Accepted paper:

Contested forest: the asymmetrical power relations between the Nepalese State and Park residents

Authors:

Lai Ming Lam (Osaka University )

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines dynamic State and Park resident relationships through the various “eras” of its modern history.

Paper long abstract:

Scholarly work has increasingly argued that the centralization of the State's involvement in land management matters has seriously violated local communities' right to access livelihood resources. Using my anthropological study of indigenous Rana Tharus in Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in Nepal, I contextualize that the State, in establishing Shuklaphanta, has increased its control over local resources. However, for the Ranas Tharus the Park means their loss of customary right to freely access resources. The policy that exists now is that previous common forest of Shuklaphanta is now owned by the State and Ranas' use of natural resources must be endorsed by the State. The Shuklaphanta case also shows that after the downfall of monarchy in 2006, the State and park resident relationships have turned to be more complex. Strict park management policies imposed by the state have further accelerated the local communities' negative attitudes toward the park. On the other hand side, influenced by the political parties, the locals have now reoccupied the extension areas of the Shuklaphanta for land compensation demand. This paper examines these dynamic State and Park resident relationships through the various "eras" of its modern history. I discuss how the Shuklaphanta has become a contested place and the implications of changes in regard to the every day of people.

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