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Contact : pustakg [at]

Subject of PhD

"Contested Primacies. Chamling Rai, Indo-Nepalese and Magar : hierarchies, conflicting values, and identity recomposition in a locality of Middle Hills of Eastern Nepal"

In the overpopulated region of Temma (Khotang district), in the mountains of eastern Nepal, Indo-Nepalese (Brahman, Chetri and Dalit), Magar communities and the Chamling Rai, an autochthonous population of the Kiranti ethnic group, have been cohabiting for at least two centuries. Though their living conditions are on the whole alike, each of these strictly endogamic groups, whose religious practices and family structure differ considerably, leads a separate life. When they competed for a share of the land, they maintained neither openly violent nor cordial relations.

The gradual removal of traditional Rai chiefs, then of the notables elevated to prestigious positions during the Panchayat period, the confusion that ensued after the democratic revolution in 1990, then the insurrection in 2001 by a Maoist guerrilla in league with Kiranti nationalists and finally the ruthless operations led by the army profoundly upset villagers’ composure and state of mind, revealing the extent of their frustrations and motives, but also very strong aspirations towards a return to peace and quiet.

Based on knowledge of the field acquired in the 1980s and renewed by further on-the-spot research in 2007, my thesis, which describes the anthropological particularities of each of these groups, also aims at tracing back over a long period of time the initially slow, gradual then finally painful and inhuman transformations of a multi-community and multicultural village society. My research especially focuses on the balances of political and economic power between these groups, on the strategies they use to either cooperate or shun each other, on the traumas inflicted by this violence from the outside and on the dynamics that this implies and the social restructuring it heralds

Key words
- Nepal
- Kiranti
- Indo-Nepalese
- castes
- multiculturalism
- local history
- Maoism

Fieldwork : Temma, Khotang district (Nepal)