Printer Friendly

Social networking and the recruitment process among activists in Nepal (1).

As a result of the signing of the 12- point agreement between the seven-party (parliamentary) alliance and the Communist Party of Nepal, Maoist, (2) from the 6th to the 24th of April, 2006, for the first time in Nepal's history, millions of people marched on the streets of entire cities and most of the villages of the country. They crossed all state coercive measures, defied curfew, and cleared security barricades, all the while chanting 'Loktantra' (democracy). People from to all walks of life took part, at their own high risk. These demonstrations were not merely a coincidence or a form of spontaneous mobilization; they were a manifestation of undercurrent activism, contentious politics, collective action, and social movements. Over the last 200 years, Nepal has changed considerably (Gellner 1997a) and in recent decades the rate, intensity, and spectrum of change has been noteworthy. This may be compared to Tarrow's (2003) "movement society," concept, which he created for contemporary global contexts. In the same vein, in the 1960s, sociologist Daniel Bell proclaimed the "end of ideology" (Lloyd 2003); following his footsteps many social scientists predicted a stage of societal development where ideological conflict would gradually be translated into a more pluralistic, pragmatic consensus (McAdam, McCarthy, and Zald 1996). This seems to ring true for Nepal, where ethnic organizations, regional movements, civil societies, Dalit groups, and women movements, to name a few, are proliferating as new alternative intermediaries, somehow challenging/replacing political parties in mediating between people and the state. All these mobilizations are triggering social scientists to ask some serious questions: why have the collective actions, mass mobilizations (movements, revolution) come into being? Why do people join these mass mobilizations? What are the motivating and networking patterns of activists? What recruitment technologies and processes are being deployed by activists?

Social Political Upheaval 1990

Almost every day from the 1990s onwards, particularly post 1996, after the introduction of the Maoist insurgency, both printed and electronic media have been cultivating column and airing news on various levels, forms, types, and natures of collective actions, protests, activisms, movements, insurgencies, and counter insurgencies as well as their strategies and tactical repertoires. The promulgation of the new constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal in 1990 produced avenues for the mobilization of all sorts of activism in the country-- both individual and collective. From that time onwards, activism, movements, and collective actions became a perennial and routine part of Nepali life, especially in urban areas (nevertheless the Maoist insurgency has emerged from rural areas). Enormous public discourses were initiated and organizations materialized; activists, academics, and intellectuals began to engage in the expression and exchange of views in a way that had previously been banned. (3) As noted earlier, varied forms of activism took place as political groups, cultural nationalists, Dalit, women, Madheshi, etc., asserted their ethnic and territorial autonomy, the right to self determination, linguistic revitalization, and so on. Dalits, women, the disabled, and numerous social organizations and religious groups have since advocated their rights and identities as Weigert, Smith, and Teitge state, "social organization is the principle of self-organization, and both together explain social action" (1986: 5). Lesbian, gay, and sex worker movements started up. Many of these have or seek links with International NonGovernmental Organizations (INGOs). Activist organizations have a key role in the ongoing transformation of Nepali society. Since 1990 it is estimated that more than 30,000 Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) and NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) have been registered in Nepal, focusing particularly on development, awareness, advocacy, civic and human rights, the environment, children, women, peace, and so on (Gellner and Karki forthcoming).

Modern Nepali political activism can be divided into five generations by key historical events: prior to 1951 Rana Regime, 1952-1961 multiparty system, 1962-1979 party-less political Panchayat system, 1980-1990 reformed party-less Panchayat system, and the post- 1990 reinstallation of multiparty system. These events have offered opportunities for contentions, oppositions, and original activist dynamics, producing new generations of activists. One major outcome of mobilization is the formation of a political generation, a cohort of activists who are committed to the cause in enduring ways (Mannheim 1928 quoted by Whittier 2004: 541). Cultural nationalist, Dalit, women's, social, and Tarai activisms, are also seen to be analogous to political events (religious activism may be a partial exception here). The 2001 census recorded over 100 castes/ethnicities and 92 mother tongues, each of which could be said to constitute separate cultural entities. Cultural nationalists have claimed that the original culture of those units goes back to the period prior to the modern administrative unification after 1769 initiated by King Prithivi Narayan Shah.

Many of the existing studies have focused on identity formation or reformation as well as agenda production (Gellner, Pfaff-Czarnecka, and Whelpton 1997; de Sales 2000; Lecomte-Tilouine and Dollfus 2003; Fisher 2004), ideology and agenda building through the process of grievances construction (Bhattachan 1995, 2000), and issue claiming and counter claiming (Dahal 1995; Adams 1998; and Shah 2005). Hachhethu (2002), Rawal (1990), and KC (2001) have focused on political party/institution building through political process perspectives. Dahal (2004) analyzes an emerging new social movement in Nepal from a western theoretical position. Even if social movements are not acknowledged as such, they are a vital social force in mass mobilizations and socio-political change in general, as is evidenced by the last seven-eight decades. Although many activists have greatly contributed to those movements, the sociological study of their recruitment process in Nepal has been neglected, with the exception of de Sales (2003), Lecomte-Tilouine (2006), Gellner and Karki (2004, 2005), who have produced two preliminary articles addressing motivation and trends in recruitment. (4)
 Opposition to existing (unequal) social conditions was revealed to
 be a major motivation for activism, as the single biggest first
 response (21.6%) to the direct question on this matter, going up to
 35.3% when up to three responses are allowed. 'Ideology' is given
 as a first response by only 12.5%, though this increases to 34%
 when up to three responses are included. Once the responses are
 broken down by type of activist some perhaps predictable
 regularities can be observed: political activists are much more
 likely to have been influenced by an ideology or a text than
 others; Janajati, women, and Dalit activists are much more likely
 to be influenced by a desire to resist social evils or by events
 than others; and business or commercial activists are influenced by
 neither, with over 50% saying that the advancement of their
 professional interests was their motivation. (Gellner and Karki

