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New York University

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Nepal: Development and Social Change


The purpose of this paper is to study the effects of bikas on community and culture. Research was conducted from 9-30 November 2010 in the Bhotia village Chyamtang in the Sankhuwasabha district of Northeastern Nepal. The forms of development observed at the site are separated into local bikas and global bikas, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Research focused on a two-year old development project initiated by The Mountain Institute (TMI) using medicinal plant cultivation and community participation. Methods for studying Bhotia culture and development took the form of interviews with local healers, religious figures, farmers, and TMI staff. While ancient, their culture is as fragile as it has ever been and is threatened with extinction, much like chiraito in recent years, the medicinal plant that is being used for local development. In this way, by respecting Bhotia’s culture sanctity, recognizing their need for economic development, and making the people their own change agents, this project is helping to preserve their culture during this collision of global ideas that is pushing and pulling apart indigenous cultures.


Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification


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