Day 1: 27 July

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Day 1: 27 July (Wednesday)
SESSION 1: 9 – 11 am 
Opening Remarks: Nirmal Man Tuladhar,
Social Science Baha
Opening Remarks: Katsuo Nawa, Nepal Academic Network (Japan)
Panel A1
Panel B1
Chair: Krishna Adhikari, BNAC
Discussant: Andrew Haxby, University of Michigan  
Chair: Michael Hutt, School of African and Oriental Studies
Discussant: Swatahsiddha Sarkar, University of North Bengal
Sanjaya Mahato
PhD Candidate, Graduate School for Social Research (GSSR), Institute of Philosophy and Sociology – Polish Academic of Sciences (IFiSPAN)
Women and Competency in Electoral Competitions in the Nepalese Elections after 1990 Ajapa Sharma
Candidate for MPhil
in Modern Indian History, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Becoming Nepali: Projects of Self- Making in the Writings of Laxmiprasad Devkota, Balkrishna Sama and Bisweshwor Prasad Koirala
Thakur Prasad Bhatta
PhD Candidate, Kathmandu University, School of Education 
Decentralised Planning in Nepal: Stakeholders’ Perspectives on District Development Plan Lokranjan Parajuli
Senior Researcher and Head, Publications, Martin Chautari 
Marx Supplants Manu: ‘Manifesto’ of an Activist in the Late Rana Nepal
Manoj Suji
Research Associate,
Social Science Baha
Micro-hydro as Common Property: An Analysis of Local Institution and Development Balram Uprety
Assistant Professor of English, St. Joseph’s College
“Aren’t we too wheels of this nation-chariot?”: Orature as an Alternative ‘Her-story’ of the Nation
BREAK: 11 – 11:30 am 
SESSION 2: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Panel A2
Panel B2
Chair: Katsuo Nawa, University of Tokyo
Discussant: Noah Coburn, Bennington College
Chair: Jeevan Baniya, Social Science Baha
Discussant: Ang Sanu Lama, Social Science Baha
Sujeet Karn
Social Science Baha
Death – A Concept of ‘Martyrology’: References from Maoists People’s War in Nepal
Jessica DiCarlo
Master of Development
University of California,
Berkeley (expected)
Katie Epstein
Masters of Arts in
Energy and Resources,
University of California, Berkeley (expected)
Bikash Adhikari
Forest Action Nepal
Post-disaster Agroecological Transition: How the 2015 Nepali Earthquakes Impact Agricultural Adoption in Mid-montane Communities
Krista Billingsley
Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology, University of Tennessee
Transitional Justice in Nepal: Perspectives of Nepalis Affected by Conflict as Children
Rishikesh Pandey
School of Development and Social Engineering, Faculty of Social Sciences, Pokhara University
Climate change and Society: Their Interactions in the Trans-Himalaya (Upper-Mustang) Nepal
Kalyan Bhandari
Lecturer in Events, Hospitality and Tourism at the University of West of Scotland
International Development Discourse and Two Tourism Policies of Nepal
LUNCH: 1:30 – 2:30 pm
SESSION 3: 2:30– 4:30 pm
Panel A3
Panel B3
Chair: Sambriddhi Kharel, Social Science Baha
Discussant: Ajapa Sharma, Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Norms and Forms of Development: Following Financial and Technical Assistance in The Health Sector in Nepal
Chair: Jeevan R. Sharma, University of Edinburgh
Discussant: Deepak Thapa, Social Science Baha
Babika Khawas
Ph.D. Candidate,
Department of
University of North Bengal
Plantation Patriarchy and Women Workers in the Himalayas: Experiences from Darjeeling Sikkim Himalayas
Shiva Raj Adhikari
Associate Professor, Tribhuvan University
Impact of Architecture of Health Care Financing In Nepal
Rajen Upadhyay
Assistant Professor, Department of History, Namchi Government College
Hidden transcripts in Nepali Folksongs during Sikkimese Feudalism’
Radha Adhikari 
Research Fellow, School
of Health in Social
Science, University of
Obindra Bahadur Chand
Research Associate,
Social Science Baha
Foreign Aid and Institutional Arrangements in Implementing a Maternal and Child Health Project in Nepal
Swatahasiddha Sarkar
Assistant Professor, Sociology, Department of Sociology, University of North Bengal
Linguistic Situation in Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalayas: Interstices between Identity, Difference and Belongingness Kapil Dahal
Lecturer, Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Tribhuvan University
Ian Harper
Professor of Anthropology of Health and Development, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh
Sushil Baral
Health Research and Social Development Forum (HERD)
Rekha Khatri
Independent Researcher
The Global Fund in Nepal
Open Panel: 5 pm (Public Session)
Academic Journal Publishing in and about Nepal: Some Reflections
Janak Rai,
Tribhuvan University

Pratyoush Onta, Editor, Studies in Nepali History and Society
Man Bahadur Khatri, Editor, Dhaulagiri Journal of Sociology and Anthropology
Heather Hindman, President, Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, publisher of Himalaya
 Michael Hutt, Contributing Editor, European Bulletin of Himalayan Research

Submissions for the Annual Kathmandu Conference 2016

Becoming Nepali: Projects of Self- Making in the Writings of Laxmiprasad Devkota, Balkrishna Sama and Bisweshwor Prasad Koirala
Ajapa Sharma,
MPhil Candidate, Modern Indian History, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

Abstract: Taking the writings of three literary figures in mid twentieth century Nepal, this paper shows how a close reading of literary texts allows us to access the constitution of particular kinds of selves at a particular historical moment. Drawing on the literary texts of Balkrishna Sama and Laxmi Prasad Devkota, and Bisweshwor Prasad Koirala, well known figures in Nepali literature, the paper asks, how do these writers write about the becoming of modern middle class Nepalis within their texts? The attempt is to suggest that different levels of mediation with notions of respectability, progress and nation are at the heart of the literary projects of these authors. The historical conditions that pushed for self-reflection, self-definition and readjustment of ideas of the self in Nepali literature were perhaps greater exposures to the political and social changes happening across the world.[1] If modern education allowed access to an engagement with the literary production happening across the world, it also allowed access to an understanding of the world and the place of the self within this world.

