Tribal communities around the world are gradually disappearing. As many tribal communities are mixing with other communities, they are forgetting their traditions and
adopting the culture and traditions of others. Along with this, the Tharu tribal community is forgetting to make things with their own hands and now most of them are depending on the market for their needs.
Tharu community is the community that lives in the Terai region of Uttarakhand and also the original residents of that place. But now as time kept changing, people started migrating and that was the time when other communities also came and settled here. But this migration has greatly impacted the Tharu. Several of their traditions started changing from the point of others' migration.
Earlier, when someone died, Tharu used to sing songs and considered it a natural process, but now they start crying and nothing like before happens.
"When people started living here, their houses were made from grass and wood, then huge changes came and the houses started being made of mud but even then soil started being available from money, so people started further changes and now the houses started being made of bricks and cement," said Savitri Devi. "Now take a look at our villages. None of the mud houses are left."
"The specialty of the Tharu community is that these people have always loved freedom very much, they do not like to live under someone, that is why these people do not do any job in which they have to live in someone's care," said Kishan.
Food also plays a big role in knowing the specialties of any culture: Tharu's famous food is ‘pitole’ which is made from taro leaves which now gradually people are making less because it takes a lot of time to make it and " sidra ka nun" which is made up of small fishes which live in ponds, lakes or rivers.
Making things by hand also requires skills that not everyone has. They make handmade crafts and design their crafts by using grass, which is very strong and also looks beautiful.
Savitri Devi said "I am still capable of making dalaiyaa (basket), cot, and mat from pateri and grass''.
"Earlier we wore ghaghariya for our marriage and now it takes the place of sari, our marriages used to take place during the day but now people have changed the whole tradition and people do marriages at night," said Savitri Devi.
The tradition of worshipping God always plays a vital role in everyone's culture. They perform Bhuman Puja where they offer seven different types of things to maata (god).
A long-time tradition in their culture is 'Bhararee'.
"When someone in their community falls ill, people take the help of Bhararee and it is said that people also get cured by that method. There is a condition that the person who is ill and coming for Bharara has to offer chicken and raw liquor during the process," said Kishan.
"We worship Gods but we should also worship our Earth which has provided us a place to live. In Tharu culture, it is a significant process for them to worship Earth which is called 'bhumi pujan'. During Bhumi poojan, we give thanks to our Earth for providing us a space for living and hope for long life on Earth" said Kishan.
We call the tribal community a primitive society that first settled here but it is only correct to call them primitive till they continue to carry forward the rituals and traditions of their forefathers. Now, along with the rest of the communities, the Tharu community is also changing itself and a time will come when none of the rituals will remain the same as before and these people will also become modern with the modern world.
Written by Divya Pargai