Annotated Bibliography: Nepal



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Keywords: Gurung; Nepal culture; Population; Ecology; Resources; Life-history; Culture change

Contributions to Nepalese Studies. vol. 23 (1), Jan. 1997, and vol. 22 (2), July 1995. This journal is published two times a year and contains a number of papers that may be considered traditional anthropological topics. Some are in Nepali, but most articles are in English. There was an article co-authored by Subedhi on social factors affecting the rise of high-technology medicine (see reference to another article by him in this bibliography), and an article on the management of national heritage areas, which says the concept in Nepal is in its initial stages. The article recommends that there be development of heritage properties, and says it has not been done yet. Bishnu Bhandari is the author of this paper.
Keywords: Journals; Nepal culture; Technology; Development

Edwards, David M. and M. Roderick Bowen, editors (1993) Focus on Jaributi. Forest Research and Survey Centre, Kathmandu. This book gives proceedings of a conference on non-timber forest products in May, 1993, designed to stimulate interest in research as well as to share results of current studies.

Jaributi is defined as "non-timber products traded to India often in large quantities as raw materials for the production of essential oils, resinoids, spices and herbal medicines" (p.1). Perhaps 100 examples are listed in the appendix, e.g., bark and leaves from species of Cinnanomun, wintergreen, juniper, chamomile, a number of lichen species, soap nuts, belladonna --many given in Nepali, some in English, and most with Latin genus. This small group of papers in a magazine-sized publication seems very important and reminiscent of the non-timber products interest in the U.S. In both countries researchers on this topic have a hard time defining their clients; by contrast, with timber, the developers and government tax collectors are obvious clients; but as they say here with jaributi, it is not known how many individuals make their living from this trade. The business supports collectors, porters and traders, and consumers also are important. The trade crosses national borders so has other implications, as trade in jaributi does to some extent in Oregon too.

The publication gives papers from a couple of geographic areas. The studies are mainly focused on marketing and economic aspects but the importance of the ecological and environmental aspect is mentioned throughout. Also mentioned are problems of enforcing "legal use" and management, and the fear of corruption of enforcement officers (due to low salaries etc.).


Keywords: Environment; Ecology; Conservation; Non-timber forestry; Economics

Desjarlais, Robert (1992) Body and Emotion: the Aesthetics of Illness and Healing in the Nepal Himalayas. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia. This very readable book concerns the author's fieldwork with the Yolmo population that he refers to as an ethnically Tibetan people living in the Helambu region of north central Nepal. His focus is on traditional healing, particularly for problems of soul loss, and in struggles with conveying these concepts that do not have an exact meaning in English. He also wrestles with larger questions concerning how an ethnographer (or ethnography in general) can convey how it feels to be part of another culture. In addition he contributes to an understanding of ethnicity as it has developed among the Tibetan-related Buddhist communities of the Himal. Closest relatives of the Yolmo are the Tamang but others are the Gurung, Sherpa, and Limbu clans (p.7), which he says are shaped by the two great traditions bordering them, namely the Tibetans to the north and Nepalese society to the south. Like some other publications in this bibliography (e.g., the book edited by David Gellner and others), Desjarlais recognizes that national politics has shaped the ethnic identity of the Yolmo and other communities of the mountains. Thus this book, in addition to providing much rich material on religious and healing concepts and practices of people of the Himal, helps the reader to understand contemporary Nepal politics and culture.


Keywords: Ethnography in Nepal; Sherpa culture

Gautam, Dr. Rajesh and Asoke K. Thapa-Magar (1994) Tribal Ethnography of Nepal, Vol. 1 and 2. Book Faith India, Delhi (416, Express Tower, Azadpur Commercial Complex, Delhi-110033, India). The newest printing has a drawing by the artist who did Faces of Nepal. About 50 ethnic groups are presented with traditional ethnographic descriptive material. They are presented in alphabetical order.


Keywords: Nepal culture; Ethnic groups of Nepal

Gellner, David N., Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka, and John Whelpton, editors (1997) Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom. The Politics and Culture of Contemporary Nepal. Gordon and Breach Publishers, Harwood Academic, Studies in Anthropology and History, Vol 20. This book offers a critical and sophisticated perspective on Nepal ethnicity and history. It is likely to be quite controversial in Nepal itself because it deals with a number of issues regarding identity and people’s origins. Although it is very sympathetic to Nepal and Nepal people in general, it does not sugar-coat the issues nor sidestep disagreements; it is likely that some authors present data for which there are alternative interests and viewpoints.

The introductory chapter by Gellner gives an overview of Nepal’s history that very briefly but decisively shows how the state was formed in the 18th century by the leader of the Gorkhali who conquered Kathmandu over a period of 26 years and united a number of kingdoms along the backbone of the Himalayan mountains. They withstood the British East India Company and through a treaty in 1816 at the end of the conflict, Nepal’s boundaries were fixed very much as they now are. Nepal also was allowed to hold the Terai; cooperation with the British solidified gains there. The author deals with the Rana period (1846-1951), a time of isolation for Nepal, the Panchyat period of 1962-90, and the transition between. Recently Nepal has attempted to define itself as multi-cultural and ethnicity is being expressed more than in the past, but many Nepali people are uncertain how they view these movements or themselves. The chapter argues that ethnicity and ethnic groups are a response to modernization; Gellner defines ethnicity as a situation that exists when a “given population shares a common language, a common culture, and a common attachment to a given territory, or at least a historical link to these shared features” (p. 11).

Gellner’s own research chapter concerns the different ways in which Newar groups have related to the Nepali (Gorkhali) state, and reviews their participation in recent political advancements of the Communist party. The book throughout emphasizes that ethnicity is constantly being redefined; it is not an objective thing but a concept and feeling and sometimes a group of actions. Because much of politics relates to ethnicity, there can be many disagreements within and between groups. A chapter by Macfarlane (see entries by him, Pignéde and by Messerschmidt) inquires into the origins of the Gurungs (or Tamu) along with discussing some issues the Gurungs are dealing with currently. He shows how his own view of this population he has worked with for some decades has evolved, and ultimately argues that the different theories of their origins and affiliations can only be expressed, and left for the reader to judge. He cites accounts showing their origins from the North, and from the south, and some indicating origin from several merging populations. Religion like pre-Buddhist Tibetan Bonism is suggested in one theory. This chapter makes fascinating reading and indicates challenges of reconstructing historical population movements using oral traditions. Charles Ramble’s chapter on groups related to Tibetans includes the Gurungs, and argues that the various Tibetan-related groups are very oriented to their own local landscape. Like other chapters in the book, it offers views alternative to western contemporary (perhaps paternalistic or romanticized) attitudes toward Tibet’s history. His goal is to show why the various Tibetan-speaking populations have not coalesced politically.


Keywords: Nepal culture; Nepal politics and history; Ethnicity

Goodwin, Jan (1997) In Nepal, There's No Abortion Debate, Just a Life Sentence. Utne Reader, January-February, 1997, pp. 66-71. This issue of the magazine includes several articles relating to sex issues in Asia. This one covers the lack of abortion rights in Nepal and uses some anecdotes concerning women who have been punished for having abortions, and focusing also on Dr. Aruna Upreti, an M.D. in Kathmandu who is working to change these laws. [Both she and her spouse are physicians; she was trained in the Soviet Union; I conversed with her.]


