photo of person from Nepal Sindhulpalchok
Nepal glossary

Bhakhat Bahadur







Hindu, Chettri caste




Thakani VDC, Sindhupalchok





Section 1
Are your ancestors belonging to this place?
[Yes] of this place. Our village Chaphelo.

Have your family been here since your grandfather?
Since our grandfather. Or it is said that we have been staying here for the three generations after coming from somewhere else, we donít know.

From where did they come?
Either from Rawat Bensi or somewhere else, it is said so.

In which district does this Rawat Bensi belongs to?
Rawat Bensi means it is situated in the western side.

Oh! Is it in the western side?
I have known it since I have been living. Ancestors came here long ago to Chaphele.

And how long since you have known?
Itís three generations that we have known it.

How many are your family in the neighbourhood?
Our brothers are here. There are 12-13 houses belonging to our clan. And 12-13 houses of our clan are here and some of our clan is in Hebung, Hebung Rawat village. Our clan also stays there. One of our grandfathers had gone there and he began to stay there. There were two grandfathers. Even though all people are Rawat in our village, one of [our] own kin and kith had gone to Hebung. One brother stayed and one went to Hebung. There are three brothers there and one brother here.

How much do you know your brother? It means was your grandfather there in your time? Have you seen your grandfather?
Not seen. Oh no. I have not seen my grandfather alive. I only saw my father.

Oh, have you seen your father?
Only [my] father.

You might have heard about your grandfather?
I might say I have heard.
Section 2
At what age did your grandfather die?
Grandfathers and grandfather died around the age of 55-56. It is too early, at the age of 55-56. The brother of my father died at the age of 32; only at the age of 32. He had not learned from anybody. Even officials of the office could not undo him at the age of 32.

No, elder uncle.

Elder uncle?
Yes, elder uncle. It was said that he was better than the king. He died when he reached 32 years.

It is said that a good man does not live long, is it not?
Nobody could undo his work, if he did [it] once. He was very expert.

And what about your father?
My father was outspoken but did not know reading or writing, he also improved a lot, however, he thought why should he abandon the work carried out by his father. He also sat nearby with other people and did work.

When did your father die?
Father lived till around 60-65.

How long ago since your father died?
My father died 20 years ago. It was maybe 20-22 years.

And how many family members are there in your family?
My family consists of two daughters and six sons, and we two.

And reading and writing?
I have no education. My sons have got education. My sons studied up to class ten and [one] teaches at school. The middle one also got education up to class ten but did not pass, he went to the countryside. The fourth youngest also went to the countryside. It has been 3-4 years. The fourth youngest one and the middle one are in the countryside. They have been writing letters about their arrival in the Dashain. They wrote to me saying they would come in the Tihar and Dashain (major Nepali festivals) but they did not come neither in Dashain or Tihar. Two are still in foreign (?). And the youngest ones; they have tried to educate them. The middle one left without completing education and the fourth youngest one also went without doing job.

And what about the youngest and the second youngest one?
The third youngest son also got education but due to the shortage of manpower in the field, he began to work in ploughing ox and digging. And the eldest one teaches at the school.

[Heís a] master! He got a masters job after passing Toblaha (?), is it not?
He stayed here due to the shortage of manpower. We cannot feed without working. One has to do one or another work.
Section 3
And what about farming?
[We] do agriculture, do work and stay.

Is your land enough?
Itís enough, [our] own land is enough.

And farming?

Is it more than enough?
It will be more than enough after eating. But we need money also. If we donít sell - we donít have a job - we donít get money from others. We sell 40-50 muri of paddy, 15-20 muri of millet and a little maize also.

What do you do with money that you get from selling paddy?
It finishes through spending on 12-13 sacks fertiliser, which have to be bought annually, clothes and soil (?) have to be bought [also]. There will be no savings. During Asaar (mid-June to mid-July) wages have to be given to paid manual workers. Money will be spent doing some works. We have to buy fertiliser, clothes and there is no question to sell before completing one year.

