Rajan Chaudhary is born Tharu.
The Tharu people are one of the oldest indigenous groups in the world who originated from the area around the beginning of the Himalayan mountains, close to the Bardiya National Park, in Nepal. They settled in this flat land, which was well suited for harvesting, called the Terai. Most of the Tharu people live in poverty and it’s near impossible for them to climb up the economic ladder because of their cast and the culture of Nepal. Unlike most dangers that other societies face, one of the biggest dangers the Tharu people confront is being killed by the wildlife that share their land, but equally, they are also a society of people that needs to evolve in order to survive.
This documentary offers a rare and intimate insight into this little-known society, explores their culture and looks at how they are striving to evolve whilst trying to remain true to their indigenous history.
The story is seen through the eyes of Rajan. Rajan’s brother was killed by a tiger 20 years ago but this did not deter Rajan devoting his life to the protection of Tigers, becoming a proactive conservationist and working as a correspondent for the BBC to educate the globe about his people and the wildlife that surrounds them.
As we learn about Rajan’s story, his friends and other members of the Tharu people; Sudip, and Ram, Ashok, Tengshu, Salik, and many others share their stories, as we witness the very metamorphosis of the Tharu people, fighting against all odds to survive.
Tharu’s society is gradually moving out of its original chrysalis and into the industrial world, tractors and mobile phones are now part of everyday life. However, even with this advancing technology, each year, dozens of Tharu fall victim to rhinoceros charges, elephant attacks or, more rarely, a tigress protecting her children. Behind what one would believe is a lost paradise, this is a really a battlefield.
The biggest challenge for the Tharu people is how do they live in harmony with the animals that are viewed so sacred in their society? How do one of the oldest known communities survive within the very ecosystem they currently inhabit?