Munda tribe of Jhapa continues to live in privation and penuryThe Munda tribe of Jhapa continues to lead the life of privation and penury as the state has not done enough to improve their living standards.
The Munda tribe of Jhapa continues to lead the life of privation and penury as the state has not done enough to improve their living standards.
Bandhan Kumar Munda, leader of the tribe, said his people continue to suffer even though the new constitution guarantees various rights and privileges to the ethnic minority groups.
According to the 2011 census, the population of Munda people stands at 2,350. However, the state has not yet identified them as marginalised group.
“We were somehow assured that the state would ensure our rights in the new constitution. The constitution was drafted and promulgated, but the government not only failed to improve the living standards of our people,” said Bandhan Kumar.
He is among the handful of people in his tribe who can read and write. Most Munda people eke out their living as daily wage workers.
Bandhan Kumar said the plight of his people will not change unless the government actively work towards uplifting them from poverty through education and livelihood programmes.
“The state should manage education from basic to postgraduate levels for the marginalised people like us. The living standards of Munda tribe is not going to change if our children do not have access to education,” he said.
The Munda people are believed to be among the natives of eastern Tarai who owned a large swathes of land in the region in the past. They led a prodigious life then, owing to which they were reduced to hand-to-mouth existence within decades as they sold off their properties to migrant settlers from the Hill districts to manage their expenses.
“Today, most of the Munda people have problem managing even two squares of meal a day,” said Bandhan Kumar.
The condition of other ethnic minority groups, like Kisan, Satar, Urau, Malpade, Kawar and Karuwa, is no different to that of Munda people.
These fringe caste groups who have long been residing in the eastern Tarai districts of Jhapa, Sunsari, Saptari and Morang lack basic needs like food, clothing and shelter.