Day 3

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Day 3 : 29 July (Friday)
SESSION 7:  9 – 11 am 
Panel A7  
Panel B7  
Chair: Mahendra Lawoti, Western Michigan University
Chair: Lokranjan Parajuli, Martin Chautari
Discussant: Jeevan R. Sharma, University of Edinburgh
Bryony Ruth Whitmarsh
PhD Candidate, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Gantantra Smarak (Republic Memorial): The Politics of Memory 
Alba Castellsagué
PhD Candidate,
Socio‐Cultural Anthropology, Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona (UAB)
Schooling, Gender and Mobility in Nepal: At The Crossroads towards Development?
Gaurav Lamichhane
MA South Asian Studies, University of Heidelberg
State Recognition and Emerging Trends of Modernization of Tibetan Medicine in Nepal
Kumar Chhetri
Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), Doctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of North Bengal
Gender Dimension of the Gorkhaland Movement
Ruja Pokhrel
Research Officer, Emerald Project, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO), Nepal
Nawaraj Upadhaya,
Mark J.D. Jordans,
Dristy Gurung,
Ramesh P. Adhikari,
Inge Peterson &
Ivan H. Komproe
Mental Health System Governance in Nepal: Current Situations and Future Directions
Susan Clarke
PhD candidate, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales
Structural violence, health and the lives of women in Jumla
BREAK: 11 am– 11:30 pm
SESSION 8: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Panel A8
Panel B8
Chair: Susan Clarke, University of New South Wales
Discussant: Bryony Ruth Whitmarsh, University of London
Chair: Noah Coburn, Bennington College
Discussant: Sujeet Karn, Social Science Baha
Claire Martinus
Pedagogic Assistant, Anthropology and Sociology, UMONS-ESHS
Social Rules and Uses in Public Spaces in Kathmandu
Jeevan R. Sharma
Lecturer, South Asia and International Development,
University of Edinburgh
How does a case become a ‘Case’? Understanding Torture and Ill Treatment Documentation in Nepal
Dawa Tshering Sherpa
Independent Researcher
Soni Khanal 
Independent Researcher
‘Everyday is about surviving’: Street children and the Great Quake
Nar Bahadur Saud
Masters in Conflict Peace and Development Studies, Tribhuvan University
Community Reconciliation through Playback Theatre-facilitated Dialogue in Nepal
LUNCH BREAK: 1:30 – 2:30 pm
SESSION 9: 2:30 – 4:30 pm
Panel A9
Chair: Bandita Sijapati, Social Science Baha
Sanjaya Mahato, Institute of Philisophy and Sociolgy – Polish Academic of Sciences
Mahendra Lawoti
Professor, Department of Political Science, Western Michigan University
Swatahsiddha Sarkar
Babika Khawas
Department of Sociology,
University of North Bengal
 Closing Remarks: Heather Hindman, Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies

Submissions for the Annual Kathmandu Conference 2016

Schooling, Gender and Mobility in Nepal: At The Crossroads towards Development?
Alba Castellsagué Bonada,
PhD Candidate, Socio‐Cultural Anthropology, Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona (UAB), Spain

Abstract: Nepal is the third poorest country in Asia according to the World Bank’ standards, and the one with a wide gender gap (World Economic Forum, 2013). Therefore, the country has become a priority in the cooperation intervention, particularly in the scope of girls’ and women’ education. With a schooling enrollment tax below 70% and a 10% gap regarding gender, UNICEF has prioritized Nepal as the 25 most needed countries of intervention.

Following a classical approach to development, access to schooling is understood as a basic tool for measurement as well as to promote gender equality, in line with most international programs (UNESCO, 2000; United Nations, 2010; World Economic Forum, 2013). Other critical approaches question currently used global and homogeneous indicators to conceptualize and measure inequalities and its policies, as well as its real scope and impact in the field (Aikman, Halai, & Rubagiza, 2011; Nieuwenhuys, 1996; North, 2010; Shiva, 1989; Unterhalter, 2005).

