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Traditional skills kami



Background of the Study This study is carried out for the partial fulfillment of the Master in Philosophy in Caste Education and Development and conducted in ward no 5 of Bhanu VDC of Tananun district where some households of Kami. Nepal is country where there are total numbers of castes, indigenous peoples and religious groups are 100 and three are unknown. Various studies give us the picture of the forest of complex social structure as well as counting trees of caste/ethnicity, language and religion. Peoples assumed that the traditional profession of Kami is diminishing because it is not feasible for the livelihoods. Kami are discriminated due to their occupation. But the Kami peoles of Bhansar are still engaged in their traditional occupation. Kami have been relegated to do caste-based work as black/goldsmith. They said that they are being continued their traditional occupations due to poverty and lack of other means of livelihood. Bhattachan et. al. (2002) found in their study that there is high degree of caste-based discrimination from the upper caste Hindu (48.1%) and the Indigenous Nationalities (38%) to the low caste Hindus or untouchables even today. Caste- based discrimination is equally observed between the high caste Dalits and the low caste Dalits. The purpose of this study was to find out the the types of discrimination against Kami peoples of Nepal and to identify the skills and mode of transmission of skill and knowledge from one generation to the other generation. This study was carried out in the Ward no 5 of Bhanu VDC of Tanahun district. The nature of the study is qualitative. Therefore I used the qualitative approaches to study. The present study reports my findings in regard to the transmission of Kami People's traditional skills and knowledge from the older generation to the younger, discuss the changes and factors that affect or impede transmission. I conclude with a discussion to the likely effects of loss of traditional knowledge and skills, and some of its concern aspects. Statement of the Problem The knowledge and skills acquired by the Kami peoples of Nepal is a one of the indigenous skills. The skills of Kami peoples have the characteristics of indigenous knowledge. It is local knowledge. Local knowledge refers to: local knowledge held by indigenous people or local knowledge unique to a given culture or society (Berkes, 1999) (Cited in Deckens, 2007). Indigenous knowledge is different broadly from other knowledge. It is transmitted orally, experiential rather than theoretical knowledge and learned through repetition and it is constantly changing (Ellen & Harris,

Traditional skills kami


1996) (Cited in WB, 1998, p. 2). It is necessary to identify the kind of discrimination against the Kami people and the skills and the mode of transmission of skills and knowledge they have. Objective of the Study The main objective of this study is to find out the types of discrimination against Kami peoples and to identify the skills and mode of transmission of skills and knowledge of the Kami Peoples of Nepal. Research Questions To fulfill the objective of the proposed research, I seted the following questions: 1. How the caste of Kami is formed? 2. What are the bases of discrimination against the Kami? 3. How the Kami Peoples are discriminated in the Nepali society? 4. What the skills and knowledge do Kami people have? 5. How do the skills and knowledge of Kami peoples transfer from one generation to other generation? Delimitation This study is purely academic and qualitative. The purpose of this study is to fulfill the partial requirement of Master in Philosophy in education of Tribhuvan University. Due to its nature and purpose; I did not have adequate resource and time to cover large extent of sample from different geographical, socio-economic and gender representation. I did not include the female from the households where I studied because they were not involved in the activities of Aran. I limited my study in two households and two persons and only limited area. Traditional knowledge pertaining to belief systems, spirituality, and cosmology were also left out of the scope of this study. I limited my study on what skills did the Kami peoples acquired and how did they acquired along with what skills were transmitted to their children. I did not go ahead to explore that what additional skills and programs they need to promote their traditional knowledge and what was the affect of modern technology to their skills and knowledge. Literature Review Origin of Caste System in Nepal

Traditional skills kami
Nepal is a Himalayan, landlocked, secular, Federal Democratic Republic lying between the


