The Nepalese of Bhutan
Recently, many Nepalese have been forced to flee Bhutan. They have charged the Bhutanese government with human rights violations and "ethnic cleansing" of the farming area in southern Bhutan. Even though political parties are illegal in Bhutan, the Nepalese have formed an opposition group called the Bhutan State Congress that is based in nearby India.
Bhutan is a very small country, about half the size of the state of Indiana. The Nepalese population there speaks Khas Kura, a form of Nepali. Like other Hindus, the Nepalese belong to a "caste" structure which has only two categories: upper class landowners and lower class servants.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Nepalese villages consist of loosely grouped homes surrounded by farm land. The villages are generally situated near rivers or springs, and the homes are connected by footpaths. Sometimes the paths meet together near a large tree that is used as a meeting place for the villagers as well as a resting place for travelers. There are also a number of larger towns where the important temples or monasteries are located.
Houses are usually made of mud-brick with thatch or tin roofs. The bottom portion of the houses are painted with red clay and the top halves are whitewashed. The houses usually have two or more stories. The kitchen and living quarters are often located upstairs to keep them free of pollution by stray animals that might wander into the houses. Most houses have porches and courtyards where people socialize and do chores such as weaving.
Nepalese children are treated well. Breast-feeding may continue until a child is three years old. There are many rites of passage for children such as the first rice feeding and the first haircut. When they are about eight years old, the children begin doing domestic chores. Girls help care for the younger children, carry food for the animals, and haul water. The boys usually tend to the animals.
Typically, women do the bulk of the work in the field. They till the soil, plant, weed, and harvest the crops. They also dry, separate, and often husk the grain. The main responsibilities for men include plowing, fixing the terraces, and irrigating the crops.
During religious festivals or village fairs, the Nepalese women wear brightly colored clothes, heavy silver nose-rings and earrings, and colorful head scarves.
What Are Their Beliefs?
It is said that the Hindus worship more than 300 million gods. Though other supernatural beings are also worshipped, the gods and goddesses are considered as the most powerful. Hindus live in fear of spirits, ghosts, demons, and fairies, and regularly try to appease them with offerings.
What Are Their Needs?
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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