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Bowdoin College

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Nepal: Development and Social Change


In eastern Nepal, a territory historically known as Limbuwan, the Limbu people make up just under 400,000. Historically, this region and its people were accompanied by the practice of kipat, a system of land tenure and management as well as one of community and cultural governance. In 2021 (1964) the Land Act formally ended the practice of the kipat system and transferred all lands to the state held raikar form of tenure. With the end of the practice of kipat came the attempted integration of the Limbu people from their traditional governing systems into the burgeoning Nepali democracy. A combination of factors (indigenous caste status, lack of education, distance from policy making, etc.) has created a struggle for Limbus to find their political identiy under the Government of Nepal. This struggle has included the establishment of a minor political party, overwhelming political despair, and the compromise for many of the Limbu identity from the political landscape. The integration of Limbu people into the central government of Nepal has been incomplete and since the dissolution of the kipat system, the Limbu identity remains at large, unspoken for in Kathmandu.


Asian Studies | Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Indigenous Studies | Models and Methods | Organization Development | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Politics and Social Change


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