Scholar Bista predicted janajatis’ movement

Kathmandu, June 3:

Scholar Dor Bahadur Bista’s principals have not only been a useful guide to analyse the course of Nepali society and culture but also inspired the movements launched by the Dalits and indigenous nationalities, speakers at an interaction said today.

Speaking at an interaction organised by Martin Chautari on relevance of Bista’s contribution in the present situation in the country, anthropologists and researchers said: “Bista, in his book Fatalism and Development: Nepal’s Struggle for Modernisation, authored nearly 50 years ago, advocated against caste hierarchy and

also identified the caste culture as the major hindrance in the development of the nation.

The book had also triggered strong protest from the ‘high-caste’ people.

Journalist Hari Thapa, who is studying the life and contribution of Bista, said: “Bista identified the need of cultural revolution in the Nepali society.”

“Bista was against the Brahminbaad — the tendency of dominance of Brahmin caste people in all the sectors in the society — that suppressed and ruled over other minorities.”

Thapa further said field-based anthropologist Bista always fights for equality among all communities and to dislocate the Brahmins from the centre of all state activities, which has now become the main agenda of the Dalits and the indigenous nationalities’ movements across the country.

Had Bista been present at this point in time, he would have been the leading figure of the Dalit and janajati movement, Thapa said.

Sukar Sagar Shrestha, archaeologist and Bista’s friend said, “Bista’s focus was to raise the status of the economically and socially backward groups of the country by giving them due importance.”

“Bista, decades ago through his writings, had predicted that Nepal would face a critical situation like this if the prevailing strict caste-based system was not done away with; and had the then governments listened to him, the situation might not have come to such a pass,” Shrestha further said.

Born in April, 1928, Bista has written four books on ethnicity and Nepali society defining monoculture, values and conflict among people and cultures.

Considered to be one of pioneering anthropologists of the country, Bista has gone missing since 1995 and nothing has been known since.

Bista’s saga

• Dor Bahadur Bista was born in 1928

• Prominent Nepali anthropologist known worldwide for his field based research in Nepal

• Co-authored People of Nepal

• His book Fatalism and Development: Nepal’s Struggle for Modernisation drove him to controversy for his strong views against the caste-based, Brahmin-dominated society

• Said caste system was a major hindrance for Nepal’s development

• Predicted a strong movement by the ‘low-caste’ people against the ‘high-caste’ Brahmins

• Bista has gone missing since 1995