The imagination of a collective identity that of being Nepali, was invariably a response to the historical changes of the early to mid-20th century. All involved in the self-reflective project however did not always imagine the collective identity in similar ways. Thus, the attempt is to read more critically certain discourses, particularly the discourse of stereotypes that provide too easy and simplistic notions of collective identity. Two of the most easily available tropes of the Nepali identity available are that of the brave Gorkha and that of the isolated and backward community.[2] While the force of these tropes cannot be denied, and it even plays out in the authors explored in this essay, the contentions over these tropes, attempts to define new tropes for self-identity, are productive grounds for understanding the projects of self-making in Nepal. This will also entail processes of drawing on other tropes and projecting alternative stereotypes.

The attempt is not just to look at what kind of notions or ideas constituted these literary imagining but also to look at the kind of writing practices that are employed to engage in these conceptions. Thus, the attempt is to deal with both the content and the form of the literary writings under question. In exploring the ways in which the Nepali authors in question deal with and employ different modes in their writing, attempt will be made to under different levels of mediation in their writing, a mediation with Western forms of writing as well the prefigured Indian engagement with the Western modes of writing that Nepali writers draw on from their Indian counterpart. Thus, the attempt is to understand the possibilities that different forms of writing provide them.

While historiographical writings on Nepali modernity stress on the crystallization of particular discourses about the nation and identity in mid twentieth century, the attempt here is to ask where and how such processes break down and fracture and where they congeal. The focus is therefore on the contingency of the processes of self-making through writing. This paper takes autobiographies, short stories, reflective essays and plays as both texts and sources of history. The attempt is to show that a close reading of literary texts coupled with the methods of social theory and intellectual history can be productive ways of looking at the past.

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Plantation Patriarchy and Women Workers in the Himalayas: Experiences from Darjeeling Sikkim Himalayas
Babika Khawas, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of North Bengal, India

Abstract: Plantations share a tiny slot in the colossal Himalayan space but have encapsulated adequate scholarly attention. One among the many peculiarities of plantations that ensued from their colonial roots is attributed to the presence of the women who actually outnumbered their male counterparts as the major constituting body of the labour force. The fact that Sikkim plantations preclude a colonial legacy nevertheless they do also share the same phenomenal presence of the women workers may lead one examine the plantations of this region from gender perspective. This paper claims that the women workers of the Himalayan belt may not share a similar past, they may vary even in several other respects, but they do share a common misfortune of being a plantation woman.

Drawing experiences from Darjeeling hills and Sikkim and analysing the predicament of women workers of this region this paper argues that the plantations are basically patriarchal institutions the foundations of which were laid during colonial times and the structures still perpetuate even in areas which did not have foundational experience of colonisation. Furthermore, a gendered reading of the plantation history would be attempted to reveal how literature, accounts, policies and labour laws in both colonial and post-colonial phases actually maintained an androcentric gaze discursively framed through gender-neutral discourses. Traditional ideologies and customs conforming female inferiority are ubiquitous and were propagated through capitalist production in plantations. This contributed to the persistence of a system that further pushed women to their subordinate positions by projecting domesticity as the space of reproducing labor and thereby to secure capital acceleration as a continuous process. Reifying women of having ‘docile bodies’ and ‘nimble fingers’ was thus common which categorised them as an object – whose labour power was exploited and body fetishized. This was how the consolidation of patriarchal norms in the plantations of colonial Darjeeling began.

With these considerations an auto-ethnographic attempt would be made to establish plantation as a patriarchal institution. In order to shed light on the predicaments of plantation women workers in contemporary time gender ideologies operating in plantations (of both the places and beyond) would be closely examined, which in fact, play a great deal of role in shaping their socio-economic, socio-psychological experiences and consciousness. How the position of ‘being a plantation woman’ conflates with the idea of ‘being exploited’ in economic, political and cultural fronts? How their subordinate positions and subjugated experiences in the field as paid productive labour and at the level of domesticity as unpaid reproductive labour delimit women survive within the gendered spaces of the Himalayan plantations? While considering the plantation women workers of Darjeeling-Sikkim region the paper would also flag up the problems and prospects of treating the life experiences of plantation women as a potential site for emancipatory struggle that may carry some instructive lessons for the plantation women workers situated in the wider Himalayan region.

Keywords: Plantation patriarchy, Himalayan Plantations, Gender Ideologies, Darjeeling, Sikkim

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“Aren’t we too wheels of this nation-chariot?”: Orature as an Alternative ‘Her-story’ of the Nation
Balram Uprety, Assistant Professor of English, St. Joseph’s College, Darjeeling, India

