For the fourth day of the conference, 21 July, 2012, proposals were initially invited either as stand-alone papers or as panels. The papers/panels were selected by an international committee representing the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS), the Britain-Nepal Academic Council (BNAC) and the Social Science Baha.
|PANEL PRESENTATIONS: HALL A|
|PANEL A1: CONTINUITY AND CHANGE
9 – 10:45 AM
Chair: Rajendra Pradhan, Nepa School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Discussant: Mara Malagodi, School of Oriental and African Studies
Professor of Political Science, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
|Neither Exclusionary Nor Inclusive: Political Elite’s Attitudes and Behaviour in Democratising Multi-ethnic Nepal, 1990-2002|
Prospective Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, Connecticut, USA
|Remittances, Stability and Stagnation in Nepal|
Research Officer, The Carter Center, Kathmandu, Nepal
|Stability in Transition in Eastern Nepal|
|TEA: 10:45 – 11:15 AM|
|PANEL A2: RECENT RESEARCH ON NEPALI PRINT MEDIA HISTORY
11:15 AM – 1 PM
Chair and Discussant: Pratyoush Onta, Martin ChautariAlthough research on the history of Nepali print media has been going on for a while, most of it has been confined to documenting the history of literatures in Nepal’s various languages and the history of literature-oriented publications/magazines. However, in the recent past, some researchers have been studying the historical corpus of Nepali print media with research questions that open up new domains of knowledge. This panel will showcase the analyses and provisional conclusions of three recent and ongoing such research on Nepali print media history. The first paper will discuss aspects of the history of Nepali language magazines during the first six decades of the 20th century and analyse their role in consolidating Nepali language based Nepali nationalism and identity. The second paper will analyse the corpus of cases brought against various newspapers by (mostly) the Kathmandu Magistrate Office during the 1950s to demonstrate the contours of the efforts at regulating contents of the newspapers that were published during that decade. Among other things, these two papers advance our understanding of the world of Nepali print media published through the 1950s. The third paper analyses the coverage of the Janajati/language-rights andolan in the Nepal Bhasa weekly newspaper Inap during the 1980s. This paper advances our understanding of the ‘pre-history’ of the post-1990 Janajati andolan and deepens our knowledge of the history of Nepal Bhasa newspaper contents as well as opposition to the Panchayati state. Together, these three papers contribute to a broader social history of 20th century Nepal.
|1.||Ananta Koirala, Deepak Aryal, and Shamik Mishra
Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya
|The Historical Development of Nepali Magazines, 1899-1960|
|2.||Lokranjan Parajuli (alias Ramesh Parajuli)
|‘Objectionable Contents’: The Policing of Nepali Print Media during the 1950s|
|‘We the Janajatis’: Activism of Inap Weekly for Newars and other Janajatis during the Decade of the ‘Reformed Panchayat’, 1982-1990|
|LUNCH: 1 – 2 PM|
|PANEL A3: CONTEMPORARY STUDIES ON RITUAL PERFORMANCE AND ETHNIC IDENTITY AMONG THE RAI OF EASTERN NEPAL
2 – 3:45 PM
Chair: Mark Turin, Yale University & University of Cambridge
Discussant: Dambar Chemjong, Tribhuvan University
Focusing on the Rai communities in Eastern Nepal, this panel examines the link between ethnic identity and ritual performance from various angels. In the last two decades ethnic identity has become a major topic of discussion in Nepal, and ritual performances and religious affiliations constitute one of the main elements in defining ethnic boarder lines. In the process of identity building the Kirat, and especially the Rai, figure among those ethnic groups of Nepal, which through active promotion of ritual and dance largely succeeded in shaping the definition of what Kirat identity means, to the in-group and to the out-group likewise. But apart from this comprehensive, macrocosmic type of identity, many local, meso- and microcosmic identities are constantly negotiated, embodied, and installed in the Rai communities, rooted in the context of local ritual performances. The presenters of this panel examine three different aspects and levels of the topic: The macrocosmic perspective is looked at by focusing on the Sakela dance which has been strongly promoted by Kirat cultural organisations as an expression of “Rainess” (Marion Wettstein), the mesocosmic perspective examines the ritual landscape that is encompassed by shamanic recitations to define a ritual geographical territory (Alban von Stockhausen), and the microcosmic perspective focuses on a funerary architectural structure, the chautaara resting platform, which integrates the individual into the genealogical line of ancestors (Claire Femenias). Dance performance as bodily expression of identity, mental mapping as topographical expression of identity, and architectural construction as monumental expression of identity, are all rooted in local ritual performances furnishing them with validity and credibility.
|1.||Alban von Stockhausen
University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
|Walking with the Ancestors: Ritual Speech and Sacred Landscapes among the Rai of Eastern Nepal|
University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
|Dancing Who We Are: The Embodiment of Rai Ethnic Identity in Sakela Performance|
Université de Lille
|A Meeting Space for the Living and the Ancestors: The Resting Platforms Chautaara among the Bahing Rai of Eastern Nepal|
|TEA: 3:45 – 4:15 PM|
|PANEL A4: IDENTITY AND TRANSFORMATION
4:15 – 6:15 PM
Chair: Prista Ratanapruck
Discussant: Susan Hangen, Ramapo College
Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
|Between Gathering and Politics: Diversity and Change of Oratorical Discourse in Byans, Far Western Nepal|
PhD Candidate at Oxford University, UK
|Education as a Poisoned Chalice: The Chepang Experience|
Research Scholar, Centre for English Studies, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
|Blood into Ink: Literary Representation of the Maoist Insurgency|
Fulbright Research Fellow
|In the Name of Identity and Protection: Nepal as a Leader in Third Gender Human Rights|
PANEL PRESENTATIONS: HALL B
|PANEL B1: CONDUCTING PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH IN NEPAL – CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD
9:00 – 10:45 AM
Chair: Mohan Manandhar, Niti Foundation
Discussant: Sagar Prasai, The Asia Foundation
Panel Abstract:Research and engagement related to public policies in Nepal over the past several years can be summarised as the following: a) thinking about policy change occurs largely within the vacuum of governmental resolve to articulate overarching goals for change; b) the content of policy change is primarily aligned along the template promoted by international agencies; c) State-funded Policy Research Organisations (PROs) have weakened or vanished over the past two decades, and non-governmental entities have very little capacity and incentive to work beyond the horizons of individual projects; and d) knowledge relevant to policy problems is circulated as monologues and propaganda, rather than nurturing due dialogue, cross-learning and openness for ‘falsification’. Accordingly, Nepal confronts the challenge of making informed choices in regard to both larger policy questions and sector specific issues. An examination of some recent experiences and discussion amongst participants will help shed light on future opportunities and challenges after federal structuring of Nepal. This Panel will be a two-hour panel, involving three paper presentations and an open discussion among panelists and participants.
