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"Tribes" in the Ethnography of Nepal: Some Comments on a Debate
Contributions to Nepalese Studies
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: 1990-07
Publisher: Center for Nepal and Asian Studies
Place of Publication: Kirtipur, Nepal
Pages: 129-145
Sources ID: 127707
Visibility: Public (group default)
Abstract: (Show)

Creator's Description: After reviewing scholarly debates regarding the usefulness of distinguishing, descriptively or analytically, the differences between "tribes" and "castes"/ "peasants," the paper proposes a contrast between these two categories in terms of their relationship to land. Thus, whereas most "caste-peasants" in east Nepal enjoyed land under raikar tenure – a form of freehold – which could be bought and sold, the "tribal" Limbus traditionally possessed theirs under what was termed kipat – which was inalienable and acquired only through kinship rights. Kipat was thus more than an economic asset; it was the basis of their identity as a people. In this sense they shared a conception of land as held by countless indigenous or "tribal" people in south Asia and elsewhere. (Lionel Caplan 2010-02-01)

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Contributions to Nepalese Studies