Nepal is not like India . . . or is it? Prachanda embracing Manmohan
Dor Bahadur on Nepali Nationhood
Attempts by most scholars to understand and then represent Nepali society, especially the dynamics of the predominant Nepali culture, have typically been burdened by a theoretical framework, used for the study of social stratification, developed by a western mentality that attends to represent Hindu caste society either based on the Indian model or as a periphery of the western centers of industrial capitalism and imperialism (Blaike et al, 1980).
Nepal is not like India. This is a critical point. And an overemphasis on the structural qualities of caste often simply obscures more critical issues concerning value systems…Nepal’s problems follow from certain attempts at the Indianzation of its culture.
Nepal’s strengths have always been in the indigenous qualities of its various ethnic groups. The attempt to follow the Indian model has often overwhelmed and suppressed these qualities, substituting them with something which is incongruent with its own culture and ultimately defeating progressive adaptation and change. Indian culture and civilization have made positive contribution to the development of Nepal from the earliest of times to the present. . .
They can do so in future and we should be open to them, but what Nepal takes from India, or any other culture, needs to be scrutinized and its negative elements purged. Hindu caste culture contains negative elements which need to be identified, localized and, if possible, exorcized.
*Excerpted from FATALISM AND DEVELOPMENT (1991) By Dor Bahadur Bista