Department of Conflict, Peace and Development Studies, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
|Climate Justice: Bottlenecks and Opportunities for Policy-making in Nepal|
Executive Director, Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS), Kathmandu, Nepal
Research Fellow, Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS), Kathmandu, Nepal
|Tragedy of Consensus: Crisis in Local Democracy and Options for Improved Local Governance and Service Delivery|
Research Intern, Niti Foundation, Nepal
|Non Electoral Representation in Policy Process|
|TEA: 10:45 – 11:15 AM|
|PANELS B2, B3 and B4: Bio-cultural/Eco-social Sustainability in the Himalayas: Critical and Practical Views across Disciplines and Regions
Co-organisers: Mary Cameron, Department of Anthropology, Florida Atlantic University; Tuladhar-Douglas, Research Scholar, ICIMOD & University of Aberdeen; and Ripu Kunwar, Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal.Papers in this series of three panels seek to address local and practical approaches to human-nature relationships that build on critical analysis of development in the Himalayan region. These academic papers will speak to critical perspectives on social and biological/ecological/natural dimensions of human-nature relationships. The broad interdisciplinary conversation sought in these presentations will invite scholars, activists, and policy personnel in the social sciences (anthropology, political science, sociology, economics), health and health care, environmental conservation, development (health care, conservation), and others.
|PANEL B2 : POLITICAL ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION DEVELOPMENT
11:15 AM – 1 PM
Chair: Mary M Cameron, Florida Atlantic University
|1.||Hemant R Ojha, Naya S Paudel, Sudeep Jana, Mani R Banjade, and Dil B Khatri
Forest Action, Kathmandu, Nepal
|Transforming Policy Process through Critical Action Research: Reflections from Nepal’s Forest Governance|
|2.||Bhishma P Subedi
Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources, Kathmandu, Nepal
|Synergy between Conservation and Development: Experience on Community Forestry and Value Chain Approach|
|3.||Suman Dhakal, Ripu M Kunwar, Ram P Acharya
Practical Solution, Kathmandu, Nepal Bijendra Basnyat
Western Terai Landscape Complex Project, Babarmahal, Kathmandu, Nepal
|Biodiversity-Livelihood Conflict: A Case from Western Terai, Nepal
|LUNCH: 1 – 2 PM|
|PANEL B3 : HEALTH AND NATURE
2 – 3:45 PM
Chair: Ripu M Kunwar, Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal
|1.||Mary M Cameron
Professor of Anthropology, Florida Atlantic University
|Trading Health: Medicine, Biodiversity, Natures, and the Poor in Nepal|
The University of Queensland (UQ), Brisbane, Australia
Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Lalitpur, Nepal
|Seeds for Health: An International Collaboration for the Collection, Conservation, Characterization, and Sustainable Utilization of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Nepal|
|3.||Bharat B Shrestha
Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal
|Forest, Fire and Farming: Some Observations in Guthichaur Area of Jumla District, North-western Nepal|
|4.||Dipesh Pyakurel and Bhesh Raj Oli
Biodiversity Associates for Research, Development, and Action – Nepal (BARDAN)
|Public–private Partnerships in Resource Commercialization Focused to NTFPs|
|TEA: 3:45 – 4:15 PM|
|PANEL B4: MEDICAL ETHNOBOTANY
4:15 – 6:15 PM
Chair: Sangita Shrestha, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology
Associate Professor, Patan Multiple Campus, Tribhuvan University, Lalitpur, Nepal
|Ethno-Medico-Botanical Studies of Leguminosae in Langtang National Park, Central Nepal|
|2.||Mohan Prasad Devkota
Botany Department, Amrit Campus, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
|Traditional Knowledge and Uses of Mistletoes by Indigenous Communities of Nepal Himalayas|
|3.||Ripu M Kunwar
Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
Keshab P Shrestha
Natural History Museum, Tribhuvan University, Swayambhu, Kathmandu, Nepal
|Underutilized Plant Species in Far-West Nepal: A Potential Resource for Primary Health Care|
Department of Pharmacy, Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Nepal
|Himalayan Plants as a Source of Crude Drugs|
Panel: Continuity and Change
Paper 1: Neither Exclusionary nor Inclusive: Political Elite’s Attitudes and Behaviour in Democratising Multi-ethnic Nepal, 1990-2002
Mahendra Lawoti, Professor of Political Science, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
Abstract: The paper investigates the role of the political elite in exclusion in Nepal through an analysis of their attitudes (structured survey) and behaviour (public policies/institutions). A survey of 101 Nepali parliamentarians in 2000 demonstrates a complex scenario. While the elite were highly tolerant, which indicate that they did not possess exclusionary attitudes, some level of racism existed among them. The apparent contradiction between the tolerant but racist attitudes can be reconciled if we distinguish between the lack of exclusionary attitudes from that of having inclusive attitudes. The elite may not have been exclusionary but they were not inclusive either. The attitudinal findings are supported by an analysis of policies that affected inclusion/exclusion during the 1990-2002 and post 2006 years when regime change led to a political transformation. While dissent and mobilization of the marginalised groups were tolerated and very few harmful policies were introduced, major reforms were lacking and only cosmetic policies were formulated during the 1990s. On the other hand, the post 2006 years saw major inclusive institutional reforms, which occurred due to the pressure of the Maoists and mobilization of the Madhesi, indigenous nationalities and Dalit movements, and not at the initiatives of the political elite.
Paper 2: Remittances, Stability, and Stagnation in Nepal
Jacob Rinck, Prospective Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, Connecticut, USA
Abstract: This article examines Nepal’s political economy from a rentier state perspective to explore the political implications of its remittance dependency. Remittances have contributed significantly to the reduction of poverty over the last two decades, but this article argues that they – together with foreign aid – also function as external rents which help to keep Nepal’s patronage democracy viable and militate against its transformation. The state derives a quarter of its budget income from external loans and grants, and more than one third from import and consumption taxes, largely driven by remittances. Therefore it is relatively autonomous from taxes on domestic production, and has little need to encourage domestic economic growth. At the same time, remittance based growth sustains the widespread rent-seeking by politicians and bureaucrats that has become self-perpetuating as the basis for the patronage relations at the heart of Nepali politics. The business sector’s incentives to press for change are mixed, too. While the regulatory uncertainty inherent in the system is detrimental to long-term economic investment, remittance induced consumption has helped fuel rapid growth in the service sector, and rents from illegal business practices such as cartelisation indeed depend on the state’s flexibility. As importantly, labour migration helps to limit wider popular pressure on the state – it offers an exit opportunity for many young people who would otherwise be likely to stake their claims in the country, and has so far led to a steady rise in the living standard of a sizeable part of the population. By sustaining the current political settlement, labour migration and remittances have therefore become an important factor for Nepal’s political and economic stability and stagnation.
