Accepted paper:

The constitution of the political objects in contemporary Nepal

Authors:

Tatsuro Fujikura (Kyoto University)

Paper short abstract:

Politics in Nepal since the 1990s has been characterized by growing demands for rights and recognition by various (ethnic, linguistic, caste) communities, including the demand for ‘identity-based’ federalism. The paper considers the constitutions of these political objects in contemporary Nepal.

Paper long abstract:

Politics in Nepal since the 1990s has been characterized by growing demands for rights and recognition by various (ethnic, linguistic, caste) communities, including the demand for 'identity-based' federalism. Critics of these demands argue that the basic structure of Nepal should be built upon sajha ('common', 'shared' or 'public') identity of all the Nepalis. The paper considers the constitutions of these political objects in contemporary Nepal. At one level, constitutions of political objects are rooted in the everyday physical and linguistic practices that create the sense of belonging. At another level, objects are also configured through the actions of modern governance. The paper discusses, the violent struggle among various groups, including the security forces, the Maoists, and other actors, over what statutes should be erected at the crossroads in the city of Nepalgunj. The paper also discusses the roles of map and official documents, such as citizenship and land ownership certificates, in constituting political objects. By introducing governmental practices, built-forms and documents into the debate, I hope to add yet another (and hopefully, less divisive) perspective on the question of what constitute communities and res publicus in today's Nepal.

panel P042
Politics, culture, and cultural politics in the Himalayas