Abstract: The Nepali nation-state that emerges in the late eighteenth century, like most nations of the world, bears a definitive male signature. However, the patriarchal historiography of the nation and its subsequent contestations and problematization have seldom been attempted in the Nepali or international academia using the folk corpus in the form of Tīj songs: an archive that continues to remain in the periphery of the margin as writing continues to be privileged over speech, written literature over orature in the international academia that ‘commonsensically’ associates folklore with atavism, primitiveness, pre-historicity and rusticity. The recourse to the Nepali folk archive seems all the more urgent as the indigenous academia still predominantly controlled by the upper caste, male scholars tends to dismiss these songs as āimāiko rā͂ḍiruwāi i.e. the crone’s cry in the wilderness. These songs that have played a very significant role in shaping the counter-hegemonic consciousness of Nepali women and acted as the most significant trope in Nepali women’s fight for gender equity are seldom subjected to critical reading deploying the vocabulary and idiom of critical theory that marks the contours of international academia today. In this paper, out of multiple issues that women raise in their songs, this paper seeks to highlight how ‘Nepali’ women are systematically erased from the masculinist imagination of the nation state that comes into existence with Prithivinarayan Shah’s ‘unification’ of Nepal. In the classical Tīj songs, the notion of nation continues to elude women: what comes under women’s interrogation is not the ‘politically’ political, but the personal or the realm of domesticity. There seems to be nothing for women beyond the family: the patriarchal nation made inroads into women’s lives through the institution of the family. At the outset, the paper seeks to underline how such patriarchal conceptualization of the nation state comes for serious interrogation in the Tīj songs produced during the 1990s. The democratic movement of the 1990s acts as a watershed that seriously undermines the masculinist imagination of the country. The paper also seeks to grapple with the complexity of having to imagine the alternative in the medium of the dominant. In the absence of a female vocabulary, women’s alternative conceptualization of the nation, however, continues to remain in the idiom of the dominant thereby making their women-centric remodeling of the nation polyphonic, complex and highly interesting. Moreover, women’s gynocentric imagination of nation not only shows the absence of female vocabulary, it also collapses ethnicities, castes, class and numerous internal divides amongst Nepali women into a fictitious meta-narrative of universal Nepali sisterhood. Furthermore, the essentializing patriarchal epistemology that naturally associates men with nation-building project, patriotism and heroism come in for strong critique and rejection. Absences of vocabulary and traditions as much as critiques of the native patriarchy seems to inform Nepali women’s alternative gynocentric re-configuration of nation: perhaps in the absence of indigenous womanist/gynocentric tradition of nationalism and nation-building, invocation of Indira/India and internationalism especially the ‘achievement’ of Indian and western women shapes Nepali women’s nationalist utopia. In Nepali women’s centrifugal consciousness, the west, however, simultaneously emerges as a trope of phobia and philia, feminist utopia and cultural dystopia—adding further complexities to the layered imagination and contestation of patriarchy. The paper finally maps the transformation of Tīj from the feminist nationalist to the female carnival in the first decade of the 21st century with the emergence of New Nepali women in the aftermath of globalization and market economy. The urban Tīj unravels Nepali women’s complex journey from their belligerent nationalism to, what may be possibly called ‘a post-nationalist’ era of carnival and consumerism. The journey from the critique to the carnival, from the feminist to the female, from nationalism to post-nationalism, in spite of its metropolitan and class bias, seems to be a definitive moment in recovering the gynocentric gendering of the Nepali nation state using an archive of orature that bears unambiguous female signature.

Keywords: Folk songs, gender, nation-state, erasure, alternative, contestation, her-story of gender

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Post-disaster Agroecological Transition: How the 2015 Nepali Earthquakes Impact Agricultural Adoption in Mid-montane Communities
Jessica DiCarlo, Master of Development Practice, University of California, Berkeley (Expected); Katie Epstein, Masters of Arts in Energy and Resources, University of California, Berkeley (Expected); Bikash Adhikari, Forest Action Nepal

Abstract: This paper examines post-disaster agroecological transition and change in mid-montane farming communities located near the epicenters of Nepal’s 2015 earthquakes. Decisions to adopt new agricultural technologies and crop patterns within these communities occur within a constellation of socioecological and economic factors. Using a suite of methods and tools including key informant and informal interviews, focus groups, participant observation, crop calendars and participatory budgeting, we observe that social and landscape effects from the 2015 earthquakes, including shifting labor opportunities and field degradation, catalyze transition to market-oriented crops. In our field sites within Dolakha district, economic and ecological co-benefits incentivize the adoption of cardamom, A momum subulatum, given post-disaster farming scenarios. We describe disaster-specific decision factors for farmers transitioning to cardamom, as opposed to or alongside other cash crops and explore how effects on labor and landscape from the 2015 earthquakes may accelerate adoption in the future. Findings indicate significant benefits for farmers and farms who choose cardamom; however these benefits are unevenly distributed and may exacerbate inequality in rural communities.

Keywords: environmental shocks, adaptive capacity, cardamom, Himalaya

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International Development Discourse and Two Tourism Policies of Nepal
Kalyan Bhandari, Lecturer, Events, Hospitality and Tourism, University of West of Scotland, UK

Abstract: Public policies are the outcome of political processes (Hall and Jenkins, 1995) and are usually formulated to represent the political ideology of the party in power (Getz, 2012). Political parties take different approaches to the economy, social development and external relations. Their understanding of culture, leisure, sports and tourism is based on their value sets or party positions, and once in power they execute their vision through public policies. However, in this age of globalisation, political parties and nation states are not absolutely independent and policies are shaped by a considerable number of other influences which originate beyond national territory. As a form of transnational exchange, the international element is undoubtedly prominent in tourism. In the context of developing countries, economic ideology is also informed by international development ‘discourse’ that plays a large part in shaping their public policies. However, existing literature on tourism’s public policy extensively treats tourism policy as a national issue and pays little attention to the ideology of international agencies and their role in national tourism policy.

The international question in public policies is important for developing countries because they rely profoundly on the aid and support of international development agencies.  For example, Nepal’s external aid represented about 20 percent of the national budget in 2014-15 and most development expenditure is financed by this resource, (Ministry of Finance, 2015) much of which comes from large institutional donors like the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). During the 1980s and 1990s, the WB and IMF endorsed neoliberal principles, which were associated with radical reform, such as privatisation and encouraging a market economy. This approach was later replaced by neostructuralism in the late 1990s which targeted poverty alleviation as the main goal (de Haan, 2009). Neo-structuralism differed from neoliberalism in its understanding that the state must intervene to ensure that peripheral economies move beyond resource dependent development and add value to their products (Murray and Overton, 2011).  Such a change in development thinking was bound to make a huge impact in the public policies of the aid-recipient countries because these approaches are enforced on them when they seek debt relief or rescheduling through donor agencies. Thus, this paper is driven by the following research question:  Does the change in development discourse play a role in shaping the tourism policy of a country? This paper explores the above in the context of Nepal.

