Badi community in Nepal

Where can we find Badi community?

Badi communities can be found in different parts of the country. They are primarily populated in far western parts like Banke, Bardiya, Kailali, Dang- Deukhuri, Rukum, Rolpa, Dailekh, Doti, Bajhang, Surkhet, Salyan districts. They are also called ‘Hill Dalits’ because they are found in the hill regions of Nepal. Badi community is a traditional and culturally rich community.

Badi community in Nepal

It is believed that they traveled from India in the 14th Century. They resemble the Indian group that is mostly found in the states Bihar and Uttarpradesh. They traveled for entertaining people and settled in the far and mid-west of Nepal.

·        What is the occupation of the Badi community?

The true meaning of Badi is ‘Vadyabadak’ in Sanskrit. Traditionally, they were popular for dancing and singing in King function and the party of rich people. They also participated as entertainers during community puja and other rituals. Later, they are forced to entertain rich people for sex. Then, they slowly accept to work as a prostitute. Now, most Badi women work as sex workers and Badi men work as a fisher, dishwashers. Though they work as a sex worker and fishermen, their lifestyle is very poor. They can’t even afford to eat food for the whole year with it. Children are the victim of Child labor.

·        How do people identify that the women or child daughters are prostitutes?

Almost all daughters and women are involved in prostitution from the Badi community. They called ‘pesha’ to prostitution. They highlight themselves by wearing thick red lipstick, eyeliner, and heavy makeup. People go to their villages and it is not hard to find them.

·        Who are their clients?

Men who are doctors, drivers, businessmen, politicians, social workers, etc. are their clients. Especially, they belong to high-class families. Some of them are even old as above 70 and some of them are only 17.  A Badi woman refuses to do sex with someone below 18.

·        How much do Badi women earn?

They earn 3000-4000 Nepali rupees from each client. The earning may vary. Some women are teaching their children in a good school so that their children mustn’t suffer like them. Mostly, the Badi women don’t spend money on their own. They give money to their family.

·        Who cares about their child when they become pregnant?

So-called high people and any man humiliate them that the child belongs to some other and don’t accept. If the child is born, the Badi family protects them. Now, most of them are aware of using condoms to prevent unwanted pregnancy. They give girth even below 18 years of old.

·        What is the population of the Badi community?

There are only 38,603 Badi all over Nepal according to the National Census,2011. They hide their identity to get jobs and respect from people.

·        Is there any representative in Parliament from the Badi group?

Yes. Uma Devi Badi from Kailali district represents and fights for Badi group. She works for the upliftment of the Badi people. She is the president of the National Badi Rights struggle committee. She led the Badi protest in Kathmandu in 2007. She had become the first Member of Parliament from the Badi community under province 7 proportional representation. She is also ranked at 10th position in the list of ‘100th Inspiring and Influential women, 2018’ from all over the world.

·        Does the government look for the Badi community?

In 2007, there was a protest from the most marginalized group, Badi. There were almost 500 members from the Badi community. They came from 23 districts. They protest in front and near Singha Durbar, the government’s secretariat.

They asked for their citizenship, permanent land, and house, education, training, and job. Badi women protest by wearing Petikot.Finally, the government signed a 26-point agreement with the Badi group. The government brings schemes for Badi. They are not fully implemented. The concerned people must look for the rights and justice of Badi women.

Badi people are spread in the different parts of Nepal. They are living all over the country. They travel to new places where they can hide their identity to start a new life. The man brought clients for their wife and daughter to earn for running their life. Whenever they search for a better job, they don’t get hired because of their caste. So, they are compelled to involve in prostitution.

The government has written laws for the justice of Badi and other low-caste people. They are limited to paper only. They are not practiced in the real scenario. Though the government announced training and other programs for the welfare of the Badi group, they are living a very harsh life. 


Also, check untouchability in Nepal

Hippies in Kathmandu

@ written by Sadhna Chettri

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