People's Republic of China in its north and the Republic of India in its south. One of the scholar stated that anthropologists has identified four racial groups in Nepal by looking at the physical features of the Nepalese peoples (Bhattachan, 2008). These are: Mongoloid, Caucasoid, Dravidian, and ProtoAustraloid. Bahun-Chhetri, the dominant caste group belongs to Caucasoid racial group. The majority of populations belong to Mongoloid and Caucasoid races. The population of Dravidian and ProtoAustraloid is nominal and they are confined in some pockets in eastern Terai region. Caucasoid is divided into varna and caste groups. Mongoloid, Dravidian and Proto-Australoids are the indigenous peoples and do not belong to Hindu Varna and social hierarchy. It is recognized as multi-ethnic and multilingual country in Asia. The racial, religious, cultural and social systems are diverse according to the diversity in geography. Brahmin, Chhetri, Tharu, Bhantar, Teli, Dholi, Musahar, Sarki, Damai, Kami etc are Indo-Nepalese living basically in the Terai and Hill. Similarly, Rai, Limbu, Magar, Gurung, Tamang etc are Tibeto-Nepalese residing in the Hill and Mountain. They have their own socio-cultural identity and economic status (Gyawali & Acharya, 2003). The caste culture is seen as originating in the increasing social differentiation, segmentation, and stratification of the Hindu society. Its history dates back to the Vedic period (6000-4000 BC). According to Saraf (1986.107) the Aryans were a homogenous and cohesive group in the early Rigved period, in the middle Rigved period, the group was divided into Brahmin and Kshetriya on the one hand and Vaisya on the other , in the late Rigved period the group further divided giving birth to Sudra caste by the end of Brahmanic period, and in the post- vedic period some of Sudra were classified as Asprishya (non-touchables) and sprishya (touchable) (cited in Koirala, 1996, p:10). Similarly, in the further quoted the opinion of Khatri and Dahal (1987). They have presented the origination of caste differently. Koirala (1996) quoted that: Prior to the writing of the book Purusukta (1000-500 BC), the ancient society was divided into different classes: as economic class, power class and religious class and service class. These class themselves were the Varna. The religious class was known as Brahman Varna, the power class was Kshatriya Varna, and the economic class called Vaishya Varna (ibid). As in most of the societies of the world, so in India, the son inherited his father's profession. And so in India there developed families, who professed the same family profession for generation in which, the son continued his father's profession. Later on as these families became larger, they were seen as communities or as they are called in Indian languages, Jat. Different families who professed the same profession developed social relations between them and organized as a common community, meaning Jat. Kami peoples are adopting the work of iron from the beginning of the caste system.

Traditional skills kami
Varna, as enunciated in the Brahminical test, e. g., the Rigveda (10.90.12) or the Manusmriti,


categorized the people in the Indian society into four categories. The Varna system should however be differentiated from the cultural, non-religious, caste-system. Manu divided the work in these ways. The Brahmins' primary vocation is to learn the Vedas and other sacred texts teach and pray. The Kshatriya's chief occupation is managing their kingdoms and military service. The Vaishyas are occupied with economic activities (agrarian and trade) and the Sudras are skilled workers and service providers of all types ( The discussion above implies that Hindu culture though came from Sanatana Dharma has legitimized division in the society. For example the Bhagvat Gita says: the four castes are created by Krishna by the same stuff but they are classified into four castes according to their qualities and actions. But the Rig Veda i.e. Hymn 11 (cited in Nirula, 2005), which is credited for being the genealogical roots of caste system mentioned it differently. It reads the Brahmin was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rajanya made. His thighs became Vaisya, from his feet the Sudra was produced in the context of describing Birat person (the Brahma). One of the scholars writes that the resign Jayasthiti Mall (1260-1395) was a period in which the caste system was systematized in Nepal. He reorganized the Newari society in the Kathmandu on the basis of Manusmriti writing. It was Jayasthiti Malla's activities that planted firm roots of caste devision and untouchability in Nepali society (Kishan, 2005). Dalit is the latest and politically correct, of many terms used for untouchable Shudras. The word dalit(a) comes from the Sanskrit - root dal that means held under check, suppressed, or crushed, or, in a looser sense, oppressed. The term scheduled castes/scheduled tribes are also used in the Indian legal system to refer to this group along with non-caste tribes (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). In South Asia' caste system, a Dalit; often called an untouchable; is a person of Shudra; the lowest of the four castes. Included are leather-workers (called chamar), scavengers (called Bhangi or Chura), street handcrafters, poor farmers and laborers ( The word Dalit literally means a person immersed in a swamp. Traditionally, Dalits have been treated inhumanely as Untouchables. Although untouchability was abolished by the New National Code of Nepal in 1963, its practice still continues. The women belonging to this community are living in a swamp of illiteracy, exploitation, marginalization, absolute poverty and, above all, caste discrimination (Bisowarkarma, 2004). There is a serious problem in understanding the context of Dalits in Nepal for two reasons: i) the term Dalit itself is a politically coined word, meaning the poor and oppressed persons. This meaning is less sensitive than the term Harijan or Achhoot or so called untouchables, and ii) The term

Traditional skills kami
Dalit, is understood as untouchables or Achhoot or the term connotes in the sense of Old Legal code


