The Tharu tribals are an ethnic group of people indigenous to southern Nepal and northern India. The community belongs to the Terai lowlands.
Nepal recognizes them as an official nationality while India recognizes them as a scheduled tribe.
In India, they mostly live in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Bihar.
Most of the people of the tribe are engaged in agriculture and forest-dwelling.
According to the 2011 census, the tribal population in UP was over 11 lakh. It is expected that the population would have increased to more than 20 lakh now.
They speak different dialects of Tharu, which is a language of the Indo-Aryan subgroup. The dialects include Hindi, Awadhi, and Urdu.
The community worships Lord Shiva as “Mahadeva”.
The women of the Tharu tribe have higher property rights as compared to women in North India (Hindus).
The tribal people are found to have a significant resistance towards malaria, due to their genetic factors.
UP scheme to promote Tharu tribe culture
The Uttar Pradesh government has recently initiated a scheme with an aim to promote the culture of its ethnic Tharu tribe.
Under the scheme, the Tharu villages in the districts of the state bordering Nepal namely Pilibhit, Bahraich, Balrampur, and Lakhimpur, will be connected with the home stay scheme of the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department, for providing an experience of living in the natural Tharu habitat to the tourists.
The UP Forest Cooperation will train the people of the Tharu tribe to communicate with the tourists. Under the scheme, the people of the tribe will also be able to charge the visitors for staying in their houses and meals.
The home stay scheme will be expanded soon to include the Tharu tribe. Through this scheme, the domestic as well as international tourists will be able to know about the culture of the tribe.