Keywords: Abortions; Population; Gender; Women’s reproductive rights

Gurung, Ganesh M. (1994) Indigenous Peoples: Mobilization and Change. S. Gurung, Kathmandu. This book consists of six research reports, of a somewhat applied anthropological nature, and a seventh chapter on issues related to indigenous people of Nepal. Definitions of indigenous people are important and the author makes clear that in his view the majority of peoples in Nepal are indigenous. But he also defines this rather ambiguous (and often politically charged) concept by saying that there are two general definitions, one being that the group is the first to inhabit an area, the other "is being outside the realm of the state decision making and thus open to economic, political, social, religious and racial discrimination" (p. 113-114).

In the preface he notes that the book has two parts, first, the rationale of the cultural traits for the survival of ethnic identity, and secondly, discussion of issues of indigenous people. He says he is interested in exploring the functional values of cultural traits, and says he has included examples (of research) from different ecological zones. (Indeed, he does select examples from diverse regions and cultural backgrounds.)

Throughout the book, concepts that author and anthropologist Bista has introduced (see entries under Bista in this bibliography) are important and this author shows also that the idea that Nepalese groups sometimes redefine themselves, for politically useful purposes. Often the re-definitions are related to the caste system: "One of the ways of doing this is to claim that their land of origin is different from their present settlement and that they are blood relations of people of higher castes" (p. 20).

Chapter 1 deals with polyandry among Tangin people of the high Himal. The author shows how this marriage practice makes survival possible in a very difficult environment; chapter 2 is a study he did with the Duras of Western Nepal. In chapter 3, he shows that the status of women is especially low in Hindu castes, and in this chapter he discusses mothers groups in a Gurung village and notes how such groups are utilized in development programs. Chapters 4 and 5 relate to the Chepangs, who, according to the author, have been agricultural only for about 120 years. Chapter 6 deals with the Tharus of the Terai, who must be one of the most discriminated against of the indigenous groups, and among whom virtual slavery or at least serfdom (being tied to a landlord) exists.

There are some typos in this book; for example on p. 78 the word "Further" is printed but "Failure" surely was intended; most typos are lesser, but a bit annoying. It is unfortunate there is no map, but he refers to one that was made of indigenous groups; it would have been tremendously helpful to have been able to include it, but clearly this was a low technology publication and we can be but grateful that it was published.


Keywords: Ethnic groups of Nepal; Indigenous populations; Caste and culture

Gurung, Harka (1996) Get by in Nepalese. Ratna Pustak Bhandar, Bhotahity, Kathmandu. This little book, subtitled "a crash course for tourists and visitors," provides a good if rudimentary introduction to Nepal, its people, its customs, and most importantly, its language. By giving a few rules of the language and a useful guide to pronunciation, it is very user-friendly and immensely helpful.


Keywords: Tourism; Nepali language; Nepal culture

Gurung, Krishna (1997) Adaptive Strategies in the Himalayas; a Case Study of Lopa People of Lomanthang Valley of Upper Kaligandaki Region. Master’s thesis, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu. This is an anthropology masters thesis that utilizes human ecological theory from an anthropological perspective to understand how the Lopa population has adapted to their dry, cold high altitude desert, which is north of Pokhara, and south of the border with Tibet. The author reviews the history and prehistory of the region and discusses household architecture and village patterns. The author shows that some of the social practices that have restricted fertility to the limits that the environment will support (polyandry and celibacy of some parts of the population) are dying out, due to culture change, as concepts emphasizing individual rather than family or societal survival have taken hold. Krishna Gurung shows that different social strategies will have to be developed if the people and cultures (even in altered form) are to survive. I met the author while in Nepal and he promised to send me the thesis, and did so a few months later. He was a fine, and generous young man, and I was very sorrowful to learn 2 years later, in 1999, that he had died. I also spent time with his wife Meena, also a very generous and intelligent scholar and teacher at the Tribhuvan campus in Pokhara.


Keywords: Kaligandaki Himalayan region; Lopa culture; Human ecology; Culture change
Gyldmark, Marlene, Ebba Holme Hansen, and Rolf Kuschel, editors (1996) Course on Research Methods in Primary Health Care (An element of Enhancement of Research Capacity in Nepal, a primary health care project, Nepal, 1994). Danish Institute for Health Services Research and Development, Denmark. This book reports on a course given to 15 participants including Bindu Pokharel of Padmakanya campus, in cooperation with Tribhuvan University staff. Part of the project involved small research projects conducted by participants; abstracts of their findings are included as well as papers by some faculty. Many were quite interesting.

Bindu's project [note: Bindu was a colleague in our exchange project] was "Waste management behavior in a suburban area of Kathmandu valley." In this project, she interviewed 10 households of ward no. 8 of Chovar Bhutkhel village; they use degradable waste for manure and wooden material for cooking, and other material is just dumped; also, people defecate in the river or behind the house; cattle live in the ground floor of the house.

Babdana Pradhan wrote on "People's knowledge toward water related diseases: the case of Kirtipur locality, Kathmandu." She found that tap water was inadequate for drinking in the dry season; but only one of 10 households was concerned about the quality of the drinking water. Another study interviewed the faith healers (dhami-jhakri's) who had participated in a (health) training. Results were positive in that they saw the training as increasing their prestige and they seemed eager to cooperate with other health professionals. Negative aspects were that they reduced use of herbal medicine after training and they seemed must more interested in treating disease than in prevention and promotion aspects.

Nepalese professor Rishikeshab Regni discussed Primary Health Care (PHC) research in anthropological and sociological perspectives and their different methods. Except for saying that anthropologists rarely use computers (which is definitely not true now!!), he hit it on the head as he contrasted a functionalist-interactionist small community approach, common in anthropology, with that of survey research of sociology.

An article on ethical considerations by Mathura Shrestha tells about ethical process in respect to research in Nepal and emphasizes that verbal consent is appropriate because written consent could cause problems, as sometimes people have lost their property by giving their signature too freely. In another paper she goes over some criteria for research and makes useful recommendations. An article on research at T.U. says that the Rana administration had not favored education in Nepal and so its overthrow in 1951 opened up new possibilities; T.U. was built in 1959 as the first Nepali university.

Nepal has embraced Primary Health Care (PHC) as a strategy for health for all by the year 2000, but articles in this publication suggest that many rural people do not particularly value it. Some articles discuss impediments, among them lack of interest in the community. Also mentioned were lack of resources (e.g., health posts but no medicines); health posts but no staff; lack of coordination between projects (example of separate Red Cross programs of drinking water supply, sanitation, health education, nutrition and income generation, without coordination); use of young girls as midwives, and thus unacceptable to the rural people. In addition it was noted that faith healers were considered more useful because of the "strong belief that disease is caused by spiritual forces, not by bacteria or other bio-physiological reasons. Scientific medicine does not explain why a given man was sick or bitten by a snake at a given place and time" (p.68).

One article said that in the long run better health care will follow improvement of economic conditions and educational levels. But it appears from several notes within this publication that the health post concept has not really been given much of a chance since it repeatedly is said that posts lack staff and medicine. This and other information suggests that workers at health posts are loaded down with bureaucratic tasks; for example, they have to put in long hours, but are not able to deliver health care. (Workers referred to are primarily the VHWs, the village health workers; they are supposed to be motivators in a sense, and communicate information about health, but something has gone awry).

Altogether, it appears to have been a very interesting course and was made into an interesting book. Apparently three participants are getting Ph.D.s in Denmark, another in India and one in Austria.


