Fundamental Tradition of the Rautes

Specific Location: The Rautes are spread within a certain geographical locations of Nepal. Their main area of settlement is within mid and far western parts of Nepal and they move from one district to another within these two development regions.

Restriction for education and agriculture: Rautes still deny their engagement to agricultural practices. For them, it is a sin to sow seeds. Their tradition forbids them to practice agriculture and animal husbandry. They accept food grains bartering with their wooden products to sustain their life. They are not interested in other forms of jobs and occupations. They feel that education is of no use for them.

Monkey Hunting: They are accomplished with a unique art of monkey hunting and they make a special net to trap monkeys. Hunting is carried out through the united effort of males in the community. However, they are not interested in hunting birds and wild animals.

Food Products: They gather yam, roots, berries and other edibles from forest. They do not fish but there is no restriction in eating fish.

Division of labor: Division of labor is based on sex. For example, women mostly carry on works like cooking, washing utensils, bringing water from the stream and beating the grains. Males work is carving wooden vessels, cutting woods from the jungle, selling the wooden products and bartering for grains as well as hunting monkeys.

Lineage and Marriage: They are endogamous and never objectify lineage on the basis of name, lineage deity and inherited property. There is no polygamy but widowed males can remarry. Widows however, are not allowed to re-marry. Child marriage and inter-caste marriage are strictly prohibited.

Raute people are nomadic.  There is a resounding NO to permanent settlements. The reason for the nomadic life is based on the story that once when they lived at a place for a length of time, death took one of their family members. From then on they started believing that living in a single place is a bad star and they never stayed in one place for long.

After death of a community member, Raute bury the dead in a nearby forest and shift their camp very quickly to another place. They cut soft tress for carving wooden containers and barter with them for grains. Since they move to another location, there is always ample time for the trees to regenerate. Rautes drink water from springs only. They do not drink the water from a pond, hand pumps or wells. They consider the availability of spring water while shifting to a new place.

Family Structure and marriage: Raute are endogamous. They follow a nuclear family structure. After a marriage, the new couple move to a new tent to start married life together. They will even leave their widowed mother and sister after marriage.

Nature God: They are the worshippers of nature, such as sun, rivers and forest. They worship Bhuyar, the hunting god. Women are not allowed to participate in the practice of worship. Bhuyar should not come in contact to outsiders.

RAUTE PRODUCTS

Raute have spectacular tradition of carving wooden receptacles. Raute, following a gender based division of labor, consider that the work of wooden carvings, is done only by males. This art therefore is handed down to each consecutive generation from father to son. These wooden pots are artistically carved by hands with simple metallic tools such as axe and Ramo and include containers such as Madhus, Koshi, Musal, Okhal and Jhuma. The way they are carved renders the containers highly durable.

The Rautes prefer to use only a certain species of woods, as not to not create any clash with the villagers. Species of economic significance such as Shorea robosta, Khair, Dalbergia sisoo are not used. Raute only cut common species of trees. Their wooden products have significant value for two reasons: i) it provides them source of subsistence to feed their children. As they have no interest in agriculture, carving wooden products is a singular way of serving their hand to mouth, and ii) Wooden products serve to continue the legacy of Raute culture for being culturally and economically important.

Keeping this fact in mind, we have time and again ventured marketing initiatives to spread the cultural and economic significance of such pots. We help the Raute sell these products believing that the promotion and marketing of the products will help maintain their way of life.

If you are buying these products it means you are supporting and promoting the nomadic resources of Nepal.   You can contact us if you wish to purchase such products. Our plan is to create a welfare fund for this tribe by promoting such products in wider circles.

 

 

 

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