photo of person from Nepal Sindhulpalchok
Nepal glossary

Tilak Bahadur

(NEPAL 10)






Hindu, Sarki




Majhini Damar


February 1994



Section 1
What is your occupation?
I have a shop, I sell goods.

Do you have any other occupation?
I repair radios

What is the name of this place?
Its name is Majhini Damar.

Where was your forefather's house?
It was in Beltar.

It is in Sindhuli, isn't it?
Yes, it is in Sindhuli.

From there, where did you emigrate?
From there we went to Karmaiya, Sarlahi and then again came back here.

Which place of Sindhuli?
We came to Kafletar in Sindhuli

Who went to Sarlahi from Bwalatar?
My father did.

And who came to Kafletar?
It was my father again.

Do you remember when your father went to Sarlahi?
Oh, it was before we were born.

You may remember when he came to Kafletar?
We came to Kafletar in the year 2022.

Who was there when you came here?
At that time there were three of us, my father, brother and myself, mother wasn't there.
Section 2
Why did you emigrate from Sarlahi?
First my father went to Karmaiya, Sarlahi. We were born in Karmaiya. In Karmaiya life was hard, farming was not very good, we didn't have much land, we had to go quite far to fetch water and the firewood. Since, it was very difficult to work we shifted here.

And what about your grandfathers?
My grandfathers died in Gwalatar.

Before that where was your forefathers village?
It was in Gwalatar itself. My cousins are still living there.

Why did your father come down from Gwalatar?
Our grandfather died in Gwalatar, so when my father got married to my mother, she took him to Sarlahi. My grandmother died there. My father lived there for 15/16 years and we were also born there. Then in 2022 we shifted here.

So you mean your grandmother married again after your grandfather died?
Yes, she married again.

How many brothers does your father have?
He had three brothers, the oldest and the second one died and my father is the youngest one.

Did he have any sisters?

And how many children did your father have?
He has two sons from the first wife me and the second brother and one from the second one.

So he had two wives? Where is your mother now?
She is no more, they say, she died when I was 3 years old.

Do you know or remember how or why she died? Maybe your father has told you?
She died of diarrhoea.

Didn't they use any medicines?
In those days medicines were not available. It wasn't like today.

So, then he brought your stepmother?

How long after your mother died?
It was after many years.

How long after? How old were you then?
I was then about 20 years old.
Section 3
Is your stepmother still around?
No, she isn't.

What happened?
She went mad.

Is she dead?
I don't know.

How long has it been since she left the village?
It's been 6-7 years.

Didn't you look for her? Aren't you searching for her anymore?
We don't know anything about her whereabouts, she was mad.

And your father, is he still here?
He doesn't do anything, he's not able to. He is around 85 years old.

How old is your stepbrother?
He is around 18 years old.

So you are the eldest?
Yes, I am.

What is the second brother doing?
He is farming.

The youngest one?
He is also farming.

Are there any educated people in your family?
I am the only one.

The others are not educated?
No, nobody has been educated nor my father not the two brothers.

Up to what class have you studied?
Up to class 2.

In this village?
Yes, in the primary school.

In which year did you quit?
I was in class 3 when I quit.

How old were you then?
I think I was 8 years old then.

Why did you quit the school?
I couldn't pay the school fee so I stopped.
Section 4
Are you married?

What about your brothers, do they have any children?
My second brother is married and he has two daughters and a son.

And the youngest brother is also not married yet?
No, he isn't.

But why aren't you married yet?
Look at me, I cannot even walk so how can I marry.

Please tell me how you became like this?
I was normal before. I used to do everything, plough the fields, carry goods. Once we were digging a canal in the village, all the people of Kafletar paid money to dig but we didn't have any money. There was about 15 feet long tree in the middle, so the people told us that they would give water if we fell the trees and dig about 15 feet. So with all the brothers we felled the tree and started digging and completed in 3-4 days. The day after the canal was completed we had water in our house and from the day after I became sick, I couldn't walk. I used to have pain here from before.

Was it your back?
No, it was in the leg. I wasn't able to walk from the day after. It used to hurt like a needle has been inserted, and had a burning sensation. I held it straight but the veins got entangled here. I couldn't afford to go to the hospital, so now I have to sit.

Didn't you use the Dhami-Jhankri (traditional healers)?
Yes, I did but there were no improvements.

Did you use any herbs or local medicines?
I used all the herbs and local medicines, used Dhami and Jhankri but the hospital was far and I couldn't afford, I couldn't even die, so now I am living like this.

How old were you then?
I was 22 years old then and it has been 16 years since I am like this.

Both of your legs cannot move?
No only one leg cannot move; it can be moved from the hip to the knee but the lower half is bent.

Can you tell us more about it?
Since I couldn't walk, I thought I just can't eat and do nothing, even my brothers will not like that, they cannot afford to let me sleep all day and give me food, so I started to work. I decided to keep a shop and brought goods from Kafletar worth about 2-4 hundred rupees.

In which year did you start this business?
I started this business in 2039.
Section 5
So are you profiting from this business or not?
The shop is small and so is the business. I brought the goods worth of 4-5 hundreds, if the business was good I could help my family, the business was okay. Then I thought of having a bigger shop and decided to borrow 1-2 thousand rupees.

So at first you started with you own money?
Yes, I started like that and afterwards I borrowed Rs. 2000 from Ishwor Prasad Gautam of this same village.

What was the interest rate?
It was four percent per month, per year that is a lot, I haven't paid it back yet. The interest was high but the business in the village was not very good so I thought since Majhini Damar is in the centre the business would be good, so I came here.

How many years has it been?
I came here last Bhadra, it has been 5-6 months. Now the business is quite good.

How much do you make in a day?
During Dashain - Tihar (Nepali festivals) I used to make 4-5 hundred rupees but now there are other shops also. Before there were no other shops, mine was the only one. These days I make around 100/150 rupees and sometimes only 50-60 rupees.

Have you paid back the loan?
No, not yet. I am hoping to do more business and then expand my shop a little bit and then I may be able to pay back. They have been asking but I haven't been able to pay back.

Are you paying the interest?
Yes, that I am paying.

So you still have to pay the loan?

Where do you bring the goals for your shop?
When I was in the Kafletar I used to bring the goods from Santapure, Sindhuli Sangbale. But they said I paid very late and they stopped the supply. So now I bring my goods from No.2 bazaar.

From whom do you bring the goods?
From Danubar Bahadur Khadka.

In what condition do you bring the goods?
I bring them in credit.

Do you have to pay interest in that also?
No, there is no interest.

How do you pay him back?
It depends, monthly, weekly or in 15 days whatever I can pay. I have to pay for the goods and bring some more again.
Section 6
Do you have to pay for all the goods that you brought?
Not necessarily, sometimes I cannot pay all. I have paid 3 thousand and this time 1500 rupees and I brought some more goods, so now I have a credit of about 7000-8000 rupees.

How much worth of good do you have in your shop?
I have about 10,000 rupees worth of goods.

What kind of goods do you have?
All sorts of things, I have cigarettes, bindi, tobacco, oil, kerosene, soap, copies, pens etc.

Do you have any other skills?
No, I haven't gone anywhere to learn.

But still...
I can make sweaters and scarves, but I am not really eager to do it. Since I have to stay in the shop I cannot go anywhere and then there is not much work here so I learned to repair radios. I get a little extra income from repairing radios also. I can have this shop as long as the sahu (money lender) believes me, if the sahu is not satisfied with me or my payment he can stop the supply and I cannot have the shop anymore. After I learned to repair the radio I brought some repair tools. I have now worth 2000 rupees. I have borrowed the money for that also.

From where did you bring it?
I brought it from Birgunj and Narayanghat.

From whom did you borrow the money?
From Devkota Sainla of Kafletar.

At what rate did you borrow?
At the rate of 3%.

And do you bring the tools and spare parts from Narayanghat?
Yes. But I cannot go myself so I have to ask for other's favour.

Who helps you in that?
The Bengal's brother helps me. He has settled down in Narayanghat and has a cement factory.

Who is Bengali?
Bengali is a Chettri from Kafletar. I write to him my list of things and he sends them here and I pay him. I have brought twice that way and now I have ran out of stock but I haven't got any money.

In this village who helps you around?
These days Lok Bahadur helps me.
Section 7
What about your brothers?
They also help.

Who brings the goods for the shop?
I pay the porters.

How were you able to learn all these skills even though you are in such a condition?
First I learnt to repair lighters, I still have about 2 dharni of lighters in Kafletar then I thought I'd repair radios and stopped the lighter business. People started to bring their radios for odd repairs. Some brought to repair broken wires and some had more repairs to be done. I could fix the broken wires but there were other broken parts which I had difficulty fixing them. Then I bought a book and studied and then bought a meter, which can detect if the radio is malfunctioning or not. I do small repairs still I am not an expert. I have brought an expert and I learn from him -that's him in a jacket the bearded one. His name is Santa Bahadur From Jay Mangal.

Where did he learn from?
He learnt this business in Birgunj.

Did you have the idea to run a shop or did you learn from somebody else?
I was a farmer before, I had to carry goods so I didn't have any idea to run this kind of business.

Would you like to elaborate some more on how you feel about your work, life or what do you wish in the future?
I find it difficult to say about the future, I cannot walk so I cannot work like others. So as long as I am able and the sahu believes me I will have this shop. In the future, if I am unable to work I hope my brothers will look after me.

Do you have a good relationship with your brothers?
Yes, it is good.

How much land do you have?
I have 10 katha of land.

What do you hope from the other people of the village?
Nothing, they don't do anything, what to say.

What else do you have to say?
Now I need money, I could do anything if I had the money. I could have bought anything I liked though I cannot walk. I could have found anything. But I can still borrow from my villagers.

How do the villagers treat you?
They treat me well.

Don't you ever go to your house?
I can't walk so I don't go.
Section 8
What do you do if you want to go home?
My brother comes and carries me home.

How do you manage to live here?
It is difficult. I cannot go to the river so it is difficult to wash my clothes. Lok Bahadur prepares the food for me. I wanted to come and live here, hoping the business would be good. Everybody has their own problem, I have been here for a short time so I don't want to go back. I am making a little but the loan to the sahu has also increased. I cannot do anything if I go back to my house and again I have to pay my debt too. But I hope that something or the other will turn-up.

How do you pay for your meals?
The food has been brought from my house and Lok Bahadur cooks. But I have to pay for the room. The rent is Rs.50 per month.

It is good that in your condition also you are working and bravely trying to live your life. So you can be an example to others also, don't you think so?
Yes, I think so too.

So, if need be what do you tell the other people who are in the similar condition?
I tell them that they must learn to live and live happily and mustn't die within, they should look at me and take heart. I am doing everything all by myself, I don't beg, I work and I work very hard. I don't ask for charity but I have helped others instead. So I tell them that we should work, be good to others and help and shouldn't worry too much.

Thank you for the time and information.
Interviewers note: The narrator, when he was 20-22 years old, while working his veins or tenders sprained and due to inadequate treatment his left leg is paralysed from the waist downward. He has to use a stick to walk otherwise, he has to crawl. Although he is handicapped physically he is mentally very sound and strong at heart. He feels that he has to support his own life so he has to work hard and should not depend on others.