of 1854, Pani nachalne choit chito hanlu parne jat (caste from whom water is not accepted and whose touch requires sprinkling of holy water). It seems that the first term is used by Dalits for their convenience whereas, in practice, the meaning is loaded with the second in addressing the problems of Dalits in Nepali society ( This problem of definition has created two issues i) there is an inclusion and exclusion in the list of Dalits. In 1997, Dalit Vikas Samity identified 23 various cultural groups as Dalits and Dalit Ayog (formed in March 2002) forwarded the Bill to the government identifying 28 cultural groups as Dalits in Nepal in Nepal, and ii) As the list of Dalit fluctuates, so is the size of population of Dalits, ranging 2 million to 4.5 million in various sources. Hindu society has traditionally been divided into several traditionally been divided into several groups, castes or communities called Jatis. The phrase Hindu Caste System mixes up two different schemes the Varna (class/group), which is the theoretical system of grouping found in Brahminical traditions and some medical codes, and the Jati system prevalent in Nepali society since historical time. The word Varna means order, category, type, color (of things), and groups the human society into four main types as Brahnins (intelligentsia, priests, scholars, teachers), Kshatriyas (warriors, nobility), Vaishyas (merchants, farmers), and Sudras (Workers, service providers, laborers). The Hindu Varna system is a classification based on a number of social categories. People categorized in the four Varnas were origionally and are still engaged in predetermined occupations. As long as the concept of Varna was not equivalent to caste, Varna division was only a division of labour and the Varna name was equivalent to a particular type of work. Although there is controversy on the use of the term Dalit, the Dalit movement of Nepal has accepted the term (Bhattacha et al 200; Viswakarma 2001; Dahal et al. 2002). They have defined the term Dalit to refer to those peoples who belong to Hindu castes and who have been placed at the bottom of the social hierarchy as Sudra and treated as untouchable by upper castes (Bhattacha, 2006). The national code 1854 and the Dalit movement consider Chyamkhala, Pode, and Kasai as untouchalbes or Dalits but the latter claimed that they belong to the Newar indigenous nationality, but not to Dalits. From the discussion above there is no one accurate definition of Dalit. According to Gyawali and Acharya (2003), the untouchable castes of Nepal may be divided into three different categories as follows:

Traditional skills kami
1. Caste living primarily in the southern plains of Terai including Dum, Teli, Sundi, Musahar, Dusadh etc, 2. Castes that are predominantly found in the middle hills. These include Kami, Damai, and Sarki who have large population than any other untouchable caste in Nepal, 3. Newari speaking Tibeto-Burman language is indigenous group of the Kathmandu valley.


Dalits remain at the very bottom of Nepal's caste hierarchy (DFID & WB,2006). Even now, the government and many development/aid organizations use euphemisms such as occupational castes, backward classes, marginalized, and disadvantaged groups, instead of referring to them as Dalits. The hesitation to use the term Dalit deflects attention from the everyday reality of caste-based discrimination in Nepal. According to the 2001 Census, Dalits comprised 13 percent of the population but the figure is contested. Discrimination based on caste is prevalent mainly in parts of Asia and Africa. UNICEF estimates the discrimination based on caste affects 250 million people worldwide (Wikipedia, 2008). It is said that Kami belongs to the Arya, in the Sudra, so they are included in the Varna system. The Sarki caste group peoples were calling as Mijhar originally, but now a day this category is comprised of hill Dalits who use surnames such as Sarki, Charmakar, Bhul and Nepali. And, there are various sub-castes of the hill Dalit Mijars. They write different surnames. The word Dalit comes from the Sankrit root dal, which means to shatter, to break into pieces and to step on. The literal meaning of the word Dalit are Shattered; over-burdened; suppressed; squeezed; stepped upon; kneaded; ground down; shamed by being required to bow to someone else's feet; or silenced through suppression (Kishan, 2005). Population and Settlement of Kami Peoples The word Kami is the synonym of English word blacksmith. The word blacksmith refers to iron, which was known as the black metal, and smith, meaning a smitter of metal (as in tinsmith or silversmith). Kami are rural people known for metal working. They are divided into two groups: black smithes and gold, silver, and copper smiths. They supplement smiting with agricultural work. As a rule, Kamis are Hindus. They worship different Hindus deities, and they go on pilgrimage to Hindu sacred sites in Nepal. Some have converted to Buddhism, and other religions, as well as Christianity, probably to be free of discrimination. Kami is a Dalit community from Nepal which belongs to the Indo-Aryan ethnic group. Kamies are essentially blacksmiths who are scattered in almost all hilly districts of Nepal. They are the makers of famous Kukri knives which are used by the by the Gurkha Army. According to the

Traditional skills kami
2001 Census, there are total of 895,954 Kami in the country of which 96.69 percent were Hindu and 2.21 percent were Buddhists ( Kamis are black-smiths, who are along with their traditional caste occupation of making and


