Tharu People

Tharu (थारु) are the indigenous people native to Terai plains of Nepal. According to 2011 census their population is about 1.7 million which is 6.6% of total population of Nepal.

Tharu people speak several different Tharuhati (थरुहटी) languages and dialects. Dangaura, Kathoriya, Rana, Buksa, Sonha, Dangauru. Chitwania, Kochila languages are generally considered as languages or dialects native to Tharu people. Due to close proximity to the Madheshi communities, many Tharus also speak variations of  Awadhi, Maithili, and Bhojpuri languages.

Majority of Tharu people can also speak Nepali being the lingua-franca of Nepal. According to the 2001 Census of Nepal, 87.63% of the Tharu people are Hindus whereas 13.95% are Buddhists.


Tharu vs Madheshi
Many Madheshi people generally used to regard Tharu people as on of the Madheshi community until the new wave of tharuhat andolan happened after 2007/2008 madhesh andolan. Now Tharu community is generally accepted as distinct community even by madheshi. The core madhesh lies in state-2 where as the core tharuhat/tharuwan lies in state-5. Tharu Kalyankarini Sabha, Tharuhat Terai party are some polities entities working for independent identity and rights of Tharu people.

Tharu as a community
Many Tharu activists argue that Tharu is a community rather than just being a race. Several tharuhati languages are so much different from each other that one tharuhati speaker may not understand another tharuhati speaker. Similarly some Tharu races claim different origin than other Tharus. For example  Rana Tharu claim Rajput origin. Following are some major tharu races:-

* Rana Tharu (Kailali and Kanchanpur districts)
* Kathoriya Tharu (Kailali )
* Dangaura Tharu (Dang-Deukhuri, Banke, Bardia, Kailali and Kanchanpur)
* Kochila Tharu (Saptari, Bara, Parsa, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari and Udayapur)
* Sonha Tharu (Surkhet)
* Paschuhan Tharu (Rupandehi, Nawalparasi)
* Purbaha Tharu (Rupandehi, Kapilvastu)
* Rautar Tharu (Rupandehi, Nawalparasi)
* Aarkutwa or Chitwania Tharu (Chitwan, Sindhuli and Nawalparasi)
* Danuwar (Udayapur, Saptari and Morang)
* Lamputchwa Tharu (Morang)

Tharu as Janjati 
Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) has included Tharus in the list of Janajati. Other Terai races like Tajpuriya, Dhimial, Meche, Rajbanshi & Santhal are also in the list.


List of popular Tharu Surnames:-

Tharu
Chaudhary (some)
Dagaura
Gachchhadar
Lekhi
Dahit
Tharuni
Kusmi

According to थारु जातिक उत्पत्तिक इतिहास ओ चिनारी by Devnarayan Chaudhari, Tharu people have following sub-case or surnames. (taken from Tharu community page)

