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Sarah Lawrence College

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples


The unbelievably harsh environment in Dolpo forces people to be self-sufficient based on agriculture and husbandry, two sectors that complement each other very well. The condition also requires plentiful communal works for survival. Dolpo’s geographical isolation on the one hand, limits Dolpo-pas from encountering others, and on the other hand, prevents the presence of the central government. Before the 1960’s, Dolpo still remained as a politically autonomous region under the Kingdom of Nepal. However, based on interviews conduced with both local villagers and outsiders such as governmental officials and Nepalese, the paper argues that, starting from the 1960’s, Dolpo-pas began to realize the importance for them to reach the government, not only for the political rights they are granted by the constitutions, but also for the increasing need of support from the government. This transformation, of people from avoiding interactions with the government to taking initiative reaching and actively engaging with government, is made possible by Nepal’s state building project, education development, economic prosperity and the shift of international politics. During the past fifty years, Dolpo-pas’ political, economical, social and cultural identities are in constant changes of the making and remaking process, by both international and domestic forces. Although approaching the state is accompanied with many difficulties such as the ongoing ignorance from the government and social and economic instability, with negotiating, resisting and readaptating the changes, Dolpo-pas are thriving in the Nepali society. That being said, there are still potential problem that might generated from Dolpo-pas’ advocations for the local communities, so maybe alternatives are needed to improve the situations.


Asian Studies | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Growth and Development | Inequality and Stratification | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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