What types of fertiliser do you use?
Urea, peas and sugar. We need three types. 12-14 [sacks] are needed in a year. Fertiliser is needed for wheat, maize, paddy and millet.

How long before this urea and sugar fertiliser came into this village? It might be 10-12 years isnít it?
Maybe 12 years, there was no fertiliser then. It came into this village during our days. If it was before it might be 20 years. You now have the production of agriculture with and without fertiliser. We use it because of profit. Or the crops are doubled. If it grows 20 muri instead of 10, it should be called improvement.

What types of differences do you find in culture and tradition? In Dashain, Tihar, Bratabandha (a rite of passage marking the entry to manhood), religious programmes?
It is natural that people celebrate more now than before.

What are the differences in tradition between now and then? In marriage and Bratabandha a vast difference has occurred. One of the things is a hike in expenditure. What types of differences do you find in other things?
There is no difference in other things. It means the things are the same. Expenditure is for that purpose, in that time it was less, now it is more.

Have you seen any difference between the daughters-in-law of that time and todayís?
If she is a good one it is OK, if not it is bad. It is the same in those days and today. If one meets a good one she can establish her house and if not she will leave the house within six months, one year or two years. There is no difference between those days and todayís.
Section 4
According to age, daughters-in-law of those days and todayís?
No difference. A good one will do work, lazy and devious ones do not do even today. And those who do not do work, didnít do even in those days. Those who do work are the same, some donít want to work and some do without complaining. There is no difference [between] those days and today.

Was there a school in your time?
No, there was not. It opened later on. We didnít know about it. It had been opened when we were 25-26 years old.

It seems that the school has been running for 40 years. Was it opened before that also?
There was no school in our time. So we could not read, we didnít study not because of laziness, there was no school for study. We had to stay at home and read. There was no tradition of teaching by masters.

It means your father and brothers of your father must have read somewhere? Where did they study?
What types they were, they learnt when they saw someone do things. If others began to study, they learnt instantly. If they went to the District office, the officer would get up and offer a seat for him. Even the king sent two or three people around whenever he went to the capital - the person (narratorís fatherís brother) who was just only 32 years old. In those days even the king used to visit on bhaggi (Nepali pronunciation of buggy, meaning sedan chair in which he was carried) whenever he saw men he stopped and would ask where they had come from. He would ask where was his house. When the king asked him his rank he said he was Talukdar (tax collector) of 8-9 villages. The king also asked whether he liked to do a job. He was a person like that.
During our fatherís and uncleís time, small cases were finalised in our house. If anything happened to someone they would come and stay in our house. There was no place to sleep, our father used to say. If cases related to arrest, he could try to solve it. But if they could not solve them, they sent them to the district by corresponding. They sent them to the next place if they could not finalise the cases. If they were still living, we, sons and grandsons, would not get into trouble. Our father used to say he was so brave, he died at the age of 32, alas! He died prematurely. Nobody could match [him] in correspondence and knowledge.

Your grandfather had died prematurely. In comparison with old people, what difference do you find in life expectancy of todayís youth? Tell me the age of life?
Todayís people do not live longer, they die after 50-60 years. People live more in 30-40, 32-33 years. Someone seen to be living for 100-110 years. Some live for 100 years. Those who want to do something donít live for a long time.
In those days a buffalo could be bought for 55 rupees and our father also bought at that price. I also sold milking buffalo at the rate of 55 rupees and it went up to 200, then 300 rupees now it is 10-12 thousand. Our father had bought a milking buffalo when there was not a single one in bensi (lowland, a valley) for drinking milk. In the morning it used to give four mana of milk and four mana in the evening.
Section 5
And what is the price of the fertiliser?
Urea cost Rs 355, I bought it at that price. Pea which price is Rs.555, priced as 560.

