The Ban Raja (Forest Kings) or Kusunda have always maintained a notoriety in Nepal far out of proportion to their numbers. Even a century ago they most likely did not exceed a few hundred in population. But they nevertheless have given rise to stories heard throughout Nepal, and they name is known to many a villager who never set eyes on a Ban Raja. "Kings of the Forest" is a grandiose title for what amounts today to a few families widely scattered and economically impoverished. It is ironical that this tribe is becoming known just as it is disappearing as a cultural and physical entity.
In this article, the author attempts to present some of the information which he has been able to gather from the few Ban Rajas he met in his travels.