photo of person from Nepal Sindhulpalchok
Nepal
 
GLOSSARY
Nepal glossary

Ram Bahadur

(NEPAL 2)

Sex

male

Age

48

Identity

Hindu, Chettri caste

Occupation

farmer

Location

Thakani VDC, Sindhupalchok

Date

1994

 

transcript

Section 1
Time to time we (myself and the narrator) had met before, it is not a new thing. We have been introduced and we had talked together. But now, we want to know more about you and we want to know your experiences through your life and about important incidents those happened in your life. How much they affected you. This kind of work we did before through meetings and seminars. But at that time most probably you could not express your feelings well or maybe we had our weakness or because of those people (political leaders or other important men in society) you were afraid to express your feelings in the mass. Thatís why we came to talk to you personally and you don't have to worry about this. We will start by simply talking. It is only a cassette, we record your voice here and what you tell to us we will listen to it and then get a lesson from it. We call it an interview. You could tell us anything you know about this village and about yourself. We want to know how much knowledge you have got. We want to learn more from you.

How long have your forefathers been living here in this place?
From many years ago. It is our forefatherís place. But before, we didn't know anything about society, but today because of this office we learned more things from others, we took training, we talked with people and we got more experiences from them. Today we can decide which is good and which is bad. My grandsons and daughters will also learn more than us. I wish them good luck.

Could you tell me about the betterment after the office was established here?
We got facilities and it is good for us. Before we were in the dark. Because of this office our livelihood is becoming easier, who does not know anything also has learned something from this office we are really grateful about it and thank you very much. Hope it will do more in the future.

What do you mean by 'more' here?
I mean to say, for us it is more beneficial if it increases its field for us to improve our lifestyle and to cultivate our lands. It helps us to become literate people. If it gives more attention to those who are literate they will also do more progress in education and more people will become literate.
Section 2
It was a good progress. That means you found improvement because of this office. Did you find any disadvantages?
No, it helped us more than we expected. Today we have money to buy animals. They also help us. It has only a good side. We have a bright future. It is sunshine in our life. It is my opinion.

I understand what you feel for this office. Do you have any suggestions to improve our activities, from which you will get more facilities than before?
Everybody has his own view of life. One person says one thing another says the other thing. Even in the family everybody has their own view. If you spit it will dry soon.
If we all spit together it will become a sea-it is our proverb. If we work individually it does not count, if we work together we will be able to do anything. I believe in unity.

I understand, it was difficult to start here in the beginning. As you told it is difficult to live in one family without quarrelling. They were new to this place and they had to deal with different people and had to face difficult situations, what do you have to say about this. What kind of difficult situation they had to face in the beginning?
At that time it was difficult for them to start. They felt awkward to bring new things among our people. But now they improved or adjusted themselves to this place. Because of this office our people, especially those parbate Bhotes (belonging to the mountains) who did not know our Nepali language, now they became intelligent. They can speak well. So we got more facilities because of this office. We are also eager to help them. But there are differences among us. Some are rich, some are poor, so they can't help us equally. They have to think about this. And should give proper attention to them. One day they will become intelligent and literate. It is my wish to improve our society and everybody will get a chance.

As you told those Bhotes learned to speak Parbate (the Nepali language) how did they learn it?
In this office, people come from different parts to work. They talked with them and taught them new things. They had heard and learned many things from them. In this way they are able to speak Nepali.

You told me little bit above this office. What about your family? How many members are in your family?
Only five.

Who are they?
My son, two daughters, my wife and myself.

How old is your son?
Twelve years old.

Does he go to school?
Yes.

Which class does he study?
He studies in class four.
Section 3
What about your daughters?
My elder daughter is 15 years old. She could not continue her studies because of household work. If she had continued she would be in class seven.

From which class she left her studies?
From class four. It has been three years. Without working in the field we donít get enough rice to eat, who will work, we did not have labour thatís why my daughter had to leave the school.

How old is your younger daughter?
In this Saun (mid-July to mid-August) she will be five.

Why you had to take out your elder daughter from school?
I had to do that. I didn't take her out intentionally. There was no one to work. She helps to boil hot water and to feed the animals. Without animals we can't live. We have to do hard work. I need a helper; thatís why I took her out from school.

How did she manage to study in fourth class?
At that time she was small, she could not cut grass. So I admitted her in school. Now she is grown up and able to do work that's why I had to take her out from the school.

Do you have your parents?
No, my father expired in 2028 B.S. (1971). But I could not remember my mother, when she died I was only three years old.

How many brothers do you have?
Two, my elder brother and myself but I have four sisters. I am the youngest among them.

Are you living together?
No, we all are separated. Itís been 14 to 15 years.

How did you feel when you were living together and now you are separated?
That time I used to go as the gothala (shepherd). Everyone would do their own work. All work is divided among us. I only had to do easy work. In those days we didn't have education. I was free but I didn't get the chance to read and write.

How long have you been married?
It's been 22-24 years.

Where is your sasurali (father-in-lawís house)?
In Goreganwa Mahankal.

What is their caste?
They are Pundit Chettri.

That means your own caste?
Yes, the same.
Section 4
Is there anyone who did an inter-caste marriage in this village?
We all are Chettri but my wife is a different Chettri we are Aryal Khatri. But it is suitable or we can do marriage between Khatri and Chettri.

That means in this place you don't have a person who is married to a different caste?
No.

Besides marriage, do you have other customs and festivals to celebrate, when children are born and they are grown up?
Yes, we celebrate Chhewar (the first time a baby sonís hair is cut) and Bratabandha (rite of passage marking the entry to manhood).

Are they the same?
No, they are different. For Bhotes and Tamangs, Chhewar and marriage ceremonies are the same. But for Chettri, Chhewar, Bratabandha and marriage are different.
[Interruption: there is a sound - a hawk came and took away a sarung (bird) from the corner of the house.] In Chewar uncle will come and shave our hair.

Do you think these kinds of customs are good or bad?
When we talk about the custom, we have to give our daughter to others and we have to bring anotherís daughter in our home. So it is our culture, we canít avoid it. About festivals we have Dashain, Tihar are the major ones and important.

Could you read and write?
No.

At least your son and daughters can read and write, how do you feel about this?
It is good for their future.

Why?
Because they will not limit themselves only in the field and crops. If they can read and write then their future is also bright. I wish to get them a higher education, which I didnít get.

What do you think about childrenís schooling, does this help them in the future?
I canít predict the future.

Maybe you have some expectations?
Yes, they are doing well.

Now, could you tell me about the diseases which effected this area now and before I mean epidemic ones?
In this village children will suffer from measles and boils. These are common diseases.

What kinds of differences do you find before and now in these disease?
In those days, especially in summer these disease would appear, but now because of hospital these disease are disappearing.
Section 5
What kind of disease will effect the adult one?
They suffer from eye weakness and also from tuberculosis. But we can do the treatment for these diseases. We have a hospital, and also this office helps us to cure our disease.

If people become sick, what will they do?
If someone became sick, they take him to the hospital. But in those days they would take him to Dhami Jhankri (traditional healer) to treat him with herbal [medicine]. We have still this kind of custom but mostly they take sick people to hospital.

For what kinds of diseases you will go to Dhami Jhankri?
For heart disease, stomach pain, we go to Dhami Jhankri. But for boils, asthma and coughs we go to the hospital.

How did this kind of system start, to take to the hospital and Dhami Jhankri for these disease?
Most of the people go to the hospital. Because they become better from the treatment. But where there is no hospital, they use Dhami Jhankri. If there is nowhere to take them they go to Dhami Jhankri.

Which one is more expensive?
It is same. They go for the treatment. At that time, when they feel sick, they donít care about the money. Where they get a quick response from or treatment they go for that. Whether it is hospital or Dhami Jhankri, they donít care, they want only to get quick treatment.

What kinds of crops do you cultivate in the field?
Our major crops are rice, maize and millet. These are our earning sources. Somebody grows more crops, somebody does not. It depends on their works and conditions.

What kinds of differences do you find before and after?
Many differences. In those days we used to cultivate crops two times a year, but nowadays because of development we cultivate crops three times in a year. Because we have more facilities, such as irrigation in our field. But in the peak of a mountain they cultivate only one crop in a year, because of the cold weather.

What do you mean by development here?
Development means, today we have drinking water, hospitals and a health post in our village. That is development.

What kinds of animals do you have?
I have one buffalo and a cow. Only two.

In your forefathersí times, did you have more animals or less than today?
In those days the forests were dense and thick. We could get grass easily for the animals. Thatís why we had more animals than today. Animal dung helped us to run our livelihood. Nowadays, the forest is becoming thin, it is difficult to get grass for animals, thatís why we have only few number of animals. But we use chemical fertiliser in our field and it helps to grow more crops. Because of this we have a good earning source.
Section 6
For your family is it enough to eat in the whole year?
Not enough, if we grow three crops in a year, sometimes it is sufficient sometimes it is difficult to manage through the whole year. We keep hens, goats and other animals. All together we live by the source of these animals and crops.

Do your children help you in the field?
In their leisure time they help me.

To work in your field do you need other people or is it sufficient by yourselves?
We do by ourselves. But sometimes if we were not able to do [the work] in time then we call the people as parma (mutual exchange of labour), you have to give him lunch or rice for it.

Oh I see, you used to exchange your toils or labours like this?
If we could not find people to work as parma then we call the labour for daily wages. We must put the crops in season, otherwise it is useless.

As you told me about the parma exchange individualís toil, you brought a strong man, when the time comes instead of strong man you send your small daughter, is it possible? Or will they accept?
Yes, but in other places in exchange of a strong man they ask for two women or two children.

How much difference is there between womanís and menís wages?
We did not have a wages system. One for one we have to send. But now instead of one strong man we have to send two women.

Why has this kind of difference appeared now?
It is a new custom, one person can earn 20-30 Rs per day. They only agree to come if they are highly paid. Thatís why it is difficult nowadays to send one woman instead of one man. They demand they can do hard work more then women.