In this article, I attempt to further explore a) how individuals become involved in/recruited for activism, b) what types of social and political process one needs to undergo to be an activist, and finally, c) what motivations are affective during the recruitment process?

General Literature

The growth of social movements (5) is a global phenomenon these days (McAdam, McCarthy, and Zald 1996), which has come to be regarded as permanent components of western democracies (Porta and Diani 2004), but I think these are omnipresent. However, movement has been variously conceptualized in different eras and places. Zirakzadeh (1997) states that immediately following the few decades after the Second World War, social movement theorists of Western Europe and Northern America had negative associations with social movements due to their painful memories of National Socialism in Germany, Fascism in Italy, and McCarthyism in the United States. These theorists therefore depicted social movements in a derogatory way and dwelt on their childish, immoral, and anti-democratic features.

Initially during the last century, sociological theories of ideology and later, theories of organization and rationality dominated as perspectives from which to address issues of social movement (Johnston, Larana, and Gusfield 1994). In the late sixties and early seventies, two principal theoretical models in particular evolved; the Marxist model and the structural-functionalist model. However, reactions to those theoretical lacunae developed in both settings; collective behaviour (in its interactionist version), resource mobilization, and the political processes perspective developed in response to structural-functionalist model in the United States and the 'new social movement' evolved in response to the Marxists model in the Europe (Porta and Diani 2004). Garner and Zald (1985:138) and Diani (2004: 341) claim protest and contentious collective action are ultimately "politics by other means", and social movements were merely one of the options that challengers could draw upon to pursue their policy outcomes and their quest for membership in the polity.
 It is difficult to grasp the nature of social movements, neither
 they could be reduced to specific insurrections or revolts, but
 rather resemble strings of more or less connected events, scattered
 across time and space; they cannot be identified with specific
 organizations either, rather, they consist of groups and
 organizations, with various levels of formalization, linked in
 patterns of interactions which run from the fairly centralized to
 the totally decentralized, from cooperative to the explicitly
 hostile. In another word social movements are complex and highly
 heterogeneous network structures. (Diani 2003:1)

It has been observed that modern social movements developed with the creation of the nation-state (Porta and Tarrow 2005). Nepal too has followed the same trajectory, where modern forms of activism began from the 1920s with action against the Rana regime (Gellner and Karki forthcoming). However, it is equally true that contention, opposition, grievances, collective action, and movement in any form are ubiquitous throughout space and time (Klandermans 2004a). To complicate matters, everywhere movements as ideology and instrument (ibid) have been mobilized on the basis of various social and ethnic groups, castes, and geographical markers. It is very difficult to measure their scale and scope because of the changing face of transnational activism, which complicates the local processes of the diffusion of movements with crosscutting trends of internationalization (Porta and Tarrow 2005). In addition, Matsuda (2001: 128) points out, that human beings are active subjects with creativity and initiative in the existential world.

Many theorists have concentrated on exploring how movements and revolutions emerge and develop. McAdam, McCarthy, and Zald (1996) tease out three factors: firstly, the structure of political opportunities and constraints confronting the movements; secondly, the form of organization (formal and informal) available to insurgents; and lastly, the collective process of interpretation, attribution, and social construction that mediate between opportunity and action. In same vein, Kandermans and Oegema (1987) claim four stages of social movements: forming mobilization potentials; forming and motivating recruitment networks; arousing motivation to participate; and removing barriers to participation. Chong (1991) observes that in every social movement some proportion of the activists primarily seek immediate gratification and private benefits such as an increase in local prestige, and are neither steadfastly nor deeply committed to long term social change. People who do not become activists are those for whom the costs is too great, they tend to have little economic security and few, if any ties to a political base from which they may be granted political protection (Migdal 1974; Piven 1976: 316-18; Scott 1985 quoted by Zirakzadeh 1997).

Undoubtedly, activism and social movements share more or less the same trajectories, and overlap their meanings and conceptualizations to a great extent. However, implicit differences in the recruitment pattern exist. Essentially, social movements recruit participants not members (Porta and Diani 2004); participants in social movements do not make up a collectivity activists and may not follow the same recruitment processes as activists. Participants in social movements are recruited at any point of time across a given society through the intense interactions, fusions, conflicts, collective identities, and resources of activist organizations. In answering the question of why participation in movements is appealing to people, various factors have to be taken into account. "People may want to change their circumstances, they may want to act as a member of their groups, or they may want to give meaning to their world and express their views and feelings" (Klandermans 2004b: 361). Hirsch (1990: 243) has developed the steps to recruitment and commitment to protest movements: consciousness-raising, collective empowerment, polarization, and group decision-making.