In fact, schooling in Nepal has been developed hand by hand with the imaginary and politics of capitalist-­‐productive development, ranging from the old influence of the British-­‐Indian colonial period to the current widespread presence of NGOs (Caddell, 2007). Bikas, and school operating as its symbol, have become a new social distinction in Nepal (Skinner & Holland, 1996), spreading an ideology of modernization and new scales of progress (Pigg, 1992) from a dualist framework: urban vs rural, modern vs traditional, developed vs backwards, new vs old (Fujikura, 2001; Pigg, 1992; Shrestha, 1995). But social categories and distinctions, far from being simply imposed, are negotiated and re-­‐interpreted, assimilated and contested by local people (Fujikura, 2001; Harber, 2014; Skinner & Holland, 1996).

At the core of such debates, the paper presents an ethnographic case study among Sherpa in rural Nepalese Himalaya to analyze the relationship between schooling and the production and reproduction of the gender regime (Connell, 1990), as well as the impact of schooling as a tool for development in the village. Results show remarkable discontinuities inside-­‐outside school and the reproduction of a symbolic hierarchy of cultural and educational practices, as well as the high value placed on the urban and productive as “educated”, beyond the rural, that is viewed as “uneducated”. In particular, the paper focuses on the findings regarding a particular phenomenon imbricated in school process: the increasing mobility to urban centers despite the poor real opportunities to reach the expectations generated by the school; and its consequences for the configuration of the local gender regime. Exploring particular mobility regimes among young women from rural areas let us know about their experiences and expectations and how the development ideology is incorporated, negotiated and contested through schooling, becoming a powerful tool for identity politics.

Aikman, S., Halai, A., & Rubagiza J. (2011). Conceptualising gender equality in research on education quality. Comparative Education, 47(1), 45–60.

Caddell, M. (2007). Education and Change : A Historical Perspective on Schooling, Development and the Nepali Nation-­‐State. In K. Kumar & J. Oesterheld (Eds.), Education and Social Change in South Asia (pp. 251–284). New Delhi: Orient Longman.

Connell, R. W. (1990). The state, gender, and sexual politics. Theory and appraisal. Theory and Society, 19(5), 507–544.

Fujikura, T. (2001). Discourses of Awareness. Studies in Nepali History and Society, 6(2), 271–313.

Harber, C. (2014). Education and International Development: theory, practice and issues. Oxford, United kingdom: Symposium Books.

Nieuwenhuys, O. (1996). The paradox of child labor and anthropology. Annual Review of Anthropology, 25, 237–251.

North, A. (2010). MDG 3 and the negotiation of gender in international education organisations. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 40(4), 425–440.

Pigg, S. L. (1992). Inventing Social Categories Through Place: Social Representations and Development in Nepal. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 34(03), 491.

Shiva, V. (1989). Development, ecology and women. In Staying Alive, Women, Ecology and Development (6th ed., pp. 1–13). Trowbridge, UK: Redwood Bks.

Shrestha, N. (1995). Becoming a development agent. In J. Crush (Ed.), Power of development (pp. 266–277). London: Psychology Press.

Skinner, D., & Holland, D. (1996). Schools and the cultural production of the Educated Person in a Nepalese Hill Community. In B. Levinson, D. E. Foley, & D. C. Holland (Eds.), The cultural production of the educated person: Critical ethnographies of schooling and local practice (pp. 273–300). New York, NY: State University of New York Press.

UNESCO. (2000). The Dakar Framework for Action. Dakar, Senegal.

United Nations. (2010). The Millennium Development Goals Report.

Unterhalter, E. (2005). Global inequality, capabilities, social justice: The millennium development goal for gender equality in education. International Journal of Educational Development, 25(2), 111–122.

World Economic Forum. (2013). The Global Gender Gap Report 2013. Geneva.

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Gantantra Smarak (Republic Memorial): The Politics of Memory
Bryony Ruth Whitmarsh, PhD Candidate, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK

Abstract: The damage caused to the perimeter wall of the Narayanhiti Palace by the 2015 earthquakes revealed the construction site of the republic memorial (Ganatantra Smarak), to anyone walking past the North East corner of the palace compound. The design competition was launched in 2009 with initial fanfare by the (then Maoist-led) government (and the entries and process critiqued by members of the architectural community); since then construction and design has continued concealed behind the palace walls. This paper will examine the design competition (including the intentions of those who entered)[1] and process to date, to reveal the politics of this difficult project that embodies the problems of re-imagining the nation and proposing a credible resolution to the recent conflict.