repairing iron tools, also practice agriculture. Within the Kami group there is more professional group called Sunar (gold or silver-smith) who makes and repairs gold or silver ornaments. Historically, they were economically dependent on their clients for livelihood and used to provide their services to their clients through the traditional Indian Jajamani system such as Bali or Khan. This system also exists in many parts of Nepal even today. These days, some Kami males and females are relatively better educated than Government Organizations (NGO) and corporations such as banks, etc. In the Eastern and Central Hill regions, Kami are a homogenous group where as in the Western and Far-western Hill regions, they are divided into sub groups with different occupational categories such as Koli, Lohar, Mahar, Pouri, Chunara and others. Among the Dalits groups, Kamis are treated highest in social rank and they never accept cooked food and water from the Dalit groups lower than them. They marry within their own groups. This is the largest Dalit group in Nepal in terms of population size. According to the 1991 census, the population size of Kami was 963,655 or 5.2 percent of the total population but within Dalit group, their percentage is 43.8 per cent. They are distributed throughout the kingdom but their concentration is heavy (population size with more than 10,000) in 39 districts. Jajarkot, Achham and Dailekh districts have the highest percentage of Kami within these districts. In terms of ranking the population size of various ethnic/caste groups within the district, they rank second in six districts and third in another ten districts in population size (CBS, 1991). Bases of Discriminations One of the scholar stats that Dalits are discriminated against on the basis of caste and untouchability (Shrestha, 2003). Kami peoples are belongs to the Dalit categories so the bases of discrimination against Kami peoples are bases on caste and untouchability. Two studies show that most Dalits suffer from discrimination practices involving food and drink (38.9%) and prohibition of entry into houses, temples and other public places (28.3%). Both studies show that incidence of caste based discrimination is higher in the western region than in the eastern region of the country (ibid). Discrimination against Dalits is the overwhelming reality of Nepal's social structure. However, there are hierarchies and discrimination within the Dalit community with Kami, sonar and Lohar (identified by the surname Biswakarma) at the so-called top of the hierarchy.

Traditional skills kami
Discrimination against Dalits and Janajatis is the overwhelming reality Of Nepal's social structure. However, there are hierarchies and discrimination within the Dalit community with Kami, Sonar and Lohar (identified by the surname Biswakarma) at the so-called top of the hierarchy. Nature of Discrimination The nature of discrimination against Dalits is different. They are discriminated in different forms such as social and cultural discrimination, traditional caste-based occupation and forced labor, discrimination in education, denial of entry, low participation in activities of the government, nongovernmental organizations and donors, social boycott, weak exercise of political rights, and atrocities against Dalits (Shrestha, 2003).


Dalits are discriminated in the religious and cultural spheres. According to the respondents of this study they are not allowed to practice Hindu rituals, norms and values in the same manner as other castes. Some literature states that the Dalits are converted into Christianity to escape from the discrimination against them (cited in Shrestha, 2003). But the situation in my study area is a bit different from other site of the Tanahun district. They pray Narayan in the month of Kartik. They invite so called high caste at the Narayan Puja. All the arrangement needed for Puja performed by the so called upper caste such as Brahmin and Kshetris the reading activities are perform by the pundit. The Kami people engaged during the Puja activities. Kami have been relegated to do caste-based work as black/goldsmith. They said that they are being continued their traditional occupations due to poverty and lack of other means of livelihood. Before fifteen years ago the women and children are also forced to work in the households of their landlords. They do not get justifiable wage for their labor. If they do not work for others, they works as help of their husbands in the traditional jobs of Dalits. Those who had worked in Haliya Pratha (bonded labor) or Khala Pratha (forced labor) were not earning from their work. They get food grains. But now the situation has been changed. The children from Dalit community are attending school and seeking alternate profession. Two young children from my study sites are working as a constable in Nepal Army and one of the sons of another house is working as a Bus driver. The boy who is working as bus driver went to labor market to search a job but he was unskilled labor. He have had not any modern technological skills and he was suffering from financial resources to conduct new industrial activities or trade in the market so he started working as cleaner (Khalasi) in the bus. He learnt to drive the bus then he had applied for driving license. After nine months he requested the bus owner and started to drive the bus. Now his economic status is rising day by day. However, they are still in Khala Pratha. Dalits who are able to get a wage-earning job suffer from unfair wage system. According to the bus driver the job owner always bargain for minimum pay and try to engage more hours in working days.

Traditional skills kami


Discrimination in education Untouchability is practiced in schools, be they government - or NGO- supported schools. Teachers do not take care of their Dalit students. In remote areas of Nepal, Dalit students could not sit beside the so-called high-caste students. There are documented cases in NGO-supported schools of isolating Dalit students when eating School-supplied food, and treating them badly. Scholarships for Dalit students are inadequate if not irregular. Likewise, the so-called high-caste teachers do not want Dalits to become teachers because they do not want to do the traditional gesture of giving respect to them. They also do not want to eat and drink together with them as is the custom among teachers. Competent Dalit teachers are discouraged from occupying higher executive positions in schools. Denial of entry Dalits are denied entry into the houses of higher castes, temples, hotels/restaurants, teashops, food factories, dairy farms and milk collection centers, among others. They can go to schools, offices and work places. However, there are newspaper reports that in some schools in Jumla region, Dalit students sit outside the classrooms. The denial of entry into private houses of higher caste people extends to their The denial of entry into private houses of higher caste people extends to their cowsheds in the case of the far western Nepal. They have a belief that if a Dalit enters the cowsheds and touches the rope of cows or buffaloes and the water pot, the animals will die or will give less quantity of milk. The prohibition on entering temples prevents the Dalits from participating in the religious activities inside the temples. They have to be content with worshipping outside the temple building. Dalit women who enter the temple are humiliated by the temple priests as well as by higher-caste people. A Dalit who drinks tea in a teashop has to wash the cup used otherwise the proprietor will beat him/her up. Low participation in activities of the government, nongovernmental organizations and donor's agencies. Government official generally ignore, and at times ill-treat, Dalits seeking services from the government. Treated like second-class citizens, services are generally delayed. They are also abused

