photo of person from Nepal Sindhulpalchok
Nepal glossary

Lal Bahadur







Magar caste


VDC ward chairman/farmer


Dandajheri VDC, Nawalparasi





Section 1
What is your name brother?
Lal Bahadur Aale Magar, Dandajheri VDC, Ward no.7, Ramkot village.

How old are you?
I am 43 years old.

What is your tole's (ward’s) name?
My tole's name is Ramkot.

What do you do?
I am the chairman of the VDC ward.

Only this, or any other?
I work in the farm as well.

How many members are there in your family?
There are 21 members.

Who are they?
Two brothers and their family, my family. We have a father but no mother.

Are there 21 in total?

How old are your parents?
My father was born in 1977 B.S., so he must be about 75 years old.

What about your mother?
Mother isn't.

In which year did you marry?
I married in 2027 B.S.

Which son are you?
I am the second son.

In which place did you marry?
I married in Dandajheri, Ward no. 7.
Section 2
Of which caste? Is she the same caste?
Yes, the same caste.

Which caste do you belong to?
We belong to the Magar caste, Aale Magar. Lodge houses are Darlami Magar.

How did you marry?
I married simply by escaping.

How old is this escaping tradition?
This is from the past also and simply came as a tradition. It's not a new tradition. It's the old tradition.

What is the difference between the tradition in marriage at your time and the present time?
Only some new traditions are coming sister. The marriage system by giving has also been followed. But mostly here is the escaping tradition.

What about the expenses in marriage as compared to before?
It is similar, but some prosperous parents make more expenses too. Most of it is the same as previously.

What did they do mainly?
We go, for after 15 days of marriage we must go within 15 days, otherwise we may go later also.

What happens?
We must go to ask. First what they behave. In lodge-house it is loved or not, leaves indifferently or by worshipping (?).

Who goes either from bridegroom side or bride side.
The bridegroom side has to go to the bride's side. Then if in lodge-house, it is not loved (?). If the father-in-law can afford it they spend from their side also. The bridegroom’s side makes separate expense.

What do you spend?
We spend mostly on meat, rice and wine.

How much meat is spent in a marriage?
It depends on the invitation how many the invitation is. The more the invitation the more is spent. More expense is made for meat in Magar caste, than in rice.

How much meat is necessary in a marriage approximately?
Oh between 50 dharni and 100 dharni, sometimes 60-70 dharni is needed.

How much wine is spent?
It is not counted, several dholes (storage pot for wine) about 6-7 muris or 9-10 muris.
Section 3
Is this total wine and jard (type of alcohol)?
No only wine, jard is separate. Jard will be about 2-3 or 4-5 muri is used.

In how many days is it completed?
The message should be given 4-5 months before those days.

How many days do you take the party?
The party is taken for one day, two days or sometimes up to three days also.

Is this done on both sides?
Yes, on both sides. Somewhere it is done at one side only; at the bridegroom’s side only.

Is this the party of escaping time or this is done twice in a marriage, isn't it?
While escaping, some sacrifices of pig or baby goat or chicken are given according to his condition and he gives a party gathering in the village.

This is for marriage isn't it?
Yes, it is for marriage.

Is the tradition same at time of your marriage and now? Is nothing changed till now?
It is the same. Nothing has changed.

What about increasing rates? What about expenses?
The increasing rate is the same, sister. Tradition has not changed, the rate of meat and rice is increasing.

Is there a tradition of giving dowry or not?
Only some who can afford give dowry sister.

What do they give?
Bata (?), kasaudi (cooking pot), buffalo, cow, goats are given.

Was this the tradition in the past also?
Yes, it was in the past also and is till now. But most of it wasn't in past. Some came later time by time. Thinking that it is different between son and daughter, this tradition was followed for equality in son and daughter.

Whose marriage did you perform by expense?
I have done of none I have seen of doing by villagers. Now I will do of my children's.

How many sons have you got?
I have two sons.

How old are they?
One is 12 year and the small one is 9 years old.
Section 4
Have you no daughter, brother?
Daughters are first two. Daughters are elder too. One is about 20-21 years, other one is 15-16 years old.

Have they read or not?
They haven't read, sister.

Who in your house can read?
Sons, brother's sons only.

Haven't your sons read too?
A little till class five and six.

You can read and write a little, can't you?
Yes, I can a little.