The foundation stone of the (as yet uncompleted) republic memorial was laid four times, in four locations between 2009 and 2012. The most recent one in the grounds of the Narayanhiti Palace was laid by then Prime Minster Baburam Bhattarai with the promise that this structure would commemorate people’s contribution to the ‘New Nepal’, from the Maoist insurgency to the second jan andolan. Memorials or sites of conscience that address the violent histories of recent wars and human rights abuses have become part of the process of transitional justice across the world, on the assumption that any transition from violence to peaceful coexistence requires the disclosure of past events. Yet, the design competition and proposed contents for the Ganatantra Smarak suggests it is not intended as a site of conscience, but a physical framing of a unified national identity that did not and does not exist.

I will also consider public debates surrounding the Ganatantra Smarak. Articles in the Nepali press from 2009-2012 reveal that the memorial was a source of debate and confusion, both in terms of its location and design but also whether a memorial was the right course of action. [2] It is apparent that the various interested political parties could not agree on what the proper tone or overarching narrative should be. The constant re-positioning and adjustment of the design[3] reveals a level of political ambivalence towards the notion of transitional justice and demonstrates confusion over the construction of a new national identity, for example, tensions between modernist notions of a unified nation-state and the reality of an ethnically diverse nation.[4]

This paper takes a long view of the process now nearing completion (the memorial is due to open in May 2016). The proposed contents for the gallery celebrates the different ethnic groups within Nepal alongside an array of traditional national symbols, revealing a current political reluctance to create a space that might be contested at a time where political change threatens to reopen wounds that are incompletely healed. The politicians who are defining this public history would appear to agree that the best way to put the recent past behind is not to dwell on it too much.

Key references

Buckley-Zistel, S. & Schafer, S. (eds.) (2014). Memorials in Times of Transition. Cambridge: Intersentia.

Walkowitz, D.J & Knauer, L.M (eds.) (2004). Memory and the Impact of Political Transformation in Public Space. Durham & London: Duke University Press.

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Social Rules and Uses in Public Spaces in Kathmandu
Claire Martinus,
Pedagogic Assistant, Anthropology and Sociology, UMONS-ESHS, France

Abstract: How do people use public spaces in big cities in Nepal? The capital city, Kathmandu, has grown very fast since the eightees. Since 2010, a big program of widening of roads has changed the urban scape. In 2015, whereas the works were in progress, two big earthquakes destroyed houses, infrastructures and heritage. In April and May 2015, the two earthquakes of more than 7,8 on Richter scale destroyed a big part of the UNESCO world heritage sites (almost 80% of some sites). In this difficult period, Nepalese are demonstrating a tremendous resilience despite the situation is getting worse since the blockage of supplies coming from the indian border.

This contribution propose to give a new lighting on urban sociology in Nepal in a globalised context. Through an ethnographic description of the appropriation of public spaces by citizens (for instance during strikes in Kathmandu), or through the analysis of big roads projects, our ambition is to answer to the question « how to conciliate the model of the city as a living place with the model of the city as an economic center ? ». This research has been conduced using ethnographic methods as participant observation or undertaking interviews. The theories currently used are based on urban sociology, the branch of sociology that tries to understand the interactions and transformations of the different kinds of society organisations and the forms of urban planning.

Kathmandou is a very shifting city. The rural exodus, the needed urbanisation due to demographic explosion, the growth of economic liberalism and global exchanges, the rapidity with which the infrastructures can be destroyed (to wide the roads or by earthquakes), all this leads a new kind of understanding of « the nepalese urban life ».

To understand the social rules and uses in public spaces in Katmandu, an analysis of two examples will be provided. First, through the analysis of several road projects, we will understand how citizens perceived them as invaded by the state, when some distances of wall to be destroyed were written on their houses. Secondly, we will see how people appropriated the public spaces just after the earthquakes, to find a secure place to stay during the time to check if their houses are safe.

The successive destructions of the environment of Nepalese in Kathmandu lead to some adjustments in the way of appropriating spaces. The caste system, the ethnicity, or the kinship still play a very important role in the social scene that the street is ; but the everyday lives in Kathmandu has changed the society, thanks to an adjustement of the populations to the economic modernity.

