Dom community : With the end of Dashain and the beginning of Kattik Krishnapaksha, the activism of the Dom community in the East Central Terai has increased. With the onset of Diwali and the subsequent Chhath festival, the Dom community is now working tirelessly to build their skills. The tradition of demanding bamboo choya and kaptera weaving on Diwali and Chhath has added a touch of festivity to the Dom community.
In the Dom settlement, all the family members are now engaged in bamboo searching, chopping, making kaptera and choya. According to Ratna Marik of Dom Basti in Bhangaha Municipality-5, Siddhapur, all the family members have to share the work to make baskets, sticks, hooks, fans, cones and other toys made of bamboo choya and kaptera, which are in demand during Diwali and Chhath festivals.
At the mouth of the Siddhapur settlement is a small thatched hut. With the end of Dashain and the beginning of Kattik Krishnapaksha, Ratna has been busy day and night making choli, kaptera, dali, chiti, nanglo-chalno, fan, koniya and other toys He used to sleep while using choya and kaptera till late at night.
“What shall we do, sir?” At other times, we will spend the day doing banibuto. This (Tihar, Chhath) is the time to spend the whole year, ”says Ratna.“ Everyone in the house has shared the work. We have to give the required material till Chhath. ”
The lunar census reflects happiness on the faces of the most impoverished Dom community in the Middle Eastern Terai, including Kattik Krishnapaksha Tekna and Ratna Mahottari. These festivals have become a source of joy and excitement for Dom as their skills have found a market in the last Diwali of this party and the Chhath festival which starts in Kattik Shukla Paksha.
Making a variety of items from bamboo choya and kaptera (similar to rakhandharan made from choya and kaptera) is the main occupation of the Dom community. The Maithil tradition of making freshly woven bamboo items essential for worship on Diwali and Chhath every year has increased the demand for skills of the Dom community in the Middle Eastern Terai at this time.
As Diwali and Chhath are approaching, the Dalit community living in the very poor Dom caste is happy to have a good income. Dom Basti, which has been embracing the business of making bamboo choya and kaptero on Diwali and Chhath, is associated with the same rituals including dali, chiti, nanglo-chalno, koniya and pankha.
In Dom Basti, all the members of the family seem to be busy searching for bamboo, cracking it, extracting kaptera and choya and weaving as per the demand. Even children between the ages of five and seven from housewives seem to be busy at work. At other times, in the Dom community, where there is scarcity, the housewives also keep Diwali and Chhath together by eating sweets, dressing well and fulfilling the desires of the little ones.
Rita Marik of Bardibas Municipality-1 says, “What can we do? This is the time to save cash for the whole year. Now we can’t see cash for the whole year,” says Rita Marik of Bardibas Municipality-1. Rita says that at other times, there is no demand for her skills, so there is pressure to spend the whole year on cash.
As Diwali approaches, parents are busy at work and the demand for the same is increasing. Parents say that the order added from the children is working as a ‘tonic’ to increase the vigor.
Doms, who are completely unaware of their basic needs like education and health, have been living in small huts for generations. For the Dom community, which is mired in extreme poverty and illiteracy, the only source of income is the income from the sale of firewood for cremation, the income from the sale of choya made by collecting bamboo shoots thrown in the crematorium, and the income from pig farming. As Tihar and Chhath are also celebrated by the devotees, the materials used for these festivals are made by buying new bamboo and making it with a holy heart.
According to the census of 2068 BS, the Dom caste, which has a population of only 1,050 in the district, is found living in one or two houses at the end of each settlement in the district. However, this number is now estimated to exceed 3,000. In the most backward caste communities in the Madhes, buying new clothes for the dome, making koseli to meet relatives, fulfilling the desire of the little ones, even the joho of salt oil is done from the earnings of Tihar and Chhath till the end of the year.
As Diwali and Chhath are approaching, the villages of Mahottari are full of bamboo choya and kaptero. Elderly leaders of the Dom community say that there is no problem in selling such items for the festival as the customers do not pay much and they also say that the prices are reasonable.
Though the budget speeches and speeches of the government for the upliftment of the marginalized caste community, poor and dalits in the country are heard in the speeches and speeches, the social campaigners have commented that these programs have not reached the Dom caste settlements in the district. Hiradevi Dahal, a social and political activist of Bhangaha-4, says that the upliftment of the caste community including the Doms has not been possible due to lack of effective monitoring of government programs.