Kumal is one of the nationalities of Nepal. Kumal is an ethnic group. Kumal caste is one of marginalized Group of Indigenous Nationalities in Nepal. They are one of the oldest tribes in Nepal; however, their origin is unclear yet. The name Kumal according to experts, is derived from the Sanskrit word Kumvakar and the meaning of it is Kumva or Ku means df6f] kar or mal means ef8f agfpg] further called Kumal ( s’dfn ). They have their own Religion, Language, traditions or cultural practices, customs, occupation and lifestyles.
They mainly lives on fertile valley close to the dense forest area and river of the inner terai and hills of Nepal. There isn’t any precise proof concerning the origin of Kumal people but Palpa in the western and Sankhuwashabha in the Eastern region are believed as their Origin. In accordance with the folklore, earlier Kumal people had small kingdom located at Tanahau district.Kumal people faces have seemed to be more or less pronounced the Mongolian feature. Of course, they are honest, docile, strong and hardworking people.
According to Census 2001 AD, kumals population is 99,389 whereas According to population census 2011 AD, 121,196 kumals live in Nepal. They speak ‘Kumal’ language as their mother tongue which is under minor Indo Aryan language, considered endangered. Only 12,222 Kumal people speak their Kumal language in Nepal in 2011AD.The Kumals, mainly found in the outskirts of hills and the Terai,They are found scattered in almost 70 districts of Nepal mainly in Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Palpa, Gorkha, Lamjung, Parbat, kaski. Tanahu, Syangja, Gulmi, Arghakhachi, Kapilbastu, Rupandehi, Dang, surkhet, Dhading, illam, Jhapa, Morang, Sankhuwashabha, makawanpur districts etc. In most of the cases they have settlements of clusters at one place. The main occupation of the Kumals is Pottery beside that they are also expert in fishing. They used to run their family by selling the clay pots especially for household use but due to the modernization of steel, iron, plastic utensils they are losing their occupation. Recently, they have become dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry. Some of them are involved in other profession as business.
Kumal have their own traditions or cultural practices, customs and lifestyles. They sing and dance while celebrating the birth of a child and on the occasion of ‘chhaithi’, or the sixth day of the birth of a child, by partaking of jand (home-made beer) and spirit with meat. The son-in-law officiates the christening process. The name is given by their sister-in-law to the child and complete the process by slaughtering cock or hen and feed rice to child. Marriage can take place by arrangement or by mutual consent of the girl and the boy. Those marrying by consent should go through the customary process. At the time of bride entering the bridegroom’s home and at the time of bridegroom entering the bride’s home, a cock is slaughtered and they walk on the track smeared with the blood of the cock. The future life of the couple is usually forecast on the basis of the direction in which the cock is seen lying dead.The head of family, Father mainly officiates the whole marriage.
Kamal’s have a practice of burying the dead in the river. Mourning is observed for five, seven or 13 days. The son-in-law officiates the whole 13 days by taking them to the river every day.During the period of mourning, they go to the river to give water in the name of their death soul. There is a practice of helping the family of the deceased with resources by each family. Kumals are animists or worshippers of nature. They worship their family god, same (god of beasts), snake gods and goddesses, Banjhakri, or gods and goddesses of forests, Mandali Mai, Semare Mai, Desantari Mai, Chandi, etc. (Gautam and Thapa Magar, 1994:329-332). They believe in dhami-jhankris (shamans).
Many years ago Kumal were owner of the large land but they loss more than half of their land now. Since some of the families do not own land enough for their livelihood, they cultivate others’ land to earn their living. Women have equal status with men and the parents, based on the merit of the case, distribute share of parental property to daughters, too. According to National Population Census 2011, Literacy rate of Nepal is 65.9% but literacy rate of Kumal is 63.1% ranked on 54th based by caste/ethnic group so far from national average. However Female are more educated than the Male but Kumals are not getting any chances from government as well as. So their issues are all but invisible to many people and government, and their rights are abused. Thus Kumal are being backward and difficult to survive their lives hood. Due to the lack of awareness, immigrants have exploited them. With high opinion of cultural aspects, languages, religious process and customs are only the key heritages that make differences than others. Culture actually defines the identity, dignity, pride and cosmology of a particular people. Therefore, its disintegration and disruption threaten the very existence of society. The cultural diversity and uniqueness of each ethnic nationality is the most valuable endowment of people throughout the Asian subcontinent. However they are being gradually disappearing and losing their identity. So, if timely not considered the facts, no doubt, one day our cultural identity and ethnic-diversity will be declined overtime from Nepal.