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State Recognition and Emerging Trends of Modernization of Tibetan Medicine in Nepal
Gaurav Lamichhane,
MA South Asian Studies, University of Heidelberg, Germany

Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of the lack of state recognition of Tibetan medicine in Nepal. Although scholars have investigated the relationship between Tibetan medicine and state institutions, discussions on the different trends of modernization of Tibetan medicine induced by the lack of state recognition is missing. It is based on the ethnographic study (participant-observation) of three Tibetan clinics and a 10-day training course in Tibetan message therapy (called Kunye) in Boudha, Kathmandu, conducted from the second week of February until the last week of April in 2015. A total of 17 interviews were conducted with the doctors and the clinic staff, and other relevant actors—local and foreign patients and officials of the organizations promoting Tibetan medicine in Nepal. The interviews were based on structured, semi-structured, and unstructured questions as well as informal discussions.

I found that the two groups—Himalayan amchi and Tibetan doctors—practicing Tibetan medicine in Nepal are affected differently by the lack of state recognition. Himalayan amchi are striving hard to sustain their practice and therefore are actively seeking state support in order to survive. Since the state does not recognize the traditional lineage system of amchi, the amchi have had to transform their medical knowledge by aligning with the state’s policy of what makes a proper medical system, which is based on the biomedical model of healthcare; this requires the amchi to modernize their practice by institutionalizing and professionalizing amchi medicine.

Contrary to the Himalayan amchi, the Tibetan doctors in Boudha do not have a similar pressure to modernize their practice because they were trained in the modern institutes of Tibetan medicine in India; so their practice in Boudha is already professionalized and institutionalized. Since the Nepali state tolerates their practice and they are able to cater their service to their foreign clientele, they are not struggling for mere survival like the Himalayan amchi. Tibetan doctors have taken advantage of the absence of recognition and regulation by creating commercial training courses that suit the tastes of their foreign clients.

Thus, Tibetan medicine is undergoing two major trends of modernization in Nepal due to the lack of state recognition: i) the path of professionalization and institutionalization followed by the Himalayan amchi; and ii) the path of commercialization followed by the urban based Tibetan doctors in the institutionalized clinics of Boudha. The latter also entails westernization of Tibetan medicine. Some local actors realize the shortcomings of both the trends and hence they are trying to create a middle path by combining the most useful elements of each approach. They want to promote the traditional practice by professionalizing it in a way that it becomes a marketable commodity, thereby creating a third model of modernization of Tibetan medicine that is both professional and commercial. The state has thus far only acted as a silent observer of these developments. However, if it takes action and recognizes Tibetan medicine, there are serious benefits for all the stakeholders.

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How does a case become a ‘Case’? Understanding Torture and Ill Treatment Documentation in Nepal
Jeevan Sharma,
Permanent Lecturer, South Asia and International Development, Department of Social Anthropology, School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK

Abstract: Human rights organisations draw on the language, institutions and norms of international human rights law. They invest considerable time, expertise and resources to monitor, screen and document cases of torture and ill treatment. The documentation of torture and ill treatment is challenging not only because of limited political space available for this work and the lack of protection for survivors as well as human rights workers, but also because the very practice of documentation is not straightforward. In their attempt to gather reliable and persuasive evidence that are often used for ‘naming and shaming’ strategies, human rights organisations have to make decisions on where to focus, how to identify and document cases of torture and ill treatment. This gets pronounced in the context of low-income countries that have a few active organisations and limited legal or medical expertise or resources available for torture and ill-treatment documentation work.

How is the torture and ill-treatment work institutionally organised and how does it shape the documentation practices? How do human rights organisations identify, document and take forward a case, and for what purpose? Why do human rights organisations document cases? How has Nepal’s Torture Compensation Act 1996 (TCA) shaped the documentation of torture and ill treatment? Based on an ESRC/DFID funded research project on documentation of torture and ill treatment, this paper examines the institutional form and the methods used by human rights organisations in Nepal to identity and document experiences of torture and ill treatment, and the decisions they make on whether or not certain ‘perceived grievances’ transition into cases (in their legal, medical, media or political forms) of torture and ill treatment. This paper argues that a large number of experiences of torture and ill treatment in Nepal never get perceived as such and they never transition into legal, medical, medical or political cases of torture or ill treatment. The paper draws the implications of the research findings for human rights documentation more broadly.

