Katuwal tradition still around in Sikles

Pokhara, Feb 22: The locals in Sikles, the village in Kaski district popular with tourists, have still not parted ways with the age-old katuwal tradition, even when information technology has taken a big leap. 

The katuwal tradition is the ancient practice in which a person designated by this post makes important announcements aloud from a spot usually situated at the highest point in the settlement. It is the ancient form of communication. The person serving the role of katuwal is paid in grains by the community, and it is usually a man.

The katuwal announces to the community about a meeting and the time if there is a meeting, when someone from the village is getting married and the marriage party, any decisions made by the village elders and any community work like construction of road, irrigation canal, bridge or community tap and the like.

In ancient times, the katuwals were appointed by the authorities to make important government announcements to the community.

Although almost everyone in Sikles now has mobile or access to the internet and e-mail, the locals have kept alive the katuwal tradition, and it is still considered a reliable mode of communication.

Since Sikles is a predominantly a Gurung settlement, the local katuwal makes the announcements or visits door-to-door to give information on important community meetings or decisions, in the Gurung language itself.

Karna Bahadur Gurung, the former Chairman of Parche Village Development Committee (VDC), says that they have given continuity to the katuwal tradition for the preservation of this ancient form of communication.

Once the most reliable form of mass communication, the katuwal tradition has already disappeared in many parts of the country with the advent of modern means of communication.

It is a unique experience for the foreign tourists visiting Sickles to hear the katuwal making announcements at the top of his voice from the highest point in the village. RSS

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