Keywords: Medical anthropology; Nepal health; Garbage; Water; Development

Haaland, Randi (1993) Report on Tribhuvan-Bergen Archaeological Survey in Dang Valley. Unpublished ms. on file at the Norwegian Human Ecology Program House. This archaeological survey was conducted from Nov. 2-17, 1993, in two areas of the Siwaliks, all along the foothills. They found many sites, 13 sites in area 1 and 22 sites in area 2, covering the full spectrum from Lower Paleolithic through the Neolithic. Over 20 sites were Upper Paleolithic/Mesolithic; these were hard to distinguish so the author calls this group collectively the Late Stone Age. Materials of artifacts are quartz, quartzite, tuff, and chert. Mostly these were "factory sites" with debitage, but thumbnail scrapers and microliths also were found, and handaxes too. Other artifacts were cores, core-choppers, flakes, wedges, denticulates, arrowheads, and notched tools. There was one wheel-made pottery bowl and a terracotta figure of an ox. (These diverse tool types suggest the sites came from different time periods and cultures).

There were two Neolithic sites in the Tui Valley. She wonders why there were fewer Neolithic than Lower Stone Age sites; because the Neolithic is more recent, more sites would be expected.

One area map shows 28,67 latitude and 82,15 east of Greenwich as longitude for this survey. Bhitabang is on the map in middle right. The other map is about 82,30 longitude and 28 latitude. The report says there are also some sites near Bhitabang and some near Barakhuti. This report is in many ways a work-in-progress, leaving some loose ends to be tied up later. But this article is remarkable in that it is one of very few archaeology papers that has been done. This is due to lack of funds but also the remoteness of many of the areas that could be productive; archaeology is very labor-intensive and requires much time, many workers, and hence many supplies. Research that is done is usually funded by foreigners who must get permission and this has been difficult in Nepal over the past 200 years that archaeologists have been active. In addition, the changing terrain due to the geologically dynamic nature of the Himalayan area produces lots of erosion among other factors, and makes some areas that may have been occupied as caves in the Pleistocene inaccessible to survey.


Keywords: Archaeology; Nepal prehistory; Siwalik hills; Tui Valley

Hinrichsen, Don (1994) Moving Mountains in Nepal. Amicus: Winter, pp. 24-25. This is a short article on a "health motivator" project in the village of Chautara, 70 miles east of Kathmandu, carried out by the Boudha Bahunepati Family Welfare Project sponsored by Family Planning Association of Nepal, World Neighbors, and Oxfam. It says that now 33% of families in the village now practice family planning, and discusses various environmental problems that the project addressed by reinforcing terraces and planting trees as well as encouraging pig-farming etc.


Keywords: Development; Family planning; Family dynamics

Hutt, Michael (1994) Nepal, A Guide to the Art and Architecture of the Kathmandu Valley. Kiscadale Publishers, Great Britain. Along with discussion of art and architecture, the book give some interpretation of prehistoric cultures of Nepal; the author says Newars may be heterogeneous in origin and may in part have descended from the Kiratas, who wrested control of the valley from the Gopalas (cowherds) and Mahishapalas (buffalo-herders); there were two dynasties of kings -- where the Kiratas came from is not known but he says they may be a Himalayan group; studies of Newari language find some Tibeto-Burman place names (p.14-16). The author says the lake that once filled the Kathmandu valley was present in part of the Pleistocene. (Another source suggests that it drained about 200,000 years ago, leaving a very fertile valley).


Keywords: Nepal prehistory; Kathmandu Valley; Art and architecture

Ives, Jack D. and Bruno Messerli (1989; reprinted 1996) The Himalayan Dilemma. Reconciling Development and Conservation. Routledge, London and New York. Much of the focus of this interesting book, which takes a critical and multi-disciplinary look at what they call “The Theory of Himalayan Environmental Degradation,” is on Nepal. The chapters give clear evidence that the authors have first-hand familiarity with the issues and with the scholars, planners, and others who are working for understanding and solutions. The book truly attempts to make a bridge between social and biological and physical science approaches to the human and environmental problems in Nepal and other Himalayan areas. There is much in the way of good detail as well as judgment. It is sympathetic, yet realistic, for example in regard to issues of the low status of women and children in many Nepalese communities; or in topics related to needs of poor farmers; or issues of population pressure. It deals comfortably with geophysical processes (e.g., the erosion related to rapid uplift, earthquakes, and monsoons) and with social issues such as the migrations of people from the highland areas to lowland (and relations between). It considers changes in available food and nutrition and comparisons among ethnic and caste groups; deforestation and effects on women’s health (as women do much of the fuel-wood gathering as well as obtaining water); and it asks whether this is a real or psuedo crisis. As is clear from this descriptions, it comes to no easy answers and indeed concludes that uncertainty is going to continue; it argues for continuing research that is both small-scale and Himalayan based as well as sophisticated. It clearly argues for synthesis of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ sciences in working toward a solution.


Keywords: Development; Himalayan issues; Population; Deforestation

Josephson, Richard (1988) Nepal Mandala. Pilgrim's Book Store, Kathmandu. This volume is an abridgement of Mary Slusser's 2 volume tome. Nepal Mandala is the name for the Kathmandu Valley prior to the Gorkhali conquest in 1768. In the foreword the book says there is a blend of Hindu and Buddhism "that has created a rather indigenous Nepalese religion that really isn't either."

The author says that the valley has been the principal center for each dynasty since the Licchavi conquered in A.D. 300 and probably before (though boundaries have shifted). Higher castes (Brahmin of Hindus and the Vajracharyas of the Buddhists) live in the center and lower occupational castes farther out, while outcastes live outside city limits. The book reports some facts and figures, such as that Nepal's land is 14% cultivated, 13% pasture and 32% forested; Nepal is 5 hours and 45 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. [I know this seems strange, but it is (or was at the time) true.] The Kathmandu valley was a lake, which is confirmed by its alluvial soils deposited in lacustrine condition with microscopic algae and fossils of the Pleistocene age and peat lenses. It mentions "a recent find of a Neolithic stone axe" (p.7) but does not say where. It says the lake drained at Kotwal Gorge on the valley's southern rim (other sources say it drained several places, e.g., see Bezruchka book).

First historical period is Licchavi, who vanquished the Kirat people about AD 300. It seems to imply that the conquerors, the Licchavi, were from what we now think of as North India though perhaps it could be the Terai of Nepal. Their official language was Sanskrit. Valley people continued to speak Katati (proto-Newari). The book says the Swoyamba (and other stupas) are Licchavi monuments but "the superstructures have been replaced over the years." (A Chaitya is a small version of the pre-Buddhist stupas and these often are reliquaries for the dead.)

Buddhism came in from traders in Licchavi times, the book says. The Tibet empire consolidated in the 7th century. Chinese traders also passed through, trading in India. The book implies that Tibet made trade safer (at this time) by offering protection from thieves. Like others, the book says that Newars came from Kiratas (a word meaning "roam the edge" p. 22) but it says they borrowed things (practices, items) from India and made them Nepalese. One of the contemporary Newari castes (that helps the book make connection with the Kiratas) is Jyapu; these Newaris are farmers who have maintained traditional ways -- most Nepal festivals relate to farming seasons. The Jyapu carry a shoulder pole with a basket or bag on it; other castes prefer a basket and headstrap for carrying heavy loads in the mountainous terrain.

Other groups the book mentions are Rais who he says preceded the Newars and says they were then called Kiranti and they took the land from cow and buffalo herders; after being conquered some returned to their eastern province, Kirant Pradesh. He says they are mistaken for Hindus but are not -- they also are found in Bhutan, Sikkim and Darjeeling.

Tamangs, who are Buddhist "and have Mongolian features” make a lot of the rugs considered Tibetan, says the author. Gurungs are known for farming and for military prowess, and they helped the Shah take over (and unite Nepal) in 1768. The book says that Gurungs "have Mongoloid features with high cheeks and round red faces...are short and stocky with strong backs and legs" and only marry within their group (p.32).

