 Raghunath Thakur dies (June 21) 1983 Nepal Sadbhavana Council formed under Gajendra Narayan Singh to raise Madheshi issues. 1989 Nepal’s failure to renegotiate trade and transit treaties with India, India imposes sanction across “open border” 1990 New constitution promulgated following the agitations 1994 Dhanapati Upadhyay Commission finds 4 million people without citizenships 1996 Maoists launch insurgency. 1997 Supreme Court voids 30 thousands citizenship certificates of Madheshis March 18, 1998 Supreme Court bans the use of Maithili (local) language in Rajbiraj and Janakpur Municipalities 2000 Maoists set up Madhesi Rashtriya Mukti Morcha (MRMM) under Jai Krishna Goit in Siliguri. 2000 Dec 26, racial riot against Madheshis began all over the country, following a rumour that Hrithnik Roshan, an Indian film star, allegedly spoke of his dislike for Nepal. At least 4 people killed. 2002 Supreme Court mandates people to get work permit in the lack of citizenship certificates. Many Madheshis out of work. 2004 Jay Krishna Goit forms the Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (JTMM). 2006 April Following nineteen-day mass movement, king announces reinstatement of parliament. 2006 December Nepalgunj Riot; 26-Dec, Pahadi attacks on a Madheshi gathering and the racial riot begins; Madheshis houses and shops burned, and Madheshis attacked; police and administration found supporting the attack. 30 December, Ian Martin, special representative of the UN Secretary-General, voices his concern about violent activities 2007 Jan-Feb Madhesh Movement;19-Jan, Maoists clash with Madheshi activists in Lahan, killing student Ramesh Kumar Mahato.20-Jan, Curfew imposed; 21 January-7 February, Movement picks up against the government, with huge public support and mass defiance of curfews, clashes between police and protestors; Almost 40 killed. 2008 January Madhesh Movement; Massive protests against the government. A series of bomb blasts kill and injure dozens. 2008 May Nepal becomes a republic. 2011 January UN peace monitoring mission ends. 2011 March 31 Historic meeting of Madheshis took place in Kathmandu after 22 yearsDr. C. K. Raut appeals for a stronger coalition to take the Madhesh Movement to the global level 2011 May 21 Alliance for Independent Madhesh (AIM) announces manifesto and plans 2012 May Prime Minister Bhattari dissolves the parliament

Ethnic groups[edit]

Main article: Madhesi people

Tharu people, Maithils, bhojpuri, awadhi, kisan, Dunuwars, Satar and some other ethnic communities are the first Indigenous inhabitants of Terai. They have been living in the Madhesh for milleniums, and reputedly have innate resistance to malaria. Following the malaria eradication program using DDT in the 1960's, a large and heterogeneous non-Tharu and Non-Madhesi population namely Refugees from Mid-Hills, Bhutan, Sikkim and other parts of india settled in the region.[4] Their proposed state/homeland is called Madhesh.

Madheshi and tharu people are natives. Pahari people from the mid-hills moved to the Madhesh plains to occupy madhesh including Brahmin, Chhetri and Newar during King Mahendra rule in the name of Flood victims, Mahendra highway construction, Government Officials. High caste migrants from the hills have purchased, or otherwise got hold of large landholdings. Together with traditional Tharu and Madheshi 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, Madhesi 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[edit]