Have you been living at Ramkot previously?
Previously, we were at Bojna, sister. Our grandparents had come from Bojna. Here there was a great jungle (forest). Then destroying this jungle they had settled here. The Chapali (chautara?) of Bojna was built by our grandparents too. Later at 2034 B.S, it was surveyed. During surveying at 2032, 2033, 2080, that land was surveyed.

Why was the Bojna left?
Previously, tuberculosis was spreading at Bojna. Then they used to live at jungle, at the caves and left Bojna.

You say disease spread at Bojna and escaped from Bojna don't you?

Have you known that cholera spread at Bojna once?
Yes, sister. Cholera hurt a lot. After attacking, also even after completion of disease, the body. This is also tuberculosis. So we settled out [of that area].

Were you born in Ramkot?
Yes. Our father was also born in Ramkot.

What changes have taken place at Ramkot that you have seen? How was Ramkot previously?
Even soil is not the same as previous at Ramkot. It all swept away. The jungle was destroyed everywhere. Firing in the jungle took place. The jungle was destroyed continuously. There was jungle everywhere. The soil on freshly cultivated land from jungle was good but now at same place, there is just cliff everywhere. Seal stone is everywhere. Now there is no soil even to put the seed of maize into.
Section 5
What is the main way of supporting the livelihood of the people of Ramkot?
Cultivating the jungle. The main support is cultivating the land from the jungle. On ploughing, stones and seal stones are found. All the soil of our fields had been swept away. Only those who have enough manure can cultivate but those who have no manure can't cultivate.

Why did you have no manure?
Even on keeping the animals, the cliffs at our cattle, being too steep. Some can't keep the animals. Those only who have manure, can do.

If so the manure is scarce due to the inability of keeping the cattle, isn't it?

The main way of supporting the livelihood is destroying of the jungle. Is there any other ways? What do they do others?
They plant ginger a little. By the season of orange, by selling them by carrying them, they may follow it as way of living.

Does the orange become well there at Ramkot?
Yes. But those oranges suffering from disease.

What type of disease?
Even small plants die, some die even being large due to either the defect on soil or suffering from the disease.

Did any office give or from where did you bring the plants?
Previously, our parents used to carry oranges from Pokhara to Triveni. On carrying to Triveni 500 oranges is one rupee only by the rate of 1 paisa per orange, it is sold in Rs. 150 to 2.00.

How many houses are there at Ramkot?
16 houses.

Do they have orange plants in every house?
Yes, they have orange plants in every house.

What do they do with the oranges?
They sell the oranges. Those who have small land, they have less orange and sell less.

How many trees who have minimum and how many who have maximum?
In minimum 1,2 trees, in maximum 40, 50,30,35,16 plants.

How many trees have you got, brother?
I have 25,30 trees.

Has the orange supported you?
Only this has supported Ramkot.

Let's talk about ginger-powder (ginger first dried and then powdered). How much has it supported?
If the ginger powder is not damaged, this has supported too. Only because of damaging, it is not same as what we do.
Section 6
How much time since it started being damaged?
About 10 years.

Did you follow any way for this?
We talked with JTA. I have brought medicine (antiseptics) for the seed of ginger. He said that it will not be damaged by its use. All in the village spread it buying of 50,60 nothing happened. Ginger continued to be damaged.

When does it become?
It will start to occur from the month of Falgun to Chaitra and Baisakh.

When do you dig out the ginger?
It is started from the month of Aaavin then up to Paus, Magh, Falgun, Chaitra.

Why did you dig out at September since it is being dug up to April also?
In September, only because of damaging and for our self expense, home expense. We dig out in September thinking it can't be found later because of damaging.

It isn't being dug out at the proper time, is it?
No, it is not. It is loss.

I have seen the covering over of ginger, why is it covered?
This is for making soil open, then for destroying unnecessary plants growing in the field.

For what other purposes?
It becomes manure also, sister.

It is seen that more dried leaves material is necessary. When is it collected?
It is started to be collected from February. After cutting, drying, it is tied in a bundle. It is collected, how much is needed. Those who have no leisure, jungle at near, when he plants, at that time only he cut and places.

On collecting the leaves, does any quarrelling occur or not since it is necessary for all?
No, sister.

How, can anybody bring from anywhere?
Those who can, can bring from anywhere.

What do you do after digging out the ginger?
After digging it, we take the better for seed. If we have more than we need, we make ginger powder.