The paper uses content analysis of two tourism policies and other documentary sources plus 12 Skype interviews with imminent tourism experts to compare the two tourism policies that were formulated at the time when international development ‘thinking’ was different. The findings suggest that seemingly ‘tourism’ policies are the outcome of ideological adjustment in domestic politics; however, they are not outwith the scope of international development discourse advanced by its development partners.  The paper makes a useful contribution in understanding the much neglected role of international development ideology in tourism policy-making of a developing country.

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Transitional Justice in Nepal: Perspectives of Nepalis Affected by Conflict as Children
Krista Billingsley,
PhD Candidate, Anthropology, University of Tennessee, USA

Abstract: It has been ten years since Nepal emerged from a decade-long internal armed conflict, during which at least 13,000 people were killed. Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2006, measures under the framework of transitional justice (TJ) have been implemented to redress human rights violations. Processes of TJ, which consist of judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, seek to facilitate justice and reconciliation typically during a political transition from an authoritarian regime towards a liberal democratic future (Hinton 2010:2). While Hinton (2010) argues that “local justice,” or the ways in which justice is perceived, experienced, produced, and conceptualized on the ground, must be taken seriously if TJ is to be successful, existing research has emphasized how the conceptualization of the “local” during processes of TJ often reflects elite interests while excluding marginalized groups and perspectives (Pasipanodya 2008; Robins 2011, 2012). Experiences of TJ in Nepal are not homogenous, demonstrating the need for attention to a “dynamic local” rather than a static and unchanging local based on notions of fixed cultural and religious ideologies (Sajjad 2013). My research, therefore, interrogates which “local” is being heard or silenced and contributes to scholarship that challenges the assumptions of “post-conflict” as an analytical and political category (Snellenger and Shneiderman 2014). This paper examines the perceptions of Nepalis affected by conflict regarding TJ mechanisms in Nepal and questions how differences in social distinctions affect perspectives on the Nepali government, justice, reconciliation, and the ongoing peace process in Nepal. The research on which this paper is based included observation and participant observation within organizations involved in TJ in Nepal and among Nepalis targeted for TJ mechanisms. Further, semi-structured interviews with national and local politicians, staff from United Nations agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, and International Non-Governmental Organizations were conducted to investigate if current TJ mechanisms are evaluated as “effective or ineffective.”  In addition, archival research, including the analysis of primary documents, were analyzed to supplement interview data, participant observation, and observation. This paper, based on eight months of ethnographic research in Kathmandu and Bardiya, will contribute to scholarship on how violence is experienced in concrete and culturally meaningful ways, the anthropology of transitional justice, and post-conflict studies.

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Marx Supplants Manu: ‘Manifesto’ of an Activist in the Late Rana Nepal
Lokranjan Parajuli,
Senior Researcher and Head, Publications, Martin Chautari

Abstract: Nepal is often times portrayed as a territory that was “secluded” from the outside world, and was in “slumber” before 1951 when the Rana regime (1846-1951) fell down. This narrative however has not gone unchallenged—some have called it a “selective exclusion,” and others have shown it as part of the “globalized economy” already in the Rana era. By looking at both intellectual trajectory of an author based in Pokhara, and at the ideas ingrained in his book this paper argues that the Rana rulers, despite “controlling education” and “censuring publications,” were not able to block the global flow of ideas of equality and justice, and science. This paper further shows that the country (and even the local activists) was “wide awake” and was striving to be a “modern” one much before the downfall of the Ranas.

The focus of this paper is Muktinath Timisina, a government employee turned translator turned teacher turned author/activist, and his book Matritwa ra Dharma Pustak (MRDP). Timisina is better known for his latter book “Ko Achhut?,” one of the first books to challenge the very foundation of caste based hierarchical system in Nepal. MRDP, Timisina’s first “original” and equally radical book, a manifesto of the sort, was published in 1950, i.e., towards the penultimate days of the Rana rule. All thousand copies of the first edition were sold out and the book had to be reprinted in just over a year.

Timisina wrote “realistic revolutionary social stories,” as the author calls them, in the late 1940s when he was teaching at a basic school, and also at the same time was involved in underground political activities in Pokhara. When the government issued an arrest warrant in 1950 he fled to India and joined the Nepali Congress party, and also got MRDP published the same year. Not only the leaders of the Congress party encouraged him to publish the book that unequivocally praises Marx but they also bore publication cost. The party’s involvement however was concealed, for it would have made it difficult for the book to enter and circulate within Nepali territory.

MRDP contains two stories, Matritwa and Dharma Pustak. In Matritwa, Timisina questions the patriarchal society which discriminates, oppresses women. The protagonist of the story, a child widow, challenges male hegemony, becomes pregnant by a person of her choice, and gives her son not his father’s but her own name.

In the second story, the author seeks to destroy all existing scriptures and to replace them by a new scripture, by a new religion, manav dharma (lit. human-religion), which is to serve the entire humanity. The author believes in science—he heaps praises on Darwin, and in the principles of evolution, of science lie the “truth” for him. He seeks to replace the codes of Manu by that of Marx, and also elevates the latter to the position of god’s deputy.