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Gender Dimension of the Gorkhaland Movement
Kumar Chhetri,
Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) Doctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of North Bengal, India

Abstract: The academic discourses on Gorkhaland movement largely remain gendered as they failed to cultivate the ‘complex institutionalized gender relations’ that operates both at societal level and at the movement situations. They also failed to realize women as the major building forces of the Gorkhaland movement. The Gorkha Women were always visible as leaders, participants, opponents and supporters of the movement. Though they made remarkable contributions in the independent, trade union and Nepali language movement, their participation in the identity movement has been witnessed only after 1980s under the leadership of Gorkha National Liberation Front and Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha. The GNLF as well as GJMM encouraged them to come out of their private domain to participate in the movement which led the formation of the Gorkha National Women’s Organization (GNWO) in 1986 and Gorkha Jana Mukti Nari Morcha (GJMNM) in 2007 as the ‘subsidiary unit for women’ in the Gorkhaland movement. However, at the organizational and structural hierarchy they were placed on more supportive, expressive and background roles.

The relationship between the women participant and the Social Movement Organizations (SMOs) remained paradoxical in the history of Social movements in India in general and Gorkhaland in particular. One of the major problems for women participants in Gorkhaland movement is the social construction of public and political sphere with the male and private sphere with the female and they are particularly excluded from the public political and nationalist discourse. The male are always placed in a position more than women in official leadership position and relegates most of the women to the more supportive, expressive and background roles. Thus, the present work try to inculcate some of the vital sociological areas of inquiry, such as, What does the societal gender division of labour have on fuelling or motivating protest? To what degree were these gender roles reproduced during the movement situation? How does structural gender inequalities and stratification places women in a subordinate position relative to men? Are they the ‘bridge’ or ‘invisible’ leaders who played the indispensable role of linking the Gorkhaland movement to the masses?

The present paper is divided into 5 sections; firstly it introduces and explains the context in brief. Secondly, it deals with the gender dimensions of the Gorkha/Nepali society of Darjeeling hills. This section also talks in brief the impact of migration, colonial modernity and Christianity among them. Thirdly, it deals with some conceptual and theoretical issues. Fourthly, deals with the emergence of GNWO and GJMNM as the subsidiary units for women. It is further divided into 2 sections; firstly, it deals with how the existing literature tried to look into the Gorkhaland movement in general and Gorkha women’s participation in movements in particular. Secondly, it deals with their participation, nature of their mobilization and gender power relationship at the organizational and structural mainly drawing from the field experiences. Lastly, summarizes and concludes the paper drawing some clues from the third world feminism.

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Community Reconciliation through Playback Theatre-facilitated Dialogue in Nepal
Nar Bahadur Saud,
Masters in Conflict Peace and Development Studies (MA), Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Abstract: In February 2015, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Nepal was founded to find out the truth about incidents of gross violation of human rights in the course of armed conflict and providing recommendation for legal actions in the country. It is marked as an official process of dealing with the past to consolidate the process of transitional justice.

There is a national need to integrate the memories of the conflict to heal from human right violation and to work jointly towards attaining a sustainable peace. This process of healing and reconciliation can be complemented by providing favorable conditions for dialogue, healing and reconciliation in community.

Reconciliation is a deep emotional and personal process which involves individuals and communities suffered directly and inflicted sufferings in armed conflicts. Usually, the precondition for reconciliation is to find a space for mutual recognition and personal healing from what one has lived through. Therefore, reconciliation cannot be imposed; rather it has to emerge, itself. Playback is one of approaches to deal with past for healing and reconciliation.

Playback theatre is an interactive theatre form that is inspired by improvisational theatre, storytelling traditions and psychodrama which is being practiced in post-conflict societies since 1975 for healing and reconciliation. In playback theatre, audience is invited to tell his/her personal story/memory and watch it enacted on the spot. Therefore, playback is a combination of theatre art, social work, and a ritual for healing. It seeks to give space and recognition to voices that are usually unheard. In this regard, this study focuses on contribution of playback theatre in the communities of Nepal for individual level healing as well as community level reconciliation to complement the national process of reconciliation.

Dialogue-facilitation through theater supports in personal healing and community level reconciliation. The dialogue process includes theatre art to enhance trust building, empathic listening and collective healing. When theatre, music, dance or poetry is presented in the community all kinds of people join together. These cultural resources are very powerful connectors that can support establishing peace in society. In this regard, Playback Theatre is used as a key approach to provide space for healing and to enhance social cohesion in the community as a project.

