January 22, 2021

Praveen's Webspace

writing, mostly, on contemporary issues of human rights, politics & social justice

Youths of Rautahat

Here's the link of the article I published in The Kathmandu Post in 2009.

Rautahat is socio-politically the least developed district in the central development region of Nepal. The average literacy rate here is 32.2 percent (21.7 percent for women). There are five prominent communities living here, namely Muslim (19.47 percent of the population), Yadav (12.49 percent), Kurmi (5.68 percent), Teli (5.5 percent) and Tharu (5.05 percent). The important local languages are Bajjika, Bhojpuri, Nepali, Urdu and Maithili. Rautahat has the largest Muslim population in Nepal. Early marriage of girls is a common practice here (CBS, 2007).

People older than 18 years of age are called youths. They number 123,166, or 19.1 percent of Rautahat’s population. The situation of youths in Rautahat is worse. They have been involved with armed groups and political parties. These days, most young people join underground Tarai armed groups, both voluntarily and otherwise. Most of them are unemployed and unskilled, and have been misguided by political parties and armed groups.

Youths are bona fide citizens of the country. They are the ones whose role is the most important in building the country. Nepal, being a poor country, offers no opportunities for employment and promotion of youths. Youths have been severely affected by the conflict physically, mentally and socially. Building a lasting peace that sustains post-war economic, political and social development requires the full participation of the youths. However, it is surprising to note that the role of youths in post-conflict settings has received inadequate policy attention.


Similarly, Rautahat is politically unstable. Most people in the district are not aware of their duty in politics. There are many cases of youths being involved in political parties. There are about 12 political parties represented in the district. The UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, Janata Dal and Sadbhavana are the prominent parties here.

Moreover, there are more than a dozen underground armed groups operating in Rautahat. Some of them are Tarai Army, Tarai Cobra, Jantantrik Mukti Morcha (JTMM)-Jwala, JTMM-Goit, JTMM-United, Madhesi Tigers and so forth. These groups use children below 18 years and youths as combatants, cooks, porters, messengers and spies and also for sexual purposes and forced marriage. These armed groups abduct children and youths for ransom. They torture them physically as well as mentally. This affects the children and youths to a great extent. 

We need to respect the rights of youths and provide for their overall development. This is the most important aspect of the reconciliation process as Nepal writes a new constitution. There aren’t any institutions dedicated to these issues, and there are no programmes for the promotion of youths. Society does not seem to be serious about youth promotion. The government does not allocate a budget to the VDCs for the development of youths. The VDC authorities are reluctant to spend money on youth promotion. The political parties use youths in their rallies and campaigns, and make them members of their parties. They need to support them for their promotion. All the people including political leaders should be made aware of youth promotion.