Home » Why do Pahadi people call dark-skinned Nepalese men “Bhaiya”?

Why do Pahadi people call dark-skinned Nepalese men “Bhaiya”?

Pahadi calling madhesi bhaiya
Photo: The Kathmandu Post

Pahadi people have propagated this term, “Bhaiya.” The people from Pahad, who have dark skin, are also anxious due to this. This propaganda primarily targets men in Madhesh Pradesh.

Certain examples where people are mocked by calling them “Bhaiya.”

Example 1: Let’s assume there is a man who is waiting in line to have panipuri, and one woman comes and says, “Bhaiya” panipuri pack gardinu na (Nepali words).

bhaiya selling panipuri

Example 2: Once, a dark-skinned “Pahadi” man went to wash his bike. As he was standing aside, a lady, aged 35–40, with a scooter came and said, “Bhaiya, mero scooter Dhoidinu na” (Nepali words).

Example 3: In one story, a kid got screamed at by the hairdresser when the kid called him “Bhaiya kapal katdue ta!” The reply from the hairdresser was “bau ako xa bhaiyaa bhaneko xa, ama ako xa bhaiyaa bhaneko xa, chora ako xa bhaiyaa bhaneko xa”.

If “Bhaiya” meant “elder brother,” why would a kid, his father, his mother, and his granddad call the barber “Bhaiya”?

There are many examples happening daily in our community.

Does “Bhaiya” mean “brother”?

You can call someone “Bhaiya” if you are from Terai or from India, but if you are talking in Nepali, calling someone “Bhaiya” is not good, and people hate it too.

“Bhaiya” is a term used to separate people based on their race, geography, or ethnicity. It’s almost similar to calling anyone who looks like a Nepali “Bahadur” in India.

madhesi nepali people

Madhise, Bhote, Pahade, and Jyapu are other words that have evolved to have a derogatory or condescending context even though the origin of the word was harmless.

“Dai/Bhai, can you pack some panipuri for me?”

You see. It didn’t take long, but you quickly instilled in the seller a sense of belonging to your community and country. Despite your good intentions, you are separating a group of people by calling them “Bhaiya.”

Who is behind this?

The people of Pahad are brainwashed by their elders and parents to degrade and mock the people of Terai and Madhesh.

It’s something Pahadi people learned from their parents during childhood, and they need to unlearn it.

It is also the fault of corrupt so-called Messiah of Madesh, aka Madhesi, politicians. Had they improved the lives of Madesi people and developed Terai, all people from Nepal would be lining up to work for them, just as our celebrities and politicians do around billionaire Binod Chaudari.


We teach our children in Nepal to “Jau kapal katna, Bhaiyaa ko pasal ma,” or “yo sisi tyo Bhaiyaa Lai de ta babu.” But we’ve never heard or seen a Nepali call another Nepali “Bhaiya,” despite the fact that he or she is from Nepal.


If one does, then that’s racist and should be dealt with accordingly. But if you look Indian, the only option that guarantees your peace of mind is to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. If we keep going back to everyone who calls you Bhaiya or Indian, it’s going to be a long ride.

Lastly, if you are talking in Maithli or Bhojpuri, you can say anything you want. If you are talking in Nepali, call Dai, Daju, or Bhai. If you know the person and are close, you can ask them what they are okay with.

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Mens Nepal

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