McAdam (1988) observes that structural availability is more important than attitudinal affinity in accounting for differential involvement in movement activities. Ideological disposition towards participation matters little if the individual lacks the structural contact to 'pull' her or him into protest. Consistent with this argument, a number of studies have demonstrated the decisive role of structural, rather than attitudinal, factors in encouraging activism. Very few would disagree that social network analysis facilitates the study of social movements through individual embeddedness in a pre-existing network and how new networks build up across the society and time.

The Study

'The impact of activism in Nepal: an anthropological and historical study' research project covers a wide range of data as I mention above. This article attempts to investigate the underlying social and political mechanisms and processes of activist recruitment through network analysis. (6) How does a neutral individual advance from the role of sympathizer to supporter, and ultimately become involved in activism? How have motivational, networking, and recruitment processes worked and what types of techniques (physical, non-physical) are being adopted? Even though the political, ethnic, and religious organizations deploy their member activists for different goals, are the basic mobilization and recruitment technologies similar or not? This project and its resulting publications endeavour to seek to uncover the ways in which political parties and ethnic and religious institutions contact, influence, recruit, and organize activists in their cause. This article excludes from its quantitative survey activists who discontinued their activities or were expelled from their organizations. Primarily, it focuses on activists and does not look at non-activists or regular individuals.

As noted above, Nepal has faced several political movements/ revolutions so this research has attempted to cover the activism of each generation and a great diversity of movements from different political, social and cultural domains. As a consequence of this diversity of activists and movements, the project has also included analysis of many different environments or motivational contexts because of the vital role they play in generating the requisite networking that ultimately leads to the recruitment of activists. Fararo and Kosaka (2003) say "structure itself is as networking". However, structural motivation and inter-structural/inter-organizational networking are not my only focus and I try to explore other possibilities. Structural choice (opportunities/obstacles) and rational choice networking may create possible spaces in which individuals may be led into recruitment through networking, nonetheless; one needs to overcome some barriers. Additionally, motivation gains momentum from "structural opposition and contention. One important question is how these forces, as well as 'positive' networking factors, result in the production of activists. I have found that activists are recruited through various situations, environments, and prevailing knowledge. As our research has shown, an individual becomes an activist by borrowing from various concepts and existing theoretical. It would therefore be inappropriate to overlay a unified theoretical position with which to analyse their networking and recruitment on to their activities. Instead, I will present their various perspectives and begin to chart a course for an analysis based on their recruitment processes as they identify them.

Research Design

Urban-based activism is very common in Nepal. This may be due to the availability of modern infrastructures, which provide multiple means of disseminating ideology choices, and access to international links to advocacy and lobbying; consequently, cities are in focus. This does not mean, however, that activists are totally absent in the rural areas. Most eminent activists live in cities and conduct most of their activism within cities (national, regional, zonal, district, or rural-urban). Activism draws upon potentially mobilizing structures (7) (McAdam, McCarthy, and Zald 1996) and resources, which are located in cities. Therefore, most activists commence their activism in urban areas and then diffuse their activities to villages. During the survey conducted as part of the 'Impact of Activism project', I found that just as up-grading occurs in a promotional system, if one gets good expertise, name and fame, a migrant will migrate to cities to do more. All of the central offices of national political parties, INGOs, and NGOs are located in Kathmandu. In other words, almost entire prominent activist leaders stay in the capital city. For example, of the fifty member organizations that are members of NEFIN (Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities), thirty are based in Kathmandu, including its central office, three are in Pokhara and one in Janakpur (Gellner and Karki 2005). Additionally, the Maoist insurgency has compelled opposing activists to migrate to the cities. Realizing this hard reality and high risk, our study excludes the country side and declined to survey Maoist activists (this decision was also taken out of concerns over the state, because at that time the Maoists were declared terrorists and all their activities were banned by the government of Nepal).

Taking into consideration those facts, the ecological setting and the location of the major concentrations of activists, from late 2003s to early 2004s, 109 pilot questionnaires were filled out. These covered three districts, namely Kathmandu, the capital city, Kaski (Pokhara), the western regional development centre, and Dhanusa (Janakpur), the zonal head quarter of Sagarmatha. From December 2004 to April 2005, of 800 quantitative interviews, fifty per cent (400) were obtained from Kathmandu, and twenty five per cent (200) from Pokhara and Janakpur, the district head quarters of Kaski and Dhanusa districts respectively. A questionnaire schedule containing 38 questions and divided into three major parts (organizational, personal, and political ideology inclination) was used for the quantitative interview. Respondents were selected through 'snowball sampling' from several types of activist groups, namely political, ethnic, Dalit, religious, Madheshi, caste, women, social, and economic. Of the 200 respondents in each area outside Kathmandu, 50 respondents were from political parties, 30 from women's organizations, and 20 each from indigenous/nationalities, Dalit, economic, social, and religious activists. Within Kathmandu this number was doubled for each category.

An activist is a person who is consciously and voluntarily engages (full time or part time) in at least one organization that has certain end goals, whether those be halting or changing extant authority whatever its form: culture, institution, group etc. It is not simple, however, to depict the concrete definitional boundaries of an activist and any such project must acknowledge their overlapping meanings, conceptualisations, and shifting positions. For the sake of the study's feasibility, we do not include participants 'of the moment' or claimants in our definition of activists. However, in general, one could identify and claim that an activist is an individual who is just participating in any protest, movement, or collective action.