Why do you sell ginger-powder instead of selling the ginger?
If ginger is more, it is difficult to carry. One can carry at maximum 20-25 dharni 150, 62.5 kilo means, the whole ginger takes 10,12 persons on carrying it. We have to pay wages so, instead of giving wages, if we make ginger powder, it becomes less. That's why we convert large amount to less amount. However, there is benefit in ginger. Nowadays it is 40 rupees per kilo at Terai. But due to transportation, the wages have become expensive.
Section 7
How do you make ginger-powder?
After completing digging out, some make later, some do at the same time both digging out and making ginger-powder. Digging out, carrying and burning there, we destroy trees.

We don't burn ginger-powder without trees, without wood, ginger powder can’t be prepared. Thin firewood is not used. Only pieces of large trees are necessary. In search of pieces of large trees, many big trees are destroyed.

Why the pieces of trees are necessary?
Breaking big trees into pieces and it is used to burn.

Fire comes from firewood too, doesn't it?
It's power is low. The fire power of big trees is high, the temperature is high. Not only during burning, after burning also it has much heat too.

How much ginger powder is prepared from how much ginger?
About 4 dharni (10 kilo) makes 1 dharni (2.5 kilo) ginger-powder. For saying, to make 62.5 - 75 kilo ginger powder, about 250 kilo of ginger is necessary.

How much firewood is necessary in preparing this much ginger-powder?
If the tree is large, only 4-5 trees are necessary, and if the tree is small, the woods of 1 ropani land is necessary.

If, to say the no. of trees, how many trees?
About 12-15 small trees are completed.

Is this calculation either for maximum amount or for 250 kg?
This is calculation of ginger powder made from 250 kg ginger.

How many persons have to work to prepare this much ginger-powder?
Only one can also make. If there are any others, it is better on making by two persons.

To prepare ginger powder from 250 kilo ginger, how many days are taken for two person?
About 12-15 days for two men. Done quickly, it takes 12-15 days otherwise, may take 20-25 days.

From where do the people of Ramkot bring the firewood?
Firewood is brought from the jungle, sister. Where there are trees, there he makes the place for burning the ginger powder. First calculating this much firewood is needed for this much ginger, there he makes the place of burning that ginger. Otherwise, cutting off big trees and cutting off branches for burning makes there the place of burning.
Section 8
What do you think either this tradition will be continuing all the time or what will happen?
The preparing of ginger-powder will be continuing, sister. But, later the trees will not become sufficient. Jungle will not become enough. I think this can't withstand.

Have others also thought such things?
I don't know, what others are thinking. I am saying this only according to the basis of my thought.

Has anyone done anything about planting the jungle?
None has done till now. But it can be planted. One may make his own private forest somewhere. It may be planted around the registered (legally) land. For our children's benefit. However, it is the same for us.

Has it been done such thing till now?
No one has done.

Is the ginger-powder to be made from firewood? Can't it be made by drying it in the sun?
Yes, it has to be dried from firewood only. On drying in the sun, the burn over of ginger powder of neighbouring country, India says sun-dried ginger-powder and buys in cheap. Seed dried means that ginger-powder dried simply which we store as seed, this is called seed-dried ginger-powder. The one prepared by making round pieces are called round-sun-dried. However, it becomes round, but buys in cheap, saying "sun-dried". So it should be dried on smoking for them.

If so, is the rate vastly different?
Yes; it is vastly different.

How much is different? Dried at smoking and sun?
It is about 130 Rs. per 2.5 kilo in recent rate of smoking-dried ginger-powder and about 50,60 Rs per 2.5 kilo of sun-dried ginger-powder.

However, it is bought, isn't it?

Is the weight the same in between dried in smoking and sun?
However, the weight is approximately same, sister. But ginger dried in the sun may settle more than that dried at smoking. It is not dried at sun as that dried at smoking.

Has anyone sold by drying at sun or using any medicine?
Previously, it was done by medicine at Bojha once. It was done by absorbing temperature from plastic, even this was done only by buying. But people aren't concerned. One thing, again it was cheap in price.
Section 9
Your statement is the ginger-powder has destroyed the jungle much, isn't it?

Is there any way for supporting the livelihood of the people of Ramkot. Bojha?
I don't know, sister. How we can support our livelihood. We have to cultivate the land from the jungle. Only by cultivating the jungles the life has been supported. Cultivation of jungle has to be done everywhere, burning of jungle has to be done everywhere, the manner of fire quickly increases. If it is left, it destroys much.