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Micro-hydro as Common Property: An Analysis of Local Institution and Development
Manoj Suji,
Research Assistant, Social Science Baha

Abstract: This paper examines the process of crafting institutions and socio-cultural changes triggered by [of] “community managed micro-hydro”. The micro-hydro development was started after the political changes of 1990 and with the establishment of alternative energy promotion center in 1996 in order to electrifying rural villages of Nepal. Since then, micro-hydro has been promoted in remote and isolated villages by the communities as a common property with support from government and non-government organization. Simultaneously, these villages have been experiencing social and cultural changes in daily life, as electricity links local people into the global cultural arena. This paper provides an insight into how micro-hydro as an external intervention contributes in the transformation of society and culture, intersecting with existing local institutions and socio-cultural characteristics (caste/ethnicity, gender, economic status and power relation) in diverse user groups.

Drawing upon ethnographic research in rural village of western Nepal, the author argues that community managed micro-hydro is a political process both in the project design and crafting local institutional arrangements. Through the different interests and ideologies between or among the local stakeholders, micro-hydro development is politicized in order to gain the power at the local level and control over the resources. By examining the existing social interfaces upon micro-hydro and building from insights from anthropology and development, this paper argues that social inequality and power relations have direct influences in the crafting of institutional arrangements and decision-making. Furthermore, the author argues that not all people in community are equally benefited from the community managed micro-hydro intervention. However, the local institutions which is under the direct influences of local elites further marginalizes and excludes the poor, women, and Dalits both from the right to use of electricity and potential developments.

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Hidden transcripts in Nepali Folksongs during Sikkimese Feudalism
Rajen Upadhyay, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Namchi Government College, South Sikkim, India

Abstract: The power struggle between sufficient class and the insufficient is prevalent since time immemorial. Like any other subjects, this sphere too has its own globe, speciality, and account. It is a natural fact that in a power relationship, the subordinate often has to tender somewhat and sometimes has to make a huge deal endangering his whole needs. It is in such occasions, the subordinates resist the dominants to protect their interest that ultimately leads to the growth of hidden transcripts among the powerless in a society. The resentment of the peasantry and working class against the unjust and a self-centred rule began to take shape with the hidden transcripts. Generally, the hidden transcript takes place beyond instant inspection of the authorities. When the level of suppression reaches its highest watermark, the subordinates began adopt shabby acts against their landlords. Apart from cheating, poaching, pilfering, hiding grains and so on, such acts also includes adoption of cynical and satirical verses in the folksongs to exhibit their anguish against exploitative and manipulative set ups.

This paper entitled ‘Hidden transcripts in Nepali Folksongs during Sikkimese Feudalism’ has attempted to understand the hidden transcripts in Nepali folksongs of Sikkimese peasantry against feudalism. This paper is divided in five sections. The first section of paper deals with introduction of Sikkimese peasantry and their relationships with the intermediaries between the State and the peasants. This section also underlines on the concept of hidden transcripts among Sikkimese peasants in the form of Lok Geet or folksongs. Likewise, the second part examines the methodology used for writing this article. Similarly, in the third part importance of folksongs in peasant study, ethnic composition of Sikkimese peasantry, and adoption of Nepali folksongs by the peasants of East, West and South Sikkim is discussed. While, in the fourth part of the paper attempt has been made to comprehend the nature of Nepali folklores prevalent in feudal Sikkim, and six popular Nepali folksongs collected from East, West and South Sikkim is inferred. Similarly, the last part of the paper draws the conclusion.

Keywords: Hidden Transcripts, Nepali Folksongs, Sikkim, Peasants, Forced Labour

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Climate change and Society: Their Interactions in the Trans-Himalaya (Upper-Mustang) Nepal
Rishikesh Pandey,
School of Development and Social Engineering, Faculty of Social Sciences, Pokhara University, Nepal

Abstract: Studies on climate change have been dominated by climate science while its impacts are studied by economics, both of the disciplines using empiricist methodologies. Such studies have interpreted the change as environmental, economic and political problems. Studies of climate change from social science perspectives or using humanistic methodologies are still lacking, particularly in Nepal. As a result, social scientists in Nepal are still confined to understand climate change as what the climate scientist tell, and are restrained to accept the impacts of change as what the economists convey. The reality however is that, whatever the lenses: environmental, economic or political is used to look the climate change; the problem is particularly the social. Therefore social scientists should have their own ways of studying climate change, and associated implications and societal responses to the changes and impacts.

The rate of climate change has spatial characteristics and is highly uncertain. The impacts are higher in the places and communities such as developing countries including Nepal, having low level of adaptive capacity. In particular, the Himalayan climate is experiencing an abrupt change, which is putting challenge to the sustainability of social ecosystem of the region. Additionally, societal perception of climate change implicates in communities’ adaptation responses. Therefore, understanding social construction of climate change and associated human responses are crucial steps of understanding climate-society interactions and promote adaptation.

This research investigates interaction between climate change and society in relation to changeà impacts à response à outcomes chain. Climate change and impacts are understood using social perception while societal responses are the tacit efforts of the communities to reduce the negative implications and adapt to the change. The outcomes of the interaction on the other hand are revealed in relation to food and livelihood security and sustainability of the social ecosystems. The study is conducted in the Trans-Himalaya (Upper-Mustang), Nepal using field methods. Primary data of private domains are collected through face-to-face interviews with the heads of 66 households while 6 focus group discussions, 22 in-depth interviews with key informant, preparation of 2 historical timeline calendars, and construction of 3 crop calendars are conducted to obtain data on public domain. The field work was conducted in June 2013 by the author accompanied with 2 postgraduate colleagues. Findings suggest increased temperature and precipitation, changes in precipitation and snowing seasons, and increase of both warm and cold extremes in the Trans-Himalaya. The weather patterns have become uncertain and unpredictable so have a number of implications in the Trans-Himalayan social ecosystem. Households and the communities have developed and adopted several strategies to reduce the negative implications. Yet, adopted strategies are not sufficient to maintain the sustainability of the social-ecological system of the Trans-Himalaya, although the strategies such as construction of flood-control dikes, shift in crop calendar, change in occupation and labor migration, as well as reception of external supports have produced positive results in food and livelihood security. Therefore, this study proposes an integrated adaptation framework to the policy makers to promote adaptation to climate change in the Trans-Himalaya, Nepal.

