Social discrimination and Hirearchy Practices among the Dalits in Far-Western Nepal

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Bishnu Prasad Dahal


Social hierarchy, caste system touchability and untoucability, and inter caste relations and hierarchy and intra- Dalit hierarchy are the focus of the study. This paper is outcome of research work conducted in far western development region of Nepal mainly identifying the situation of Dalit, social discriminations, inequalities and oppression along with social crime prevailing in the society mostly, the intra- Dalit hierarchy in cluster of Bajura district is prepared on the basis of observation on field and study area and signifies traditionally practiced untouchability, though the new constitution defined it as crime, and still is in practices in Nepal. Likewise, cultural practices of untouchability can outline our current socio-cultural context. This paper aims to help to know the diagnosis of our socio-cultural problems, situations, facts findings and steps to resolve it. While studying status of Dalits in Nepalese society, however, upon deeper probing it is clear that the social context is based on caste hierarchical system is rooted in religion as people are practiced untouchability/touchability that doesn’t accord the same respect to the low caste, and the concept of purity and pollution that denigrates the lower castes. The efforts ever made by the state either through the Civil Code of 1963, which has abolished caste-based discrimination but even more than four decades after the enactment of the law and its amendment for several times, such inhuman and illegal practices is still continued in the society unabated, or the enforcement of so-called Democratic Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 1990 as well as the announcement as untouchability free-state by legislature with the consensus of democrats after the restoration of parliament in 2006 and the enforcement of interim constitution,2006 to abolish caste-based untouchability and new constitution 2015 has been a mock since it is still in practice in the Nepalese society. It seems that state is full of law but without law implementers. But, among Dalits caste based hirerachy and untouchabilities among Dalits are also still deep rooted. Who are in top ladder of caste based hierarchy among Dalits? Who are allowed to enter in private home and in public sphere? Who can participate in cultural functions of in society and even in Dalit’s functions determine their role and hierarchy and even status. But, feelings of their own identity based on Thar were found quite praiseworthy and there is also hierarchy based on occupations which is the foundations of society and culture. Goldsmith and Blacksmith are given high priority because of agriculture and 

handicraft to survive their mere subsistence. Secondly, Leatherwork got priority because of animal husbandry. Likewise, other Dalits are ranked accordingly based on the availability of work and infrastructure of the society tied with environments. 

It is find out that though it is abolished in law it is somehow practiced and the legacy of untouchabity is existed in our society. Interestingly, it was commonly practiced between high caste and Dalits but, hierarchy among Dalits is also found in study area. 


1. Introduction 

In Hindu mythology, priest caste (best known as the messenger the gods, created from the head of the man) is a famous trickster in Nepali culture. According to this mythology, priest caste including high caste Brahmins are sacred and providing the pure role of teaching the Sanskrit to the all people who are living together. The second hierarchical ladder is followed by the Chhetris, who are willingness to do the royal and other bravery tasks and known as warrior caste. Likewise, other tasks such as production, trading and many more are done by Vaisya and rest of the tasks like to providing services to all the members of the society is done by Sudra. (Giri, 2004) This type of stratification is more irrational unscientific, inhuman, exploitative etc. but is still exist in the Nepalese society and it dictates to perform tasks compulsorily and forced as divided by the Jayasthiti Malla. 

Anthropologists strongly oppose the idea that views people and categories their capability in terms of their outer complexion rather than the context of their character. The most crucial point to be noted/noticed is that all human beings though they may vary in physique, color are equally gifted at birth, but slowly and gradually the socialization, along with enculturation, assimilation etc. process itself creates variations among them. In reality, one caste, race, gender or their culture is looked down or spat upon by another supposedly superior or inferior, and this very jaundiced outlook generates myriads of social, psychological, cultural and political-economic complexities. 

Nepal is a multi-cultural and multi-religious and multiethnic society. Nevertheless dalits belonging to indigenous nationalities are victimized in the field of language, religion and culture as the dominant religion. Hinduism holds a way in all matters of the state. The constitution of Nepal, 1990 clearly states that Nepal is a Hindu state. Similarly, dalits are also victimized owning to continuing practices of caste-based discrimination including myths or realities on touchability/untouchability as prescribed by Hinduism. Being born in to a caste system is thus an ascribed status sanctioned by religion which does not lend itself to automatic transformation. 

Article Details

How to Cite
Dahal, B. P. (2023). Social discrimination and Hirearchy Practices among the Dalits in Far-Western Nepal. International Journal of Anthropology, 38(1-2), 67-94.