Paper 3: Stability in Transition in Eastern Nepal
James Sharrock, Research Officer, The Carter Center, Kathmandu, Nepal
Abstract: A small part of why the transitional period in the peace process has been relatively calm can be explained by the apparent stability in local level politics in Nepal since the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Unsurprisingly district-level bodies like the All-Party Mechanism, Local Peace Committees and the Indigenous Nationalities Coordination Committee, although widely perceived as entrenching corruption, assisted local level disputes from spiraling out of control by ensuring that an expanded ‘distributional coalition’ gained from patronage and government spending. However, on the ground after the CPA, politics in Eastern Nepal appeared far from calm, especially in terms of accommodating identity-based political actors. I will argue that local politics in Nepal during the transitional period has often seen political parties and other actors demonstrating their power and support – often taking issues to the brink – whilst at the same time deliberately avoiding substantial confrontations in order to preserve stability. State restructuring, a future election and economic crises could clearly disrupt and reshape this seeming stability. This paper will draw on Alex De Waal’s work on the political marketplace and patronage in Sudan and also make wider points about the importance of viewing local politics as it actually is, not by looking at what we think it lacks according to ideal or international frameworks. The paper is based on the author’s field experiences in Eastern Nepal when working with UNMIN (2007-8) and The Carter Center (2011-12).
Panel: Recent Research On Nepali Print Media History
Panel Abstract: Although research on the history of Nepali print media has been going on for a while, most of it has been confined to documenting the history of literatures in Nepal’s various languages and the history of literature-oriented publications/magazines. However, in the recent past, some researchers have been studying the historical corpus of Nepali print media with research questions that open up new domains of knowledge. This panel will showcase the analyses and provisional conclusions of three recent and ongoing such research on Nepali print media history. The first paper will discuss aspects of the history of Nepali language magazines during the first six decades of the 20th century and analyse their role in consolidating Nepali language based Nepali nationalism and identity. The second paper will analyse the corpus of cases brought against various newspapers by (mostly) the Kathmandu Magistrate Office during the 1950s to demonstrate the contours of the efforts at regulating contents of the newspapers that were published during that decade. Among other things, these two papers advance our understanding of the world of Nepali print media published through the 1950s. The third paper analyses the coverage of the Janajati/language-rights andolan in the Nepal Bhasa weekly newspaper Inap during the 1980s. This paper advances our understanding of the ‘pre-history’ of the post-1990 Janajati andolan and deepens our knowledge of the history of Nepal Bhasa newspaper contents as well as opposition to the Panchayati state. Together, these three papers contribute to a broader social history of 20th century Nepal.
Paper 1: The Historical Development of Nepali Magazines, 1899-1960
Ananta Koirala, Deepak Aryal, and Shamik Mishra, Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya
Paper Abstract: This paper assesses the historical development of Nepali magazines between 1899 and 1960. It describes the major objectives behind their publications and the themes covered by them. It also outlines the presence of particular groups (ethnic, caste, gender) that held sway over the writing, editing and publication of these magazines. Furthermore, this paper traces the influence of the Indian nationalist and Hindi language movements upon the Nepali magazines during the early decades of the 20th century. Based upon the study of a total of 59 magazines (46 general and 13 specialized), this paper argues that magazines played a vital role in popularizing the discourse of ‘Nepali nationalism and identity’ and in promoting the Nepali language as a symbol of national identity.
Paper 2: ‘Objectionable Contents’: The Policing of Nepali Print Media during the 1950s
Lokranjan Parajuli (alias Ramesh Parajuli), Martin Chautari
Paper Abstract: After the popular movement of 2007 v.s. (1950-51) the Nepali language print media sector saw a significant growth. With the publication of Jagaran weekly and Aawaj daily in 1951 from the private sector, the Nepali press also came out of the state’s direct purview. This paper assesses the status of press freedom in the decade of media growth between 1950 and 1960. By studying the actions taken by the state agencies (mostly the Kathmandu Magistrate Office) against various newspapers, it seeks answers to the following questions: under what legal regime did the newspapers function during that decade? To what extent did the newspapers enjoy the press freedom enshrined in the Interim Constitution? And what were considered ‘objectionable contents’ during that decade? By answering these questions, this paper shows that the freedom enjoyed by the press was gradually curtailed through legal amendments, resulting in the increase of the number of ‘actions’ taken against various newspapers. It also argues that the state agencies were particularly sensitive towards three institutions/agencies: the Shah monarch and his family, prime ministers and their governments, and foreign embassies and individuals. The likelihood of state action against newspapers increased with any negative content that was published related to these three sets of institutions/figures. This paper relies heavily on the book Nepali Patrapatrika ra Chhapakhanako Itihas by Grishma Bahadur Devkota (2024v.s.). More than half of this book (300 pages out of a total of 560) is devoted to detailing the actions taken against the newspapers for publishing ‘objectionable contents.’ However, the entirety of the ‘objectionable contents’ and the complete details of the actions taken by the state agencies are not published in the book, thus limiting the scope of this research.
Paper 3: ‘We the Janajatis’: Activism of Inap Weekly for Newars and Other Janajatis during the Decade of the ‘Reformed Panchayat’, 1982-1990
Harshaman Maharjan, Martin Chautari
Paper Abstract: The dominant narrative about janajatis during the Panchyat period (1960-1990) focuses on the discriminations practiced by the Nepali state against them. Little has been said in the research literature about overt janajati resistance to such state discrimination during that era of Nepali history. Such resistance was possible from groups which had the social capital to question Panchayati oppression. One such group was the Newars, some of whom practiced such resistance through a weekly newspaper Inap, published during the 1980s. This paper focuses on the content and content makers of Inap, founded in 1982 and edited by Krishna Sundar Malla (alias Malla K Sundar) as a way to analyse the oppositional representations of janajati issues. It argues that this Newar weekly not only countered state policy related to the Newar community but it also promoted the culture and literature of Newars by delving into history and by inventing new community traditions such as celebrations of the anniversaries of neglected but distinguished Newar personalities. This paper further argues that Inap provided a platform for other janajati groups to express their grievances against the Panchayati state policies and promoted a pan-janajati movement during the last years of the Panchayat era.