Key Words: Climate change, Implications, Adaptation, Trans-Himalaya, Social ecosystem, Vulnerability, Nepal

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Women and Competency in Electoral Competitions in the Nepalese Elections after 1990
Sanjaya Mahato, PhD Candidate, Graduate School for Social Research (GSSR), Institute of Philosophy and Sociology – Polish Academic of Sciences (IFiSPAN) Warsaw, Poland

Abstract: It is often argued that women candidates are less competent than their male counterparts and hence only few women candidates are listed in a party list for the electoral competitions (Paxton & Hughes, 2007, Philips, 1991; Tamale,1999). The reasons behind that are resource differentials between male and female. Male are more resourceful than female.  The resource differentials can be level of education, income, and property ownership. Therefore, gender quotas are provided for women to encourage and ensure women’s equal participation in the politics – parliament, cabinet and political parties. The electoral statistics of Nepal – election result 1991, 1994, 1999 and a couple of Constituent Assembly (CA) Elections  2008 and 2013 suggest that despite resource differentials between men and women,  women are equally competent as male candidates if they are given opportunities to be an election candidate during the election. The electoral results shows that it is not a gender that determines the chances of winning the election rather it is a political party that determines the chances of winning and losing the election. There is no or very less dependency of vote received on gender where as dependency of vote received on political party is quite high. Therefore, the research argues that there are however huge resource differentials between male and female candidates in Nepalese politics but party affiliation most often strongly determines the chances of election and hence there is no point to be fewer women in the party electoral list.

In the second level, the research tries to address the few women’s participation in the parliament. This is not a lack of potential women in the party rather it is a domination of male, male psychology and intention of the major political leaders who decides electoral candidates. In a couple of CA elections, despite the electoral laws that ensured at least 33 percent of women in the electoral list but parties hardly could ensure 12 percent of women in the list. The paper concludes that if the major political parties prepare more inclusive electoral list the chances of getting more seats is higher with higher voter’s turnout and thus more women in the parliament.

For the analysis, I have used the electoral dada of 3 consecutive legislative elections and a couple of CA elections of Nepal. I have made a complete data set in SPSS out of the election information provided in the Election Commission of Nepal, Kathmandu. The data has been coded and recoded for the analysis. To show the relationship between gender and vote received and political party and vote received I have done regression analysis.

Key Words: Election, Women, Politics, Political Party and Participation

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Death – A Concept of ‘Martyrology’: References from Maoists People’s War in Nepal
Sujeet Karn, Part-Time Lecturer, Social Work Program, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Abstract: In post-conflict Nepali society, death is discussed particularly in subjective terms, depending upon the context in which one died where Maoists war equated death with sacrifice. This equivalence was made explicit in the various practices, such as the conventional understanding that death on the battlefield does not pollute the relatives as death normally does (Lecomte-Tilouine 2006). The meaning of a human life was principally focused on death. However, the meaning of death is discussed in contrasting terms when it came to guerrilla fighters in the Maoists conflict.

Death was discussed by guerrilla fighters in the context of a political and social movement. The Maoists’ propaganda discourse discusses it as death soaked with the blood of the martyrs, from which the soil germinates, and power grows (Lecomte-Tilouine 2006).  Consequently, while the security forces used the notion of death to protect the nation state, the Maoist revolutionary used it to defeat the existing power structures, the reactionary and feudal forces. Death in popular Maoist discourse was described as an act of bravery in which it is the brave whose blood is being shed on the ground. Similarly, literature on conflict-related deaths and their implications in Nepal is discussed by Sales (2003), Ogura (2004), Shah (2008), Lecomte- Tilouine (2006, 2009), Ghimire (2009), Dhital (2009) and such deaths are understood in terms of sacrifice when the dead person was a revolutionary.

Thus, in this paper, while drawing from ethnography carried out during 2009 – 2010 in Nepal, I explore various narratives that seek to frame death as a concept of ‘martyrology’ – liberation – from socio-cultural and political inequality. It seems, martyrdom and ‘mukti’ occupy a significant place in the Maoist revolutionary ideology, which defines both the desire of human nature to attain greater possibilities in life and the history of Nepali socio-cultural and religious arrangements where ‘mrytu’ is seen as a door to accomplish ‘mukti’ – self-actualisation. Hence, death – mrytu is exalted as ‘the image’ that revolutionaries adhere to, as a by-product of the process of revolution and to place oneself in a category of the self-actualised being.

In a broader frame of reference, this coexisted alongside the Hindu and Buddhist philosophy of death, which the Maoists framed as the ideology of ‘martyrology’. Therefore, for the life of revolution to continue, death and destruction were seen as creative strategies for revolutionaries and dying for a social cause was seen as a means to self-actualisation. And hence death during Maoists conflict was argued meaningful in terms of political martyrdom.

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Linguistic Situation in Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalayas: Interstices between Identity, Difference and Belongingness
Swatahsiddha Sarkar,
Assistant Professor, Sociology, Department of Sociology, University of North Bengal, India

Abstract: This paper presumes that language can be a significant factor in shaping the courses of belongingness. Arguing as such it attempts to provide an overview of the contemporary linguistic situation in Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalayas with a significant poser: as to whether language can yield multiple modes of belonging for the same linguistic group at different intervals of time. As is well-known Darjeeling-Sikkim region falls within the geographical limits of the Eastern Himalayas which can again be conceived of as a ‘cultural area’ distinguishable by a single cultural criteria i.e. Nepali language. Conceiving Darjeeling-Sikkim region as a distinctive cultural space within this broad culture area (distinguishable on the basis of the predominance of Nepali language) of the Eastern Himalayas and drawing experiences from contemporary realities of neighboring countries like Nepal and Bhutan this paper will state and evaluate the linguistic situation in the Darjeeling-Sikkim region that has been a home for more than ten million Nepali speaking populations outside Nepal.

