Advertisement

Dialectical Anthropology

, 33:287 | Cite as

The formation of political consciousness in rural Nepal

  • Sara Beth ShneidermanEmail author
Article

Abstract

This chapter considers the formation of political consciousness at the village level in Nepal through an ethno-historical examination of the 1984 Piskar Massacre, in which a local festival in Sindhupalchok district became a fatal confrontation between villagers and the police. Using a Gramscian theoretical framework, this case study suggests how we might broadly conceptualize the formation of political consciousness in rural Nepal as a key historical process, in relation to which any genuine understanding of motivations behind participation in the Maoist movement in particular, and the political sphere in general, must be considered.

Keywords

Nepal Maoist Political consciousness Crisis of hegemony Antonio Gramsci Ethnography of conflict and violence Nationalism Ethnicity Class 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This article draws upon research conducted between 1999 and 2007, funded by major grants from the Fulbright Commission, the National Science Foundation and the Social Science Research Council, as well as small grants from the Department of Anthropology and the Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University. I initially presented these ideas in conference panels organized by the Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies in Madison, Wisconsin in 2002, and Social Science Baha in Kathmandu in 2003. Thanks are due to the participants of those panels, as well as to David Holmberg, Sushma Joshi, Genevieve Lakier, Kathryn March, John Metz, Shambhu Oja, Jakob Rigi, Matt Rothwell, Deepak Thapa and Mark Turin, all of whom have contributed to this paper over time. I am grateful to Judith Pettigrew and Alpa Shah for giving me the opportunity to republish this article here, and for their careful comments and suggestions. Finally, I thank Bir Bahadur Thami, Man Bahadur Thami, the people of Piskar, and the larger Thangmi communities of Sindhupalchok and Dolakha.