What difference do you find between the price of the first fertiliser and the present fertiliser?
It was cheaper then, it was around Rs. 100. It has become too difficult, you would not [get?] one sack of fertiliser for one muri paddy. Urea would come but not pea. Accordingly, the price of paddy might have gone upÖ not accordingly my dear. According to the price hiking of all goods, the price of one muri of rice should be 800- 900 rupees. We know that one muri of rice could buy 6 or 7 sari (womenís clothing). Oh very strong fariya (sari worn as a skirt) could buy Rs. 6, 13 mohor (an eight aanaa silver piece), Rs.5 could buy a fariya.

As far as your knowledge is concerned, what types of clothes have come into use?
It was strong. It was called kora chipa, kamalpokhari, dombar kumari. Nowadays, its thin, not durable, costly, in those days it lasted for one year. In those days durable cloths used to come, now they are better to look at and thin, itís costly, thin but not durable. It is very strange, in those days a paid farmer worked at the rate of 5 aannaa (an aannaa is a twenty-fifth of a rupee coin), now those who used to take 5 aannaa charges 20 rupees, that also a woman. Men used to ask for 60 rupees from the morning, 15-20 rupees for the female worker. 5 women used to come for cutting rice and ploughing, one rupee in for bringing 5 workers, [now] we have to pay Rs.20 for one worker who just plucks grass and millet.

What is the difference between the wages given to Chettri, Brahmin and Tamang caste?
In the case of us calling them, there is no difference especially lower ones asking for upper one. In their upper part they only charge 10-15 rupees. When we call them they charge more.

Is there any difference in wages between men and women?
Yes, there is a difference. There was no difference at first. There were differences between males and females. There was one difference that was rice and wheat beaters got more wages. There were works like ploughing and carrying fertiliser on a wages basis. They were equal, no difference. Now men get double. It was Rs. 10-11 for oxen, now it is say Rs. 100 for six bigha (traditional unit for land measurement). There were same wages for men and women but now the difference becomes double... In those days men used to get Rs. 20 but now they get Rs. 60. Now there is a difference in wages.

Which one do you prefer - previous or todayís?
The previous one is better than todayís. It was equal then. Now wages are different. Whereas 5 aannaas those days and whereas 60 rupees today.
Section 6
In between what years it was?
It kept on rising.

How long was this thing?
It was 40 years ago, we were 20 years old then. We were 20 years old, now I step 60 years. I feel ashamed to say because tradition was so then. In those days lots of people used to get that amount. Now we do not get it. We do not get workers even at the rate of 60 rupees. In those days 50-60 people could be gathered within a day. If we distributed money in different places, they would come. In those days we could get people but not now.

What has happened to that village, as people were sufficient in those days to work but now?
In those days there were many poor people. Today I think fertiliser makes it easy for the poor to meet their ends. There was no fertiliser and the poor could not rear domestic animals and could not make fertiliser. Well-to-do families would keep buffalo and there was good income and land. In good land, the use of a small amount of fertiliser could grow more. Poor people and adjoined land would be effected and there was no way to grow without putting fertiliser. So they became poor. Now because of fertiliser, everyone can make their good living. And they would not come for wages. Those who used to come for wages decline to come for wages. The use of fertilisers might have increased the production.

After that have you seen any harm or shortcoming using it?
At present I must say there is benefit. Or it is very useful for plain land or flat land. It is not so useful on hills. In the ditches it will be better to fill up with soil. In a flat place or small ditches there is no need of soil to fill up.

Have you ever experienced...if there was no fertiliser which crop will grow more with or without using fertiliser?
There will be less production if we donít use fertiliser. After all the soil is the same. What to do if it is the same soil. Production will reduce and make a difference.

What would you do if fertiliser does not come tomorrow?
If fertiliser doesnít come, life will be sustained with difficulty. It happens. 5 muri will grow instead of 10 muri for one or two years. Again after one or two years it will be the same. Again after abandoning fertiliser, we will begin to use animal manure. Production will not be better for one or two years. It has to be absorbed in the soil. After one or two years it will be better. Not like this, this fertiliser is very strange. What make this fertiliser, the real fertiliser is this.

What is the benefit that one gets from using it?
It will be two bhari (loads) instead of one. It would be double. It will be double if we use this fertiliser. If we donít use this fertiliser, the maize bundle will remain small. And corn of rice also will not develop.

At what age did you marry?
At 22 years.
Section 7
What is the main difference you find between the marriage of olden days and todayís?
Now marriage becomes costlier than before.

Now is it more expensive?
What expense should we incur those days? It must be said money was expensive. In those days 8-9 hundred or one thousand rupees could do a marriage but now it needs 30-40 thousand rupees to do so. There is vast difference between those days and nowadays. It has become difficult for the poor. Some have to sell land. During my fatherís time 55 rupees could finish a marriage ceremony. If 55 rupees could do a marriage then just imagine what kind of time it was. One man did his marriage by borrowing 55 rupees due to lack of money. Now nothing comes with this amount. With 55 rupees it is said that he did everything. What type of age that was. Father used to say so.

What is the difference between interest of those days and todayís?
Compared with those days interest at present is no cheaper. In those days interest of 100 rupees was five muri rice.

Five muri rice has to be paid for 100 rupees? What about todayís?
In those days 4-5 pathi could be found for 100 rupees. Somewhere it was three and somewhere four pathi. In those days it was five muri after a few years it came to 50 pathi and it is said that it kept on decreasing. There is a vast difference between those days and the present days.
Again after one year it stopped to give milk and went down to the countryside and bought a jersey cow for thirty rupees. A cow could comfortably give 6-7 mana of milk morning and evening. That type of time it was. Now it is priced 10-12 thousand which gives only two mana. The cow worth 30 rupees costs five or seven thousands. You just feel strange, I think, to old people like me comparing old days and the present days. Too astonishing. Thinking about the present and the past is really strange.
Listen to me. When I made this house I just paid 14 rupees for a carpenter, now they charge 60 rupees. Can we make a house at such a price? I spent forty thousand rupees to build this house with 20 people. It took three months to complete this house with forty people. We brought 20 people from outside to carry stone, to saw down timber and to dig ditch. We had to manage everything for them. We did the thing with forty thousand rupees which is not possible to do [today?] with two lakhs (200,000) to complete a house. Just count sixty rupees per person for twenty people. In the old days I heard that there would be community work, people would work in group. We have not seen such things today.

What is the main reason behind this difference?
In those days people did so because of time but nowadays they donít do so because of time.
Section 8
How many people will gather if you want to do some development work?
Yes, they will come, if they get information about development work they will come.

Now people talk about politics. What are the differences you find in politics?
Some align with some party and vice-versa.

It means there are differences among parties, does it?
People are involved in different parties. There is no possibility to have one party. If one involves in another party, people will say he has got money from that party and it is said that he brought money and used them.

As your are 58 years old, it means that you have seen the Rana regime also. What difference do you find between the old regime and present regime?
Between the present day and the old days, people say the old one is the better one.

What do you think about it?
We like the old regime. People used to say that during the Rana regime or before that if someone killed a man, he would be killed. He would be killed where he had killed in those days. If they do it now it will be better. It will be difficult to kill people and a thief and a burglar will vanish. Two hands should be cut down of the thief and the burglar and leave them away. The king shall not have to feed them. The killer has to be killed down. It is not a sin to kill killers or murderers. It is said so people of Rana regime. The killer will escape because of money it will be OK if life is taken away. Those who can spend can escape and those who canít cannot. If this system is applied, people will dare not kill or steal and abandon this profession. The thief has to be left by cutting his hands and if he sets free by cutting, nobody has to feed him up. It will be finished if murderers are to be killed, then people will be cautious about it.

It seems there were not many people in the office then?
Oh no.

If people come to fight or quarrel with us, what should we do?
If they do fight we have to take them to court.

