Tharu in Nepal


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Subgroups: 8

Subgroup Name Population
Khatheria 33,000
Dangue 13,000
Bantar 800
Chitwania 800
Garhwalia 800
Lampochwa 800
Mahawat 800
Rautar 800

Introduction / History

The Tharu people live in the Tarai, a narrow strip of land which extends across 550 miles of the southern border of Nepal, next to northeast India. The land is forested and fertile. The Tharu people are divided into several subgroups; the Rana Tharu live in the southwestern corner of Nepal. Ethnically, their background is Rajput, members of a high caste in Rajasthan. Legend has it that after the Moguls invaded India in the 16th century, a Mogul king wanted to marry one of their women. The women and children fled east and settled in this forested region while their men stayed behind to fight the Moguls. When the women heard that all their men had been killed, they married the slaves who had attended them in their travels, and settled permanently in their new home. The forests of the Tarai are full of tigers and snakes and malarial swamps. The swamps kept outsiders away, and the Rana Tharu developed resistance to the malaria. Over the next four centuries their own unique culture and language emerged.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Rana Tharu have lived quiet, simple lives for four centuries. They are a gentle people. They live in villages in houses plastered inside and out with mud and cow dung, so fine it feels like silky skin. They make almost everything they use themselves, with a touch of art in everything. Their walls are decorated with relief plaster sculpture and windows in geometric patterns. Their houses are large and communal; a family group lives together, and the women cook together, care jointly for their children and pass on their culture and traditions to the next generation. Their clothes are colorful and beautifully embroidered; they buy scraps of left-over fabric from the fabric merchant and each woman puts her own dress together in a unique and gorgeous fashion. They wear beautiful jewelry. They make their own clay pots cook stoves, woven baskets and fishing nets that look like butterfly wings. Rice is their staple crop; they also grow corn. The men plow, plant and weave the nets that the women use to fish. They also hunt in the forest that is the backdrop to their neat fields and villages. The women plaster their houses and make the pots and baskets.


What Are Their Beliefs?

They have their own gods and follow a Bharra (shaman). Their religion is animist. Besides the Bharra, who treats their diseases, the village headman, bhalamansa, and the Desi-Mahajan - an Indian moneylender, are important people within the village.


What Are Their Needs?

Foreigners brought DDT in the 1950s and sprayed the swamps to get rid of the mosquitoes. Ironically, with the malarial pests gone, the culture has come under increasing pressure from the outside. Unscrupulous moneylenders have been able to get control of their land because of their illiteracy, and now many have to pay rent for land that they once owned. People from the hill country to the north are moving in and cutting down the protective forests. The large animals, the tigers and elephants, are becoming increasingly scarce. There is increasing pressure to speak Nepali instead of Rana Tharu, and many of the children and men are wearing more western dress. Even their houses are beginning to change, and brick houses are starting to be built. They are becoming more aware of outside issues and fireside chat in the evenings is becoming more outward focused, reflecting these changes. Their traditional houses have no doors, but the new ones do. This is symbolic of the whole pressure to change coming to bear on these people. New schools are coming to the villages, but the classes are taught in Nepali rather than Rana Tharu, and the parents are afraid their children will lose their language and culture. Similarly, more and more people are adopting the Hindu religion rather than their native animist beliefs.


Prayer Points

* Pray for missionaries who know or are willing to learn their language to come to these people with the gospel.
* Pray for their rich culture to be preserved.
* Pray for good medical care.


Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Prayer / Resource Links:
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-09-23
People Name General Tharu
People Name in Country Tharu
Population in Nepal 1,688,000
World Population 2,144,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 2  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 34
Alternate Names Kathoriya, Kathoriya Tharu, Mahatos, Mahatu, Tharu Rana, थारू
People ID 15464
ROP3 Code 110011
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Hindi
People Group Tharu
Ethnic Code CNN25k
Total Subgroups 8
  Khatheria 33,000
  Dangue 13,000
  Bantar 800
  Chitwania 800
  Garhwalia 800
  Lampochwa 800
  Mahawat 800
  Rautar 800
Country Nepal
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 25  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 14
Largest States
Seti
314,000
Bheri
302,000
Lumbini
246,000
Narayani
207,000
Rapti
160,000
Kosi
148,000
Sagarmatha
122,000
Mahakali
113,000
Janakpur
35,000
Bagmati
26,000
Mechi
10,000
Gandaki
4,000
Dhaulagiri
600
Karnali
400
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Nepal
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 25  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 14
  Seti 314,000
  Bheri 302,000
  Lumbini 246,000
  Narayani 207,000
  Rapti 160,000
  Kosi 148,000
  Sagarmatha 122,000
  Mahakali 113,000
  Janakpur 35,000
  Bagmati 26,000
  Mechi 10,000
  Gandaki 4,000
  Dhaulagiri 600
  Karnali 400
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Tharu, Kathariya (1,529,000 speakers)
Language Code tkt   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 13
Secondary Languages
Nepali
178,000
Bhojpuri
24,000
Maithili
4,900
Dotyali
2,000
Sonha
600
Rawat
500
Bantawa
200
Musasa
90
Chamling
80
Nepalese Sign Language
30
Thangmi Bine
Primary Language Tharu, Kathariya (1,529,000 speakers)
Language Code tkt   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 13
Secondary Languages
  Nepali 178,000
  Bhojpuri 24,000
  Maithili 4,900
  Dotyali 2,000
  Sonha 600
  Rawat 500
  Bantawa 200
  Musasa 90
  Chamling 80
  Nepalese Sign Language 30
  Thangmi 10
  Bine 0
People Groups Speaking Tharu, Kathariya

Primary Language:  Tharu, Kathariya

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Translation Need Questionable
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.72 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
3.41 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
95.68 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.19 %
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest Nepal census data.  Current values may differ.


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