KATHMANDU, Nepal-A Nepalese typical tribe of forest-dwelling nomads who reject citizenship is gradually observing modern ways with the young people thirst for smart phone and other contemporary facilities.
Also known as the King of jungle, Rautes in Khanekhola forest, 225 miles from the Capital Kathmandu have been lured towards cell phone and walk for several hours to reach district headquarter Salyan to make contact with their relatives via landline phone in the absence of mobile.
‘We arrived district head quarter Salyan to make contact on the phone’, Salyan based local newspaper quoted Shiva Raj Sahi, a Raute nomad from Khanekhola forest as saying adding that they needed to talk on the phone because they wanted to enjoy with the latest widget.
However, chief of Raute Man Bahadur Raute is worried over loosing unique identity with their younger generation adopting modern ways of life since deforestation sabotages their life.
Counting just 600, as per the latest government census, the Rautes dwell in forest erecting makeshift shed and move every two months to new location.
Survive on monkeys’ meat and other forest vegetables, Rautes are expert in carving wooden products such as storage pots and baskets.
In the latest days they are facing hard time with the decline in monkeys due to increased deforestation and floods of plastic goods in markets which have exceeded their traditional wood products. ‘We are slowly losing control of our hunting areas,’ Man Bahadur Shai complained.
Anthropologists opined that Rutes’ traditional and typical way of living have been hit hard by the mainstream communities living nearby with latest fashion and technology.
According to Nanda Bahadur Singh, Professor of Sociology at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Rautes are combating to grip their conventional norms and values despite of insoluble problems following the development of modern technologies.
The government of Nepal has allocated 1000 rupees for Rutes for monthly allowance; however, most Raute youths spend the amount on alcohol, tobacco and cigarettes.
They have also become choosy in terms of taking food and lodging. Rautes who earned their living on wild yams and jungle vine have now started eating rice as their food and began rearing cattle.
Just a couple of years ago Rautes male used to wear bark and leafs of the trees while women wore pieces of clothes torn at dozen places after begging.
However youths of these nomadic castes are accustomed to wear pants and t-shirts and have gradually using medicines instead of depending on herbal plants. Is Rautes turning towards modernized world? ‘Life in the forest is hard and we have now adopting modern facilities,’ Chief of these communities Man Bahadur Shahi said. Shahi admitted that they are facing sharp shortage of food.
Raute chief Shahi sent 14 groups of Rautes from their traditional shelter in Surkhet district to live in jungles in Chitwan district in central-southern Nepal following starvation, according to a recent reports.