Nepali appeared as a written language in 1337, but was not used much till the late 17th century (p. 130). He says the Nepali script is almost like Sanskrit and 85% of vocabulary is the same as Hindi. But the language has only recently been called Nepali (the 1920s); it was called Khas-bassa (language of the Khasas), then Parbhyata (mountain language), then Gorkhali after the Shah conquered from that area, and now Nepali.

(Annotator’s comment: The above notes illustrate the concepts that conventionally have been used to describe ethnic differences in Nepal, contrasting languages and physical features associated with people from northeast Asia with people from south Asia and further west; in this review I put many of these and some of the generalizations and stereotypical comments in quotes hoping to both show that people in Nepal have in the past used these terms and how the concepts are phrased, but also hoping to indicate that they are stereotypes and need to be taken as author’s judgements, not absolute truths.)
Keywords: Nepal history; Prehistory; Culture; Newar; Kiratas

Journal of Nepalese Studies (1996) A new journal, published by the Royal Nepal Academy. Volume (1) was published in March 1996; it has four parts: language/literature, cultural and social sciences, drama and music, and art and craftsmanship. Included is an archaeological article by Mishra (see notes in this review).
Keywords: Journals; Nepal studies

Justice, Judith (1986) Policies, Plans, and People. Culture and Health Development in Nepal, University of California Press. This book gives the author's views on how the development process and agencies negatively affected the health system in Nepal. Based on research a couple of decades ago so, a central question is, is it (the health system) still this way (that is, negatively affected)?

A few interesting facts appear, such as that 90% of the population works in agriculture, but only 12% of land is arable. The average family has 1 acre of land (is it less today?). She says there are 75 ethnic groups, and 81% of people are illiterate (this may apply to the time period of her research but is no longer true). Outside (western or allopathic) health programs began only in the 1950s; there were diverse medical traditions (p. 8): such as exorcising evil spirits with chants, mantras, drum-beating and animal sacrifices; Buddhist lamas using prayers to avert catastrophe; herbalists; homeopathy; acupuncture; traditional midwives; Yunani (Greco-Arabic medicine); and, finally, Ayurvedic doctors (these are the only traditional practitioners that the government recognized).

Included are maps on p. 6 and p. 13; Justice says there are 3 main groups, Brahmins, Chhetri, and Newar (p. 23). An important point about development (p. 28) is that the focus (of the agencies providing aid) is on "obtaining the contract...realities [of the situation and the need]...fall into the background." Along the same lines, p. 33, the author says that it is essential for these bureaucracies to find new employment for staff when projects are done -- so they must find new projects.

Other Points:

p. 122: says The Rising Nepal is a government paper showing off success stories, not an objective or comprehensive source for news (this seems true today).

p. 126: by over-dictating what Village Health Workers must do, and how to document that they put their time in, their rules do not allow time for them to help anyone.

p. 134: there are misconceptions about anthropology among policy folks, bureaucrats; this section is a MUST READ for agencies considering working with anthropologists, anywhere; she found people, for instance, surprised that an anthropologist would be interested in health care systems rather than being interested in things such as exotic healing modes of remote ethnic groups

p. 139: necessity of observations in the field, not just theoretical planning, in development work; then she gives details of an example of the assistant midwife program -- they use young women and make them be posted alone -- and this makes villagers suspicious and puts off male health workers, etc.

p. 151: discussion of the culture of the bureaucracies, including both the Nepali and the international agencies; author says that villagers and rural health workers often are neglected by both.

p. 152: "in practice, the client of the donor agencies is actually the Nepali bureaucracy" -- she says that sophisticated planning is beyond Nepali resources, but, based on people the annotators met during the project that produced this bibliography in 1994-1997, this may no longer be true. As the research for this book goes back almost 20 years the book could be looked at as a baseline against which to measure change.

p.153-4: Hopeful signs; final statement: "the key question is how the health bureaucracies can transcend their own cultures, to become more sensitive to the cultures they serve" (p.154).

Altogether it is an excellent book although an update is needed; with the greater sophistication and democracy of the past 15 years some of these recommendations may already be in place. The book may have had an impact; this reviewer read it in the U.S. and subsequently saw it in Kathmandu bookstores and at least one agency (CWD). This book emphasizes rural areas but in the urban area there also are great challenges, related to poverty, pollution, and education.
Keywords: Development agencies; Medical anthropology; Rural health; Nepal bureaucracy
Justice, Judith (1999) Neglect of Cultural Knowledge in Health Planning; Nepal’s Assistant Nurse-Midwife Program. In: Anthropology in Public Health, edited by Robert A. Hahn, Oxford University Press, pp.327-344. This article uses primarily the same research base as her book (noted above); but focuses on the Assistant Nurse Midwife (ANM) as a case study to show that anthropological and other social science data may be available but not necessarily usable or used by health planners. Additionally, Justice has added two pages at the end of the paper to give something of an update; she observes that in Nepal of the 1990s there was much more interest in improving the role of women, which would help make the role of the ANM more feasible, but notes that the rhetoric is not always matched by resources. She struck an optimistic note in this addendum, however, saying that it is not too late to incorporate the anthropological approach to development, “which is to study a situation from the perspective of the participants” (p. 342).
Keywords: Development agencies; Medical anthropology; Rural health; Nepal bureaucracy

Kennedy, Kenneth A.R. (1980) Prehistoric Skeletal Record of Man in South Asia. Annual Review of Anthropology 9: 391-432. This review does not specifically mention Nepal but the general concepts apply, and in its way it reinforces other indicators that suggest that Nepal prehistory has been quite neglected. Yet Kennedy does say that there are stone artifacts and "traces of occupation-activity sites" presumably older than 10,000 years "from the Potwar Plateau and Himalayas southward to Cauvery in peninsular India" (p. 397). Explanations for paucity of material are mostly the lack of concerted exploration of Pleistocene deposits, collection of surface materials with consequent destruction of prospective sites, surveys in the wrong locations (such as caves, rather than open-air sites) and the preconception that people of the past chose locations that "primitive hill tribes" use in the modern era. There also appear to be rumors and legends.

Late in the article Kennedy discusses the race concept and suggests it still is entrenched and probably has been a factor hindering researchers in related fields (such as classical studies) getting interested in the more distant past in a way that could lead to discoveries and knowledge about South Asia. (That is, they may think that prehistoric studies there are simply studies of different “races” coming in and out----something that Kennedy does not agree with as he would be likely to expect to find local development of cultures with some diffusion of culture and people from other areas). Kennedy does suggest that materials of interest could probably be found in some of the small museums of the area----probably not with provenance, though, this annotator would guess, and probably on some back shelf or cardboard box.
Keywords: Prehistory of South Asia; Race concept

Kennedy, Paul (1993) Preparing for the 21st Century. Fontana Press, London. This book is not about Nepal per se but about (universal) issues of development and change and focuses on demography and technology as the key issues. It has a section on female education and literacy as important to both topics, p. 339-343. (I read it in a bookstore in Kathmandu).


Keywords: Development; Technology; Gender

LeBon, Gustave (1986) Voyage to Nepal. White Orchid Press, Bangkok. Originally published in France in 1883 and 1886. The author was assigned to an archaeological mission out of India, and he went into Nepal although at that time no European was allowed in any part of Nepal except Kathmandu Valley. It appears that the author did get beyond the valley. This quite interesting book is published in a series of reports called Itineraria Asiatica.