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. Rank Municipality Census 1991 Census 2001 Census 2011 Census 2011 incl. incorporated VDC District 4. Birganj 69 005 112 484 135 904 207 980 Parsa 5. Biratnagar 129 338 166 674 201 125 204 949 Morang 6. Bharatpur 54 670 89 323 143 836 203 808 Chitwan 7. Janakpur 54 710 67 192 97 776 169 287 Dhanusha 9. Nepalganj 47 819 57 535 72 503 147 700 Banke 10. Itahari 26 824 41 210 74 501 142 885 Sunsari 11. Dharan 66 457 95 332 116 181 141 439 Sunsari 12. Butwal 44 272 75 384 118 462 141 262 Rupandehi 13. Dhangadhi 44 753 67 447 101 970 139 743 Kailali 16. Bhimdatta 62 050 80 839 104 599 106 666 Kanchanpur 17. Tilottama --- --- 100 149 Rupandehi 20. Kalaiya 18 498 32 260 42 826 86 629 Bara 21. Tulsipur 22 654 33 876 51 537 86 288 Dang Deukhuri 25. Gadhimai --- --- 83 367 Bara 27. Lahan 19 018 27 654 33 653 79 963 Siraha 28. Damak 41 321 35 009 75 102 75 743 Jhapa 29. Banganga --- --- 75 242 Kapilvastu 30. Attariya --- --- 72 521 Kailali 31. Lumbini Sanskritik --- --- 72 479 Rupandehi 32. Chandrapur --- --- 72 059 Rautahat 34. Ratnanagar 25 118 37 791 46 367 70 091 Chitwan 38. Ghorahi 29 050 43 126 62 928 65 107 Dang Deukhuri 39. Siddharthanagar 39 473 52 569 63 483 64 566 Rupandehi 40. Kohalpur --- --- 62 177 Banke 41. Mahalakshmi --- --- 62 172 Lalitpur 42. Lamki Chuha --- --- 61 172 Kailali 43. Ghodaghodi --- --- 60 531 Kailali 44. Kageshwari-Manohara --- --- 60 237 Kathmandu 45. Birtamod --- --- 60 174 Jhapa 46. Siraha 21 866 23 988 28 442 59 426 Siraha 47. Mechinagar 37 108 49 060 57 545 57 909 Jhapa 48. Gulariya 30 621 46 011 55 747 57 232 Bardiya 49. Tikapur 25 639 38 722 56 127 56 983 Kailali 50. Kawasoti --- --- 56 788 Nawalparasi 51. Khairahani --- --- 56 094 Chitwan 52. Bansgadhi --- --- 55 875 Bardiya 53. Gaidakot --- --- 55 205 Nawalparasi 54. Belauri --- --- 53 544 Kanchanpur 55. Rajapur --- --- 52 438 Bardiya 56. Bhadrapur 15 210 18 145 18 164 50 731 Jhapa 57. Barahathwa --- --- 50 424 Sarlahi 58. Shivaraj --- --- 49 988 Kapilvastu 59. Pathari Sanischare --- --- 49 808 Morang 60. Bedkot --- --- 49 479 Kanchanpur 61. Golbazar --- --- 47 763 49 042 Siraha 62. Kanchan Rup --- --- 48 691 Saptari 63. Koshi Haraicha --- --- 47 723 Morang 65. Dhangadimai --- --- 47 449 Siraha 66. Gauradaha --- --- 47 393 Jhapa 67. Rapti --- --- 46 510 Chitwan 68. Mirchaiya --- --- 45 716 Siraha 69. Sainamina --- --- 45 178 Rupandehi 70. Shani-Arjun --- --- 45 174 Jhapa 71. Dhanushadham --- --- 45 008 Dhanusha 72. Jaleshwar 18 088 22 046 23 533 44 052 Mahottari 73. Punarwas --- --- 43 996 Kanchanpur 74. Kapilvastu 17 126 27 170 30 428 43 933 Kapilvastu 75. Chireshwarnath --- --- 43 745 Dhanusha 76. Devdaha --- --- 42 953 Rupandehi 77. Hariwan --- --- 42 783 Sarlahi 78. Jhalari Pipaladi --- --- 42 026 Kanchanpur 79. Tripur --- --- 41 183 Dang Deukhuri 82. Ishwarpur --- --- 40 511 Sarlahi 85. Kankai --- --- 40 141 Jhapa 86. Narayani --- --- 39 907 Chitwan 87. Sunwal --- --- 39 843 Nawalparasi 88. Shivasatakshi --- --- 39 689 Jhapa 89. Garuda --- --- 39 637 Rautahat 91. Dodhara-Chandani --- --- 39 253 Kanchanpur 93. Mahagadimai --- --- 38 751 Bara 94. Kalika --- --- 38 666 Chitwan 98. Rajbiraj 24 227 30 353 37 738 38 241 Saptari 99. Bhajani-Trishakti --- --- 38 149 Kailali 102. Madi --- --- 37 683 Chitwan 103. Bardibas --- --- 37 048 Mahottari 104. Sukhipur --- --- 36 883 Siraha 105. Krishnapur --- --- 36 706 Kanchanpur 107. Gaur 20 434 25 383 34 937 35 370 Rautahat 108. Nijgadh --- --- 35 335 Bara 109. Urlabari --- --- 35 166 Morang 111. Chitrawan --- --- 34 913 Chitwan 112. Ganeshman Charanath --- --- 34 770 Dhanusha 113. Bardaghat --- --- 34 417 Nawalparasi 114. Lamani --- --- 34 285 Dang Deukhuri 122. Gaushala --- --- 32 111 Mahottari 123. Belbari --- --- 31 647 Morang 124. Mithila --- --- 31 575 Dhanusha 125. Devchuli --- --- 31 484 Nawalparasi 128. Lalbandi --- --- 30 785 Sarlahi 131. Malangwa 14 142 18 484 25 102 30 333 Sarlahi 132. Shambhunath --- --- 30 207 Saptari 135. Ramgram 18 911 22 630 25 990 28 973 Nawalparasi 137. Inaruwa 18 547 20 300 28 454 28 923 Sunsari 141. Ramdhuni-Bhasi --- --- 28 549 Sunsari 142. Rangeli --- --- 28 516 Morang 145. Madhyabindu --- --- 28 224 Nawalparasi 148. Babai --- --- 27 838 Bardiya 149. Pokhariya --- --- 27 672 Parsa 153. Sanoshri Taratal --- --- 26 431 Bardiya 154. Bhrikuti --- --- 26 282 Kapilvastu 155. Duhabi-Bhaluwa --- --- 25 545 Sunsari 158. Sabaila --- --- 24 896 Dhanusha 162. Simraunghad --- --- 24 615 Bara 166. Beltar-Basaha --- --- 23 918 Udayapur 167. Letang Bhogateni --- --- 23 907 Morang 168. Kolhabi --- --- 23 765 Bara 173. Amaragadhi 16 494 18 390 21 245 22 241 Dadeldhura 174. Narayan 15 738 19 446 21 110 21 995 Dailekh 175. Beldandi --- --- 21 959 Kanchanpur 179. Saptakoshi n.a. --- 21 131 Saptari 180. Hanumannagar Yoginimai n.a. --- 20 915 Saptari

