Fatalism and Development: Nepal's Struggle for Modernization
Orient Blackswan, 1991 - 187 pages
The book concentrates on the social and cultural factors which lie behind the current Nepal crisis locating the root cause in the Brahmin-Chhetri minority which dominates Kathmandu and other towns. Fatalism and the caste system still flourish behind the facade of modern bureaucracy, at all levels of government, in education, foreign aid, politics and administration. The author attempts to distill all his experience into a portrait of his society.
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Nepal as a deeply diverse country has been socially managed in the hierarchical set up as per Bhraminical concept of stratification in the line of castes. Bista shows the cultural problem of Nepali society which is dominated by Hindu tradition. The struggle between Hindu fatalistic doctrine and modern values has been taken as the primary contradiction of Nepal which has not only impeding development but also inflicting idleness under the caste system. Caste system believes that Bramans are only allowed to study but they are not encouraged for manual labor, and who are supposed to work manually are prohibited to have education. Negative fatalism has been shown in all the aspects of Nepal including economic development, social progress, educational advancement and so on. Ajivikas were the people who invented doctrine of Niyati that is a belief in invisible power which regulates, determines and guides human life. Mithila Bramans come in Kathmandu valley with such belief which got legitimized under Rana despotism. Such invisible power is so powerful that human volition can have no impact in the course of changing life for betterment. Author's projection of Nepali fatalist culture as idle, unproductive, and hierarchical evokes the Foucauldian concept of irrationality or madness. This is eloquent book everybody should read.