Keywords: Nepal history; Travel

Liechty, Mark (1996) Paying for Modernity: Women and the Discourse of Freedom in Kathmandu. Studies in Nepali History and Society 1(1): 201-230. The author discusses changes in Nepal’s urban society since the democratization that, while giving greater opportunities, may have negatively impacted the freedom or security of educated urban Nepali women. The article is based on interviews with Nepali women explaining how they feel about some of the changes. Because men and women now interact more often in the public sphere, men have to learn how to deal with women in these public roles, and sometimes they have dealt more harshly with them than previously, because (to some extent) of the new freedoms. For example Liechty says, "Women are stuck in the bind of needing to risk their class status in order to claim gender equity in the new bourgeois public sphere" (p. 216).

Also he says, "Thus, entering the role of the 'public woman' -- the free, individual in the public sphere -- is like entering a mine field; threats of harassment and sexual stigma await those women who dare to break out of a traditional femininity that was confined within dependent relations with dominant males" (p. 227). And, p. 228: "Since the rebirth of multi-party democracy in Nepal in the early 1990s the shape and meaning of freedom is, more than ever, on the line."
Keywords: Gender; Modernization; Cultural change

Lukacs, John and Brian E. Hemphill (1993) "Odontometry and Biological Affinity in South Asia: Analysis of Three Ethnic Groups from Northwest India." Human Biology 65:279-325. The annotator had hoped this might deal a little with Nepalese populations, but it does not. If studies were done in Nepal it would be useful to relate them to this work. This paper is one more indicator that so far as research by westerners is concerned, other South Asian countries have received a disproportionate amount of attention compared to Nepal.


Keywords: Biology of South Asia; Indian populations

Lukacs, John, ed. (1984) The People of South Asia. Plenum, New York This edited volume has several interesting papers relative to the people of Nepal, including an archaeological article debunking the invasion of India by "Aryans" -- "The Indo-Aryan Invasions: Cultural Myth and Archaeological Reality" by Jim Shaffer. Russell Reid's report on taxonomy and genetic distance is more a review of the methodology and call for study in this region than a review of findings, which he suggests are few. Kenneth Kennedy has two papers, one co-authored. One deals with Mesolithic populations of NE India (near but not in Nepal); the other paper is a catalog of skeletal samples from India. Nepal is quite absent from the paleo portion of the book but the part dealing with living populations and high altitude adaptation includes some Nepalese. One general concept is the suggestion that the mesolithic populations were larger-bodied and more robust and that they shared this trait with people from other parts of Europe and Asia and then adapted to lower rations etc. Roychoudhury's paper on genetic distance analyses of Indians and their neighbors did NOT include Nepalese populations.


Keywords: Biology of South Asian populations; “Aryan” invasion; South Asian history and prehistory

Macfarlane, Alan (1976) Resources and Population, a Study of the Gurungs of Nepal. Cambridge University Press. Macfarlane is a Cambridge anthropologist who has worked with Gurung people of Nepal, and the book is controversial at least with some of the Gurung people who are familiar with his work. It was explained to me by one Gurung person that Macfarlane and Messerschmidt worked with different branches of Gurung, which could explain some of the differences in perspective. (See entries under Don Messerschmidt, Pignéde, and Gellner.)


Keywords: Gurung culture; Resources; Ecology

Malville, Nancy J. (1999) Porters of the Eastern Hills of Nepal: Body Size and Load Weight. American Journal of Human Biology 11:1-11. Nancy Malville, from University of Colorado at Boulder, has done extensive studies in Nepal and is fascinated by the ability of porters to carry large loads across the mountainous areas. The annotator has spoken with her at a number of anthropology meetings and can vouch that her enthusiasm for the people and her subject is infectious. In this paper Malville documents the activities of 635 porters taking goods along three traditional trade routes. Of these porters, about 95% are male. She investigated differences in loads and what factors contribute to it. She found that adult males carry loads equivalent to 146% of their own body weight. Pacing themselves and using the tokma, a T-headed walking stick, every two or three minutes, are two very important behaviors that make these almost superhuman tasks feasible. This paper also considers questions of nutritional stress and growth stunting in childhood; an investigation of food used during the journey periods (primarily rice that they carried with them); and surveys of respondents concerning pain experienced when carrying heavy loads.


Keywords: Mountain people; Mountain travel; Nutrition; Porters; Human ecology

Messerschmidt, Donald A. (1985) Hill and Mountain People of Nepal, in: Bezruchka, Stephen, A Guide to Trekking in Nepal, 5th edition. The Mountaineers, Seattle, pp. 287-327. Messerschmidt, who was in the Peace Corps in Nepal and who has done considerable research there including on-going work in development and applied anthropology, wrote, "Nepal has always been a meeting ground for different people and cultures." This is a central theme in most cultural and historical studies concerned with Nepal. Here, the author discusses the "great traditions" of Hinduism and Buddhism and the "little" traditions of animism and shamanism. He does not do much with prehistory but does suggest that ethnic groups of the hills have probably been longer in the Himalaya than the Hindu castes -- he includes among these the Newar; the Kiranti (Rai and Limbu); the Tamang; the Magar; the Gurung; the Sunwar and Jirel; the Thakali; and northern border people or Bhotiya. These latter, he says, were in Nepal long before the Hindu castes and they inhabit areas above 9000 ft, and have affinities with Tibet. Among these are Sherpas (another source said that many groups now identify as Sherpas because of the prestige associated with their work in mountain expeditions).

The author's view of the Newar is what is reported elsewhere in this bibliography, i.e., that they are heterogeneous in origin, consisting of various migrants to the fertile valley, including some Kiranti and some north Indian peoples. He also refers to the Jyapu as a Newar sub-group that engage in farming, while other Newaris are in business or other service professions. This chapter gives a good review of the locations of the principal groups named above and talks about festivals and sacred observances visitors might see. He says the Kumari (a young woman chosen to perform certain important rituals) is selected from the Bada subcaste (silversmiths and goldsmiths) of the Newar. The big October festival is at the time of the new moon -- and lasts for 10 days. Tibetan New Year is in mid-February.
Keywords: Tourism; Nepal history and culture; Ethnic groups

Messerschmidt, Don (1995) Development Studies. EMR Publishing House, Kathmandu. (This book was reviewed favorably in Kathmandu Post, which said that Messerschmidt advocates using indigenous practices and values from the perspective of the resource user rather than the resource base. D. M. is a University of Oregon Ph.D. in anthropology who taught at OSU one term and for a number of years at Washington State University.)

This book reprints eight essays. Chapter 1 draws on the author's knowledge of the Gurung culture and their cooperative ability. The author analyses traditional forms of cooperation in Nepal and their potential for development projects. Chapter 2 is concerned with resource management and argues for the involvement and maintenance of indigenous systems, as it also argues for the preservation of human cultural diversity as a "cushion against disaster" in resource management.

Chapter 3 continues with the natural resource theme and describes some projects using local planning and local resources. Chapter 4 also is on conservation and traditional resource management. It discusses the Private Forests Nationalization Act, which disrupted traditional forest and communal management; this period, the 1960s and 1970s, was one of over-use of forest resources. On p. 38 he lists three other factors leading to negative effects: rising population, increases in tourism, and massive development aid beginning in the 1960s: "aimed at the rural villages where it is often initially greeted by euphoria, soon followed, however, by feelings of dependency and disillusionment." There is a good discussion of centralization versus de-centralization or local cultural control and the conflict between local and national interests.

Chapter 5 covers more on conservation and traditional forest management and gives the author's concept of innovation, using local concepts. On p. 53 he lists historical causes of problems in forest management and examines them, and on p. 60 there is an example of a women's group that asked to manage and harvest trees since it is they who gather firewood for the home and fodder for animals. The author's approach is reiterated on p. 69.