In this article, I defined the recruitment of an activist to be a state of recognition of involvement in an organization, either legally (formal membership) or socio-politically. The ties between individual or collective emotions and the end goals of any organization are an essential component in activism recruitment but this is not a formal requirement. I have observed cross directional processes in recruitment where legal (formal) recruitment motives, which I will here refer to as object-driven recruitment, and individual or emotional motivations, here referred to as subject-driven recruitment, can predicate one another, depending on the activist in question. For this study, an activist is the unit of analysis. A network is a set of nodes connected by specific types of relations. The very network helps an individual to participate in an activism. A node could be a person, a society, a cultural meaning, an organization, an ideology, protest tactics, etc. Side by side, the dependent variable would be a multiplicity of causes: against social evils, an ideology, a person, an ego, a family, a work or body of literature, etc., across the context and type of activism. In this quantitative survey, the operational definition of an activist is inseparable from 'the organization'. Activists who are members (executive or working committee) of mono or multi-level organizations were respondents. (8) Nevertheless, movement veterans who had a key role in past but were retired were interviewed for qualitative purposes in order to access the feelings, emotions, life histories, and interpretations of this complex phenomena (Klandermans and Staggenburg 2002) even if they were no longer affiliated with an organization.

The processes of individual recruitment are relative phenomena that may occur variously because of several factors under different regime models over time (Passy 2003). The questionnaire was designed to generate personal information about activists, focusing on individual profiling (involvement history, overlapping membership commitments, family history, location of ancestral home, family migration patterns, birth, education, etc.), formation/networking/recruitment on activism, socio-metric choices (motivation and intermediary agencies), and political ideological inclination. Generally, it took about 25 minutes to fill out a questionnaire. However, the qualitative interviews took an average of 2 hours. The interview included asking in detail about life history (motivation, networking, and recruitment) depending on the activist's level of activism.

Discussion and Analysis Social Status and Recruitment

The social activist (reformer) category is the most popularly preferred identity marker amongst activists, irrespective of what type of activism they are involved in, be it political, ethnic, Dalit, women, religion, etc. The very category captures first and third largest position securing 27.3 and 21.5 per cent in the father's and grandfather's generation respectively (Table 1). Thalu/Mukhiya decreases by 10.8 per cent and is pushed down into fifth rank in the father's generation although it occupied the second position in the grandfather's generation. This is unlike the teacher/Karmachari category which, in the grand father's generation emerged with 11.8 per cent, replacing the Thalu/Mukhiya as a new local elite group in the father's generation. These days, the tag of Thalu/Mukhiya is politically constructed to mean a member of the exploitative class and is now a derogative status. As a result, activists who would formerly have belonged to this group have been intentionally exchanging this identity with that of 'social reformer'. (9) Even though during the Rana regime their very name was supposed to be a prestigious social status. Along with the end of Rana regime such state-economic structures legally also came to an end. The new democratic movement has changed the social subjective consciousness, plotting society into two major camps: feudal (in a relative sense) and general. Groups like the Thalu/Mukhiya have been placed in domain of traditional forces and have been labelled 'Samanti' (local feudal). To a great extent activism recruitment processes evolve in the relationships (ties or conflict) between those two groups particularly political activism is produced and reproduced.

Only 25.6 per cent of activists' father's social status is identified as 'general people', while it increases to 38.6 per cent in the grandfather's case. This clearly indicates that the majority of activists (the single largest position in the grandfather's generation and second in the fathers generation) belong to locally well known or respectable elite families including (Thalu/ Mukhiya/Jimawal), merchant/trader, priest/astrologer, social activist, ethnic leader, etc. The 'general people' category decreases by 13 per cent in the most father's generation compared to that of the grandfather, which reveals that in a democracy (10) and a more open/modern socio-political environment, general people were able to earn a good social position. Nevertheless, even in a democracy, the recruitment from the 'general people' sphere is still tends to be low; only one fourth of the total. Interestingly, few degrade to 'general people' in the father's generation, whatever their grandfather's social status, and indeed regained the title of activist in third generation, suggesting that such a commitment 'missed a generation' in terms of activism recruitment. It also indicates that structural potentiality might be an eminent factor in recruitment containing pre-existing social capital.

Of the total 800 respondents, 45 per cent of activists replied that they have elite relatives within their circle of core relations (uncle, aunt, brother and sister-in-law, and sister and brother-in-law). Out of them, 59.2 per cent belong to government offices as section officers or above, 41.4 and 33.3 per cent are to be found in political, military, or police professions (as senior officers including second lieutenant and inspector) (Table 2).

Overwhelmingly, 66.8 and 11.6 per cent of activists are sending their children to private school, college, or university, and to foreign countries respectively, as compared to the 27.8 per cent who have their children in government school/campus (Table 3).