Panel: Contemporary Studies On Ritual Performance And Ethnic Identity Among The Rai Of Eastern Nepal
Panel Abstract: Focusing on the Rai communities in Eastern Nepal, this panel examines the link between ethnic identity and ritual performance from various angels. In the last two decades ethnic identity has become a major topic of discussion in Nepal, and ritual performances and religious affiliations constitute one of the main elements in defining ethnic boarder lines. In the process of identity building the Kirat, and especially the Rai, figure among those ethnic groups of Nepal, which through active promotion of ritual and dance largely succeeded in shaping the definition of what Kirat identity means, to the in-group and to the out-group likewise. But apart from this comprehensive, macrocosmic type of identity, many local, meso- and microcosmic identities are constantly negotiated, embodied, and installed in the Rai communities, rooted in the context of local ritual performances. The presenters of this panel examine three different aspects and levels of the topic: The macrocosmic perspective is looked at by focusing on the Sakela dance which has been strongly promoted by Kirat cultural organisations as an expression of “Rainess” (Marion Wettstein), the mesocosmic perspective examines the ritual landscape that is encompassed by shamanic recitations to define a ritual geographical territory (Alban von Stockhausen), and the microcosmic perspective focuses on a funerary architectural structure, the chautaara resting platform, which integrates the individual into the genealogical line of ancestors (Claire Femenias). Dance performance as bodily expression of identity, mental mapping as topographical expression of identity, and architectural construction as monumental expression of identity, are all rooted in local ritual performances furnishing them with validity and credibility.
Paper 1: Walking with the Ancestors: Ritual Speech and Sacred Landscapes among the Rai of Eastern Nepal
Alban von Stockhausen, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Paper Abstract: Among the Rai of Eastern Nepal, the recitations pronounced during shamanic rituals include countless references to the natural and sacred topography of the landscape and to aspects of the natural habitat inhabited by the performers. For every Rai group, often even for every clan of it, these references are “localized” to an great extent and therefore every social entity has its own way of being “rooted” in their natural and sacred environment. In a Post-Doc project by the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF) and the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies of the University of Vienna, I explore these connections in great detail with a focus on the Dumi Rai, an ethnic group settling in the northern parts of Khotang district in Eastern Nepal. By re-travelling the pronounced ritual journeys together with the shamans and knowledgeable elders within the real topography, these mental or “recitational” travels are mapped onto the real world. Using GPS technology and different means of multimedia documentation of the visited places and the related ritual texts, a wide array of information is gathered in a database that will eventually be worked into different kinds of multimedia publications. By complementing the data collected in the rural areas of Eastern Nepal with findings gathered among the diaspora Rai communities in other parts of Nepal and foreign countries, the influence of such concepts onto the understanding of the Rai’s own ethnic identity can be investigated. This experimental project is still underway and in the given paper some of its preliminary findings, methods and possible uses will be discussed.
Paper 2: Dancing Who We Are: The Embodiment of Rai Ethnic Identity in Sakela Performance
Marion Wettstein, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Paper Abstract: When I took my first dance steps and initially began to note them down on paper nine years ago, the Sakela dance of the Rai in Eastern Nepal still was a rural phenomenon, closely interwoven with local mythology and ritual. Nowadays it is the urban youth of Kathmandu dancing a new form of the Sakela on the big festival grounds to celebrate Kirat cultural events organised by the Kirat Rai Yayokkha. But not only in urban and diaspora environments the Sakela dance has seen a revival. Also in the villages and in Rai communities that did hardly know or perform it before, Sakela is booming during the major agricultural rituals. In my currently running research project about the dance – which is based at the University of Vienna and affiliated to CNAS at Tribhuvan University – I could observe how in only ten years it has emerged as a key public event in which ethnic identity is negotiated, defined, communicated, embodied, and emotionally expressed. Taking the Sakela as a prime example, the aim of the presentation is to demonstrate how dance is sometimes effectively used by interest groups to install a sense of ethnic belonging. It is argued that by sensuously connecting mind, emotion, and body, it is especially the somatic aspects of dance which predestine it as a powerful means of anchoring ethnic belonging in the individual.
Paper 3: A Meeting Space for the Living and the Ancestors: The Resting Platforms Chautaara among the Bahing Rai of Eastern Nepal
Clarita Femenias, Université de Lille
Paper Abstract: Among many communities of the Kirat of Eastern Nepal the funerary rituals are extended over many months and consist of several steps. The mourning and funerary process is closely linked to notions of local identity that finds one of its most evident expressions in the chautaara, the resting platforms that are built for the deceased and the living alike. Taking the example of the Bahing Rai, among who I am conducting my PhD research, I will analyse these expressions of local identity in the funeral approaching from three perspectives: A first approach will be to examine the importance of religious syncretism in general, as the Bahing funerary process and believes are strongly influenced by both, Hindu and Kirat worldviews. Secondly I will focus on the building of the chautaara platform whith which the mounring time finds an end. In this step of the funerary ritual, the animistic, Kirat religious believe of the Bahing is expressed very clearly, and therefore I will discuss the function of the platform – for the living and the deceased – in detail. After the construction of the chautaara the deceased’s name will from now on be recited in the yearly him dim ritual, which is my third approach to the topic. With his name being recited in this ritual, the deceased has officially been integrated into the world of the ancestors. The him dim ritual is performed by the noxchog (“shaman”) and his two assistants, the nabuja, and constitutes a key for the understanding of Bahing Rai religion, both in its animistic and Hindu-syncretic aspects. As a conclusion it is suggested that the chautaara and the him dim both function as means of commemorating the genealogies of the communities and in this way root them in their local identities.
Panel: Identity And Transformation
Paper 1: Between Gathering and Politics: Diversity and Change of Oratorical Discourse in Byans, Far Western Nepal
Katsuo Nawa, Associate Professor, Cultural Anthropology, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo, Japan
Paper Abstract: This paper is an attempt to analyse the changing ways people of Nepali Byans articulate themselves in formal oratorical occasions from a linguistic anthropological perspective. Byans VDC lies in the northernmost part of Darchula District, Far Western Nepal, and main inhabitants there are people who call themselves ‘Rang’ in their language, most frequently called ‘Byansi’ in Nepali, and now officially listed as one of the indigenous nationalities in Nepal. Nowadays most of them live in the town of Darchula either seasonally or semi-permanently, where main audio-visual data for this paper were collected in 2010. There are some traditional occasions, notably in marriage ceremonies, in which several Rangs should give a short speech. This role is usually fulfilled by some elder males who are regarded as phaa tarta, i.e. one who speak strongly. Their speeches have their distinct style, logic and contents, based on a wide range of knowledge on their thumchaaruu (tradition). On the other hand, many Rang politicians and activists deliver speeches in Byansi as well as in Nepali. Frequently using many loan words from Nepali, Hindi, and English, their speeches in Byansi directly reflect the current sociopolitical discourse in the centre. Indeed, many of them often articulate their social and political claims in Nepali and in Byansi in identical manners. The problem with this type of speech lies in that it is barely intelligible to those who do not share the vocabulary and agenda beforehand. To make one’s speech in Byansi comprehensible, convincing and persuasive in changing Naya Nepal, one has to handle one’s way of speech in several levels, between the two prototypical styles of oration. In this paper, I show how this has been accomplished in various ways, based on several transcribed materials on various oratorical occasions.