Chapter 6 gives an example of a successful development project in paper-making, using the daphne shrub, and shows why it worked. It was building on an old industry, recently disrupted by the Tibetan trade cut-off; the paper so developed used traditional concepts and a new market, UNICEF. The integral role of women's groups in Nepal's Small Farmer Development Programme (SFDP) is noted on p. 79.

Chapter 7 discusses gateway and interland concepts and chapter 8 discusses the effect of latitude, which the author says is often neglected in Nepalese studies, with most of the focus being on altitude.
Keywords: Nepal Culture; Development; Ecology; Conservation

Mishra, Tara Nanda (1996) Archaeological Discoveries and Field Activities in Nepal during Recent Years. Journal of Nepalese Studies 1: 73-85. This article in the first issue of a new journal gives some detail on the past 15 years of archaeological work in Nepal. It mentions there are "workshop sites, camping sites, simple flaking and small activities spots" (p. 73). It mentions handaxes from the frontal Himalayan thrust zone (mentions the Dang Valley and Babai river banks at one place, Levallois-like blades and flakes in river terraces, and chopper and "heavy duty industry tools" from river terraces in the Dang and Deokhuri Valleys). In addition, there are microlithic and neolithic industries.

Dates seem vague in early prehistory, and the article refers to "late Pleistocene." The sites in eastern Nepal show no cultural connection to those from western Nepal.

Much of the article concerns excavations within the historic period, i.e. Licchavi on. Included are notes about work at Lumbini, and excavations in the western Terai. It also discusses conservation of monuments.


Keywords: Archaeology; Nepal prehistory

Moffat, Tina (1998) Urbanization and Child Growth in Nepal. American Journal of Human Biology 10:307-315. Moffat, a graduate student at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, won the Edward Hunt prize for the best student presentation at the 1996 meetings of the Human Biology Association; this paper is the written version. She presents results of a study of the growth of young children (under age 5) of women working in the carpet industry near Kathmandu. Focus is upon the urbanization process as it affects young children. Problems such as diarrhea were common to children both of recent and long-term city residents; interestingly, the author's survey found that obtaining health care and education for their children was one of the main motivations in coming to Kathmandu. Children of recent migrants showed less growth in several measures the author explored; she did not find specific causes for these differences among the variables she used in her survey and wondered whether long-term residents benefitted from better knowledge of the networks in the urban environment as well as possible improvement in psychological health as a result of experience in the new environment.


Keywords: Health; Medical anthropology; Children’s growth; Modernization; Carpet factories

Nicholas, Colin and R. Singh, editors. (1996) Indigenous Peoples of Asia: Many Peoples, One Struggle. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact [P.O. Box 48, Klong Chase Post Office] Bangkok [10240 Thailand]. There are two chapters of interest to students of Nepal history, culture and society, the first chapter in the book titled: "A common struggle: regaining control" by Nicholas, and the fourth: "The indigenous minorities of Nepal." This second chapter mentions the Tharu, who live in scattered settlements throughout the Terai and in large numbers in the Dang valley; the Chepang (said to be Indo-Burmese); the Limbu, also Indo-Burmese; and the Sunawar and Bot, both very small -- the former said to be Tibeto-Burmese to the east and the latter said to be in the central district of Tanahun. Primarily the book deals with political and economic and legal aspects of indigenous people rather than with their history or culture.


Keywords: Ethnic groups; Indigenous people of Nepal

Panter-Brick, Catherine (1997) Women’s Work and Energetics: A Case Study from Nepal. In: The Evolving Female. A Life-History Perspective. Edited by Mary Ellen Morbeck, Alison Galloway, and Adrienne L. Zihlman, Princeton University Press, Princeton. N.J. Here the author uses the approach of energetics and a case study from Nepal, to “illustrate how major ecological constraints structure a range of behavioral choices that have important, measurable biological consequences for survival and reproduction” (p. 233). She starts the article with a description of one young Tamang mother’s work day—a day that includes fairly hard labor in the fields, planting millet, as well as child care and work preparing food. The people she has studied over a period of 12 years are the Tamang and the Kami blacksmiths of Salme village, which is 1870 meters above sea level, in northwest Nepal. The Tamang families tend to be self sufficient in food but have small, dispersed plots requiring lots of work; women have to spend time away from home because their small plots are dispersed. Kami people have fewer resources but stay closer to home. The Tamang have temporary, moveable residences to help them do this—the author has computed the savings in calories for having these extra places to stay overnight and it is considerable----as much as 475 kilocalories a day. When they stay in the temporary house, the goth, in spring, before the monsoon, they and their children have more access to milk. Another effect, the author believes, is a depression of fertility as the spouses are separated part of the year; the Kami women, who do not do this, have shorter average birth intervals—26.7 months compared to 37.7 for the Tamang. Tamang children go with their mothers to fieldwork up to the age of 3, when they stay at home by themselves. Panter-Brick says this explains why the death rates of the youngest Tamang infants are comparable to those whose mothers work at home, but the death rate for the toddlers is higher (p. 239). The author’s studies have also shown, however, that infant survival probabilities improve when there is a relatively long interval between births. The author thus uses her case study to show that work demands and ecological conditions affect women’s situation regarding nutrition and childcare and the relationships among the variables affecting child mortality and nutrition are rather complex.


Keywords: Tamang; Maternal and child health; Energetics; Ecology

Panter-Brick, C. (1995) Child-care Strategies in Nepal: Responses to Ecology, Demography, and Society. In: Human Populations: Diversity and Adaptation, edited by A. J. Boyce and V. Reynolds. Oxford University Press, Oxford, NY, Tokyo, pp. 174-188. The purpose of the paper is to show (in one example from Nepal) how ecological, demographic and social factors constrain child-care patterns; she believes that in the Tamang samples studied, the demands of the environment are such that they are more powerful than cultural prescriptions in shaping child-care practices. The article has a lot of information about the demography of a Tamang population in northwestern Nepal "for whom fine-grained anthropological data are now available" (p. 174). The fertility of this particular group is not terribly high (completed fertility averaging about 5 in two villages studied, p. 177).

Panter-Brick contrasts attitudes toward mothers' child-care duties in Tibeto-Burman populations vs. Indo-Aryan (in Nepal), saying that, in the former, household/subsistence labor is valued over childcare, whereas in the latter, childcare aspects of women’s work are emphasized. The general condition of under-nutrition of children in rural areas of Nepal is noted (p. 181-2).

Childhood mortality is high in Nepal (but she cites a 1976 study, p. 179, showing that Nepal has the highest infant mortality among 28 third-world counties studied, and the second highest childhood mortality; problem with these data is they are two decades old, and Nepal is quite heterogeneous). At a more specific level, she says that childhood mortality in the remote area where the Tamang live is due largely to upper respiratory infections in the first year of life and diarrhea in later childhood. The monsoon season is the season of greatest child mortality. When children are born closer than 36 months apart, mortality probabilities increase probably because of maternal nutritional depletion, which affects the child's birth weight and subsequent chances of survival, and sibling competition for scarce food and maternal attention.

