Ethnic Entrepreneurs and Political Mobilization: Exploring a Case of Tharu-Pahadi Conflict

Authors

  • Ishwari Bhattarai School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3126/dsaj.v9i0.14028

Keywords:

Ethnicity, ethnic entrepreneurs, political mobilization

Abstract

Nepalese society today is witnessing an unprecedented sharpening of ethnic boundaries. In the last couple of decades or so, there have been growing instances of inter-ethnic conflict and clashes. The clash among the Tharus and Pahadi (Bahun-Chhetri) communities that took place in the month of May, 2012 in the Nawalparasi district is one such example. Borrowing the conceptual idea from Fredreick Barth (1995) who critically engages with the question of culture, ethnicity, and contemporary nature of ethnic mobilization, this paper seeks to explore how such conflicts are an epiphenomena of tactical moves carried out what he calls as ‘middle echelon politicians’. Through the qualitative data collected with the help of open-ended interviews and couple of other illustrations, this paper argues that, the contemporary character of ethnic mobilizations in some way or the other, are manipulated by ethnic entrepreneurs who politicize cultural differences, ethnic sentiments, and collective backwardness which often result in violent confrontations. Despite the Tharus being diverse and sharply divided in terms of political allegiance and electoral behavior, the leaders or activists use politics of cultural difference, and attempt to mitigate internal differences, to present a consolidated picture of ethnic unity. Through such actions ethnic leaders or activists selectively mobilize ethnic sentiments and symbols in order to motivate members of an ethnic group and also assume leadership position at both local and national levels.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.
Abstract
1269
PDF
1675

Author Biography

Ishwari Bhattarai, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Bhattarai, Ishwari is currently pursuing PhD in Sociology at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He completed Masters and M. Phil. in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2010 and 2012 respectively. He is writing his PhD Thesis on the Tharus of Nepal. Apart from this, he has been engaged in various research projects and has carried out field work in different states in India that include Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and New Delhi.

Downloads

Published

2015-12-07

How to Cite

Bhattarai, I. (2015). Ethnic Entrepreneurs and Political Mobilization: Exploring a Case of Tharu-Pahadi Conflict. Dhaulagiri Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, 9, 191–208. https://doi.org/10.3126/dsaj.v9i0.14028

Issue

Section

Articles