The researcher involved during the project implementation for ten months. Therefore, the universe of research is the dialogue facilitators and audiences of playback theatre performances from the six communities from six different districts of Nepal. Method includes the secondary information obtained through observation and participation of the researcher. The study design will employ the qualitative research. The source of data analysis will be already collected interviews, stories and life inquiries from researcher’s perspective.

The paper explicitly deals with how Playback Theater supports to promote social harmony and coexistence for healing and reconciliation in post-conflict communities. And, this study is important to understand community level sentiment for sustainable peace and reconciliation from bottom up approach.

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Mental Health System Governance in Nepal: Current Situations and Future Directions
Nawaraj Upadhaya,
Mark J.D. Jordans, Ruja Pokhrel, Research Officer, Emerald Project, Cross Country Research Project funded by EU) at Transcultural Psychosocial Organization, Nepal
Dristy Gurung, Ramesh P. Adhikari, Inge Peterson and Ivan H. Komproe

Abstract: Assessing and understanding governance is crucial to ensure accountability and transparency and to improve the performance of mental health systems. Using the health system governance framework developed by Siddiqi and colleagues this paper assesses the situation of mental health system governance in Nepal and provides recommendations for improving governance.

In-depth individual interviews were conducted with national level policymakers and district level planners. The interview checklist was developed based on the Siddiqi framework for assessing governance of health system. Data analysis was done in NVIVO 10 using framework matrices.

The mental health system governance assessment reveals a few positive developments and many challenges. The facilitating factors include availability of mental health policy, inclusion of mental health in other general health policies and plans, increasing participation of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and service user organizations in policy forums, and implementation of a few mental health projects through government-NGO collaboration. The challenges include the contrasting views among policymakers about the involvement of service users and caregivers in mental health policy formulation, the existence of several laws and legislations that have discriminatory provisions for people with mental illness and lack of mental health act to protect against this. The mental health policy of 1996 has not been officially revised or fully implemented. Funding for mental health is limited and inequitable relative to the disease burden. There is no coordinating unit for mental health within Ministry of Health and Population. There are very limited health workers trained on mental health. The mental health planning, treatment guidelines and referral mechanisms are absent at the district level. Mental health record keeping systems are inadequate and data are not used for program improvement and policy formulation. Though the government has included six psychotropic drugs in their free essential drugs list, not all of these drugs are available at the primary health care level.

In the last few years, mental health has received some attention in policy forums but the improvements at the policy level have not been translated at the implementation level. This suggests that there is a need for the development and implementation of mental health system governance procedures and mechanisms and for that establishment of coordination unit at the Ministry is a pre-requisite.

Key words: governance; mental health systems; Nepal.

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‘Every day is about surviving’: Street children and the Great Quake
Dawa Tshering Sherpa
and Soni Khanal, Research Assistant, Centre for Study of Labour and Mobility (CESLAM), Social Science Baha, Nepal

Abstract: The earthquake of April 2015 and the numerous aftershocks had severe impacts in most of the central hill districts of Nepal including the capital, Kathmandu. With months after the major quakes and recurring aftershocks, every individual, however difficult, is trying their best to shift towards normalcy. In this quest towards coping the stress brought about by the earthquake are also the street children. The global literature of natural hazards suggests that the children are one of the most vulnerable groups during the time of calamities. It is also observed the number of street children shoots up after such disasters.

Like in any other unplanned city and highly unequal society, in Nepal too the street children are present in all the major urban centres. Being one of the by products of uneven development and rich-poor divide, the street children have always been a segregated group from the ‘mainstream’. The derogatory and abusive term ‘khate’, used to denote the street children in Nepal, by and large describes their exclusion from the society. As an isolated group, they are increasingly vulnerable and have been so for decades, primarily because the society views them as threats. Research conducted in many parts of the world has shown that they are the easily available targets of perpetrators who are involved in illegal activities. UNICEF (2008) has reported that already precarious and in the streets, these children become subjected more towards harassment, drug abuse and trafficking. Considering that they are entitled to numerous forms of vulnerability, they need a coping strategy for their survival. With the lack of organized institutional support to the street children to deal with the stresses brought about by the earthquake, this ignored aspect needs exploration and elaboration.

