Why in the news?
- The Uttar Pradesh government has initiated a tourism scheme in the Terai region through which the Tharu tribals can start their own home stays and charge both domestic and international tourists visiting the region.
- The local forest department will train the tribals to communicate with the visitors.
What is the Terai region?
- It is a region of northern India and southern Nepal running parallel to the lower ranges of the Himalayas. A strip of undulating former marshland, it stretches from the Yamuna River in the west to the Brahmaputra River in the east.
Who are Tharu people?
- The word tharu is believed to be derived from sthavir, meaning followers of Theravada Buddhism. Tharus worship Lord Shiva as Mahadev, and call their supreme being “Narayan”, who they believe is the provider of sunshine, rain, and harvests.
- The Tharus live in both India and Nepal. In the Indian terai, they live mostly in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
- Most of them are forest dwellers, and some practice agriculture. Members of the tribe survive on wheat, corn and vegetables grown close to their homes. A majority still lives off the forest.
- They speak different dialects of Tharu, a language of the Indo-Aryan subgroup, and variants of Hindi, Urdu, and Awadhi. They have many variants of this language according to the region.
- One of the important features of the Tharu people is that the women have stronger property rights than is allowed to women in mainstream North Indian Hindu custom.
- Some of the famous dishes of them are bagiya or dhikri — which is a steamed dish of rice flour that is eaten with chutney or curry — and ghonghi, an edible snail that is cooked in a curry made of coriander, chili, garlic, and onion.