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.

Cuisine[edit]

Madhesh is to food what mountain is to snow. It is the most agriculturally productive region of Nepal – flat and fertile land, coupled with hot and humid weather – this region is perfect for farming. A surplus of rice, wheat, sugarcane, lentils and various other crops are produced in the Madhesh and transported to other parts of the country – the majority of what we eat here in the Valley comes from the Madhesh, the food granary of Nepal.

The veggie delight

While we are distressed by the ever-increasing food inflation in World, the price of seasonal vegetables can be exceptionally low in the Madhesh. People in the Madhesh are blessed with vegetables, even the less fortunate families prepare three or four varieties as part of their meal, Perhaps this is the reason why gundruk (fermented vegetables),Mashyauras(dried veggies) the beloved Nepali favorite, is less eaten in the Madhesh. Since vegetables are incredibly cheap and readily available in the Madhesh, deep fried vegetable fritters called pakoras are commonly eaten – this crispy fritter is offered to guests, eaten as a snack or even with meals.In this region, people go beyond the regular onion and egg-plant pakoras found elsewhere; Madheshis make an assortment of pakoras and pretty much any vegetable is cooked into a pakora, even green leaves.

Deliciously India Influenced

It is no surprise that the culinary culture in Madhesh is influenced by the adjacent regions of India, such as Bihar and Bhojpur, where roti (unleavened flatbread) is a staple food item. Likewise, everyday food in Madhesh encompasses a variety of whole grain flatbreads such as wheat roti, corn roti, all kinds of parathas (flatbread with stuffing), maduwa (barley flatbread) and litti (gram flour flatbread). Furthermore, special varieties of bread are prepared during festivals and feasts – for example, thekuwa (bread cum cookie made out of wheat flour and other ingredients) and bhusuwa (flatbread made out of rice flour as the main ingredient) are the two special festival treats prepared during Chaat, the biggest festival of Madhesh. Some other India-influenced dishes include malpuwa (sweet wheat fritter), dahi bara (lentil dumpling topped with a savory gravy of yoghurt, tamarind and spices) and mithais (sweets).

