The panel aims to explore contemporary political transformations at the national and sub-national levels in the Himalayas, focusing on the relationships among the political discourses, socioculturally embedded practices and changing natures of the Himalayan states.
In recent years, there have been various political transformations at national and sub-national levels in the Himalayas. Six years after the end of a decade long "People's War"/ "Maoist Insurgency," Nepal is still in an extended period of political transition. Bhutan adopted a controlled multi-party system under the leadership of the King. Sikkim turned into a state of India and Uttarakhand separated from Uttar Pradesh, while the Gorkhaland movement in the Darjeeling hills has not yet succeeded. Notably, the transformations of formal political systems have been accompanied by the emergence of new modes of political culture and cultural politics, rooted in local sociocultural milieux while mediated by transnational flows of people and circulation of concepts and ideas. This panel traces ethnographically and compares the often mutually related dynamics of politics, culture, and cultural politics in various parts of the Himalayas. The aim is to explore the entangled, fluctuating, and mutually regulating relations between political discourses of various people and agencies and political as well as not quite political socio-culturally embedded practices of various people, and to relate both to the changing natures of the Himalayan states.