These results may appear unusual according to Marxist theory concerning which groups lead and dominate class conflict and class struggle, but activism in Nepal is generated and sustained by elite groups because of the social movement culture of each elite activist family in which family and individual identity asserted through participation in activism. (11) The term 'political dynasty' is used both in practice and academically in the context of describing the 'political landscape'; however, it applies to the rest of activism too. Those members who are socially recognized as 'Khandaniya/ Kulin/Gharaniy' (aristocratic or blue-blooded) (relative to their socio-politio-economic milieu) might be able to leverage their power in the name of recruitment to activism. Generally, one would proudly claim, 'Hing Navayepani Hing Badheko Talo' which literarily means that presently one may not have noble social status now, but he or she can still claim a noble family lineage. Similarly, another very popular idiomatic expression is 'Mul Ko Pani Kul Ko Chhori', 'drink water from the spring and choose a girl from a noble family (for marriage)'; implicitly those social meanings express a message about the socio-psychological importance of family capital. In the context of activism recruitment, such social capital is particularly valued and given special credibility regardless of the type of activism. Furthermore, one may observe a trend of formerly elite status-gaining members seeking more power through inventing a new identity or involving themselves in an organization.

Ethnicity/Caste and Recruitment

Few would deny that ethnicities are not new entities; however, the very term 'ethnicity' was Coined early in the 1950s and was slowly shaped on the conceptual boundaries of that time (Chapman 1993). Nevertheless, there are some who have historical roots and have manifested themselves variously over time, though sometimes in a dormant state (Joireman 2003). However, it is equally true that social role activation based on ethnicity is not very old in Nepal. As Gellner (1997b) writes- it would be quite wrong, however, to see the wars of the eighteenth century in terms of ethnic struggle. There were Newar artisans and traders settled in Gorkha from the seventeenth century, who owed allegiance to the Shah Kings. (12) Even though multinational and multicultural identities have been merged in Nepal, and are more or less assumed to be inseparable identities, Oommen (2003:123) claims multinational polities and multicultural polities have unambiguous separate boundaries. (13) Regardless, a new state-led identity was later constructed through the imposition of a Hinduism-based socio-cultural order introduced by the state in 1854 with the first civil code (Hofer 2004). Cultural, linguistic, and regional differences were largely ignored during the partyless Panchayat system (1960-1990), which placed its emphasis on one language, one form of national dress, and one national policy (Whelpton 1997; Pfaff-Czarnecka 1997; Gellner and Karki forthcoming).

Table 4 shows that the Hill Brahmans constitute the single largest percentage (21.5 per cent) of the total number of activists surveyed, whereas they make up 12.74 per cent of the national population. The Newars are 15.1 per cent among the activists, about triple the size of their total national population, resulting in over representation compared to the Hill Brahmans. The Chhetris/Thakuris occupy 12.8 per cent, quite a bit less than their national population of 17.27 per cent. The Chhetri (15.80) are the single most populous group in Nepal (CBS 2001). The Hill and Mountain ethnic groups reported 13.6 per cent activists, which is an extremely low representation but if the Newars are included it increases significantly to 28.7, giving them over representation since their percentage of the total population is 27.39 per cent. The Newars are one of the enlisted indigenous hill nationalities groups of Nepal. While the Dalits constitute 9.3 per cent of all activists, all of the Tarai groups together secure 17.1 per cent, excluding Musalmans who maintain 1.6 per cent. The remaining groups cover only 6.8 per cent.

Interestingly, these results match the national human development ranking. Here, the question arises about whether there is any correlation between the level of human development ranking and activist recruitment potential. The Newars, Hill Brahmans, and Chhetris secure first, second, and third position in the human development index ranking (NESAC 1998), which places them well above the average national level. The hill ethic groups maintain the average national level, but this does not mean that all indigenous nationalities occupy the same status. The 59 government-recognized indigenous nationalities groups are divided into a further five categories: endangered, highly marginalized, marginalized, disadvantage, and advanced groups, (14) based on literacy rate, housing, land holdings, occupation, language, education level (graduate and above), and population size. Here, apparently, the Dalits are highly over represented in respect to the human development ranking, but this results from our project's intentional sampling in which we set a compulsory 10 per cent Dalit respondents (see research design). However, their low status implicitly indicates by the decreasing order of allocated 10 per cent respondents to Dalit that decreases to 9.3 per cent in absence of their involvement. (15)

Numerically, the Newars are the dominant community of the Kathmandu valley and have migrated to other major cities as a successful business community. The survey was carried out in cities/urban areas so a possible argument could be that it is natural for there to be overrepresentation of this group. Nevertheless, cost benefit ratio, potentiality, and future visibility factors do play prominent roles in activism motivation and recruitment. (16) This seems to ring true in terms of ethnic activism too; out of government recognized 59 groups, only 50 groups have succeeded in forming their own community organizations. Of 59, very few have envisioned their own current and future programmes and policies and have succeeded in setting up branch offices or holding periodic elections following their own organizations' constitutions (see Gellner and Karki 2004). The remaining groups are mainly quite behind on several political and economic measures and in their ability to access power. They are adhering to Tilly's ideas on how people may be divided into three camps: "idea people, behaviour people, and relation people" (2003: 5-6). Those groups that have not been successful in these areas follow the leading ethnic activists and organizations activism and create opportunities for themselves under the banner of indigenous nationalities recognition and identity. Those groups lack intellectual, political, and financial resources. In other words, conducive and fertile contexts exist in abundance but most of the requisites for subjective consciousness and actions have been lacking.