Traditional skills kami


by addressing them with disrespectful words (such as using the word tan instead of Hajur or tapain). Dalit women development programs of the government or donor agencies are elaborated without the participation of the Dalit women themselves. This leads to the implementation of development programs that are not applicable to the Dalits. Social Boycott The so-called social boycott, a practice of exclusion of people from their families and group, is normally resorted to in case of (i) Inter-case marriages, where a higher-caste man marries a lowercaste woman. It also happens when non-Dalit women marry Dalit men. In both cases, the women bear the brunt of the disapproval of the marriage; (ii) Failure to follow traditional norms and values (applicable to Dalits and non-Dalits); (iii) Refusal of the Dalits to undertake their traditional castebased occupation, such as disposal of dead animals. Weak exercise of political rights Key positions in political parties are mostly held by higher-caste people. Dalits, prevented from holding these positions, are always discouraged from exercising their political rights. Political leaders pay lip service to Dalit communities in order to collect votes. Political parties mobilize the Dalits only to serve the interest of the party (Shrestha, 2003). Representation of Dalit women in party politics is almost negligible. Though the constitution of Nepal has reserved seats for women, which is limited to 5 percent of the total seats for national and local elections, political parties deny any seat to Dalit women. At the same time, Dalit women are not empowered to use the opportunity granted by the constitution. Atrocities against Dalits Dalits suffer from a number of atrocities such as battering, mental torture, rape, break-up of inter-caste marriage, false allegations, etc. Higher-caste people do not hesitate to beat Dalit women in public places, if they are found to break laws, or norms and values of the Hindu tradition. Methodology This chapter includes the methodology and procedure of this study i.e. nature of primary and secondary data and information, process of information collection, research design selection for the study, processing and analysis of information and process of report writing by following the qualitative research methodology.

Traditional skills kami
Source of Information Because of the nature of study I used qualitative research methodology. I have applied the following methodology to fulfill this study which is given detailed in the following sections.


Source of Data I tried to collect the information from both primary and secondary sources. All the house hold of the Kami peoples who reside in the Ward no 5 of Bhanu VDC of Tanahun district are the source of information for my study. Sample Size and Sampling Procedure However, all of the Kami peoples who reside in the ward no 5 of Bhanu VDC of Tanahun district are the population of my study; I have take two Kami peoples called Ram Chandra Kami and Chaire Kami as the sample of my study. I have taken them because they are involved in the Aran and they make the tools that make by the Blacksmiths. And, they are experienced in a Aran for a long time. Information Collection Procedure For the sake of collection of information, I have applied three types of procedures that is indepth interview, observation, and document study. I have studied the documents related to Blacksmith (Kami peoples) from World Wide Web, library and the books that are available from various ways. In-depth Interview To find out the skills and knowledge that Kami people have, I apply the in-depth interview. I realized that in-depth interviews involve open-ended questions. So I used a topic guide but I did not rely on a structured question set. I also used probing techniques to encourage my respondents to give the fullest answer as far as possible. The respondents were requested to provide information in the form of facts, attitudes, opinions and intentions about the concerned matter (Joshi, 2001). I looked at how interchangeable respondent's answers to the questions relate to their actual experiences. This technique was used to explore topics in their own right, to provide more depth about a subject. This technique also helped me to provide more depth about a subject or individual cases than a quantitative survey. Thus I was very conscious while gathering my information and I continue my interview until I could get the theme. I used in-depth interview to obtain descriptions of the

Traditional skills kami
experience and to develop descriptive narratives. It helped me to know about the knowledge; skills


and attitude of Kami peoples, by this I got chance to hear them and know their views. Each interviwee was asked to answer three particular question (1) did you learn the particular skills? (2) If yes, how did you learn the particular skill? And (3) How old were you when you learn the skill?

Observation I gathered data primarily through close visual inspection of a natural setting. My respondents were in the working in the Aran. I observed the furnace and the natural working condition of the respondents. From of information gathered from direct observation were field notes, with detailed behaviors, consersations, or setting. Direct observation as a research method is most appropriate to open, public settings where anyone has a right to be or assemble. They can also stand-alone, to explore topics in their own right in depth, or can complement quantitative enquiry ( I used the framework provided by Ruddle and Chesterfield (1977) to analyse the sequence of learning traditional skills. These authors identified eight stages or process of the learning complex: (1) familiarization or the identification of the skill to be learned; (2) observation of the teacher performing the skill; (3) helping with simple steps; (4) helping with the entire skill complex; (5) performing the skill complex under supervision; (6) becoming as assistant or apprentice to the instructor; (7) independent performance f the skill complex by the apprentice and ability to experiment with the task; and (8) becoming a peer (or equal partner) to the teacher (Ohmangari & Berkes, 1997, p. 204). While using the observation method, I kept in mind things like: what should be observed? How the observation should be recorded? etc. When the observation is taken without defining the style of pertinent data of observation is known as unstructured observation (Kothari, 1993:47). Analysis and Interpretation of Information All the information collected is organized for easy references and uses. Further they are grouped or classified under different headings. The collected secondary and primary information are analyzed in relation to objective and scope of the study project. Inherited Skills I started my study from studying the literature regarding the caste system of Nepal, and the literature related to Dalit. This study gave me insight and opened the door to think upon Dalit. During

