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The Australian National University

Gyani Maiya Sen

Gyani Maiya Sen was born somewhere in the jungle-covered hills of western Nepal in 1937 AD (1994 V.S.) to Bal Bahadur Sen and Gokuli, a daughter of Gore Pun.

She is the second of the three daughters. She spent the first fifteen years of her childhood in the jungle while her father was alive. After her father died she moved with her (Magar) mother and sisters to a maternal uncle’s home, which was not a Kusunda-speaking household (they spoke mainly Nepali in this home). The eldest sister was Ghani and married in Salyan. The youngest daughter died while she was still young. Gyani Maiya had two brothers, Dam Bahadur and Bhim Bahadur, but they, and her older sister, are dead now.

Gyani Maiya was married to a man of Magar ancestry in Jura of Masina Village Development Committee (VDC) in Rolpa district (the location of her maternal uncle’s home). Later, when her husband went to India for job she also migrated to Lamahi in the south of Dang district, near the Indian border. After a while, she moved to Kulmore, an area close to Lamahi and ran a hotel there feeding people who came down from the high hills of Rukum, Rolpa, Salyan, Pyuthan etc. to purchase things like salt and kerosene from the Koilabas transit village on the border with India. Later she left her hotel and went to India to work twice. She still lives in Kulmore, with her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren.

She was the first person to move to Kulmore, and originally had a lot of land there, but subsequent arrivals have taken much of the land and planted mustard fields. On the remaining land she raises a cow, two sheep, and too many chickens and ducks.

Gyani Maiya has two daughters and one son. All of them are married. Recently, the government of Nepal has built a house for her, her husband having died. Before we met her, she used to survive by earning money breaking rocks in the nearby river, Arjun Khola.

Gyani Maiya Sen

Gyani Maiya Sen

Updated:  1 October 2013/Responsible Officer:  Mark Donohue /Page Contact:  Mark Donohue