A Comparative Ethnographic Study of the Discourse and Social Dynamics of ‘Inclusion’ in Nepal
Nepal, a kingdom under a caste-based social order until the middle of the twentieth century, a centralized monarchy under a “party-less democracy” whose ideal citizens were Nepali speaking Hindus from 1960 to 1990, and a multiethnic, multilingual and multiparty Hindu kingdom until the recent past, is in the process of becoming a federal democratic republic. A variety of political claims have made by individuals and organizations claiming allegiance to a wide variety of ethnic, caste, regional, religious, and other intermediate groups. Moreover, people supposed to belong to these groups have acted in diverse ways, not necessarily according to their political claims. This project attempts to grasp and analyze the constellation of these discourses and practices, focusing on the concept of “samaveshikaran”, the Nepali translation of the English word “inclusion.” Our aim is to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the history and current situation of Nepal, through a multifaceted exploration of the relationships and inconsistencies among (1) various movements of intermediate groups partly mediated by relatively new globally or regionally circulating concepts such as “indigenous peoples” and “Dalit”; (2) policies and activities of political parties from Maoist to Royalist; and (3) actual situations of local people that should be revealed by anthropological fieldwork.