Traditional skills kami


my study I observed the working activities of two Kami peoples called Ram Chandra Kami (Illiterate, 57 years) and Chaire Kami (Literate, 58 years). I kept in mind what skills and knowledge do they have and how to perform their activities? Similarly, I conducted in depth interviews both of them regarding the skills, knowledge and how have the knowledge and skills transfer to the next generation or how they know the skills they acquired. Study of literature related to Caste and Dalit along with observation of activities of Aran gave me insight for the conduction of in-depth interview. The procedure that I apply is mentioned in the concerning sections. Kami has the knowledge and skills, which has been handed down from generation to generation through spoken word and practices. Kami peoples are rich sources of traditional arts and crafts which are unique examples of material folklore (Diwasa, & Bandhu, 2007, p. 16). Kami peoples are important traditional bearers of craftsmanship. I asked with them about the skills they have. They gave me a list of skills of making Sickle, Axe, Khukuri (knives), Kodalo (hoe, spade), Khuda (a kind of swords), Kalash, shares (plough tips), Frying Pan, Fan, Gun, Kol, nail, chisels, sickle with serrated blade (Karauti), pickaxe, washer, nut, sword, dagger, spear, soup spoon, fork, and skills of making Aran (furnace) and the parts of it, etc. Similarly, the informants needed some additional skills related to their work in Aran. These skills are Pine Halne (Hardening), Pwal parne (making hole), joining, estimating the ingredients for joining the metal, skill to estimate the required heat for bending of the iron, Koila Banaune (preparing coal), Pata pitne (smitting), Bangaune (shaping and reshaping the rod), making socket and fitted to handle, ferrule, etc. During my visit, the Kami home showed me the traditional weapons making process. I requested to Ram Chandra Kami to explain the basic tools that all Kamis peoples use in the furnace (Aran). He shows me three kinds of basic hammers, according to him these are the basic hammers of all Kamis: Big one is 5 KG; Medium one is 1.5 KG and small on is 0.5 KG. Most Kamis will have a couple more of various size and weight, usually one small one for work on bolsters and buttcaps. Learning and Teaching Approaches My informants pointed out that traditional skills that they acquired were not taught by formal education, in the abstract. Their way was learning by doing (Preston, 1975, 1982) through apprenticeship. The apprenticeship started as soon as a Kami child became at the age of ten, the child was expected to help with and share in the work of Aran. The child was not usually given verbal instruction but encouraged to learn skills by playing and by imitating adult through participation in the Aran activities. Children learned skills from parents, grandparents, older siblings, and members of the extended family with whom they concerned. Parent had the main responsibility for their children's education. However, members of extended families were readily available to take over teaching responsibilities whenever needed.

Traditional skills kami
After an extended period of learning by watching and helping (Rudlle and Chesterfield's learning stages three and four), the child was encouraged to attempt and repeat the observed skills. Depending on the complexity of the skill, the apprentice started to perform one part of the skill


complex and eventually learned the entire skill complex. Mastery of the skill complex was a gradual process and only achieved by trial and error. In the process of trial-and -error, the parents were patient and supportive even if the apprentice failed many times, as long as he was diligent. The apprentice was told, keep trying, and never give up until you get it right. Furthermore, he was expected to follow the prescribed ways to master the skill. When he did it properly, the parent praised him saying yes (that's the way). Informants of the study also identified the age range 13- 18 years, as the key time period for mastery of most of the skills used in the Aran. Among the skills of making sickle, fork, soup spoon, and hoe are transmitted very well. These skills were learnt by the new generation because these skills are useful for their earning purpose. Some skills such as Khukuri making, Gun making, Kalash making, and Kol making were not transmitted to the new generation. Ram Chandra Kami (63 years, illiterate) is resident of Bhanu VDC ward no 5 of Tanahun district. He has four sons and one daughter. Among four sons only one son is doing the traditional profession. I discussed with Ram Chandra Kami and his son about the knowledge and skill transfer from one generation to another generation. Ram Chandra Kami's forefather used to make Khukuri, Banduk (Gun) and Kol (the mill for Mustard) but now days they do not make these tools. They don't have the skill to make Khukuri and Gun because his father did not let to learn to make Khukuri and Banduk. I asked him why did your father do not let you to make Khukuri and Banduk. He argued that these tools will be misuse. It could destroy the social cohesion. Similarly, When Ram Chandra Kami was at the age of 23, one of his friends from Kumal family is going to marry. The Kumal community has unique custom in marriage ceremony. When the bride groom to the house of bride with Jantis (peoples who go to the house of bride with the bride groom), five sacred girls lead the Jantis taking Kalash in the hand of the girls. The bride groom search for the Kalash here and there but he could not find it. Then the bride groom request to Ram Chandra Kami to make the Kalash. Ram Chandra Kami has had seen the Kalash before four years ago, at that time he had remembered the structure of the Kalash hardly. He requested him to sketch the figure of Kalash, his friend has sketched the Kalash on a paper. With the help of this sketch he had started to make the Kalash. He had finished it after two days endeavor. His friend thanked him a lot. From this phenomenon he became able to make the Kalash. Here he learnt to make Kalash through experiential rather theoretical knowledge (Ellen & Harris, 1996) (Cited in WB). He has experienced through trial