Paper 2: Education as a Poisoned Chalice: The Chepang Experience
Shrochis Karki, PhD Candidate at Oxford University, UK
Paper Abstract: Education can be a poisoned chalice, particularly for indigenous and marginalized communities, because it can raise their hopes and expectations without providing them necessary skills or knowledge to achieve those outcomes. This finding of an unstable expectation-outcome nexus is based on fieldwork research carried out in a rural village in Chitwan, and in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Chepangs, a highly marginalized indigenous community, have harboured great hopes of escaping their poverty through education. Given the relative success of the few “educated” people in their village, Chepang parents perceive education to be extremely important and enthusiastically send their children to school; enrolment in the village has rocketed to almost 100% in the last decade. However, the state of Chepang education is found to be dismal, with students facing severe structural and functional constraints that undermine their education experience. Problems related to resources, accessibility, teaching, parent involvement, transition to higher education, and the concurrent rise of private schools– issues that echo throughout South Asia– have meant that most Chepangs are neither gaining the necessary skills nor acquiring competitive credentials to seek gainful employment and meet their aspirations. Following Hirsch (1977), education is seen as a positional good that leads to differentiation, and Chepangs continue to find themselves towards the bottom of that spectrum. The debate on the role of education (for freedom or reproduction of inequalities) has largely treated education as monolithic; it is argued here that not education alone but the quality of education determines outcome. If the quality of education available to indigenous and marginalized communities remains dismal, as is often the case throughout the developing world, their investment and elevated hopes will not bear fruit, with serious consequences for their well-being.
Paper 3: Blood into Ink: Literary Representation of the Maoist Insurgency
Dinesh Kafle, Research Scholar, Centre for English Studies, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
Paper Abstract: As the Maoist insurgency ravaged the social, economic and political landscape of Nepal over a span of ten years (1996-2006), writers, journalists and the insurgents themselves took recourse to literature to express their attitudes about and experiences of the insurgency. While the act of writing itself served a therapeutic purpose to those directly involved in, or affected by, the insurgency, to readers, the literary representation became a window to peek into the insurgency and its impact on the lives of Nepalese people. These writings also added a new chapter in the Nepalese literary history, which we may call as the Nepalese insurgency literature. The Nepalese insurgency literature can be studied by dividing it into three categories—the civilian camp, the military camp and the Maoist camp—the representative texts of these camps being Narayan Wagle’s Palpasa Cafe (2005), Pradeep Nepal’s Aakash Gangako Tiraitir (2000), and Yug Pathak’s Urgen ko Ghoda. This paper will argue that while representing the aspirations of the oppressed caste and class as well as the insecurities of the middle class at the wake of a violent war and identity politics, these novels show competitions of different versions of what Nepal should be as a state, a nation or a republic. It will further state that while much ink has been spent on the recurring themes of the classical reaction against revolution, the denouncement of blood and gore, and the celebration of an individual’s martyrdom for the collective good, they do not provide a convincing insight into the divide underlying Nepalese society which led to the rise and phenomenal growth of the insurgency.
Paper 4: In the Name of Identity and Protection: Nepal as a Leader in Third Gender Human Rights
Kyle Knight, Fulbright Research Fellow
Paper Abstract: The human rights of people who do not identify within a male-female gender binary have been alternatively ignored or intensely policed by governments around the world. After a 2007 Supreme Court decision declared full legal recognition and rights for people who identify as not male, not female, but third gender, Nepal has emerged as a leader in the international LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights movement. But how has Nepal as a leader affected politics at home and internationally? Falling in line with the 2006 Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Nepal’s laws are the most progressive in the world: in order to receive full legal recognition and claim rights, citizens need only to self-identify as third gender. The issuance of government documents listing people as third gender reaffirms that recognition before the law in self-identified gender is not only a possibility, but perhaps the most protective measure available – preventing harassment, discrimination, and social exclusion. This paper discusses the legal mandate set forth in the Supreme Court decision in Pant v. Nepal, the subsequent implementation of the decision, and how Nepal’s experience with the mechanics of implementing a third gender might inform human rights advocacy for transgender, third gender, and gender-variant people around the world.
Panel: Conducting Public Policy Research in Nepal – Challenges and Opportunities Ahead
Panel abstract: Research and engagement related to public policies in Nepal over the past several years can be summarised as the following: a) thinking about policy change occurs largely within the vacuum of governmental resolve to articulate overarching goals for change; b) the content of policy change is primarily aligned along the template promoted by international agencies; c) State-funded Policy Research Organisations (PROs) have weakened or vanished over the past two decades, and non-governmental entities have very little capacity and incentive to work beyond the horizons of individual projects; and d) knowledge relevant to policy problems is circulated as monologues and propaganda, rather than nurturing due dialogue, cross-learning and openness for ‘falsification’. Accordingly, Nepal confronts the challenge of making informed choices in regard to both larger policy questions and sector specific issues. An examination of some recent experiences and discussion amongst participants will help shed light on future opportunities and challenges after federal structuring of Nepal. This Panel will be a two-hour panel, involving three paper presentations and an open discussion among panellists and participants.
Paper 1: Climate Justice: Bottlenecks and Opportunities for Policy-making in Nepal
Sharad Ghimire, Department of Conflict, Peace and Development Studies, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
Paper Abstract: The notion of climate justice has received importance in academic, activist and political circles globally and in Nepal. Political leaders, climate change activists, movement leaders as well as the academics hardly miss the point about justice—whether explicitly or implicitly—while they refer to climate change. Nepal’s climate change policy has also incorporated the concept. While being so attractive to many groups, the notion has been hardly discussed to its nuances in Nepal as to how it is implicated to policies and practices. At the global level, climate justice is mostly understood in relation to the division between the global North and the South in relation to their contribution to generation of green house gases (GHGs) and hence the responsibility to reduce it, bearing the negative consequences and having the capacity to overcome the impacts. However, within a national context in Nepal, specifically in the formulation of public policies and programs, it remains unclear how the notion of climate justice has been conceptualized or operationalized. This paper explores through how Nepal’s climate change policy-making and international representation conceptualize the notion and identifies their nuances and contradictions. It examines two specific policy instruments, viz., National Policy on Climate Change and National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) in regard to their commitment to and formulation of climate justice. This paper suggests that, while the notion of climate justice is conceived in contradictory and sometimes opposite ways, it offers a discursive device for articulating the needs and voices of backward groups. We also suggest that Nepal’s environmental policy-making requires a change of approach to deliver the government’s commitment to climate justice.
