Jan 10, 2008


Pyuthan is a bazaar and the administrative center of Pyuthan District of Rapti Zone approximately 175 kilometres west of the capital of Kathmandu. This town is locally known as "Khalanga" due to its history as a military strongpoint.

The town is situated on a mountainside about 400 meters above the intensively cultivated floodplain of the Jimruk Khola (River) about 15 kilometers north of the Mahabharat Lekh (Range) in the Middle Hills. The town is populated by government officials from the Kathmandu Valley and other parts of Nepal, by solders and police of Magar and other "hill tribes" and their mostly Chhetri officers by Newar merchants, by civil servants recruited mostly from local Bahun and Chhetri castes, as well as menial castes who labor as tailors, cobblers, blacksmiths and construction workers.

There is a history of tension between Pyuthan the town and Pyuthan the district because of leftist politics in the district, making the town a royalist island in a republican sea and the mouthpiece of the national government in a district that was prepared to struggle and sacrifice for local autonomy. This history and the presence of Kham peoples with nationalistic sentiments in rugged highlands beyond the Jimruk along the Pyuthan-Rolpa district border made Pyuthan -- the town -- vulnerable to attack or marginalization in the 1996-2006 Nepalese Civil War.

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