Resource mobilization theorists, McCarthy and Zald (1977) claim a group or person who has the appropriate political experience, vision, and/or resources to help an aggrieved constituent may be termed an 'issue entrepreneur'. Significantly, in all national political parties Hill Brahmins (17) and Chhetris are in control, regardless of whether the party is extremist, centralist, or liberal, which clearly indicates that social capital, education, and family background, and recruitment opportunity are strongly interrelated and have been so since the inception of the state. Similarly, all eminent indigenous nationalities leaders come either from the Newars or a few hill ethnic communities who had traditional access to the British/Indian army. Of all five general secretaries elected to the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (18) (NEFIN, earlier called the Nepal Federation of Nationalities, NEFEN) three are meant to represent groups from the disadvantaged category. In fact, only one belongs to a highly marginalized group, and even he is an academic and therefore relatively privileged. None comes from the Tarai and Mountain regions or women's groups. Within ethnic groups who have traditionally had access to the Indian and British military, ex-army members have been greatly mobilized in the lower levels of organizational formation. Almost all eminent activists are from the upper strata of the indigenous nationalities whether their group is itself categorized as disadvantaged or advanced.

It is common in Nepal for activists to hold overlapping memberships. In most cases, an activist is a political activist, an academic, a civil society leader, an ethnic activist, a human fights activist, a development activist, and usually this state of affairs would be articulated as a form of coalition building. I argue that just the hill Brahmins and Chhetris dominate the state and its mechanisms of power, a few ethnicities and a handful of activist families have a monopoly over the cultural nationalist activism of their constituency. Through social networks, cultural capital, size of population and social, intellectual or economic resources these groups have had control over identity production and reproduction, policy and strategy formation, as well as the benefits of activism. In other words, few are the core actors in activism and the remaining people are just allies.

Activists who are directly involved in the indigenous nationalities movements claimed that they were motivated 47.7 per cent by opposition to social evils, 27.5 per cent by ethnic causes, and 22.2 percent by families. Although it might seem contradictory, the high hill Hindu caste activists as a group, reported deriving 66.7 per cent of their motivation from the opposition to social evils category. However, it must be said that the 'opposition to social evils' response included a variety of meanings. In the case of indigenous nationalities, Dalits, and women, high percentages of 'opposition to social evils' suggest discrimination from the state and the high caste people in legal, public, and private spheres, whereas the high caste hill group also reports high numbers of this response, but in their case they explained this choice a reaction to the decrease or diminishment of their own sociocultural values and identities. I argue that there are basically two types of motivating philosophies guiding recruitment which may be divided into two broad categories of activisms: a) identity seeking activism and b) identity preservation activism.

Identity seeking activism envisages a twofold aim, firstly to regain their own autonomous identity from a subordinated position, and secondly to fight against the state for some direct political ends, i.e. autonomy, right of self determination, the secular state, etc. The second type of activists are campaigning for the status quo (according to their socio-cultural meanings); they demand nothing of the state. Those activists are much more concerned with preserving and protecting their decaying identity and "dignity". They seem on a defensive mode, which I observed in the Kshetry Mahasang [Kshetry (Chhetry) Federation] assembly and during interviews with high caste Hindu activists. They feel loyalty to their historical role, identity, and culture values, excluding direct political ends. (19) In other words, the two types of activisms being discussed here, might generally be termed right-based activism and duty-based activism. Within these, the motiving categories of 'opposition to social evil' and 'family' are factors in identity seeking activism and identity preservation activism respectively.

Religion and Activism

Resource mobilization, new social movements, and ethnicity theories strongly propose religion as one of the most powerful allies that. shapes the identity. It has been an effective and most convincing resource with which to construct the grievances that recruits an individual into an activism. Nevertheless, some ambiguities exist in the analysis of religion as a context of activism recruitment. 'Preservation', 'conversion', and 'retention' are frequently used terms and tendencies, those multiplicities of position would be difficult to assimilate into an analysis of activism. In this article, therefore, I restrict myself to the meanings of activism and activists defined in the research design. Respondents were found from almost all nationally recognized religious beliefs: Hinduism, Buddhism, Muslim, Christianity, and Kirat are 70.1, 17.0, 2.5, 2.0, and 2.5 per cent respectively. Hindus are 10.5 per cent less than as recorded in the national census. However, Buddhists are 6.3 per cent more compared to 10.7 per cent in the 2001 census. Compared to the national size of the population, Christians represent more than double but Muslims are about fifty per cent less than its national population. The then dissatisfaction with the continuation of the official declaration of the country as a Hindu state (20) in the constitution of Nepal 1990, accelerated the cultural nationalities' activism demanding the then secular state. However, I argue that just as the British found 'Sikh Hindu' or 'Hindu Sikh' in India during their eighteenth century survey (Brass 2005), during my field work I also encountered some dilemmas within activists when asked to point out their religion. The performance of multiple religious rituals and practices during a single individual's lifespan prevail. Religio-politicians impose and claim identity from a top down perspective, the Vishwa Hindu Mahasang (The Word Hindu Federation) and its Nepal chapter advocate membership across ethnicity and caste through the concept of 'Sanaatana Dharma' (21) and 'Omkar Pariwar' (22). As Gellner observes "the state was still proud to call itself the only Hindu skingdom in the world, and the official doctrine was that Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism were 'branches' of Hinduism; only a minority of Buddhist activists were seriously offended by this" (2001: 194). On the other hand, NEFIN creates these boundaries stating that those group are indigenous nationalities who do not belong to the four fold Vama system of Hinduism. Nonetheless, in 2001, in Dhanusa district some Tarain activists have formed a separate federation with which to pressure the state called 'DKKA', (23) claming that they are a Tarain federation of nationalities opposed to the defining criteria of NEFIN. (24)

