2067 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge
(617) 441-5400

International Year Of Indigenous Languages - Tharu, Nepal

Tharu is the mother tongue of the Tharu people, and it is divided into 2 categories, namely Rana Tharu and Dangaura Tharu, both belonging to the Indo-aryan language family. The Tharu peoples  areamongst the largest indigenous communities in Nepal, they number 1.8 million people according to 2011 census. The Tharu are one of Nepal’s 59 Indigenous communities, comprised of 50 different clans with cultural differences. Each clan has slightly different dialects and tones when speaking their mother tongues. Among the 1.8 million, some 1.5 million speak their mother tongue. Tharu is an immensely rich cultural heritage and has its own traditional dress, unique ways of living and language, which make them distinct from other indigenous communities in Nepal. Tharu communities still practice an indigenous form of animism, in which shamanism, ancestor worship and tattooing plays an immense role. They perform customary rituals, which have been passed down from generation to generation through their customary institution called Badhgar. Language is more than a means of communication. Values, belief systems and identities of Tharu communities are embedded within their language. “Maintaining language is maintaining identity” says Urmila Chaudhary an interviewee in this program.

Producer: Dev Kumar Sunuwar

Music: Yawar Wawki-Yarina, titled ‘Wawa’ music from Peru, used with consent

Voice: Urmila Chaudhary, Tharu


Contact us