Locating Nepal in Indian Sociology and Social anthropology: Mapping the Research Highways from India to Nepal
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.