During the 2001 census, NEFIN summoned its member organizations to campaign within their communities to endorse their own 'original' religions other than Hinduism. Consequently the number of Hindus decreased by 5.9 per cent in the 2001 census compared to the 1991 census. Whereas 3.4 per cent of activists reported their religion 'others' (Animism, Bon, etc.), 2.5 per cent of activists intentionally refused to associate themselves with any religion. It is quite a precarious position; on the one hand, in a country that states religion as the foundation of ethnicity and caste identity or as a key property that shapes the ethnic and caste boundaries, activism flows from religion. On the other hand, some activists are entirely denouncing religious recognition. Fundamentally, the confrontation occurs between two basic principles; individual identity (autonomy) and collective identity, or whether an individual is a socialized product or is capable of or wholly constituted by subjective meaning; all of which has been at the core of sociological debates for some time. Political (communist) cadres and members of the younger generations in particular have refused to associate with any religious position, arguing that we are just human beings may choose to be independent from the human construct that is religion. This may be partly true at the macro level where we can say that communists are non-religious. Nonetheless, in Nepal it is wrong to generalize about communists in this way. Activists of the Ekata Kendra Nepal and Janamorcha parties were surveyed as 16.7 per cent non-religious compared to activists of the communist party of Nepal-United Marxist and Leninist of whom 11.5 per cent responded that they were nonreligious (25). The remaining political parties' activists were entirely linked with religion.

Some key variables, namely opposition to social evils (35.8%), ideology (34%), family (22.1%), person (21.3%), and events (14.8%) are dominant across the religious groups in aggregate. Undoubtedly, compared to inter-religious groups those variables contradict each other in their rankings (Table 5). Nonetheless, these figures demonstrate these motivating factors are essential across all types of activism recruitment. Sometimes, religious activism might seem the sub-field of national political and cultural nationalist activism. I find commonalities with Paul Brass's perspectives on northern Indian political development, when he writes that "political elite choose the cultural symbols upon which they wish to base their claims for group rights, that they make a determination as to wish symbol is decisive, and that they make other cleavages congruent with the primary cleavage. Therefore, political conflict may induce cumulated cleavages just as the reverse process may occur in which cumulated cleavages produce political conflict" (Brass 2005: 28). The same is true in Nepal, where ethnic activists have been claiming religion as an inseparable component in cultural nationalist activism or movement emergence. Reversely, adherents of certain religions and languages are now capable of (and are) generating activism based on their own needs and agendas. Language is used as an instrument in the mounting ethnic activism. For example, now within the Rai community, a new language-based identity has emerged. The criteria (material or philosophical) which was formerly used to define activism, now becomes the basis of activism itself; what was initially an object or goal has become the subjective purpose of activism. A major question then becomes how to define ethnicity and caste, whether it be on the grounds of the primordial or based in social constructivism.

Women and Activism Recruitment

Few would deny that no one could recruit activists in a state of isolation. By this I mean that rational choice theory fails to include the recruitment process to a great extent. Some sort of agencies and mechanisms are needed to join any activism. Consequently, an examination of social networks and ties is essential in order to evaluate each case. In the process of recruiting women into women's activism the major categories of opposition to social evils, family, ideology, and person occupies first to fourth position, comprising 42.9, 37.9, 32.9 and 24.7 per cent respectively for women activists.

It is interesting to compare those motivations with the highest ranking ideology, opposition to social evils, person, family and events securing 34.4, 33.0, 20.0, 16.2 and 16.2 per cent respectively for male activist. Those interfacing facts clearly express that every case of activism recruitment demands a different set of subjective, motivational mechanisms. The reporting of ethnic causes is highly dominated by male activists rather than female activists, with men claiming 8.8 per cent in this area compared to 3.2 per cent amongst the total 15 per cent of ethnic female activists (excluding female Newar activists). However, in total, ethnicity as a motivating variable claims about half (7.3%) of the total respondents (15%) from ethnic groups. It communicates how perception and meaning are constructed through the nearest environmental corolla. It means that each salient level of an individual's identity may be invoked by activist recruitment and its multiplicity of issues and agendas. Women seem greatly engaged in social disparity issues; that is, towards gender sensitivity. Conversely, males might be involved in societal and state discrimination issues rather than be aware of gender inequality. Even though both may share the same treatment and identity at a macro level, i.e. ethnic, caste, etc., the 'opposition to social evils' category does not denote the same meaning to women as it does to men or even within the total pool of women interviewed. The hierarchical position of individual women in society also helps determine a woman's activist concerns, i.e. one Dalit woman might be dominated by high caste/ethnicity women. 'Family' appears as second vital recruitment factor for women, while it is identified as being relatively less important for male activists.

The female activists who are engaged in specifically feminist organizations suggest different motivational factors. For them, 'opposition to social evils' is 10 per cent more in this category than among the total, women activists (Table 7). Further other agencies--family (7.0) ideology (12.3), and person (5.6)--are found less than the other motivating factors among the women activists. The 'events' variable increases by about 5 per cent, which indicates structural reasons, and events are more responsible for encouraging activists to become feminist in orientation.