Demographic factors both restrain and facilitate Tamang patterns of child-care. The Tamang's birth spacing helps maintain the women’s mobility on the mountain (following subsistence demands) and still allow them to cope with demands from having children of different ages.
Keywords: Gender; Tamang; Maternal and child health; Family dynamics

Panter-Brick, C., H. Dobrowolsk, and R. Drewett (1999) Hormonal and Anthropometric Markers of Lifestyle in Nepali and Ethiopian Children. Abstract. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Supplement 28, 1999: 218. The annotator heard this paper given at the April, 1999, meetings in Columbus, Ohio; it represents another paper that Catherine Panter-Brick and colleagues from the University of Durham, U. K., have conducted, this one focusing on hormonal measures of street children, as compared with other children. Their abstract says their challenges are "to investigate cross-culturally 1) the range of hormonal variation, and 2) the links between orthodox health indicators, such as measures of growth status, and the more elusive endocrine measures of well-being." This paper certainly shows how tough this is; they did not find, for example, that growth of street children was worse than children living with their families in poor areas.


Keywords: Family dynamics; Medical anthropology; Urban Nepali children

Panter-Brick, C., A. Todd, R. Baker, and C. Worthman (1996) Comparative Study of Flex Heart Rate in Three Samples of Nepali Boys. American Journal of Human Biology 8:653-660. This paper contrasts village boys, homeless street boys, and urban middle-class boys in terms of heart rate; villagers have lower values. A lot of the paper deals with methodological issues. It appears that the Nepali population is looked upon as an ideal study population in many respects, in part because there is so much variability in the status of individuals and the very difficult life strategies open to some. This aspect confirms that in some ways the outside world looks on Nepal as a sort-of laboratory----not so much for experiments per se but for observations (“natural experiments”); it makes us question what is the line between humanistic study engaged in understanding AND helping, and a less engaged academic approach.


Keywords: Urban children; Homeless problems; Family dynamics’ Human biology

Paul, Robert A. (1989) The Sherpas of Nepal in the Tibetan Cultural Context. Motilal Banarsidas Publishers, Delhi. The author says that in A.D. 842 the anti-Buddhist king of Tibet was assassinated by a Buddhist monk, and this eliminated the last serious opponent of Buddhism, which had only just come to Tibet. The author worked with someone who was believed to be that monk's reincarnation and this person was fighting the modern Chinese oppression, but not violently. This is a cultural anthropology study that uses psychoanalytical analysis.


Keywords: Sherpas; Buddhism; Tibet; Nepal history

Pignéde, Bernard (1993) The Gurungs. Written in 1959 and published in English in 1993; translated by Susan Harrison and Alan Macfarlane. Ratna Pustak Bhandar, Khatmandu, Nepal. This is a very traditional social anthropology book; it says the Gurungs are important as Gurkha soldiers used by Britain and India and says their humor and fairness and adaptations to hard living in the hills made them useful; plus, they are not as concerned with caste as some other ethnic groups in Nepal so they accept military discipline better.

Pignéde died very young and was not alive to meet those who did the translation of his work, to update his work, or to expand on what he meant. Therefore, as Alan Macfarlane explained it, his translators together with Pignéde chief research assistant C. B. Ghotane, had to interpret much of his work. This along with the continual redefinition of the Gurung ethnicity (see Gellner et al book in this bibliography) has caused controversy between Macfarlane and others, including some Gurung people that the annotator spoke to concerning the Gurung culture and the people’s past.
Keywords: Gurungs; Nepal culture

Pradhan, Dr. Hari Badan (1980) Traditional Baby Care Practice among Selected Ethnic Groups. Published by Tribhuvan University, as an abridgement of her doctoral thesis, 57 pp. + 2 pages of references and 7 pages of her questionnaire. She is associate professor of community nursing at T.U.

The goal of this research was to find positive values of traditional health behaviors of baby care. She particularly looked at oiling of the baby (mustard seed oil), use of a small mustard-seed pillow for the baby's head, keeping of the placenta in a clay pot and cutting the cord a few days after birth when the cord had dried, breast feeding, putting gazal (a black perhaps charcoal-like substance) around the eye, rubbing of mustard seed oil in the fontanel, shaping of the baby's head, and playing with the baby thereby "exercising" the baby's limbs.

One finding of the inquiry was that the risk of tetanus appeared less if the cord was cut after the blood had completely dried, apparently preventing spread of germs back to the baby---this was done particularly in the Newar culture. The Newar people also use the mustard seed pillow, which the baby's head rests on but is turned systematically in different directions; she thinks the pillow provides support that allows the head to be shaped intrinsically. The author does not discuss co-sleeping, but other people have said that traditionally a Nepali baby slept with its mother. Co-sleeping has been studied by anthropologist James McKenna, as a possible preventative against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

There were 359 respondents to a questionnaire as well as initially a description of these features more ethnographically.
Keywords: Child health; Nepali culture; Medical anthropology

Rijal, Babu Krishna (1996) 100 Years of Archaeological Research in Lumbini, Kapilavastu, and Devadaha. S.K. International Publishing House, Kathmandu. This includes a reprint of Mukherji's 1901 report on an exploratory tour of antiquities in the Terai. The thrust of this work is that Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, has been located in the Nepal Terai, and the present town of Tilaurakot, west of Lumbini, is the legendary Kapilavastu, Buddha's (father's) home. Earlier, some Indian scholars had believed India to be the location of Kapilavastu, so a lot of this controversy is inter-country rivalry.

On p. 4 the author notes three phases of excavation, and the author is apparently critical of the failure for the work to be completed. P. 27 tells why (in part) they did not know where Lumbini was in the past, why they had located it in Uttar Pradesh, India. One chief reason is that in the latter part of the 19th century the Rana administration did not allow foreigners to explore cultural centers in Nepal so they were conducted by the British in India and no evidence turned up in Nepal. P. 35 notes that there was a disastrous fire in Singha Durbar (Kathmandu government offices) in 1973 that destroyed some antiquities from the excavation of 1962, notably paper documents of excavations. P. 77 is a reproduction of a map that I think Mukherji made.
Keywords: Buddhism; Nepal history; Archaeology

Salter, Jan and Harka Gurung (1996) Faces of Nepal. Himal Association, [PO Box 42] Lalitpur, Nepal [Tel: 523845, 522113; Fax: 52103]. Salter is the artist who drew the faces that contribute much of the book’s charm, while Gurung wrote the text. The book includes maps of ethnic groups and short sketches of their culture and history, and portraits of some individuals. It uses the major morphological race terminology, i.e., talks about the "Mongoloids" from the east and "Caucasoids" from the west (p.1) and says the "epicenter of Mongoloid migration was in the Sechuan-Yunnan highlands, while those of the Caucasoids was in the Central Asian steppes." It says that it is relying on linguistic evidence to conjecture the migrations of the Mongoloids -- the first being 2000 B.C. through northern Burma, Assam, Bhutan, Sikkim and East Nepal along the southern slopes of the Himalaya. It says some groups have legends that claim their ancestral home is beyond the snows in Tibet, while the Sherpas entered Nepal only in mid-16th century (this latter point is not generally held, according to the annotator’s conversations and readings, some referenced in this bibliography).

The author says that the entrance of the Caucasoids from the "NW gates of India" is better recorded than the entrance of "Mongoloids," as invading groups left their stamp on the history of the sub-continent. So they think the western Himalaya was the home of "early Caucasoids" (the Khasa) and the retreat for Hindu refugees from the plains. When there was Moslem pressure on Hindustan the retreat became pronounced (10th century AD on).

So the authors say Nepal is the interface between "Caucasoids" and "Mongoloids." The contact zone is at a tangent from NW to SE, so there also is vertical zonation of ethnic/caste settlements. Note: many Nepalis use the terms Aryan and Mongoloid, and also use terms Bhotia (hill people) and Madhisa (plains people); the problem with these stereotypical outlooks is discussed in several bibliographic entries. The authors also use the term "tribals" and say there are some (tribal groups; i.e., groups outside the caste system and presumably non-Hindu) on the Terai plain, but they have been "overwhelmed by Caucasoid castes spilling over from the Ganga plain". And there are some “tribals” in the foothills and in Terai valleys -- in places where other people have not penetrated. (See other entries on indigenous people, ethnic groups, etc.)