References

  1. Amnesty International. 1987. Nepal: A pattern of human rights violations. New York: Amnesty International National Office.Google Scholar
  2. Anonymous. 2001. Yasari Ghosana Gariyo Jilla Jan Sarkar. Jan Bhavana National Weekly 19 (41): 5.Google Scholar
  3. Appadurai, A. 2004. The capacity to Aspire: Culture and the terms of recognition. In Culture and public action, ed. V. Rao and M. Walton, 59–84. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Buci-Glucksmann, C. 1980. Gramsci and the state. London: Lawrence and Wishart.Google Scholar
  5. Cammett, J. 1967. Antonio Gramsci and the origins of Italian communism. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. de Sales, A. 2000. The Kham Magar Country, Nepal: Between ethnic claims and Maoism. European Bulletin of Himalayan Research 19: 41–71.Google Scholar
  7. Fardon, R., ed. 1990. Localizing strategies: Regional traditions of ethnographic writing. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press.Google Scholar
  8. Forgacs, D., ed. 2000. The Antonio Gramsci Reader: Selected writings 1916–1935. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Gautam, S., A. Banskota, and R. Manchanda. 2001. Where there are no men: Women in the Maoist insurgency in Nepal. In Women, war and peace in South Asia: Beyond victimhood to agency, ed. R. Manchanda, 214–251. New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. Gellner, D., ed. 2003. Resistance and the state: Nepalese experiences. Delhi: Social Science Press.Google Scholar
  11. Guha, R. 1999. Elementary aspects of peasant insurgency in colonial India. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hachhethu, K. 2002. Party building in Nepal: Organization, leadership and people. Kathmandu: Mandala Book Point.Google Scholar
  13. Hachhethu, K. 2003. The Nepali state and the Maoist insurgency 1996–2001. In Himalayan ‘People’s War’: Nepal’s Maoist rebellion, ed. M. Hutt. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  14. Himali Prakasan Parivar (HPP). 2041 VS [1984–1985]. Piskar: Daman ra pratirodhko katha. Varanasi: Janata.Google Scholar
  15. Holmberg, D. 2000. Derision, exorcism, and the ritual production of power. American Ethnologist 27 (4): 927–949.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hutt, M., ed. 2004. Himalayan ‘People’s War’: Nepal’s Maoist rebellion. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  17. INSEC 1995. Appendix 3: Peasant movement in Nepal. In Human rights yearbook 1995. Kathmandu: INSEC.Google Scholar
  18. Karki, A., and D. Seddon. 2003. The People’s War in Nepal: Left perspectives. Delhi: Adroit.Google Scholar
  19. Kurtz, D. 1996. Hegemony and anthropology: Gramsci, exegeses, reinterpretations. Critique of Anthropology 16 (2): 103–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lawoti, M. 2003. The Maoists and Minorities: Overlap of interests or a case of exploitation? Studies in Nepali History and Society 8 (1): 67–97.Google Scholar
  21. Lecomte-Tilouine, M. 2006. “Kill One, He Becomes One Hundred”: Martyrdom as generative sacrifice in the Nepal People’s War. Social Analysis 50 (1): 51–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Leve, L. 2007. Failed Development” and Rural Revolution in Nepal: Rethinking subaltern consciousness and women’s empowerment. Anthropological Quarterly 80 (1): 127–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liu, M., and P. Roberts. 2001. Nepal’s Maoist threat. Newsweek 18: 26–27.Google Scholar
  24. Luitel, A.R. 2001. Legal hurdles in Red Army, RNA Merger. The Himalayan Times. http://www.thehimalayantimes.com. 17 February 2001.
  25. Mao, Tse-tung. 1965. Some questions concerning methods of leadership. In Selected works of Mao Tse-tung. 117–122. Vol. 3. Peking: Foreign Languages Press.Google Scholar
  26. Moynihan, M. 2002. The Terror in Nepal. The Washington Post. May 7. A21.Google Scholar
  27. Niko Pragatisil Thami Samaj (NPTS). 2054 VS [1997–1998]. Piskar Hatyakand. In Nan ni Patuko. 65–85. Kathmandu.Google Scholar
  28. Ogura, K. 2004. Realities and images of Nepal’s Maoists after the attack on Beni. European Bulletin of Himalayan Research 27: 67–125.Google Scholar
  29. Onta, P. 2003. Democracy and duplicity: The Maoists and their interlocuters in Nepal. In Himalayan ‘People’s War’: Nepal’s Maoist rebellion, ed. M. Hutt, 136–151. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  30. Pettigrew, J. 2003. Guns, kinship, and fear: Maoists among the Tamu-mai (Gurungs). In Resistance and the state: Nepalese experiences, ed. D. Gellner, 305–325. Delhi: Social Science Press.Google Scholar
  31. Pettigrew, J. 2004. Living between the Maoists and the army in Rural Nepal. In Himalayan ‘People’s War’: Nepal’s Maoist rebellion, ed. M. Hutt, 261–283. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  32. Pettigrew, J., and S. Shneiderman. 2004. Women and the Maobadi: Ideology and agency in Nepal’s Maoist movement. Himal Southasian 17 (1): 19–29.Google Scholar
  33. Pfaff-Czarnecka, J. 1996. A battle of meanings: Commemorating the goddess Durga’s victory over the demon Mahisa as a political act. Kailash: A Journal of Himalayan Studies 18 (3–4): 57–92.Google Scholar
  34. Pfaff-Czarnecka, J. 2004. High expectations, deep disappointment: Politics, state and society in Nepal after 1990. In Himalayan ‘People’s War’: Nepal’s Maoist rebellion, ed. M. Hutt, 166–191. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  35. Popham, P. 2001. Nepal Year Zero. The Sunday Review of the Independent 12: 17–19.Google Scholar
  36. Roka, H. 2001. The Maoists and the Nepalese Left. Paper presented at the Seminar on the Maoist Movement at SOAS, London.Google Scholar
  37. Scott, J. 1985. Weapons of the weak: Everyday forms of peasant resistance. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Shah, S. 2002. From evil state to civil society. In State of Nepal, ed. K.M. Dixit and S. Ramachandaran, 22–83. Kathmandu: Himal Books.Google Scholar
  39. Sharma, M., and D. Prasain. 2004. Gender dimensions of the People’s War: Some reflections on the experiences of rural women. In Himalayan ‘People’s War’: Nepal’s Maoist rebellion, ed. M. Hutt, 152–165. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  40. Shneiderman, S. 2003. Violent histories and political consciousness: Reflections on Nepal’s Maoist movement from Piskar village. Himalaya: The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 23 (1): 38–48.Google Scholar
  41. Shneiderman, S., and M. Turin. 2004. The Path to Jan Sarkar in Dolakha District: Towards an ethnography of the Maoist movement. In Himalayan ‘People’s War’: Nepal’s Maoist rebellion, ed. M. Hutt, 77–109. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  42. Thami Bhasa Tatha Sanskriti Utthan Kendra (TBTSUK). 2056 VS [1999–2000]. Thami Jatiko Ragatle Lekhieko: Piskar parba. Dolakhareng. 63–68. Jhapa.Google Scholar
  43. Thapa, D., ed. 2003. Understanding the Maoist movement of Nepal. Kathmandu: Martin Chautari.Google Scholar
  44. Thapa, D. 2004. Radicalism in the left and the emergence of the Maoists. In Himalayan People’s War: Nepal’s Maoist rebellion, ed. M. Hutt. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  45. Thapa, D., with B. Sijapati. 2003. A kingdom under siege: Nepal’s Maoist insurgency, 1996–2003. Kathmandu: Printhouse.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St Catharine’s CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations