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European Bulletin of Himalayan Research
Number of Followers: 11  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 0943-8254 - ISSN (Online) 2823-6114
Published by OpenEdition Journals Homepage  [457 journals]
  • ‘Everybody loves a good flood’: the political and social
           transformation of the eastern Tarai (Nepal) through flood control

    • Authors: Marie-Amélie Candau
      Abstract: The Koshi, one of the biggest tributaries of the Ganges River, has been renowned for centuries for its erratic behaviour and destructive flooding of the Indo-Nepalese plain. Based on the Tennessee Valley Authority model’s success and in order to develop the region, the river was totally dammed in 1959, radically transforming the way local communities relate to water in the wetlands of the Koshi plain. Since then, embankments have been built extensively in this plain both in India and Nepal. Devastating incidents, such as the spectacular disaster in 2008, are still vivid in inhabitants’ memories. Despite a questioning of the himalayan region’s management paradigm, the model continues to be applied extensively, with gradual development having recently been achieved in Nepal on secondary rivers in the Tarai plain. This article sets out to analyse the impact of this programme of embanking Koshi affluents in the villages of Tilathi and Narsingh, on the right and the left banks of the Kos...
      PubDate: 2023-07-13
  • The Bhutanese gompa at Swayambhu: sketches and notes from the Musée
           Guimet’s Hodgson Collection of Deva Dharma Maha Vihar

    • Authors: S Shiriin Barakzai
      Abstract: This article describes two sketches and three pages of Sanskrit notes kept in the Musée Guimet’s Hodgson Collection. The titles of the sketches suggest that these are of a temple to the west of Swayambhu mahacaitya, Kathmandu, currently under Bhutanese management and known as Dongag Choling. A description of the sketches and a translation of the attached notes attached to sketch no32 are provided here based on photographs shared by the Guimet during the COVID-19 lockdown. Even prior to the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, after which the temple was completely reconstructed, the wall paintings suggested by the sketches were no longer extant. The sketches are compared with an 1885 sketch by Oldfield and with the current structure to understand how the temple has evolved structurally. The comparison with Oldfield’s sketch suggests that this identification of the temple is correct and that a reconstruction following the 1907 fire led to significant changes, not only to the overall structure, but...
      PubDate: 2023-07-13
  • The reproduction of hydrosocial dominations: water user association
           membership in the eastern Tarai

    • Authors: Romain Valadaud
      Abstract: This article sets out to contribute to the debate on the criteria for selecting members of water user associations (WUAs) for large irrigation systems in the Nepalese Tarai. From a socio-historical approach, I explore irrigation policies through the prism of intertwined scientific paradigms and social power relations specific to the Nepalese context. I show how WUA membership has been dissociated from water use and linked to land tenure. An explanation of this historical process highlights the socio-economic consequences on rural communities dependent on surface irrigation and provides a critique of the WUA model, while suggesting a way of reorienting this participatory model towards further inclusion.
      PubDate: 2023-07-13
  • Introduction: The Nepalese lowlands: land and water, local practices and
           national policies

    • Authors: Olivia Aubriot, Tristan Bruslé
      Abstract: This introductory article to the special section on the Nepalese lowlands presents the following theme: the management of natural resources such as land and water. This topic has often been neglected in scientific literature on this part of Nepal, especially since the emergence of political movements at the end of the People’s War. This article presents the subject of each contribution, as well as the approaches common to all three articles: historical, socio-technical and political ecology. All of them highlight the influence of institutional and technical choices of development policies on the daily lives of people who inhabit the plain. They also pay particular attention to those left behind by these development policies.
      PubDate: 2023-07-13
  • Elusive identities, enduring demands: the Haatis’ struggle for
           recognition in the trans-Giri region, Himachal Pradesh

    • Authors: Nilamber Chhetri
      Abstract: Practices and politics of group classification have provoked multiple contestations regarding social categories in postcolonial South Asia. The adoption of the colonial classificatory model has generated heated discussion over the veracity and tenability of these categories. The concomitant impact of this normative ethnological praxis has led to ethnogenesis of varied kinds across the regions. The logic of determining group boundaries by having recourse to cultural determinants has accentuated claims of authenticity as a tribal group in different regions. With this, the territorial basis of recognition has instantiated demands based on geographical congruity and has initiated identity claims on a performative scale. In this article, I examine the case of the Haatis in Himachal Pradesh to delineate the micropolitics of recognition struggles where cultural identity and territorial scale coalesce to reinvigorate the quest for classificatory justice.
      PubDate: 2023-07-13
  • Brief note on using geomatics to study land-cover change in the Tarai
           since the 1950s