Where do they go to work?
They go to do service; only older people live in the house. Children go to school, who have good economic conditions at home, they go to study further.

Who services, do they help in the family?
Yes, they are helping, without their help how could their family live? They help their family doing services and working in a daily wages.

Who wants to do service outside, did it affect their family?
No, it is good for them. He works and earns and looks after his family. It is a wonderful thing.

If somebody goes to work as a farmer, but these persons were not able to pay him in return in the same year, what will people do about this? What do you mean by meeting done by the villagers?
In our village, sometimes neighbours become sick and are not able to help in time, at that time villagers will help them they will cultivate crops in his field and he will pay for their help when he becomes well. We have an understanding between us. In this kind of case, we call the meeting.
Section 7
At other times when you call the meeting?
To manage the household, sometimes we have to call the meeting. From each family one member will take part in the meeting to solve their own problems.

Yes, I understood, but at other times when do you call the meeting?
When somebody feels sick, at that time we three or four people decide what to do for him and we decide to look after his field and crops and also fix the time. In this kind of work, we call the meeting.

Oh I see, you help each other. In the past how many works did you manage like this in your village?
No, I could not tell it. I donít remember.

Do you like this kind of system to help each other by calling the meeting?
Yes, it is a good system.

Why do you prefer it?
Sometimes I have to face more problems myself. At that time I need help, I would not be able to do my work by myself. Then my neighbours will decide to help me. If they do not help me I will be ruined. So this is a good system. When the time comes I will also help them. We have a good cooperation between us.

This kind of group was it there before?
Yes, it was. In this village there were only four or five houses, they lived by one another. Still we have this system.

In those days how did you decide the things when the decision came to develop your village?
In those days things were decided by the members and intellectual persons from the village. They would suggest to do so and do. Then we would do that work altogether.

Are you satisfied from this work?
Yes, when labours are needed to dig the road in the village, if a personís house is going to fall, these members and chairman of the village will order to maintain to help them. Everybody will agree and accept the order form them.

Is there any market near this village, where you can buy your necessities?
We go to Phedi, Samkhu, Bhotechaur, which is near and convenient.

Was it here before or in a different place?
Yes it was the same place from the past. We used to go to Phedi, but now roads are made in Bhotechour so we mostly go to Bhotechour and Samkhu for the shopping.
Section 8
Now the road started from Bhotechour to Jaishi and Chanpabot, what kinds of facilities did you get from this road?
We got more facilities. We had to go to Samkhu for shopping, now because of road we go to Bhotechour, which is nearer than Samkhu. We can easily reach to Jaishi Ganwa from Bhotechour. It is more convenient than before.

Is there any plan to extend this road?
Ah. We heard it will go from Thakani to Durali. But I am not sure. Maybe it was only a rumour.

Itís one year until the road is here. Still you are not sure about this plan? Or it is not decided yet?
It is not decided yet. I think it is their fault, who is going to plan this.

What do you mean by ĎWhoí?
I mean leader or intellectual persons of the village. It is their duty to organise it. It is their weakness that they canít do this work quickly.

How do your leaders and intellectual persons react about this?
We knew from them that the road will be built here soon. I donít know why it has not started yet. It is reached to Jaishi Ganwa. But when it will reach here I donít know.

We have talked about many topics, now are there any major events that ever happened in your life or did you remember your experiences, which have touched your heart?
No, I have not. I am not the person who is interested in politics. We do our work in the field. We hope for the betterment.

I understand your view, but events and incidents have not only happened to politicians, these will happen to anyone. I am asking about your experiences which had happened in your life whether it would be good or bad?
We expect to get salt cheaply, and also chemical fertiliser. And we hope to grow more crops in our field. Chemical fertiliser is expensive, for one sack we have to pay Rs.700. Some people put 10-15 sacks of fertiliser in the field. But we do not get fertiliser, two sacks of fertiliser we used to get but it is difficult to get one. We only wish the price must be controlled. It is very expensive. We have only this complaint.

So you hope to find chemical fertiliser for a cheap price. Is it possible?
I am not sure maybe or maybe not.

How and when will it happen?
I donít know, people are increasing and they are using this more and more. Population is not in control. It will be expensive but hope for less expensive. If population will increase the price will increase also if it decreases, price will also decrease.

Is it possible that the price will be less expensive?
I am not sure.
Section 9
When will the price decrease?
Production should increase and population should decrease.

Is it possible?
Then who lives here he will get the more facilities.

Now we have come to the end of the interview, do you have any suggestions for us?
Thank you very much. We are grateful for these developments in our village.

Do you have more expectation from this office?
We have got enough facilities, still hoping for more.

Still what kind of help do you want from our office?
You will think about it Ė what kind of development we need. You have to decide yourselves. We have enough but there are some places where development did not touch them.

Could you give the name of these places, where facilities didnít reach yet?
No, it is my view, maybe there are some places where development is needed more. We learnt more from this office we became literate, we got more facilities.