Discourse on Dalit
Dalit and Dalit Women of Terai
(Terai ka Dalit ewam Dalit mahila)
Edited by: Dr. Haribansha
Jha Ph. D
Published Date: December 2003
Published by: Center for Economic and Technical
Studies (CETS) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)
Price: Not mentioned, Pages:
ISBN No: 99933-837-0-8
The book highlights problems and
challenges of Dailt and Dalit women of terai region
By A CORRESPONDENT
The problems of so-called untouchables
or Dalits are common in Hindu society. Whether in the
upper hill or lower terai, untouchable Nepalese living
in different parts of the country have to face similar
kinds of problems related to discriminations.
Edited by Dr Haribansha Jha - a well-known
economist this is a first-of-its-kind book, which
deals with various problems and challenges faced particularly
by the Dalits and Dalit women of terai.
Although the problems of Dalit community
were ignored for long time, Dalit community has been fighting
a continuous battle to press policy makers to genuinely
take up their problems and to raise awareness about the
rampant social discrimination against them. Following
the promulgation of the Constitution of Kingdom of Nepal
1990, Dalit communities have started to raise the issue
of discrimination in a strong manner.
Dalits of terai region are neglected
and ignored by the mainstream. The situation of Dailt
women is so bad that they are compelled to live in miserable
social and economic conditions, writes Dr. Jha.
Among 33 percent landless people in
terai, majority of people are from Dalit community. The
literacy rates among the dalit community are still the
lowest and only a few women are admitted to schools. In
terms of daily income, Dalits earned hardly a dollar day.
From political parties to social organizations
and other state institutions, Dalits from terai does not
have any say. Despite the continuous efforts to upgrade
the living standard of Dalits, the programs are yet to
materialize. According to a paper presented by Dr. Jha,
Dalits are living in the vicious circle of poverty.
Dalits have their own traditional
techniques including to make shoes, buckets, fishing nets
and others but they are unable to compete with the modern
industries, writs Dr. Jha. Dalits need certain
protections and encouragement to survive.
It is not possible to change the cultural
values and social discrimination against Dalits overnight.
What is required is to provide education and other economic
opportunities to Dalits so that they can compete with
other communities. Economic disparities are one of the
main reasons behind the persisting discrimination.
Nepals terai shares a long open
border with India and society here inherits so many cultural
and social values from the other side of the border. In
terai, the dalits are badly treated. Since only a few
dalits are elected to the policy making body, they cannot
make their voices heard.
This book highlights burning problems
of Nepalese Dalit and tries to convince the policy makers
about the situation, said Dev Raj Dahal, Representative
The book is divided into three different
chapters. The first chapter focuses on some of the largest
Dalit community like Chamar (Shoemaker), Dhobi (washer
men), Dum and other lower classes and development programs
dedicated towards them.
The second chapter includes Dalit Women
and their contribution in the national economy as well
as discriminations and their overall status. The third
and final chapter discusses the educational status as
well as violence against Dalit women.
In the book, Prakash A.Raj presents
a paper on political rights of Dalit women and Ram Chandra
Shaha discuses about the social violence against Dalit
women. Basanta Kumar Bishwokarma highlights the educational
status of Dalit women and children.
(2-8 April 2004)