Paper 2: Tragedy of Consensus: Crisis in Local democracy and Options for Improved Local Governance and Service Delivery
Hari Dhungana, Executive Director, Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS), Kathmandu, Nepal;
Gunjan Dhakal, Research Fellow, Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS), Kathmandu, Nepal
Paper Abstract: The political discourse in Nepal’s post-2006 transitional period privileges “consensus” among powerful actors as a model of decision-making. As this model takes shape in local government structures as all-party mechanisms—that continue to be powerful even when they have been disbanded in early 2012—governance and service delivery functions of local government units have been impacted in significant ways. The perpetuation of APM and the informality of its decision-making add another layer of challenge to the efforts on devolved local governance that came up right from the promulgation of local governance legislation in 1999. Elected officials were displaced during the Maoist insurgency; no elections were held after the expiry of term of elected officials in 2002; the decision-making in local bodies was entrusted to bureaucrats against the ethos of local governance; and the political discourse post-2006 privileged federal restructuring at the expense of local democracy. Yet, over the past decade, the Government of Nepal introduced several measures and tools to improve local governance, harmonized policies in education and service sectors and mobilized substantial aid resources. However, in recent years, there has been a widespread perception of misuse of funds and of authority in local jurisdictions. These perceptions raise alarms in regard to the resources and efforts put around local governance. This paper, which is developed out of a political economy study of local governance in Nepal, explores how the APMs, other structures, and the actors within them influence decisions especially linked to the allocation of resources. It also explores the role of the devolved structures in the effectiveness of service delivery in health and education sectors. The paper finally offers tentative recommendations toward improving governance and service delivery.
Paper 3: Non Electoral Representation in Policy Process
Saumitra Neupane, Research Intern, Niti Foundation, Nepal
Paper Abstract: While the need to access, involve and empower citizens to the heart of public governance and decision making for effective and accountable policy formulation and implementation remains a celebrated ideal, its outcomes, in reality, have been unyielding to a large extent. Controlled arenas of public policy deliberation and deficits within traditional electoral representation system have curtailed actual voice and concerns of citizens in public policy, leading to failure in policy adoption and implementation. Increasingly, actors and institutions outside the government have been found identifying themselves with traditional functions of the government. Involvement of the third sector in complimentary roles in service provisioning, resource distribution and infrastructure management has enabled alternative modes of mainstreaming marginalized voices within public policy functions. Changing notion and dynamics of traditional political constituency has resulted in representative claims to surface from within collective non-electoral entities. Having common shared agendas and an egalitarian mandate these institutions are calling for recognition within public policy functions. The growing network of Community Electricity User Groups in Nepal claims to represents a constituency of rural population across Nepal, who traditionally has been alienated by the state in favor of urban populace for electricity access. In commenting on the legitimacy of such representative claims, this qualitative research adopts a case study approach to discuss on the institutional capacity of South Lalitpur Rural Electricity Cooperative to represent voice of local electricity users in public policy processes. Findings show that it is not sufficient to trace policy agendas across various representative levels to conclude on the legitimacy of representation, and the process of building representative agendas is largely affected by institutional policies, leadership and local politics.
Panel: Bio-cultural/Eco-social Sustainability in the Himalayas: Critical and Practical Views across Disciplines and Regions
Co-organisers: Mary Cameron, Department of Anthropology, Florida Atlantic University; Tuladhar-Douglas, Research Scholar, ICIMOD & University of Aberdeen; and Ripu Kunwar, Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal.
Panels Abstract: Papers in this series of three panels seek to address local and practical approaches to human-nature relationships that build on critical analysis of development in the Himalayan region. These academic papers will speak to critical perspectives on social and biological/ecological/natural dimensions of human-nature relationships. The broad interdisciplinary conversation sought in these presentations will invite scholars, activists, and policy personnel in the social sciences (anthropology, political science, sociology, economics), health and health care, environmental conservation, development (health care, conservation), and others.
Panel 1: Political Ecology And Conservation Development
Paper 1: Transforming Policy Process through Critical Action Research: Reflections from Nepal’s Forest Governance
Hemant R Ojha, Naya S Paudel, Sudeep Jana, Mani R Banjade, and Dil B Khatri, Forest Action, Kathmandu, Nepal
Paper Abstract: Theories of power have focused on how an actor dominates the other, and very little insights exist on how hegemonic relations can be transformed at diverse domains of political life. The effort to democratize governance requires not just criticizing who is hegemonizing whom, but also finding ways to transform these relations so that everyone concerned can have a voice in public policy, and that policy decisions are translated into practice. In unjust societies where political representation is exclusive and governance carries colonial legacy of techno-bureaucratic control, a question arises as to how public intellectuals and critical researchers from the civil society domain can spark democratization of policy processes. Are there any conceivable pathways through which critical social scientific community engage better with disadvantaged and marginalized groups on the one hand, and with the policy makers at different spheres of governance, on the other?
In this paper, we present our own experience in Nepal’s forest ecosystem and protected area governance as locally engaged researchers over the past decade, and also draw on the experience of those who played the same role earlier, in the development of community forestry program in the country. Our reflections on the experience shows that when locally engaged researchers are able to conceptualize ‘symbolic violence’ (In Bourdieu’s sense) and ‘ideological hegemony’ (in Gramsci’s sense) in everyday practice, and communicate the hegemonic logic of power simultaneously to marginalized groups and the dominant policy actors, there have been significant gains in democratic governance of forest and protected areas, eventually leading to improving social justice outcomes. We also demonstrate that over the past three decades, the critical intellectual practice itself has transformed over time – initially led by international scholars, but later taken over by the locally based researchers. Yet, a key dilemma of such researchers is that the services are largely paid by external conservation and development donors, and have to face valid questions on accountability in their research practice. The question then is – how state can still provide spaces for critical research so vital in transforming public policy and hence achieve social justice, inclusion and environmental sustainability.
Keywords:Forest governance, ideological hegemony, social justice, local researchers, Nepal
Paper 2: Synergy between Conservation and Development: Experience on Community Forestry and Value Chain Approach
Bhishma P Subedi, Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources, Kathmandu, Nepal
Paper Abstract: Starting with a short context of untapped potential and challenges in the natural products sector in Nepal, the presentation introduces the approach that ANSAB has designed and developed over the past decade. The enterprise-oriented, community-based resource management and value chain development approach with special emphasis on ecological sustainability, social justice and equity, and economic efficiency has been designed and applied in a range of natural products including handmade paper, briquette, essential oils and a variety of other natural products. The experience is summarized and presented covering the design, outcomes and examples. The presentation concludes with some of the lessons learned and suggestions on how a green and fair value chain can be developed for the benefit of local communities and natural environment. The model of sustainable management of ecosystem and balanced governance of value chain shows a great promise in addressing the current challenges of social and environmental conflicts including poverty and climate change.
