The Madheshi are an indigenous people from Nepal who reside in the southern, plains region, the Terai, which they refer to as Madhesh. Madhesis comprise about 40% of the total population of Nepal. The Madhesi people are ethnically, culturally and lingually similar to the people of Bihar and the eastern/central Uttar Pradesh states of India. The word madhesi or madheshi is the adjectival form of madhesh, which usually refers to the Terai region. Madhesh derives from the Sanskrit words madhya desh meaning "middle country." While the majority of Madhesis are caste-observant Hindu, there is great cultural and religious diversity in the Madhesh. Four distinct religious groups _ Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Jains _ live there. The social structure of Madheshi caste Hindus is very similar to that of Pahari Hindus from the hills. Beside speaking Nepali as the official language, Madhesi people also speak various local languages as their mother tongue.
Contributions by Maurice45, NeelAbodh, and Eukesh.