1. सत्गौंवा, 2. दहित (गंरदग्गा, पुछकटवा, घण्टहि, कैंयौं, हांथीपुज्वा, ग्वाल्वंशी, सोङ्गद्दि, कग्पुज्वा)
3. कुशुमियाहाँ (काशी कुशुमियाहाँ, कर्दा, ग्वालावंशी, ठाकुर, सादा, थप्नहवा, लल्दरियाँ, राजपुत,
राजवंशी, चिकना, बैदवा,भेद्या, कोचिला, झर्रा, पलपल, बपुरिया, भलवा, जोगी)
4. उलटहवा (बौखहि, बखरिया, घण्टही) 5. रत्गैंया
6. बड़गैंया 7. धमलहवा 8. मधुवा 9. नुनहवा 10. फुन्नहवा
11. धारकटुवा 12. कठकटुवा 13. गमुवा 14. पछलदंगिया 15. कुमाल
16. डेमनरौरा 17. सोनगद्दी 18. चिलरहवा 19. जोगी 20. नोनबोक्वा
21. कोचिला 22. सप्तरिया 23. मोरंगिया 24. भटगमिया 25. रजहरिया
26. रौतार 27. चितवनिया 28. राना 29. लमपुछवा 30. खरदर
31. हलझरिया 32. मझरिया 33. केवारी 34. नवलपुरिया 35. खौसिआ
36. महौतो 37. मर्दनियाँ 38. बाँठा 39. सुनाहा 40. खुनाहा
41. राजी 42. राजहटीया 43. कहरिया 44. गड़बरिया 45. अरकटुवा
46. बोक्सा 47. खवास 48. खोट्टा 49. लालपुरिया 50. सोलरिया
51. मझाौरा 52. कुचबिहारी 53. खश 54. राउट 55. राव
56. राय 57. खाँ 58. पंजियार 59. भुमकिहवा 60. बिश्वाश
61. बाछार 62. बंतार 63. भगत 64. महन्त 65. सरदार
66. हेमजलिया 67. नरसिंह 68. गररिया 69. करिया 70. घुघु
71. घुरवा 72. नमकोलिया 73. लोहटीवा 74. चढ़रैन 75. भगोरिया
76. चुकाहा 77. टेर्रा 78. ढुकरपुजवा 79. सोनपुरिया 80. गुरुवा
81. कठगुरुवा 82. गुनगुनी 83. सुखरिया 84. भेड़वा 85. हरचव्वा
86. अग्रहवा 87. भंगी 88. जिनगुनी 89. गच्छदार 90. गुरिहवा
91. गाइजिहा 92. हरगुगवा 93. जोगथेवा 94. अहीर 95. हरदिउला
96. कुर्मी 97. थोटैली 98. गुन्नी 99. गमना 100. चमार
101. कुकुरपुजवा 102. करियामघरिया 103. लामा 104. जुत्तहि 105. कठरिया
106. कटकीहा 107. ढकेहर


Demography of Tharus in Nepal:-

Total tharu population: 17,37,470 (6.56%) [2011 census]

2001 Census of Nepal (Tharu Population)
East terai : 2,61,197 (8.06%)
Central terai: 2,25,011 (5.72%)
west terai : 2,28,241 (13.02%)
mid west terai : 4,11,948 (33.47%)
far west terai : 3,57,676 (35.96%)
total terai : 14,84,073 (13.3%)
total Nepal : 15,33,879 (6.75%)

---------------district-wise-------------
Dang : 147,328 (31.86%) 1st
Banke : 63,344 (16.42%)  2nd after Muslim
Bardiya: 201,276 (52.6%) 1st
Kailali : 269,521 (43.7%) 1st
Kanchanpur: 88,155 (23.33%) 2nd after Chhettri

Core Tharu belt: Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Kailali, Kanchanpur
Core belt population: 7,69,624 out of 22,25,465 (34.58%) [2001 census]


Festivals

Since majority of Tharu people believe in Hinduism most of them observe "Nepali Hindu Festivales" like Dashain, Tihar, Holi etc. There are also some festivals which are native to Tharu people only. These are:-
  • Maghi (माघी) : is the most important festival of Tharu people. It is observed in first day of month of 'Magh' according to Nepali calendar. This is also the first day of Tharu new year.
  • Atwari (अट्वारी) is observed by Tharu males taking fast in second Sunday after Ashtimki.
  • Jitiya (जितिया पर्व): observed by tharu women. 
  • Chirai (चिरै) : is observed in Kailali district.
  • Ashtimki (अष्टीम्की) : is observed in day of Krishna Janma Asthami.
  • Dashya (डश्या) : celebration of bada-dashain by tharu community.
  • Gurahi (गुरही) : celebrated at naag-panchami.
  • Bhitiya-Gauwar (भितिया गौवर): observed by tharu ladies of Nawalparasi, kapilvastu, rupandehi districts of state no 5.


Notable Tharu People
  1. Raj Kumar Lekhi, Tharu Leader
  2. Gopal Dahit, Tharu Leader
  3. Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar, Madheshi-Tharu Leader, Ex.Diputy Prime Minsiter
  4. Bhanuram Chaudary, Leader, Tharuhat Terai Party
  5. Shivani Singh Tharu, Model & TV personality
  6. Mira Chaudhari, S.P. of Nepal Police
References:-
  1. http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=63530
  2. http://tharucommunity.com/
  3. https://www.facebook.com/tharucommunity?fref=ts
  4. http://tharuculture.blogspot.com/

Tags:- Tharuhat ( थरुहट), Tharuwan (थारुवान)