Keywords:Conservation, Development, green and fair value chain, poverty, climate change
Paper 3: Biodiversity-Livelihood Conflict: A Case from Western Terai, Nepal
Suman Dhakal, Ripu M Kunwar, Ram P Acharya, Practical Solution, Kathmandu, Nepal; Bijendra Basnyat, Western Terai Landscape Complex Project, Babarmahal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Paper Abstract: Conservation friendly livelihood, an outcome of biodiversity conservation, livelihood improvement and institutional development at landscape level, is commonly adopted. However, the challenges are emerged due to biodiversity-livelihood conflict. Initiation of leasing degraded and barren forestlands to pro-poor community for farming and cropping in the western Terai region of Nepal led positive changes in livelihood. However the farming and cropping impeded natural regeneration and restoration and posed threats to conversion in agricultural lands. Opportunistic invasive aliens Ageratum conyzoides, Cassia tora,etc. were widespread in such cropped and abandoned forest areas, threatening native species and endangering landscape biodiversity. Introduction of high and fast yielding exotic varieties (chamomile, lemongrass, mentha, palmarosa) was devised to generate subsistence, household and commercial economy, and was multi-plicated because of high and immediate cash return compared to conventional cropping. The introduction was found to jeopardize the native biodiversity and extraction of essential oil from the crops consuming a huge amount of firewood largely extracted from nearby forests aggravated the situation further.
Keywords:Landscape conservation, livelihood conflict, invasive species, western terai
Panel 2: Health and Nature
Paper 1: Trading Health: Medicine, Biodiversity, Natures, and the Poor in Nepal
Mary M Cameron, Professor, Anthropology, Florida Atlantic University
Paper abstract: The presentation explores the multiple natures co-existing in Nepal in the context of widely expanding biodiversity conservation projects aimed at sustainably cultivating and marketing medicinal plant species. As a framing concept of nature, the sustainable use of Nepal’s rich floral biodiversity (1463 of 7000 higher flowering plants are used medically) is reified in development and government circles. In Nepal, the differing visions of scientists, farmers, and Ayurvedic doctors, all deeply committed to natural forms, in the end compels one to ask whose methods best serve the future of human-nature relationships, the poor, and the diversity of plant species. The paper assesses this issue for Nepal through the lens of Ayurvedic medicine, a widely popular practice with global interest and socially recognized efficacy. Ayurveda’s materia medica are traded in CAD projects, but its health knowledge is overlooked; the plants go out and their use is lost. Explaining the implications of this paradox for health care, cultural diversity, human-nature relationships, and sustainable conservation requires understanding multiple ‘natures’. These range from the powerful realm of life-giving deified power, actualized in ingenious farming, forest dependency, and ethnic place identity, to the rational biophysical theory of Ayurvedic medicine, to the biodiversity of botanists and conservationists, and finally to the nature of plant and animal species with unique evolutionary and ecological histories. Medicinal plants begin as jadibuti valued within families and communities as life-giving “healing entities from roots” bestowed by god. Ayurvedic doctors select for patients those plants containing ‘qualities’ (guna) able to adjust imbalanced humors (dosa) in illness. When medicinal plants enter the commerce stream, their value changes with the help of agro-technicians and value chain specialists, to be converted into commodified rescuers of the poor in poverty alleviation programs, fortifiers of degraded forestland, and revivers of a languishing Ayurvedic educational system.
Keywords: Ayurvedic medicine, nature, conservation-as-development, medicinal plants, Himalayas
Paper 2: Seeds for Health: An International Collaboration for the Collection, Conservation, Characterization, and Sustainable Utilization of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Nepal
Steve Adkins, The University of Queensland (UQ), Brisbane, Australia; Sangita Shrestha, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Lalitpur, Nepal
Paper Abstract: Nepal is very rich in medicinal and aromatic plant biodiversity. However, various anthropogenic activities coupled with predicted climate change scenarios are major threats to the survival of many of the species in the coming decades. Therefore, this potentially high value plant biodiversity should be judiciously conserved, characterized and utilized for the future and in order to generate national benefits for health and economic benefits. In consideration of these facts, an International collaborative project is proposed which in the long term will not only conserve the medicinal plant biodiversity in both a national and an international seed banks, but will also characterize many of them at physiological, biochemical and molecular levels. In addition, the research outputs in the disciplines of seed science and technology, biotechnology, molecular biology, biochemistry, taxonomy and ecology will then make possible the in situ conservation and sustainable utilization of this high value biodiversity for the well being and livelihood of Nepalese people. The University of Queensland (UQ), Millennium Seed Bank (MSB, UK), EVK2-CNR and University of Pavia (UP), Italy are the International collaborators of this project, whereas DPR/ DNPWC and DoF from the MoFSC, MoST and different departments of Tribhuvan University such as Botany, Biotechnology, Environment and Chemistry are the National collaborators of this project. Recently, with the joint venture of NAST and EV-K2-CNR, Himalayan Seed Bank (HSB) has been established at NAST research laboratory and Human resources in seed science and technology have been developed with the help of Australian Government, UQ, Ev-K2-CNR and UP.
Keywords: seed science, Millennium Seed Bank, Himalayan Seed Bank, seed biology, molecular characterization
Paper 3: Forest, Fire and Farming: Some Observations in Guthichaur Area of Jumla District, North-western Nepal
Bharat B Shrestha, Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal
Paper Abstract: Deforestation and land use change are among the much debated environmental issues of the Nepal Himalaya. Forest degradation, deforestation and the subsequent expansion of agriculture land have been dominant phenomena in Guthichaur area of Jumla district in north-western Nepal. Population increase, inefficient use of forest resources (timber and firewood) and lack of new opportunities appear to the drivers of land use change from forest to farmland.
Keywords: Forest fire, deforestation, land use change, Jumla, Nepal.
Paper 4: Public–private Partnerships in Resource Commercialization Focused to NTFPs
Dipesh Pyakurel and Bhesh Raj Oli, Biodiversity Associates for Research, Development, and Action – Nepal (BARDAN)
Paper Abstract: The value of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) has been recognized widely with its increasing contribution to the Nepalese economy. Collection and trade of NTFPs is a major source of rural income and contributes from 10% to 100% of the total annual income in some hilly areas. The major categories within the NTFPs trade/export comprise of crude herbs, essential oils, fibers & handmade papers, ayurvedic products, cosmetics and vegetable oils.
Commercialization of resources, specially the enterprise and business promotion of NTFPs through Public–private partnership (PPP) model has been sought as essential by the recent study carried out for Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and Nepal Herbs and Herbal Products Association (NEHHPA) in process of developing a NTFPs business promotion strategy.
