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Darai in Nepal


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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
20,000 Darai Hinduism 1.11 % Unknown No No   

Darai in Nepal

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Introduction / History
The Darai, an indigenous people of Nepal, mainly live all along the western mountainous region, in the inner valley of Chitwan and Nawalparasi. Originally they are habitants of Tanahu, Gorkha, Dhading, Palpa and mountainous area of Nawalparasi.

The word Darai is derivative of "Dharroo" which means "physically strong." People from ancient Tanahu used to go to Saranghat (an ancient place in Nawalparasi) for shopping purposes - mainly for salt. On the way, boatmen (now called Bote) used to help them cross the Madi and Buldi rivers. Once, during monsoon season when there were not any boats a man with a heavy bag of salt from Saranghat tried to cross the river himself but was overcome by the flooded river. Fortunately a Darai was going to Saranghat, saw him and saved his life with great effort. People who saw this act praised him calling him "Dharroo Raichha" ("is strong"). Later on, this bravery act was made known to all the villagers and "Dharroo Raichha" simultaneously changed to "Dharrai Ho" ("sure that he is strong") then "Darai Ho". With the passing of time, all the villagers became known as Darai. The person who nearly drowned was called "Dubouli". Later, the place was known as "Dumauli". Now it is pronounced as Damauli (a city of Tanahu).

Where are they located?
About a century ago, they migrated to the plains area of Chitwan and Nawalparasi. Only a decade ago they also migrated to Kailali. There is a saying that Darai people gained residency in Chitwan as a reward when they helped Sen Kings in ancient times.

What are their lives like?
They are mongoloid in appearance with a short stature, a stout build, a round face and a flat nose. Home-made alcoholic products play an important role in their rituals. They believe the use of alcohol leads to purity and happiness.

They enjoy fishing as a hobby rather than as a profession. They also enjoy hunting. They are experts in farming and raise pigs, sheep, chickens and ducks. Most youngsters are very keen to enlist as soldiers. A few are involved in government official jobs.

They speak their own dialect called "Darai Kura". It is heavily influenced by other major ethnic languages depending on their inhabitation. In the mountainous Darai society there is an influence from the Magar and Gurung language. Likewise in Chitwan there is an influence felt from the Tharu language. They do not have their own script. Estimates regarding their population all over the country at present is about 30,000-40,000.

The women wear petticoats with a tubular skirt, high or low necked red/black blouse fastened with ties across chest, a yellow/blue patuki, necklaces of gold and pittal, a homemade white saul etc. The men wear homemade daura, kodra, kachhad, bhadgaule and Nepali caps.

During Jestha (June-July) they celebrate their own New Year. "Lightning fire" is produced by rubbing dry wood and sharing that fire for cooking, marking the start of the New Year.

Darai women have high place in their society. Elopement is heavily practiced. A wedding party and formal marriage ceremony is observed after having a child. The "Rudi Ghar" and other traditional ceremony gives youngsters the opportunity to be engaged secretly. Marriage is mostly within their own ethnic groups but also takes place between Magar, Gurung and Tharu as well. In their society most of the wedding arrangement and especially the food is to be done by the bridegroom's family.

What are their beliefs?
"Chudka and Ghatu" are their own traditional dances and are mainly practiced in the mountainous Darai society. "Sohorai" is their traditional tomb-sweeping day when they dance and sing in memory of their recent dead. They practice devotional meditation involving their deceased ancestors.

They profess Buddhism. They light candles and offer home-made alcohol and rice on banana leaves to their ancestors. No doubt, they also practice Hindu festivals.

What are their needs?
They are loyal, kind, unaggressive and friendly in nature. They work without quarrelling. Because of their naïveté and meekness, they are easily taken advantage of by others. Their economic and academic status is very poor.

For their equal participation in every field of the country, genuine and non-selfish support from the government body is urgently needed. The media, who mostly publish news regarding these ethnic groups who are already well known all over the country, must give effective focus to those who are endangered and less discussed.

The inequality in selection during national and international jobs (for example in the acceptance of applicants as soldiers) must be strictly monitored so that the minority can take advantage of these opportunities equally. Racial discrimination within both indigenous and non-indigenous people needs to decrease.

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Prayer Links
  Submit Update:
Country: Nepal
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:48 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:20,000
Largest Provinces:
Narayani (9,400)Gandaki (5,700)
Lumbini (2,600)Bagmati (1,200)
Seti (400)Kosi (300)
Janakpur (200)Bheri (100)
Mahakali (40)Sagarmatha (40)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Darai
People Name General: Darai
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 102448
Joshua Project People ID: 11503
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 20,000
Population all Countries: 35,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
People Name General: Darai
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Darai (12,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): dry    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Nepali (5,600)Bhojpuri (100)
Total Languages: 3
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.34 % 
Christianity1.11 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism98.50 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.06 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1976
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Text / Printed MatterThe Ancient Path
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Darai in Nepal

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Hindu - other     Asia, South    
      Darai Nepal    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Darai in Nepal          
      Religion Language  
      Hinduism     Darai  
    All Religions                              

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