Thursday, 7 December, 2023

Two dalit villages in Bajhang renamed as Lalitpur and Bhaktapur for previous names indicated lowest caste settlement


By Shailendra Rokaya, Bajhang, Jan. 21: The names of two villages in Bajhang district have been changed concluding that the names of villages reflected caste

Lwarwada and Bhulwada, two dalit settlements in Talkot Rural Municipality-6, in the northern part of Bajhang district, have been renamed as Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.

Lwarwada, the settlement of Bishwokarma and Lwars who have been living a life of extreme poverty, deprivation, and social discrimination, is now called Lalitpur, while Bhulwada, inhabited by the Bhuls (Sharki), is now called Bhaktapur. Hindu social hierarchy system considers Bishwokarma and Sarki as the lowest caste.

Ram Lal BK, a local, said that the name of the village is actually Lwar village, and some years ago, Maoists gathered the villagers and renamed it as Lalitpur. And, nowadays, the village is termed as Lalitpur in government records also.

Earlier, the Maoists had named both villages as Lalitpur and Bhaktapur but at present, they are not only named but are recognized as Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. With 60 households, a majority of the inhabitants of this village are BK.

These two villages hold the majority of dalits in the whole of Talkot village.

Karishma BK, another local, said that dalit people have been victims of caste-based discrimination of the upper caste for long. So they feel ashamed to call themselves as residents of Lwarwada and Bhulwada as the names indicated a direct association with their caste group, which is regarded as the lowest caste in the community.

She said even though there is less caste-based discrimination now compared to the past but discrimination still prevails in society.

These two villages have been recorded as Lalitpur and Bhaktapur in official records of schools, health posts, and ward office also.

These people who have been working as a laborer on the lands of  Bhaun (uppermost caste) and Chettri for the survival have 60 household of Lwar caste in Lalitpur and 40 households of Bhul (Sharki) caste in Bhaktapur.

It was a little bit uncomfortable to be recognized as residents of Bhulwada and Lwarwada, said Hasu Lwar and added that now we feel proud to be called residents of Lalitpur and Bhaktpur.

These settlements which have more than a hundred households lie close to each other.

Sharki and BK, the dailt families, do not own much land and has only houses in the name of the property, used to be shoemaker and do iron treated work in the past.

At present, it has become difficult to sustain in these employments so many people have migrated to India and work as watchmen.

Nandu BK, a local, said that there is no land for agriculture and "we have been deprived to use jungles by high caste people. So we don’t have any means to graze our cattle also".

Even in recent times, the names of old dalit settlements like Dumwada, Lwarwada, Bhulwada, Sunar Village, Dholiwada, Dumwada have been changed by the dalit leaders saying that old names reflect the caste-based discrimination of the area.

Similarly, another village Bhulagaun located at Bhatekhola of Masta Rural Municipality of Talkot, has been renamed as Gauri Village. Likewise, another village, Dumwada, located at Thalara Pikhet, has been renamed as Nuwaghar.

The dalit leaders say that it is important to rename villages as there is major caste-based discrimination in the district.