The strategy paper has focused 20 NTFPs species to be promoted on 12 bio-geographic regions. At least two to maximum of six species falls under each bio-geographic zones. Species are selected based on their availability, trade aspects, market value and demand, and prospects of value addition/extraction. The paper recommends that promotion should be primarily done in the identified bio-geographic regions with replication in ecologically similar areas after successful intervention. The list of 20 species includes 13 prioritized species by GoN and some exotic species like Mentha, Chamomile, Lemongrass, etc.
Disaggregated, unorganized and isolated way of promotion and support by GOs/NGOs/INGOs and private companies in NTFPs sector fails to deliver good return and have been collapsed at the later stage. A PPP and joint model of investment has been suggested for long term sustainability of the enterprises through one door system focused to specific NTFPs in particular zones. Irregular support and insufficient investment by government agencies in NTFPs sector has discouraged the PPP model of investment, for which the GoN should take into consideration.
Panel 3: Medical Ethnobotany
Paper 1: Ethno-Medico-Botanical Studies of Leguminosae in Langtang National Park, Central Nepal
Ila Shrestha, Associate Professor, Patan Multiple Campus, Tribhuvan University, Lalitpur, Nepal
Paper Abstract: Langtang National Park is one of the floral and phytogeographically diverse area of Nepal. The park is situated in Central Nepal located at 28 degree 00’ N to 28 degree 20’N latitude, 85 degree 15’E to 86 degree 00’E longitude, occupying 1,710 sq. km where the altitude differ from 600 to 7,234 m above the sea level. The area is bounded on the north by China, on the south by Nuwakot district, on the east by Dhading district and on the west by Sindhupalchowk district. The park is mainly inhabited by Tamang and Sherpa communities followed by Brahman Chhetri, Newar, Gurung, Ghale and Sarki are also inhabited. The people of this park have rich indigenous knowledge since time immemorial and also have been depend on herbal practices. Altogether 18 genera and 28 species of Leguminosae family have been recorded for remedy of different diseases such as anthelmintic, boils, bone fracture, burns, bodyache, cough, fever, gastritis, gout, Insect-bite, heart complaints, headache and indigestion. Medicinal plants are a good asset in the rural economy and utilization and management of medicinal plant is one of the extra income sources of the community. Thus the study was under taken with a view to explore the existing plants resources of medicinal plants on Leguminosae.
Keywords: Langtang National Park, Ethnomedicobotany, Tamang, Indigenous Knowledge, Leguminosae
Paper 2: Traditional Knowledge and Uses of Mistletoes by Indigenous Communities of Nepal Himalayas
Mohan Prasad Devkota, Botany Department, Amrit Campus, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
Paper Abstract: Mistletoes do not only contribute as one of the important components of rich Nepalese biodiversity but have also been closely affiliated with culture of many indigenous communities of Nepal. Since early days, they have been considered as one of the most magical, mysterious and scared plants in Nepalese folklore, as well. Probably due to their parasitic nature, elusive method of dispersal, and strange growth habit, many indigenous communities have revered, feared, or considered them to have magical properties. Despite mistletoes of Nepal Himalayas have been overlooked by the researchers in the past and their ethno-botanical studies have never been carried out but the indigenous communities of the country have developed the traditional knowledge regarding their uses long back and inherited them from their ancestors. The most common traditional uses of mistletoes by the indigenous communities of Nepal include wide range of medicinal uses, fodder and food. A detail inventory on the indigenous uses of mistletoe in Nepal is required so that it can be modified and adopted in modern medicine and also in developing mistletoe conservation policy for the country.
Keywords: mistletoe, indigenous communities, traditional uses, Nepal Himalayas.
Paper 3: Underutilized Plant Species in Far-West Nepal: A Potential Resource for Primary Health Care
Ripu M Kunwar, Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal; Laxmi Mahat, Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal; Keshab P. Shrestha, Natural History Museum, Tribhuvan University, Swayambhu, Kathmandu, Nepal
Paper Abstract: There are a large number of underutilized plant species in far-west Nepal, and they have been limitedly used. They are potential on alleviating prevalent food deficiency and complementing primary health care by furnishing ingredients where commercial cultivation is the least possible and health care is indigenously pursued. The present study documented potential underutilized plant species of far-west Nepal for their better management regarding wise use, ecosystem sustainability and cultural integrity. Resource availability, indigenous knowledge, and cultural integrity were opportunities for wise use of species as supplement of primary health care. Despite the fact that the importance of these plants to Nepalese subsistence and culture has long been reported (Manandhar 2002), the use potential of these plants was under-recognized, perhaps as a result of lack of awareness and research capacity. Land-use and habitat change, over exploitation, deforestation and climate change compounded the situation.
Keywords:Underutilized plants, health care, over exploitation, far-west Nepal.
Paper 4: Himalayan Plants as a Source of Crude Drugs
Rajendra Gyawali, Department of Pharmacy, Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Nepal
Paper Abstract: Traditional healers in Kavre, Lalitpur, Makawanpur, Rasuwa and Dolakha districts of Nepal have been utilizing the medicinal plants available in these areas which provides immense scope for the detailed study on their therapeutic properties. The research has been carried out on the medicinal plants collected from different geographical locations of Nepal, and twenty-two medicinal plants were evaluated for their phytochemical profile, antimicrobial properties against human pathogenic microorganisms, cytotoxic properties. Essential oils of R. anthopogon, C. glaucescens andZ. armatumoils possessed higher sensitivity to, S. aureus, E. coli and K. pneumonia respectively. Cytotoxic evaluation of these oils showed that R. anthopogan oil was found to be more toxic than C. glaucescensand Z. armatum. Synergistic effect with standard antibiotics and C. glaucescens oil on E. coli and R. anthopogon oil on S. aureus shown positive response. Astilbe rivularis extract showed effective antibacterial activity towards E. coli.Similarly plant Wikstroemia canescenon showed the potentiality cytotoxic effect and could be used as anticancer agent. Alliumwallichii and Allium sativum were rich source of terpenoids and flavanoids. Methanolic extract from both plants showed broad spectrum of activity against human pathogenic microorganisms and cytotoxic property. Himilayan Juniperus indica,rich interpenoids, flavanoids and tannins, possesses slight antimicrobial and less cytotoxic properties. Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of volatile organic compounds of three medicinal plants of Nepal showed that several bioactive compounds; camphor, borneol, capric acid, furfural, myrtanal, a-pinene, a-terpeniol, perillaldehyde, 2-carene, butyrophenones, furfural, b-caryophyllene, 2-nitropropane etc were detected with various proportions. Since, high altitude medicinal plants of Nepal possess several phytochemicals with anticancer and antimicrobial properties, utilization of such herbs by ethnic people should be promoted and it is urgent to empowering to all stakeholders of MAPs for resource commercialization.
Keywords: Medicinal plants, crude drugs, phytochemical properties, Rhododendron anthopogon, Nepal