23 Mar, 2022
Bijuwar, Mar. 23: The Katuwal custom, the traditional way of disseminating information in the rural areas of Nepal, is changing with the times. The practice, which used to require the designated Katuwals to go from village to village and yell out notices, is now getting access to information technology in Pyuthan.
The Gaumukhi Rural Municipality of the district has provided Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards and mobile phones to 32 Katuwals to help them do their job more efficiently. Bishnu Giri, chairman of the rural municipality, said, “We distributed the mobiles to help them quickly and easily disseminate important information.”
Giri also informed that the phones were a way of honouring the Katuwals for continuing this age-old custom and helping make sure that the people of the villages always received complete and accurate information. He also said that the local level would make arrangements to look after the expenses for the mobiles as needed.
The rural municipality had allocated Rs. 200,000 in the current fiscal year for the distribution of mobile phones.
Thamman Sunar, a Katuwal of Dadagaun, Gaumukhi–2, expressed happiness at the recognition provided to his work by the local level. However, he is worried about how he would manage the cost of his phone. “The reason I did not have a phone before is because I cannot afford to maintain it. It would be great if the rural municipality supported us with the expenses,” he said.
Sunar informed that he collected around a Pathi of food grains every year from each of the 80 households he provided information to. “It may not be enough for me and my family but I am determined to continue this tradition,” he said.
Many of the Katuwals active in Pyuthan are from the Dalit community. They inform the people of everything from religious ceremonies to public gatherings and political events taking place in the villages and in exchange, receive rice, wheat, maize and grains. Sunar said that it would be better to provide cash to the Katuwals instead of food.
Katuwal or Katwal is a Nepali term for traditional messenger – a person who roams or walks to different areas and deliver messages to the people or loudly announces programmes organised by the government or an institution.
Katuwals would often go to hilltop or large open grounds and shout messages of public importance. Rising Nepal