Vivaha Panchami (Nov 29) (in Nepal)

Tuladhar-douglas, Dr William B. w.t.douglas at ABDN.AC.UK
Wed Nov 30 04:05:43 UTC 2011

On 29 Nov 2011, at 20:55, Joanna Kirkpatrick wrote:

Nepal doesn’t function under the sign of Hindutva

That's not necessarily true. The history of Nepalese royal Hinduism, its deployment as a national ideology by the Shah and Rana court, and resistance to that hegemony in the 18th – 20th centuries has been well debated elsewhere.

More recently, during the civil war, support for the royalist faction came in no small part from Hindutva activists concerned to protect the ‘last Hindu kingdom’—and several tens of thousands of people died during the war. Since the end of the war, the situation has re-polarised as a result of the move towards ethnic federalism, but Hindutva activists are active. The Shiv Sena has held demonstrations in the capital and the Terai calling for a return to state Hinduism, and the RSS runs a few schools. The question is whether, in a post-Hindu Nepal, Hindutva will become a coherent political force apart from simple anti-Maoism. Tensions between the Terai (where Janakpur is) and Kathmandu (where the government is) play into that development.

It's not just the saffron squad pushing religious politics; there are an astonishing number of Protestant missionary NGOs active in Nepal. Clashes happen. The office of the United Mission to Nepal was bombed this month, and a youth leader of a Muslim party was shot dead outside the main mosque in Kathmandu about two months ago.

Eden it ain't, but the threat of religious or ethnic sectarian violence—especially given the history of such violence around South Asia—is a key concern for the lawmakers trying to draft Nepal's new constitution. We learned today that the supreme court and the constituent assembly have extended that process for another six months…


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Will Tuladhar-Douglas
Anthropology of Environment and Religions

The University of Aberdeen is a charity registered in Scotland, No SC013683.

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