It is argued that the modalities of belonging are interlaced with the experiences of domination and subordination on the one hand and inclusion and exclusion on the other and therefore they acquire a positioning within the discourses of power. The relative significance of all these parameters the way they were worked out in past or in present can be systematically brought out if we concentrate on the concrete case of Nepali language and examine the different linguistic practices as they were operationalized over the years to legitimize and reinforce the notion of belongingness in the Darjeeling-Sikkim region in particular.

It has already been noted by many that the idioms of belonging of a sizeable section of Nepali speaking population outside Nepal have been largely defined by Nepali language. Politics of belonging in the Darjeeling-Sikkim region has been a case of historical mediation between language and empire. With the passage of time and particularly with India’s independence and with Sikkim’s entry into Indian Union the contours of this mediation between language and positions of power shifted its course. From being a ‘language of command’ and ‘language of domination’ Nepali language in this region has become a ‘language of self assertion’ too and of late gave birth to minority rights claims thereby seeking to establish a seemingly new mode of belonging in the ethnically ripe political situations of Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalayas.

In fine, this paper seeks to examine those moments wherein language and politics of belonging reinforced and contested each other. As such it would attempt to explore two particular sites: firstly, situations where Nepali language played a unifying role and yielded the basis of belonging region specifically; and secondly, situations where Nepali language seemed to have failed to attain the ‘language of command’ like conditions and paved ways for a ‘new’ politics drawing more from issues like linguistic difference, minority language rights, and politics of indigeneity. The need is to understand whether both these modes of belonging are corroborative or mutually exclusive to each other.

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Decentralised Planning in Nepal: Stakeholders’ Perspectives on District Development Plan
Thakur Prasad Bhatta,
PhD Candidate, School of Education (KUSOED), Kathmandu University, Nepal

Abstract: Decentralized planning has been an important agenda in view of growing concern for decentralization and governance all over the world.  Nepal has been practicing decentralization for decades since 1960s under different political regimes. However, there are critiques that it has been more political rhetoric than the transformation of traditional centralized governance system into participatory local self-governance. Amid such critiques for a long time; Nepal introduced Local Self Governance Act (LSGA), 1999 to address the increasingly challenging issue of decentralization and to institutionalize local self-governance in the country. One of the important responsibilities devolved to local bodies namely District Development Committee (DDC) in Nepal through the LSGA, 1999 is the formulation and implementation of District Development Plan.  Though there are number of studies laden with experts’ own views on decentralization and local government’s roles in development and service delivery at local level, there is little research on how local stakeholders themselves perceive the decentralized planning namely the District Development Plan after the introduction of LSGA, 1999. Hence, this study intends to explore the perspectives of the local stakeholders on District Development Plan in view of existing policy and practices. Perceptions of the stakeholders on the practice of the decentralized planning indeed would contribute to a fuller understanding of the decentralization process.

This study is qualitative research guided by interpretive paradigm in exploring the perceptions of multiple stakeholders of District Development Plan. As a part of ongoing PhD thesis research, the study site of this research is Kabhre district of Nepal. This study employs primarily semi-structured face-to-face interview method in order to collect primary data from the study site. The participants of the interview are the district level stakeholders of the District Development Plan who represent the government organizations, political parties and civil society and the private sector. In addition to the interviews, observations and document analysis are the other methods of data collection.  Thematic analysis will be used to analyze the data and draw findings from the research.

Preliminary findings drawn from some qualitative interviews and document analysis indicate that the process of District Development Plan is more ritual, centrally influenced and less participatory. Only few stakeholders dominate the process of planning while the voices of majority of stakeholders are marginalized reflecting unequal power relationship among the stakeholders. Though the LSGA, 1999 intends strengthening the local self-governance, present role of the local government does not commensurate it as one of the stakeholders comments that ‘the power is still in Singha Darbar at central level, not at local level’. In such context, this research would be a good empirical reference for policy makers and practitioners in analyzing the process of decentralized planning for the meaningful participation and ownership enhancement of the stakeholders and to strengthen the institutionalization of local self- governance.

Keywords: Decentralization, decentralized planning, stakeholders, District Development Plan, local self-governance

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New Norms and Forms of Development: Following Financial and Technical Assistance in The Health Sector in Nepal
Panel Organiser/Chair: Jeevan Sharma and Ian Harper, University of Edinburgh
Discussant: Deepak Thapa, Social Science Baha

Panel Abstract: In this panel we explore issues around External Development Assistance and public expenditure, in particular in relation to the health sector. Although decreasing in its share to the overall health budget, Official Development Assistance (ODA) is a major source of health expenditure in Nepal. Beyond ODA, there has also been a significant increase in funding for health and development activities from private donors, including the Gates Foundation and others. This increase in scale and volume of funding in the health sector has been accompanied by an increase in the participation of various institutional actors and the introduction of new institutional arrangements for managing and spending resources, which has transformed the landscape of health sector development. While the discussion on the volume, trend and scale of external assistance in the health sector development is important, it does not capture the full complexity of these changes. Development aid is a part of transnational networks that tie global institutions, ideas, discourses and professionals to national and local places. They are institutional in that they link various international, national, local, governmental, non-governmental, for-profit and non-profit institutions, disciplines, technologies, knowledge systems and professionals. It involves a wide range of projects and programmes that deliver services, generate evidence through programmatic interventions, train and employ staff, and influence policy among others.

