Madhesi is an amorphous term referring to caste categories of eastern Terai in particular. The Terai belt is Nepal’s most densely populated region and accounts for half the country’s 29 million people. Not all of its residents are Madhesi, however, Janajati groups like the Tharus – the original inhabitants before the swamps were cleared and Avadhi, Bhojpuri and Maithili – speaking migrants who moved up from India have a strong presence in the western planes districts. In addition to them there are Limbus and throughout the region, the Nepali-speaking Pahadis are present in significant numbers. The Madhesi in particular, form 31.2 per cent of Nepal’s population and they are as stratified in terms of language and caste as the Pahadis, a shared sense of grievance inheres in all of them, ‘We have never been accepted as Nepalis. Despite being Nepali citizens, we have always been called Indians.Madhesi settlement in NepalIn past people of the Terai region have sometimes opposed the policies of the Government, but their resentment against it never developed to an extent which could be termed as a separatist movement. On many occasions after 1950, people of the Terai region raised their voices against the economic policies of the Government. One of the major issue of their resentment has been the land reform policies of the Government.(To be continued)
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