Madheshis are also known to prepare their food using relatively more spices and oil. Regardless of the excruciating heat, they like their food spicy – this is the fact that we all know. Ironically, Madheshis also seem to have a sweet tooth, as they consume a lot of mithais and sugarcane (which is extensively grown in the Madhesh). Mithais are an essential part of our culture and almost all families make it at home. Madhesis have a tradition of offering them to their guests – they are the symbol of their hospitality. In Madhesh, it seems like everything has a season, including mithais – for example, teel ko laddu (sesame seed ball cake) is specially prepared during the festival of Maghe Sankranti. The consumption of this laddu during Sankranti also has a scientific rationale.This festival falls in the winter and sesame seeds are believed to generate heat in the body. Similarly, kasar (rice flour laddu\ball cake) and lai (laddu made with puffed rice called muri) are a must for Chaat. These festival treats are offered to the gods and then eaten as prashad (god’s blessing). Since agriculture and animal farming are intimately linked to each other (at least in the traditional methods of farming) there is an ample amount of dairy products available in the Madhesh Region. Yoghurt is consumed every day for its digestive properties and cooling effects. On the other hand, Madhesis consume lesser animal meat as compared to people from the hills, the Himalayas and even the inner Terai. In village, people rarely eat chicken or buffalo meat.On the other hand, people consume atypical meat of pigeon and duck. Similarly, meat is a rare indulgence in Madheshi Cuisine.

No Feast without Fish

While meat is not a favorite indulgence in Madhesh, inhabitants of both inner and outer Madhesh have a special affinity for fish. They eat a lot of fresh fish curries in the Madhesh. The topic of fish cannot be completed without the mention of Tharus, one of the indigenous ethnic groups of inner Madhesh, whose main food is fish and rice. Considering that most Tharu settlements are close to the river, this tribe has a special connection with fish. In Tharu culture, fish is quintessential – it is a must for weddings, ceremonies, festivals and other special occasions. Tharus live very close to nature and our food items are also derived from nature; it keeps an ecological balance. This eco-friendly tribe has a fascinating food culture. Most of Madheshi-Tharu dishes are rice based. Rice is molded into various shapes and steamed to make dhikari, an essential festival treat. Moreover, a special kind of sticky rice called anadi is steamed and served. Tharu food can be divided into two categories – ordinary everyday food consisting of rice, lentils, vegetables and fish, and special food items that are mostly prepared and consumed during feasts, festivals and other special occasions. Furthermore, some other special Tharu food items on the menu include pakuwa (barbecued meat), gughi (dried shrimp) and an assortment of tina (vegetables). But it is unfortunate that they are gradually disappearing from the diet of the original inhabitants. The younger generation are more inclined towards industrial food – primarily due to advertisements and the need for fast\convenient food. On the brighter side, the older generation still seems to be attached to their traditional cuisines. People has an emotional attachment with her traditional food – even when they are living abroad, they cook the same dishes that they would eat in the Madhesh. Madhesh cuisine has its own charm – the food is interesting, colorful and simply delicious.

Tourism[edit]

  • Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi District of Madhesh. It is the place where, according to Buddhist tradition, Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in 563 BCE.Gautama, who achieved Enlightenment some time around 528 BCE,became the Gautama Buddha and founded Buddhism Lumbini is one of many magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of Gautama Buddha. Lumbini has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi Temple and several others which are still under construction. Many monuments, monasteries and a museum — the Lumbini International Research Institute — are also located within the holy site. Also located there is the Puskarini or Holy Pond where the Buddha's mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he, too, had his first bath. At other sites near Lumbini, earlier Buddhas were, according to tradition, born, achieved ultimate Enlightenment and finally relinquished their earthly forms. Lumbini was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1997
  • Janakpur - The birthplace of Sita, wife of Rama in the Ramayana. Janakpur is a Hindu pilgrimage site. It was the capital of King Janak and is the birthplace of Sita. The ideal time to visit the city is on the occasion of Hindu festival of Vivah Panchami around November–December.
  • Bardiya National Park - is a protected area in Nepal that was established in 1988 as Royal Bardia National Park. Covering an area of 968 km2 (374 sq mi) it is the largest and most undisturbed national park in Nepal's Terai, adjoining the eastern bank of the Karnali River and bisected by the Babai River in the Bardiya District. Its northern limits are demarcated by the crest of the Siwalik Hills. The Nepalgunj-Surkhet highway partly forms the southern boundary, but seriously disrupts the protected area. Natural boundaries to human settlements are formed in the west by the Geruwa, a branch of the Karnali River, and in the southeast by the Babai River.Together with the neighboring Banke National Park, the coherent protected area of 1,437 km2 (555 sq mi) represents the Tiger Conservation Unit (TCU) Bardia-Banke that extends over 2,231 km2 (861 sq mi) of alluvial grasslands and subtropical moist deciduous forests.
  • Parsa Wildlife Reserve is a protected area in the Inner Madhesh lowlands of south-central Nepal. Established in 1984 A.D, it covers an area of 637.37 km2 (246.09 sq mi) in the Parsa, Makwanpur and Bara districts and is the largest wildlife reserve in the country. A bufferzone declared in 2005 comprises 298.2 km2 (115.1 sq mi). In altitude it ranges from 435 m (1,427 ft) to 950 m (3,120 ft) in the Siwalik Hills.In 2015, the protected area has been extended by 128 km2 (49 sq mi).In the north of the protected area the Rapti River and Siwalik Hills form a natural boundary to human settlements. In the east it extends up to the Hetauda – Birgunj highway. In the south, a forest roads demarcates the boundary. Adjacent to the west is Chitawan National Park Together with the Indian Tiger Reserve Valmiki National Park, the coherent protected area of 2,075 km2 (801 sq mi) represents the Tiger Conservation Unit (TCU) Chitwan-Parsa-Valmiki, which covers a 3,549 km2 (1,370 sq mi) block of alluvial grasslands and subtropical moist deciduous forests.Before being converted to a protected area, the region used to be a hunting ground of the ruling class.
  • Chitwan National Park is the first national park in Madhesh, Nepal. It was established in 1973 and granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. It covers an area of 932 km2 (360 sq mi) and is located in the subtropical Inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal in the districts of Nawalparasi, Parsa, Chitwan and Makwanpur. In altitude it ranges from about 100 m (330 ft) in the river valleys to 815 m (2,674 ft) in the Churia Hills.In the north and west of the protected area the Narayani-Rapti river system forms a natural boundary to human settlements. Adjacent to the east of Chitwan National Park is Parsa Wildlife Reserve, contiguous in the south is the Indian Tiger Reserve Valmiki National Park. The coherent protected area of 2,075 km2 (801 sq mi) represents the Tiger Conservation Unit (TCU) Chitwan-Parsa-Valmiki, which covers a 3,549 km2 (1,370 sq mi) huge block of alluvial grasslands and subtropical moist deciduous forests.
  • Salahesh Garden- The garden of King Salahesh is located in Siraha district of Nepal near Lahan. The main interesting thing of garden is flower that bear only one time in a year at that time a great festival occurs here.
  • Chhinnamasta Temple
  • Kankalini Temple
  • Gadhi Mai Temple
  • Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve - The reserve, composed of grassland and several small islands around Koshi river, is home to thousands of species of birds. One can also enjoy watching fresh water Dolphins, wild buffalos called Arna, deer, wild boars, pythons and crocodiles.

Notable people from Madhesh[edit]

Notable people from Madhesh[edit]

References[edit]

[7]

  1. ^ Platts, J. T. (1884). "A dictionary of Urdu, and English.". W. H. Allen & Co., London. 
  2. ^ Guneratne 2002, p. 22.
  3. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ http://madhesh.com/

External links[edit]

Chaudhary, Deepak. 2015 (2011). Tarai/Madhedh of Nepal : Anthropological Study. Ratna Pustak Bhandar. Nepal.