In this panel, we are interested in the social and political organisation of health financing and external development assistance in the health sector in Nepal. Questions to address may include the following: how has the financing of health sector and external development assistance in the health sector changed since 1990?; How is health financing and external assistance organised?; How does financial and technical assistance flow into the health sector in Nepal?; What institutions and institutional mechanisms are put in place to manage health financing and external assistance in the health sector?; Who implement projects and programmes on the ground? What do institutions, employees, consultants, and volunteers do when they manage programmes and projects or when they provide technical assistance?

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Impact of Architecture of Health Care Financing in Nepal
Shiva Raj Adhikari, Associate Professor, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Paper Abstract: Recent data suggested that total health expenditure accounted for 5.5% of Nepal’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an amount that was close to the average of 5% for other low-income countries but well below the global average of 9.2% (WHO, 2012). Public allocations to fund the health sector were around 10% of total government expenditure. This was higher than the average of 8.1% for other low-income countries and demonstrates government commitment to funding the health sector. In fact, government health expenditure translated into only 2.2% of GDP. While this amount was slightly higher than the low-income country average for that year of 1.9%, it was low for what is essentially the mandatory pre-paid component of a health financing system. The global average, for example, was 5.3%. A good sign, though, is that the 2012 percentage was considerably higher than a decade ago, when the figure was around 1.5% (MOHP, 2011). In 2012, per capita government expenditure on health was around $32 (in terms of purchasing power parity), higher than the low-income country average of $25 but twenty times less than the global average of $652.

Out-of-pocket payments (OOP) were the principal source of financing for health care (at almost half of total financing in 2012). This was around the low-income average but high in global terms (where the average was 21%). It was also well above the 20% limit suggested by the 2010 World Health Report to ensure that financial catastrophe and impoverishment as a result of accessing health care become negligible (World Health Organisation 2010). Private health insurance was negligible in Nepal.

Catastrophic payments due to OOP in different thresholds are increasing over the years. Surprisingly concentration indices for NLSS 2010/11 are found negative, which suggests that mean catastrophic payments are skewed to poor people. Households having higher number of under-five children and elderly are more likely to incur catastrophic payments. Households in Tarai region are more likely to incur catastrophic payments in terms of OOPs and medical expenditure. Impoverishment impacts due to OOP in different thresholds are increasing over the years. Surprisingly poverty gap for NLSS 2010/11 is significantly higher (around 4%). Results from synthetic data analysis suggested that probability of being catastrophic to catastrophic or permanent catastrophic is significantly higher, for example, 13% due to OOP and 7% due to medicine at 10 % threshold. This indicates that nearly 2% of HH remain permanent poor owning to OOP expenditure in health. Synthetic panel provides some additional information how OOP can make impoverishing impact on households.

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The Global Fund in Nepal
Kapil Dahal, Lecturer, Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Tribhuwan University; Ian Harper, Professor of Anthropology of Health and Development, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh; Sushil Baral, Executive Director, HERD, Kathmandu; Rekha Khatri, Qualitative Research Manager, HERD Kathmandu

Paper Abstract: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) is an international financial instrument that focuses on achievements of targets through investments in the control of these three diseases. It demands outcome-based evaluation metrics to link disbursement of resources to performance in lieu of achievement of clear and measurable results. All the grants from GFATM have a transparent performance framework and the recipients report their service delivery results against this framework.

This paper explores how the GFATM strategy is operationalised in the context of Nepal. The institutional entities involved are the principal recipients (PRs), which receive funding directly from the GFATM and sub-recipients (SRs), which receive funding from their respective PRs. The PRs (Government bodies and International NGOs) and SRs (mainly INGOs and NGOs) are the main organizations involved in health sector development, either working vertically in one or some of these three disease arenas, or in other areas of health development. Based on ethnographic observation and interviews, the paper illustrates the operationalizing of this target based funding modality in various parts of Nepal. In doing so, it pays attention to the consequences – both intended and unintended – of such funding. It also sheds light on how attempting to reach targets with the predetermined activities is linked to generating quantitative data. In focusing on this, it illustrates how the attention towards broader impact tends to become secondary to reaching numerical targets.

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Foreign Aid and Institutional Arrangements in Implementing a Maternal and Child Health Project in Nepal
Radha Adhikari, Research Fellow, School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh and Obindra Bahadur Chand, Research Associate, Social Science Baha

Paper Abstract: Since the early 50s, health service in Nepal has been heavily and consistently supported by foreign aid – either via supporting the state mechanism to provide services or foreign aid supporting the beneficiaries directly, outside the state system. However, increasingly in the past few decades a large portion of foreign aid in health sector is channeled through project assistances. Health services are contracted (and sub-contracted) out to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at national and local levels. This contracting out health service and interventions coincides with growing number of NGOs and private sector consulting firms working in health sector since the 1990s. Whether it is used to deliver services, generate evidence, provide technical assistance, and/or to strengthen the health system, a number of intermediary organizations and/or through consortium of organizations manage a substantive portion of foreign aid.

Based on an ethnographic study that looks at the foreign aid and MCH service development and delivery in Nepal since 1990, this paper discusses how project ideas are conceptualized, projects activities are out-sourced, implemented, managed and evaluated. Organisations regularly use transparency and aid efficiency argument while managing fund to run a project. More specifically, this paper unpacks the networks and relationships between the foreign aid providers, organisations that manage foreign aid and organizations that implement foreign aid funded projects are developed and maintained in order to achieve MCH targets. We take two of our research case studies – SAMMAN Project managed by Care Nepal and SRH project, which is managed by ADRA Nepal to illustrate how national-level NGOs secure fund and contract out projects activities to local NGOs in implementing districts.

[1] Sudipta Kaviraj, ‘Laughter and Subjectivity: The Self-Ironical Tradition in Bengali Literature,’ in Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 34, 2000, pp. 379-406.
[2] Onta, ‘The Politics of Bravery: A History of Nepali Nationalism,’ 165-170.

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