If you are not satisfied with the fight that is going on in your village, do you go to the court to file suit?
If I do not satisfy I call adversary and try to unite them. If elders try to unite them they can unite, if itís not possible, we will send them there.

Who were the elders of that time?
Elders means those who knew correspondence. Educated people have to make an agreement; uneducated people cannot make an agreement between two people. Man has become a murderer if they have money, it is true. If you and me have a land dispute and if you could spend money and I could not, they will make you victorious. Time is like this. Such type of time has come now. The wealthy should have killed anyone it seems so. From the time of establishment of this village Chettri and Brahmin have been seen in the lower part and poor Tamang who are illiterate have been seen in the upper part.
Section 9
Is it from the beginning or starts just now?
No it has been from the beginning.

Since you have known it, isnít it?
Bhutes in the upper part and Chettri in the lower part that difference.

What is the main reason behind their stay in the upper part and others in the lower part?
It is easy for them to burn corpses in the hill and for Chettri and Bahun, they have to take corpses to the stream and burn there. It is the same everywhere. It becomes difficult for Chettri and Bahun to carry down corpses from the hill for Bhute, it becomes difficult to carry up the hill from the down. It is evident. It has been in practice from the beginning. It has been in practice since we knew. There is no Bhute in the lower part and Chettri in the upper part.

What is the difference between the two parts?
Land. Lek (hilly area) and bensi (lowland, valley); between the two [types of] land bensiís price is expensive and Lekís price is slightly cheap. In bensi four crops grow continuously, maize, rice, wheat and millet. In lek, rice and wheat donít grow much, only maize grows more and wheat, millet and also rice do not grow more there. Because of that the price of bensi is little bit expensive. It means the land having four crops belong to Chettri and Bahun. Some less expensive land belonged to Bhote. There is a vast difference between lek and bensi. The land that was sold for 60,000 in the upper part, would sell for two lakhs (200,000) in bensi. That is the difference between bensi and lek that land of sixty thousand and could be sold in two lakhs of rupees. Down in bensi there is the facility of water, at least three crops grow in a year. There will be millet, maize and wheat whereas only two crops grow in the upper part.

Yes, what is the system of tilling here today?
In some places land is in tilling, somewhere two parts of three parts. In some land, the owner gets two and tiller gets one and in some difficult [areas?] the landowner gets five muri out of ten muri and ten muri out of twenty muri. The system of tilling land is like this. In some better places the owner gets two and the tiller gets one.

And what about difficult land?
In the difficult place the tiller takes more and the owner gets the rest.

What type of system is prevalent here more?
The same system is here.

Is there adhiya (equal division of produce between two parties)?
That is also present here. In a good place the tiller gets one part out of three parts. In some other less good places itís half and half otherwise wages will not be incurred.
Section 10
Oh wages will not incur?
Farming is like this. There is also good and bad soil. Farming also becomes good and bad. In good land, if enough fertiliser is given crop production will be better.

What types of disease infect people that especially infect human beings?
To some itís asthma, some have breathing problem. Asthma means coughing too [much] coughing and breathing problem.

Which diseases occur in which months?
During the summer itís asthma and at the end of summer and winter, asthma begins to increase. During the winter it increases more. And as summer begins it decreases. It means Ö in the summer it is less and in the winter asthma and breathing problem increases more. As winter comes its asthma and at the time of end of both winter and summer it increases.

Just before the winter and summer begin, some people might have died isnít it?
Some will live. Some live even after infecting this disease for two/four years.

Besides, asthma and breathing problem, what are other diseases that affect the people?
What should we know about other diseases, some say it influenza.

And where shall you go in course of infecting such disease?
Go to the medical [centre] and bring some medicine and take it. And if it is acute we will go to the city and if one cannot walk, he will be taken there by carrying.

Is there a medical doctor here?
Yes, there is one down there in the bensi. Medicine has to be brought from there and call him and he checks. If he cannot undo it, the patient has to be taken to the city. Either carrying or making him walk. Otherwise he has to be taken there by carrying.