Madhesh; derived from Sanskrit word ‘Madhyadesh’ implies the Gangetic plain and the Vitri Madhesh area bordering India on the south and spreading north up to the foothill of Siwalik range. The Terai region, which is mostly a flatland, is geographically and culturally distinct from the hills. According to the population census in 2001, it occupies 23% of total area and 48.5% of the population of Nepal. Around 90% are Madheshi whose religious traditions, language, caste system, food, style of clothing and other social customs and manners are similar to the people of Indo-Gangetic plains in the south. Fridrich Gaige (1975) used the terms ‘hill people’ and ‘plains people’ living in Terai districts, and defined a) “ people speak any one of the plains languages as their mother tongues or first language, whether they were born or lived in the plains or hills” the plains languages are Maithili, Bjojpuri, Awadhi, Urdu, Hindi,rajbansi “hill people whose mother tongue or first language is one that predominates in the hill region of Nepal such as Nepali, Newari, Magar, Gurung, Rai and others.
Madhesh has a long history dating back to the kingdom of Vaideha or Mithila established in eastern to central Madhesh and a part of the present day north Bihar, India (Malangia, 1997). In the mid western Madhesh, Shakya kings ruled in 600 BC, the Buddha belonging to the Shakya dynasty was born in 563 BC. Similarly, kingdoms were established in Simraungarh in the present day Bara district. In Madhesh, several kingdoms were established and ruled by many dynasties (Thakur, 1956). These states perished with time and were abandoned and the land converted into forests.
Gaige (1975) concluded: “the ancient and medieval history of this region is a cyclic one in which men and forests have dominated in turns”.