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Caste-Based Discrimination in Nepal: a Local-Level Perspective from Dadeldhura District - Issue 59
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Practices of caste-based discrimination in Nepal date back to the prehistory of the South Asian subcontinent. Many were formally encoded in the Old Civil Code (Muluki Ain) of 1854; the first codified law governing civil matters in Nepal. The Code identified four varnas or castes which were positioned in a strict social hierarchy. The hierarchy followed Hindu religious scripture and customary practise, specifically the Manusmriti – an influential document from the 1st century CE– and divided human beings into four varnas, which were ascribed with the traditional roles of Brahman (intellectual),Kshatriya (warrior), Vaisya (trader) and Sudra (manual worker). This categorization was in accordance with the inter-generational inheritance of occupation. The Sudras were at the bottom of the hierarchy and the Manusmriti prescribed a number of socio-economic and political methods of discrimination upon the Sudras, including physical punishments as well as strict direction for people from the other three categories to avoid touching them. The Sudras, or people of the lowest caste category, are now more commonly known as Dalits – a politically coined term translating as ‘broken, oppressed or crushed’– or ‘untouchables’. Dalits are a heterogeneous group belonging to several ethnic and linguistic communities across Nepal.In 2011, the National Dalit Commission listed 26 different Dalit categories in Nepal comprising nearly 13 percent of the total population. In contemporary Nepal, caste still plays a determining role, regulating many aspects of peoples’ everyday life, including birth, marriage and death, as well as other key economic, social, cultural and political engagements. A renowned Dalit intellectual described the system as, “Chopping off of the population into fixed and definite units, each one prevented from fusing into another through the custom of endogamy”..
Publisher:
UNRCHCO ,   (2013 )
Type / Script:
Bulletin or Poster in English
Keywords:
INTELLECTUAL, DISCRIMINATION, EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION, DOMINATION, EXCLUSION, DESCENT, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, SOCIAL CLASSES, UNTOUCHABILITY, VULNERABLE, ENFORCEMENT, INEQUALITY, LEGAL FRAMEWORK, RADICAL, SOCIAL HIERARCHY, MANUAL WORKER, CUSTOMARY PRACTICE, SOCIAL STRUCTURE
Thematic Group:
 UNRCHCO (UNRCO) : UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator Office (UN Resident Coordinator Office)
Thesaurus:
14.02.01  -  Discrimination
Reference Link:
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