Based on 15 in-depth interviews with the street children, the paper focuses on their daily life, and more significantly, on their strategies to tackle the predicaments after the earthquake. Because of the sensitivity of the issue, each of the 15 children were visited more than twice in the streets, in their homes, or the institutions working for them. The main argument of the paper is that the life of the children on the streets is already full numerous vulnerabilities and challenges, and therefore remains least affected by the earthquake.

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Locating Nepal in Indian Sociology and Social anthropology: Mapping the Research Highways from India to Nepal
Swatahsiddha Sarkar,
Assistant Professor, Sociology, Department of Sociology, University of North Bengal; and Babika Khawas, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of North Bengal, India

Abstract: It is well known that the study of ‘other culture’ constitutes the crux of what we know as comparative sociology and social anthropology. As such, the focus on the other society or for that matter the insistence in cross-cultural comparisons or explorations of a new culture was not unknown to Indian sociology and social anthropology. Earlier generation Indian sociologists/ social anthropologists like G. S. Ghurye and K. P. Chattopadhyay have made some notable contributions by making cross cultural comparisons in their studies. A handful of later generation Indian sociologists/ anthropologists have also made some pioneering efforts in this regard. However, compared to the volume of sociological/ anthropological researches those have a focus to India, the number of studies focusing foreign country as their subject matter or field is negligible. In fact, Indian sociologists/anthropologists rarely find it worth pursuing to carry out studies outside India. Within this context the present paper seeks to map out the length and breadth of research highways in the disciplines of sociology and social anthropology from India to Nepal.

The dearth of sociological/ anthropological studies on Nepal made by Indian sociologists has been noted before (Prasad and Phadnis 1988; Onta 2001 and repeated in 2015; Sundar et. al. 2000). Taking cue from this position that Indian sociology and social anthropology has made little ventures in Nepal studies, this paper aims at making a stock-checking. Moreover, the paper would attempt not only to assess the extent of Indian sociological/ social anthropological scholarship towards exploring Nepal as a subject matter of study and research but at the same time it would also flag up nature of doing sociology in Nepal as is revealed in the works of Indian sociologists and anthropologists.

It is often argued that the Indian research highways to Nepal though not overburdened with sociological/ social anthropological contributions yet it would be inappropriate to attest that the same is marked by the ‘complete absence’ of Indian sociological/ anthropological contributions. Though not as prolific as say, History or Political Science but quite a few sociological/ anthropological works on Nepal were made by Indian scholars. This paper proposes to develop a thematic review of them and examine the issues coming out of those efforts, which are worthy to be taken up for further exploration and analysis. Besides this thematic stock checking of the available studies, the present paper would also attempt to shed light on some of the selected images or representations of Nepal and Nepalese society as revealed in the works of Indian sociologists and social anthropologists. The proposed paper does not claim any exclusivity in terms of its analytical foci but is aimed at making preliminary and tentative illustrations of issues, which can further be brought into the fold of much deeper and reflexive theoretical and methodological analysis.

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Effective or Illusion of Participation? Interrogating the Constitution writing process in Nepal
Mahendra Lawoti, Professor, Department of Political Science, Western Michigan University, USA

Abstract: At the time 90 percent of the members of the Second Constituent Assembly were endorsing the new Constitution of Nepal, residents of half of the country, mostly from the Tarai/Madhesh but also from the hills and mountains as well, had been protesting against the fast-track constitution making process. The protest movements transformed into protest against the new Constitution that the marginalized group members perceive to be discriminatory or that does not extend them equality through recognition of identity and autonomy, among other things. The protests have continued for five months while India has tacitly supported the blockade of the Madhesi front to pressure the ruling parties to amend the constitution. The two claims by the constitution makers and the groups engaged in the protests are contradictory – how can a constitution signed by 90 percent of representatives be opposed by such a large number of population for such a long period? This paper, relying on theories of participation, including democratic constitution making processes (Dahl 1991; Elkins et al 2009), investigates the claims of participatory constitution making process, or the lack of it. I ask the question whether the constitution writing process met the principle and criteria for making it participatory. I will examine the time table, deliberation records, and participation archive of the Second Constituent Assembly, the Interim Constitution and the process it laid down for the making of the new Constitution as well as news coverage of the constitution making process, particularly of the final two months. While the election of the Constituent Assembly can be termed as participatory and inclusive, the paper argues that the constitution writing process in the second Constituent Assembly undermined fundamental principles of participation, such as the right to introduce agendas by representatives, the right to effective and adequate deliberation, the right to vote freely and as equal, and the right of the elected assembly to take decisions on all the constitution articles (as against major decisions taken outside the CA by three Bahun leaders), the right of people to deliberate and provide input, and so on. Even though participatory process have gained widespread legitimacy in different fields outside of politics, elite have often undermined participation by invoking it to gain legitimacy but manipulated it to prevent the poor and powerless from having effecting role in decision making process to maintain and protect their interests and privileges (Arnstein 1969; Cornwall 2005). The paper concludes that the dominant group leaders in Nepal that effectively controlled the major political parties engaged in token participation to legitimize the process that clearly defied the principles of participation.