    • Authors: Jérôme Picard
      Abstract: This note addresses the use of geomatics for studying the changes in land-cover in the Tarai since the 1950s. The author explains the main principles of geomatics (for social scientists) and shows how certain geomatic methods contribute to addressing this theme. After a presentation of the inventory of sources – digitized maps and Landsat and Spot satellite images for the most part – the methodology is explained. The latter is based on the integration into a small geographic information system (GIS), of various finely reworked, georeferenced maps, both raster and vector, that ultimately show land-cover in the Tarai on various scales and at different periods. These maps can be the result of satellite-image classifications using various remote-sensing techniques, and in particular pixel-supervised classifications used here and which identify spatial objects based on their known spectral signatures. However, while our land-cover classifications are fairly accurate at district level, th...
      PubDate: 2023-07-13
  • Agrarian changes in the Nepalese lowlands: local actors and the state

    • Authors: Olivia Aubriot, Tristan Bruslé
      Abstract: This article presents a historical reconstruction of the development of the Tarai plain, which has been central to Nepal’s agricultural policy. It focuses on the role of the state and the involvement of local actors in this development to show how state policies benefited some actors while excluding others. Starting in the eighteenth century, a critical period in the structuring of society and in the establishment of the elite, we show how the state selected its rural interlocutors according to specific characteristics during four historical phases characterised by dominant development paradigms. Firstly, from the unification of Nepal (late eighteenth century) to 1950 when land policies structured the relationship between the state and farmers. Secondly, in the 1950s–80s when public policies focused on collective infrastructures. Thirdly, from the mid-1980s to the 2000s when the participatory management paradigm emerged. Finally, from the 2000s onwards with market-oriented agricultu...
      PubDate: 2023-07-13
  • Editorial

    • Authors: Tristan Bruslé, Stéphane Gros, Philippe Ramirez
      Abstract: It is with great pleasure that we publish the 60th issue of the EBHR, the first for 2023. This issue features a special section about the ‘Nepalese lowlands’, the Tarai, a region that has received increased attention from researchers since the mid-2000s, chiefly as a consequence of growing federalism demands on the part of some of its inhabitants. The media and researchers alike have often focused on strictly political issues pertaining to identity, belonging or representation of the long under-represented Madheshi population at national level. The three articles in this special section adopt a different lens to explore the influence of national and international policies and in particular that of development plans on agrarian practices and on access to land and water in the Tarai. Olivia Aubriot and Tristan Bruslé address the question of the transformation of the Nepalese plain in a review article that shows how both local actors with stakes in the development of agriculture and the...
      PubDate: 2023-07-13
  • Recent development of Himalayan studies in China: works, perspectives and
           orientations (2012–2022)

    • Authors: Yinong Zhang
      Abstract: Himalayan studies and China This paper sets out to review the development of Himalayan studies in social science in China over the last decade. While Himalayan-related research is not new in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (1949 onwards), Himalayan studies as a specific field of research in social science, however, has not been commonly referred to in this way. In other words, Himalayan studies, as such, is a ‘weak’ concept in Chinese academia and is largely fragmented into a variety of different fields such as borderland studies, ethnic minorities studies, Tibetan studies and oversea ethnography. As a scholar of Tibetan studies and later social anthropology, my own interest in Tibetan borderlands has brought my attention to some particular lines of research related to Himalayan studies, which I review here as One Belt One Road, corridor studies, ecology, bilingual education, and minority literature and film. I also point out two opposing trends within this discursive field of Ch...
      PubDate: 2023-03-07
  • Stories of circulations in the Himalayas

    • Authors: Olivia Aubriot, Tristan Bruslé, Stéphane Gros
      Abstract: Introduction There are many ways to travel. People of the Himalayas often travel out of necessity rather than for leisure: on foot, as in the past, but now increasingly by motorised means. Their motivations can be diverse and the distances covered change according to the mode of travel. The Himalayan mountains still impose constraints that new infrastructure can only partially overcome. The Himalayan range – despite its high peaks, the tumultuous flow of its rivers, or its extreme climate – has never been an impenetrable barrier to the movement of people. The photographs and their captions collected here highlight the importance of mobility and circulatory regimes, of paths, roads or trails in the social life of communities, in various historical and political contexts. Movement is indeed constitutive of the Himalayan region, where the increasing delocalisation of social life (Escobar 2008) does not prevent cultures and identities from being deeply anchored in landscapes and culturall...
      PubDate: 2023-03-07
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