Age-old Katuwal tradition still relevant for remote Rukum village

- KRISHNA PRASAD GAUTAM, Rukum
Age-old Katuwal tradition still relevant for remote Rukum village

Dec 4, 2014-

While the age-old tradition of hiring Katuwal (messengers) to send messages and letters from one village to another in the remote hilly district might come as a surprise to many, this is how Kali Bahadur Pariyar, 66, from the village of Gotamkot-7 makes his living.

Pariyar’s day is spent going round his village or from one village to another delivering socially relevant informations like announcement of birth and deaths including communicating verbal or written messages and letters of his fellow villagers to the intended receiver. In this remote village deprived of modern means of communications such as telephone, cellular phones or internet, Pariyar is the man on whom the villagers solely depend on for the delivery of essential information and messages.

It has been 40 years since he has been delivering messages to locals of Gotamkot and 10 surrounding villages in two bordering VDCs of Rukum and Jajarkot. It is Pariyar’s duty to inform the villagers about village meetings, social gatherings, religious ceremonies, marriage functions, births, deaths or any other social event. And the most interesting thing about him is his constant companion-- a radio that he been carrying around with him since the past 15 years. Along with delivering messages, Pariyar keeps the locals informed about the latest news and happenings aired by the national radio.

In return for his commendable service, each household in the village provides him with rice and other food provisions once a year. “While this profession has given me an opportunity to contribute to the society in which I live in my own little way, it also doubles up as my means of sustenance,” Pariyar said, adding that he has been providing for his family by working as a Katuwal.

Saying that he will give continuity to the profession till the time he is physically able to do the arduous task of trekking from one village to another, Pariyar also has to occasionally play the Damaha (a tabala like musical instrument) while shouting on top of his voice over a hill top to inform about the death of someone in the village.

“Everyone has laid their trust on me and that is my how I derive my job satisfaction,” Pariyar said, adding that even the locals were satisfied with his work and appreciate his contribution. Meanwhile, Pariyar, who gave continuity to the profession handed down to him over generations, expressed sadness over the fact that there will be no one to give continuity to the ancient profession after him as his two sons have expressed their desire to pursue other careers.  

 

Published: 05-12-2014 09:20

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