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Structural Violence, Health and The Lives of Women in Jumla
Susan Clarke,
PhD Candidate, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Australia

Abstract: My paper examines the intersection between structural violence, health, healthcare and the daily lives of women living in the mountain villages of Jumla.  Structural violence, a theoretical perspective first described by Galtung (1969) and recently championed by Farmer (1996; 2004), is a contested frame for understanding the causes and effects of poverty and social injustice on the most disadvantaged (Schleper Hughes and Bourgois, 2004).

However, the framework of structural violence has rarely been applied to Nepal and the usefulness of the concept has not been adequately evaluated (Basnyet, 2015; Kohrt, 2009).  In particular, the voices of women engaged in subsistence agriculture, living outside district capitals have been absent.  Women living in remote areas, burdened by life and work, can be invisible to researchers leading to unhelpful generalisations about their capabilities, lives and experiences.

My paper addresses the concept of structural violence and analyses its value for understanding the concepts of health and healthcare in the lives of women in Jumla.  Jumla is one of the poorest, most remote and most poorly served districts, with HDI rank of 68 out of 75 districts of Nepal.   Natural impediments of steep mountains, variable water supply and harsh winters are compounded by limited access to secondary healthcare and education.

As part of a public health project I performed in depth semi-structured interviews with 17 women and a larger quantitative survey of 519 women.  All of the participants are subsistence farmers living in villages outside the district capital.  The main focus is on their experience and understanding of health and healthcare for themselves and their children.  I compare my findings with the theoretical literature on structural violence and studies using the theoretical framework of structural violence done in other low income settings.

I argue that the lived experience of these illiterate, impoverished village women is rich and nuanced,   overcoming the stereotype of the powerless that is offered by the frame of structural violence.  Although living in absolute poverty in a traditional patriarchal Hindu culture they are powerful, resilient and hopeful.  Jumli women are able to manoeuvre at the margins of their cultural context, there are overwhelmingly pragmatic regarding health and healthcare, seizing autonomy where possible and embracing change.

In conclusion, the detailed examination of Jumli women’s own voices offers a new understanding of the way in which village women negotiate their structural and cultural landscape, particularly in relation to health and healthcare.  The theory of structural violence, expedient for understanding the causes and effects of poverty, offers an incomplete and partial truth, too imprecise to appreciate the elusive experience of the remarkable women of Jumla.

[1] The architect of the winning design Abishek Mananda Bajyacharya stated its objective to memorialize the anonymous heroes of the country and to reinforce a sense of unity (Interview, 19 April 2012). Another design uses height to emphasize victory over the monarchy, another uses organic forms to suggest freedom from autocracy and another provides a rolling landscape that suggests peace and allows people to choose meaning for themselves. A seminar was held on 28 April 2009 to discuss the designs and it was commonly agreed that the designs presented lacked elements that promote [national] unity (
[2] E.g. Monumental Molehill. The Kathmandu Post. 2009 May 30.
[3] The architect Abishek Mananda Bajyacharya described how he was asked to redesign the memorial without the Gallery hall. Perhaps revealing an uncertainty about what should be displayed there. (Interview 19 April 2012)
[4] Gooneswardena on Sri Lanka where the Sri Lankan National Monument was commissioned in 1989 and has never been built (2004). She believes that this is because of the abstract nature of the design itself – perceived not to show unity, but fragmentation.

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