Nepali Times
Badi life


al pics: DEWAN RAI
Namuna Basti, on the outskirts of Dailekh's district headquarters, is home to a community of Badis

As soon as she gets home from work, Balsera Badi prepares dinner for her family of seven. First she breastfeeds her two-year-old daughter Maya, then puts the small package of rice bought with the day's earnings in a corner of the kitchen and asks her daughter to make a fire. "Bhaari bokna paye khwai hunchha, natra ruwai hunchha (If I get to carry a load there'll be eating, if not there'll be crying)," she says.

Balsera Badi has been living in a plastic tent with her family for the last 14 years. A 25-square-foot piece of land in Namuna Basti, a settlement at the edge of Dailekh's district headquarters, is all they own, and they don't have a deed to the land yet. "Monsoon is a real problem as the rain floods the room and we have to stay awake all night," she says. The tent is open on all four sides and even the plastic material of the roof has begun to wear.

All Badis who inhabit Namuna Basti suffer the same plight as Balsera. They used to live in Bhaire, Kalika Thum, Dullu, Belpata, Sattala, Singaudi, Naumule, and Lakandra VDCs, but moved to Dailekh since their displacement during the Maoist insurgency. "We used to entertain people by singing and dancing on different occasions or going door-to-door begging for food," says Narajit Badi, recalling how they were displaced from their homes. "But the Maoists banned all these activities and asked us to join the insurgency. We left and moved here."

Discriminated against because of their background, the Badis spent four years in Dailekh without shelter until Dekendra Raj Thapa came to their rescue in 2000. Thapa, a local journalist, negotiated with the local administration for a piece of public land for the Badis to settle on.  He called it Namuna Basti, as he wanted to develop it as a model settlement. But Thapa did not live to see the realisation of his dream. In 2004, the Maoists kidnapped and murdered him.

Since Thapa's death, the local administration has been neglecting the Badis' needs. Some local leaders approached the settlers during elections in April 2008 but haven't been since. This year the Badis were asked to welcome the state minister for local development, Ganesh Bahadur Khadka, who was attending a District Council meeting. Khadka made promises of land ownership certificates that never materialised. The Badis have been told that the process is delayed for bureaucratic reasons.

With no deeds or a representative to fight for their cause, Namuna Basti faces a bleak future. The heat makes living under tents almost unbearable by day. There is not a single toilet in the settlement due to lack of space and even a brief drizzle renders the settlement muddy and unhygienic. "We have to wait for our turn to go to the toilet even if it is in an open space," says Padam Badi. The risk of health hazards is high.

But a few lucky Badi children have made it to school. They were initially admitted into the Bal Mandir in Dailekh, as funds for a child care centre were transferred there due to a lack of administration in Namuna Basti. But Bal Mandir abandoned them. According to headmaster Guru Prasad Regmi, "We could not accommodate them in our school, so we recommended Janata School." There are now 29 Badi kids in Janata Lower Secondary School. Shata Thapa, who teaches the 22 Badi children in Grade One, says they are doing well, but adds that she is not sure how long they will come to school. Given the deep-rooted stigma they live with, and the squalor of their day-to-day life, education may be the only way out for the Badi community of Namuna Basti.

Narajit Badi holds a picture of Dekendra Raj Thapa, a local journalist who helped the Badis acquire Namuna Basti to settle on

Narajit Badi points to the child care center that was to be established, but was abandoned due to lack of administration in Namuna Basti

Right livelihood

1. yam gurung

Puppet leaders of the poor country,Nepal is becomeing fatter and fatter.But the poor people of Nepal like badi communities and others are becomeing thinner and thinner.

Who will bell these fat cats of Nepal.UK media Daily Telegraph has already exposed the MPs expense and return the tax-payers money.

God kows for how long people of Nepal have to suffer like this???...

2. Ramji

Yam's statement 100% right.

Not only the Badi community but also there are many other neglected communities across the country who are living life in pathetic conditions. Who cares for them! Those who raised the voice for the sake of these communities are being mercilessly treated by the politics.   


3. KiranL
Buried in Dewan Rai's insightful reportage on the Badi of Dailekh is the fact that Dekendra Thapa, who had worked selflessly for the upliftment of the Badi by negotiating with the local administration for the land in Namuna Basti, was disappeared by the Maoists. His body was later exhumed after the ceasefire. So much for the Maoist "revolution", how do the comrades explain this and thousands of other killings of innocent people in the name of their "people war"?

4. msharma
Very depressing story....such is the real life of Nepalis ...the state of our beloved country.Now after all such injustice to the inncent nepalis, the so called "maosist" are crying out loud to sieze the power of the country. instead they must be made to pay for all there crimes they have committed in the name of "people war"

5. amanda mclean

where do these Badis women have there babies? Nice clean hospital or in these 'homes' as shown in photos? I am a midwife in Australia n visit Nepal as a tourist---this district n homes of the Badis people would be least on Nepal's 'must visit' list----how about a 'clean-up' in your 'hidden places'---n do yourself proud for year 2011---year of tourism in Nepal.


6. Ganesh
Dekendra Raj Thapa should serve as a role model for all Nepalis. When a society takes care of it's most downtrodden, it elevates the entire society.

Note that Thapa was not a politician. While politician's deserve a lot of the blame for the state of the Badis and nearly everyone else in Nepal, we can all do something. As JFK said, "Ask not what your country can do for you..."

Bottom line is we can't just blame the politicians - we all deserve some blame.

7. 7. Bhakta
Why did the Maoists murder Dekendra Raj Thapa ?

8. Jhalendra Shrestha
There is only one solution when they raise up their voice. Their voice can solve the problem what they face not by others voice. They do not need others begging hands.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)