The Enlightenment Tradition of Nepal: Can the Civil Society Grasp it?


  • Dev Raj Dahal



civil society, the state, political parties, ideology, dharma, niskam karma, justice, public sphere


Nepal's history of enlightenment reflects three traditions—Vedic, Videha Janak and Buddhist. Each of these traditions searches the meaning of life, actual human condition, links with nature and ways of emancipation. The cardinal features of its native civil society are rooted into niskam karma (selfless service) to others, enlightened thinking and action. Modern civil society troubled by the turmoil of post-modernity needs to capture this ancient wisdom that sees human life in the interconnection with other species rather than isolated fragments and requires to perform many other tasks to move the this post-conflict nation from violence to stable peace. Nourishing the civic virtues of freedom, justice, solidarity, reconciliation and peace are vital nutrients.


Dhaulagiri Journal of Sociology and Anthropology Vol. 8, 2014; 1-28


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Author Biography

Dev Raj Dahal

Dahal, Dev Raj is Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Nepal office. Formerly he was Associate Professor of Political Science at Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He is the author of Decentralization and Development: An Exercise Towards the Devolution of Power in Nepal (Kathmandu: NEFAS, 1994); Challenges to Good Governance: Decentralization in Nepal (Kathmandu: GDS, 1996); State, Society and Development Nepal (Kathmandu: IIDS, 1998); Civil Society in Nepal: Opening the Ground for Questions (Kathmandu: CDG, 2001); Nepal: Supporting Peace Process Through a Systemic Approach, Bergh of Foundation for Peace Support, Berlin: 2005; United Nations Development Program, Civil Society Groups in Nepal: Their Roles in Conflict and Peace-building, (UNDP), April 20, 2006; Reflection on Leviathan: State and Governance in Nepal, Heidelberg University, 2011; Ethnic Federalism in Nepal: Challenges and Opportunities, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 13, No.1, 2012 (co-author).




How to Cite

Dahal, D. R. (2014). The Enlightenment Tradition of Nepal: Can the Civil Society Grasp it?. Dhaulagiri Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, 8, 1–28.