Traditional skills kami
and error and he has tested his experience in the rigorous laboratory. The Kumal friend of his reinforced him to go ahead. Chaire Kami was born a Kami in caste and work. For as long as anybody can remember his


forefather were Kami. At perhaps age 5 or 6 he begins helping his father and grandfather in the Arun. He learns to pull the chain of the bellows. He gathers charcoal. He brings water for the quenching pitcher. He learns the names of the tools and procedures. When he becomes around 14 years of age he is using the hammer and does much of the pounding of iron that goes in the shop. He can make a few simple farm implements by himself. Sometimes his effort produces a quality tool, sometimes not. His forefather and father do not get chance him to take the full responsibility because they feel he is immature and cannot prepare the well finished tools. His father does not give him to make the artistic work. His father does not allow him to make axes. By the time he is 20 he can fire up the the Aran by himself and can produce many items. He can make a sickles but it sometimes will be perfect. Kami peoples used the Khalati (traditional fan that help to fire the coal) which is made of from the leather of the goat. I asked with Chaire kami when and how the Khaliti started and made up. According to him he doesn't know when it is started to use and who was the profounder of the Khalati. But the Khalati that he is using is made by him. He has been known to make the Khalati by experiencing. He has got chance to watch to make the Khalati when he was at the age of 10. He never tries to make Khalati before the death of his father. The Khalati that was made by his father did not perform properly after the two years of passing away of his father. Then he has tries to make the Khalati, he has bought a leather of goat from his neighbor. He kept the wet grains of Mustard inner side of the leather and he tanned it for a month. After one month it became soft and easy to handle. Then he started to make Khalati. He learned to make it through repetition. After few years, here he does not remember the date, he has visited the Kailali district, the western Terai, he has seen a new type of fan which is made from iron, which is easy to handle. He watched it minutely. After his returning to home he started to make the new type of fan. He called it Deshi Pankha. Now he is using this Deshi Pankha, it facilitates him and easy to handle. Now he can teach to make the Deshi Pankha. Here he has learnt to make the Deshi Pankha through repetition. He told me that the production of tools is changing day by day. New tools are reproducing and the old one is lost. Ram Chandra Kami explained me how they join the two pieces of metal. He told me that at the very beginning the Kami peoples were not the idea to join. He had tried many times but do not get any idea. He fired the pieces of metal in the Aran and he becomes sad not having knowledge about to join. He threw away the pieces of burned iron on the ground, some amount of mud and stone covered

Traditional skills kami
the pieces. After sometimes the pieces get tied together. From this accidental event the Kami has know the way to join the metal. At the time of explaining he showed me practically. He brought some white stones, he called it Darshan Dhunga, with him and it looks like


granite mixed with some quartz and mica. It is collected on the higher slopes of the forest. He washes the stone in the water first. Then he grinds it keeping on the big based stone and keeps some drops of water on it. Then he keeps it on the pieces of iron which is to join. After this he keeps the pieces of iron with the dust of stone and soda into the Furnace (Aran). He fires the pieces of iron; it heats to proper color and water quench by slow pour from a pitcher. Raw materials-steel I questioned to Ram Chandra Kami about the raw material for recycling the agricultural materials. He reminded me that he uses the leaf-springs of trucks. He told me that the spring leafs are very strong than other iron. I am interested how he know that the spring leafs are more hardened. He told me his father told him about the iron used in different instrument then after when he started to engage in the Aran work he has experienced the hardness of the steel. I asked him how you know to cut off the iron as desired length. Then he explained me that the Kami heat a spring at the length they want and use a chisel to cut off the desired length. They can guess within a couple of ounces without weighing even through scales is available. They start the forging process, heating and pounding, forming the plate from tip to tang. When the blade is as close to final form as they want to get it they harden it, heat to proper color and water quench by slow pour from a pitcher. I request him how he knows to make the handle of the sickle. He explained me that his forefather used to make Khukuri. When his forefather used to work in the Aran, he always watches the activities of forefather minutely. And he added but his forefather does not allow him to make Khukuri. He started to make Khukuri from the waste iron rod. He finished the blade of the Khukuri but could not make the Kajo (socket). He had request to the forefather to make the Kajo but he told him that Khukuri banaunele Kajo banauna sakdainas (you can make Khukuri then why don't you make Kajo?). This statement of forefather hurt him. He started to cry. His mother suggested him to make another Kajo in a patient way. He again started to make the Kajo. Now he is able to make the new Kajo. His forefather saw the Kajo that he prepared, and then he told him that he is in right position. From this event he learnt to make the Khukuri. Here he used the trial and error method to make the Khukuri.