The book says 60 ethnic and caste groups are recognized, 29 from the Terai, 29 from the hills, and 2 from the mountains. This set of 60 includes 4 religious groups -- Churaute (hill Muslim), Marwari (Jain), plains Muslim and Sikh, and the linguistic group Bengal. Some related castes are separately identified and others are not, so this grouping is a mixed bag, as far as identification goes. Table 1 on p. 2 lists the numbers and percentages of each, and actually it shows 3 groups in the mountains (not 2). The Newar, considered the indigenous people of the Kathmandu Valley, are enumerated as 1,041,090, 5.6% of the population (total 18,491,097, presumably at the time of publication; it is more now).

To read this book's first chapter you get a sense of the Tibetan peoples being overwhelmed by the Indians -- sort of. But part of this category-difference is because of recent support for the Nepali language (which is related to Hindi), so speakers of that group have grown numerically; also there has been considerable immigration, which probably has reduced the percentage of speakers of Tibeto-Burmese languages. This book has many good points, including its illustrations, but needs to be read along with other texts that offer other interpretations as well as the more common and stereotypical ones.


Keywords: Ethnic groups; Nepal culture and history; Nepal languages

Ross, Loretta (1994) Population Control Policies Trigger Resentments among Third World Feminists and Health Advocates. Amicus, winter: 27-29. This is a thoughtful article coming out of the Seventh International Women and Health Meeting in Uganda, Sept. 1993. It provides a warning and some good suggestions to environmentalists concerning how to address the issue of reproductive control among third world women. This is not to say not to do it, but how NOT to do it.


Keywords: Population; Gender; Health

Shaha, Rishikesh (1992) Ancient and Medieval Nepal. Manohar Publishers, New Delhi. This book's focus is medieval Nepal, and it tends to emphasize the Indian origins of groups more than Tibeto-Burman. For early phases it tells of the Kiratas overthrowing the buffalo herder dynasty; in this section, interaction with Tibet comes up repeatedly. As it mentions exchange of wives among rulers of Nepal, Tibet, and China, in the first millennium A.D., the book helps to explain the composite nature of Nepali culture, religion, and human biology.

The author says the Guptas interrupted Nepali rule for part of the seventh century and there was a "dark age" of 879 to 1200 A.D. about which little is known; the calendar began at the close of the Licchavi period in 879. Bhaktapur became the capital by 1200 but there was another in Banepa, at the eastern rim of the Kathmandu Valley.

The Malla era from 1200 to 1768 was very important. The Mallas were Hindu by birth but the author says (p.16) "they frequently turned towards Buddhism to develop their thoughts." They had good relations with Tibet in the early part, and the Tibetans maintained shrines in Nepal though they were Newari-built. China took over Tibet in A.D. 1732 and Nepal sent goods to "maintain neutral relations" and there was a Tibet/Chinese war in 1792. (Some aspects of this history have a modern ring, or suggest cycles!)

There were several big famines. In 1232, one third of the population died (p.18), and there was a large earthquake in 1242; then a smallpox epidemic hit.

The Malla era was one of petty kingdoms, which were united by conquest by Gorkhali soldiers in 1768. The author says the populace welcomed this union (p. 19). The Shah rulers, from Gorkha, have been on the throne from 1768 to the present (though the Ranas were the actual rulers in the period 1846-1951). King Tribhuvan Narayan Shah fled his Indian palace and staged a takeover in 1951.

In 1382, Jayasthiti Malla codified (Hindu/Nepali) religious and social conduct, including 64 subcastes and detailed rules including marriage, inter-dining, and drinking water "albeit in a relaxed form" (p.57). The author says five Brahmans from North and South India helped in developing this code, which did not stress the traditional four classes. There also was a system of standard weights and measures and rules for the use of pastures and water for irrigation. The author says that the Newari epigraphy was established in his reign (Malla died in 1395) and it began to be more widely used in the time of Yaksa Malla, which was 1428-1482; his reign was the zenith of the Malla kings and after that the kingdom was divided.

Regarding prehistory, the author says there is evidence of occupation pre-300 B.C. in the Terai, but not in Kathmandu valley. The early chronicles are literary, not historical, but tell some realistic details of the cow herders and buffalo herders (p.6). The first historical inscriptions are 464 AD at Chungu [often called Chungunarayan] (p.13). In the seventh century, Tibet emerged as a powerful kingdom and Llasa was the capital; this transformed Kathmandu into a cultural and commercial center and a bridge between south Asia and central Asia (p.19); limited trade probably occurred before this. Trade with China followed.

Religious diversity and tolerance were noted in the Licchavi period, and the Kiratis and others in their language and place names give evidence of non-Sanskrit peoples. The chapter on the Licchavis indicates there were contacts and influences to and from Tibet as well as from India. Throughout this history interactions with Tibet are noted. Apparently Nepal made incursions into Tibet about 1650 (p.73) but it appears these had more to do with controlling trade than "ruling" per se. Nepal was a vehicle for the entry of Buddhism into Tibet (p.113), with some conflict occurring. Nepal supplied teachers and artists to Tibet; Tibetan monks learned Sanskrit from Nepali teachers of Buddhism and translated into their own language the masterpieces of Buddhist ritualistic literature. The author cites Professor Tucci, said to be an authority on Indo-Tibetan cultural relations: "Nepal brought the task of mediation between Indian and Tibetan cultures to perfection" (p. 114).

The book lists rulers from the Licchavi period through 1769 (when the Shahs of Gorkha took over). Tables at the end of the book list rulers from 400 A.D. to 1769.

The first draft of the book was written when the author was in solitary confinement in jail in 1969-70. The draft lay idle after he was released and he neglected it for 20 years; then his friend John Locke (S.J.) encouraged him to update the draft; Locke wrote the Foreword and says the author was involved in political movements resulting from the overthrow of the Ranas, and served as the first permanent representative from Nepal to the UN.
Keywords: Nepal history; Nepal prehistory; Religion and culture

Sharma, R.D., editor (1991) Human Resource Development and Environment, Commonwealth Publishers, New Delhi, India. The book covers many useful topics, some considered in the topic of medical anthropology, very forthrightly: issues such as water, education, maternal health.


Keywords: Development; Ecology; Medical anthropology

Slusser, Mary Shepherd (1982) Nepal Mandala. 2 volumes, Princeton University Press. This book is very comprehensive! It notes the Kathmandu Valley is 15 miles by 12 miles, and says that (p. 4): "the great body of primary institutions that govern contemporary Nepalese lives...are the lineal descendants of those that governed Valley society of the past." Malaria, to some extent, kept people from entering from the south. A "short portable version" of the book was prepared from this very large and expensive two-volume book; see Josephson.

.

Keywords: Nepal history; Nepal culture



Smith, Cherry (1999) Blood Pressures of Sherpa Men in Modernizing Nepal. American Journal of Human Biology 11: 469-479. High blood pressure was studied in samples of Sherpa men from Kathmandu and the Khumbu region, with 32% of the Kathmandu sample qualifying and 16% of the Khumbu. Body Mass Index (BMI) as well as age and use of alcohol were predictors of systolic blood pressure and BMI and age were predictors of diastolic blood pressure. The authors believe that increasing adiposity, associated with modernization, is a key factor in these results, and cites a survey of 30 years ago showing no cases of hypertension. [



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