Did you say there is fear of fire on cultivation the land from the jungle?
Fire used to spread only in cultivated land, it goes to jungle also and other jungles have also been destroyed.

If so, it is fearful, isn't it?

You have already said that on remembering the cultivation of the jungle. What… happens, what is that?
On remembering cultivation of the jungle, my heart clamps, the main thing I don't like the cultivation of jungle.

Great pain, on saying it is right since it was followed from our grandparents also. I have no intention of cultivation of jungle and while the cultivation of jungle starts, my soul (heart) becomes very very sad.

What are the pains?
Sister, we have to fight with such jungle. On clamping cliff, someone's vertebrate brakes, some breaks their hands, someone's are broken. Even being so, we have to fight; it is compulsory our land isn't also enough. The stone layers are found. But at our grandparents time, there would be sufficient soil. Now at our time there is stone layer everywhere. What will there be at our children's time? What will they do? What will they eat? Remembering such things, I fear about where to go and what to eat.

From your labour in cultivating the jungle and the profit earned, is there benefit?
Sometimes, it is profit too, sister, if the time comes for us. But sometimes time also becomes against us, because there is more raining than needed or it becomes drought. Then the maize becomes unwell and there isn't profit. It depends upon the type of cultivated land. But in proper time, it becomes well.

How is the custom of cultivating the jungle done?
What's that sister?

The freshly cultivated land is either personal or communal? What is the custom?
This has been followed as custom from the past. To show that this is yours, this is mine, the signs are made of stones, streams etc. Previously our grandparents cut and destroyed the jungle, on this basis, we can continue this too.
Section 10
Is this private?
Yes, sister.

Is that registered land?
No, sister. It's three years freshly cultivated land from the jungle.

What does it mean of 3 years?
First, one place is destroyed and then left for three years. To earn one crop, three years should be left for the jungle to grow.

Why should it be left?
After it grows, the jungle becomes manure of its own. Then, on burning, the jungle the ashes become manure.

Do you all have freshly cultivated land from the jungle for each home?
Yes, we have.

Do you have no communal freshly cultivated land?

In some places all the people work together and the earned crop is also divided to all. Do you have such a system?
Who has less land, freshly cultivated land from the jungle and if the society said to give to such people, all the villagers give.

Have you seen any changes in your villages then and now?
What to say the change, sister. The jungle is changed, not the same as previous. Soil is also changed, not the same as previous. Only these are changes.

Any others apart from this?
No others.

What about men?
Men are changed slightly. It is not the same as previous, the previous men were uneducated, now they are also uneducated but seem a little literate. On speaking and walking and doing work it is slightly the same as previous, as if the water of well and tap is different.

What do you think, how the life of the peoples of these areas can be developed?
What will be better sister? But nothing is left to do.

I think it would be better on drawing attention to fruits-crops, cash-crop.
The place for selling is also needed, then the way for carrying it. If we get to do so, it would be better, we would leave destroying the jungle also. I think.
Section 11
What do you think about animal keeping?
Animals are urgently needed by us. We don't keep animals, only being dependant upon jungle. Manure may be placed on land, cash crops like ginger can be planted, so it is seen as income.

What types of animals would be better?
Cow, buffalo, goats etc.

Would these be the source of income from goats i.e. from animals?
Yes, sister. Goats, buffalo, cow, ox maybe sold.

What about pigs?
If we could keep more number, it would be better too. In festivals, it is urgently needed. Pigs are urgently needed to sacrifice at Dashain (major Nepali festival), Tihar, marriage feasts in our caste.

Have pigs assisted you?
Yes they have.

I see houses very near in your caste, but at some other place, I see them at a distant from each other. Does it have any main reason?
There is reason sister. The settlement custom maybe like this at past, they entertain in living in near-by-near and this custom has been followed till now, it isn't left.

Is it felt well in living in such style?
Yes, it is felt well one thing, on living in such style, if one house catches fire, all the houses will be destroyed.

Does it have any other such disadvantages, advantages?
On living together, quarrelling takes place. It would be intolerant in animal keeping. One has to be tolerant.

What about cleanliness?
Magars haven't done anything about cleanliness. Keeping pigs and leaving it everywhere, then becomes dung everywhere. That's why Magars are not for cleanliness till now.

Have you anything to say, brother?
For own village, what to say, sister? Now, I have said all about the village.

If so, you have nothing?
Yes, nothing.

OK, Thanks ! Namaste!