Rajamama, lone Kusunda language speaker, dies

- PRATAP RANA MAGAR, DAMAULI

Apr 19, 2018-Rajamama Kusunda, the only speaker of Kusunda language, passed away on Wednesday. He was 65. Rajamama was a hypertension patient. His family said he died shortly after collapsing outside his home in Byas Municipality-10, Tanahun.  

His last rites were performed at the confluence of Madi and Seti rivers in Damauli. His 10-year-old daughter Simanta lit the funeral pyre. 

Rajamama was the only person who spoke the original form of Kusunda language.

“His death is a terrible blow to the Kusunda community. There are people who speak the Kusunda language, but it was only Rajamama who spoke it in its pure form,” said Hari Singh Gurung of Nepal Federation of Ingenious Nationalities.  

Rajamama always feared that the language of his community would die with him. He had told the Post in 2014 that he himself was forgetting the language because he did not use it as regularly as he would like to, because there were hardly anyone with whom he could communicate in proper Kusunda language. 

Kusunda is an endangered indigenous community that resides mainly in the western and mid-western regions of the country, including Gorkha, Arghakhanchi, Pyuthan, Rolpa, Dang and Surkhet.

According to the 2011 census, Kusunda population stood at 273. The book ‘Kusunda Jaati Ra Sabdakosh’ by Udaya Ral Aale, which was published last year, has stated that the number of Kusunda people in the country has dipped to 150 in the recent years. 

Published: 19-04-2018 06:42

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