Traditional skills kami
Water was the quenching medium for many years ago or so. It was used in Nepal since the


beginning and a Kami's skill is largely passed down from one generation to the next. The hardening of the sickle blade is really an art rather than a skill. When I was age of 15 I often used to go Kami's house to sharpen the blade of sickles. I used to observe the activity of him very minutely but this time he giving me a lesson in hardening the blade of sickles, he calls this pine (hardness), setting the pine. I asked him how the pine is sets. He explained me by saying color is very important. He requests me to see the color. The blade is not hot enough. He again call me see this color. Now the blade is too hot. It is just right. Again he requests me to see at the tip of the blade. He is saying me see the color at the cho. These all must be just right before you start to pour the water. When the color of the blade becomes just right he began to pour water from his pitcher. He is explaining me the way to pour the water. According to him you cannot pour too fast and you cannot pour too slowly. You must pour just the right amount at just the right speed. He add that watch the blade change colour. You will see red, purple, green, in various shades and then black. If you do not see the color change seven times you have missed and must begin again. Findings and Discussions

Reference Bhattachan K.B. and (2004). Dalit’s Empowerment and Inclusion for Integration in the National Mainstream: Strategy for Influencing Policy and Institutions. Kathmandu: Dalit Empowerment and Inclusion Project. Bhattachan, K. B. (2008). Minorities & Indigenous Peoples of Nepal, Kathmandu: National Coalition against Racial Discrimination (NCARD) Bhattachan, K. B. (2008). Minorities & Indigenous Peoples of Nepal, Kathmandu: National Coalition against Racial Discrimination (NCARD). Bhattchan, K. B., Hemchuri, K. Gurung, Y. B., Bishwokarma, C. M.; 2002. Existing Practices of Caste-based Untouchability in Nepal and Strategy for a Campaign for Its Elimination, Kathmandu, Action-aid Nepal. Bishwokarma, P. (2004). Violence Against Dalit Women in Nepal. Dalits' Fate In Nepal: The Kathmandu Post, December 31, 2005. CBS, (1991). The Population Census of Nepal, 1991, Kathmandu: Central Bureau of Statistics, Kathmandu, Nepal

Traditional skills kami
Dekens, J. (2007). Local Knowledge for Disaster Preparedness: A Literature Review, Kathmandu: ICIMOD Diwasa, T., Bandhu, C. M. (2007). The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Nepal: Future Directions. Kathmandu: UNESCO, Kathmandu Office. Retrieved on July 10, 2009 from at Gyawali, D. & Acharya, S. (2003). Educational Status of the Musahars A Study of Rangeli VDC, Morang, (Eds.), In Educational Innovation, Kathmandu: Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, II (1), November 2003 written. Retrieved on May,2007 at Retrieved on May 19, 2009 at Retrieved on August, 2007 at Retrieved on June 3, 2009 at

18 Retrieved on July 12, 2009 at Joshi, P. R., (2001). Research Methodology. Kathmandu: Buddha Academic Publishers and Distributors. Kisan, Y. B. (2005). The Nepali Dalit Social Movement (L.A. Vasily,Trans.) Lalitpur: Legal Rights Protection Society Nepal. Koirala, B. N. (1996). Schooling and the Dalits of Nepal: A case Study of Bungkot Dalit Community (Ph. D. Thesis). Canada: Universit of Alberta. Kothari, C.R. (1993). Research Methodology: Methods and Tecniques. New Delhi: Johari for Wiley Eastern Limited. Nirula, (2005). Dalits: A Bruised Dignity. The Pure and the Impure. New Delhi: Nangia S. B. for APH Publishing Corporation. Ohmagari, K & Berkes, F. (1997). Transmission of Indigenous Knowledge and Bush Skills Among the Western James Bay Cree women of Subarctic Canada, In Human Ecology, 25(2). Retrieved on July 28, 2009 at

Traditional skills kami


Shrestha, A. (2003). Dalits in Nepal: Story of Discrimination, Hurights Osaka, Retrieved on June 24, 2009 from at WB, (1996). Indigenous Knowledge for Development: A Framework for Action, Knowledge and Learning Center, World Bank. Retrieved on June 29, 2009 from at WB & DFID, (2006). Unequal Citizens: Gender Caste and Ethnic Exclusion in Nepal, Kathmandu: Author WB, (1998). Indigenous Knowledge for Development: A Framework for Action. Knowledge and Learning Center Africa Region: World Bank. Retrieved on June 29, 2009 from at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved on May 24, 2008 at Retrieved on June 4, 2009 from

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