Despite 15 per cent allocated to female respondents in the study and the tradition of the dominating patriarchy, 27.6 per cent of women activists were surveyed in the study (though this still under represents women's 50 per cent of the total national population). Nevertheless, we felt that our sampling of women was reasonable and appropriate to the context of Nepal, particularly in the field of activism. Among women activists of Tarain origin, we were able to maintain just the allocated 15 per cent though a deliberate attempt was made to include the maximum number of Tarain women activists (women originating from the hill and mountain areas who were resident in the Tarai were intended to exclude). On the subject of low participation, some educated Maithali women activists commented:
 I am 21 years old but I have not graduated. I fear if I graduate my
 husband choices would be fewer so an intentional consensus has been
 reached within my family for me not to participate in further study
 before marriage. If one is under SLC [School Leaving Certificate],
 an SLC holder a boy would be eligible to marry you but if one holds
 an MA it is not easy to get a partner because he has to pay a high
 dahej (dowry). On the other hand, traditional parents feel that it
 is their attributive social, cultural, and religious responsibility
 to give their daughter's hand in marriage both socially as well as
 religiously. So sometimes when a husband's family assassinates a
 girl [because her family did not provide enough dowry], the girl's
 parent's side are compelled not to report them to the police
 because they believe their remaining daughter will not get a
 husband for herself if they do. Once the killing is publicized no
 one will come to ask the remaining daughters to marry them because
 they will assume that they too will not be able to negotiate a good
 price for her dowry. [She adds that such events happen in the
 Mithila region so it is very challenging to find women activists
 before they are married or get permission from a husband's family
 to participate in outside activities after marriage.] A 21 year old
 Maithil woman activist

Putting these issues to one side, the nature of the state is equally responsible for catalyzing activist recruitment. A leading political and development activist describes it is a result of centralized system:
 Kathmanduites provide all the resources to the rest of the country.
 In Dhanusa, Mahattari, Sarlahi, and other few hilly districts, the
 NGO network has been being captured by one hill Brahman family in
 which the husband had a key government position and his wife
 founded one of the leading NGOs in Kathmandu. She is also a central
 member of the Women Pressure Group, while their remaining family
 members are running NGOs in about five districts including three in
 Tarai. They have good connections and networks with INGOs and
 international agencies. Consequently, we Tarai people are
 discriminated and left out of the power

 A leading political and development Tarai women activist

Political Generation and Activism

As examined earlier, many organizations emerged after the reinstallation of multiparty democracy in 1990 or just before (see also Gellner and Karki 2004). The new constitution created a platform for political opportunities and the possibilities of organizing for diverse causes. Individuals, even those belonging to the 'older' generation, joined organizations in the democratic period. An 81 year old person joined an organization post 1990, which unambiguously indicates that political opportunities have been and are integral to the emergence of organizations and the production of a conducive environment that leads to individuals becoming involved in activism. It also reveals that activists capitalize on an individual's social capital to influence and establish the organization itself. Initially, this man was a Pradhan Pancha (elected chief of the Panchayat or Nagar Panchayat) in his municipality and later joined the community organization, Kshetri Mahasang, all of which expresses the shifting trend of activism. This also presents an account of how one may be motivated to follow a new, even contradictory form of activism on the basis of common identity. Technically, activists are generally defined as occupying an executive position of any functioning organization or movement, however, in some cases those activists are not personally or intellectually committed to the end objectives of a particular cause or movement, but instead are compelled to accept the activist role by their community, neighborhood networking, and moral pressure. In turn, the activist recruiter utilizes the social capital of the organization's members to communicate and address their goals as well to attract new activist members.

Formal and informal organizations (indigenous socio-cultural institutions) have directly and indirectly supported activism and mass mobilization. Earlier the Tharu Kalyan Karini Sabha, the Thakali Sewa Samiti, and the Tamang Ghedung were formally organized, side by side, in the local teashop, schools, colleges, at banbhoj (picnics), Tiz (Hindu women's festival), and other ethnic and caste ritual assemblies, these being places where there were opportunities to exchange views and to convince and consolidate individuals in the non-democratic era. Table 8 shows that almost all activists above 18 years of age have become active since 1990. This explicitly demonstrates that low risk/cost environment is conducive to galvanizing the activism, both in terms of individual recruitment and mass mobilization. In general, it has been claimed that historical exclusion, alienation, and poverty produces activism. Table 8 communicates that political opportunity structures are the most important agencies to recruit individuals. Without opportunity structures the activism recruitment level stays in the low numbers. In the following cases, all social, economic, cultural, and political causes were in abundance in all generations but created mounting activism in fifth generation (1991-05).

After 1990, a rigorous current of diverse activism and movements gained a significant advancement including the 'recognition' (self, social, and political) of traditionally subordinate groups including Dalit, women, indigenous nationalities; etc., and formation of other organizations. Consequently, political parties and social organizations have been compelled to endorse those new identities formally in their agenda and have introduced new departments (ethnic, Dalit, social issues) into their own organizations organizational structure. Now, all political parties have introduced those departments as part of their integral wings. (27) Previously, those ethic, Dalit, and regional movements were supposed as communally and sectarally motivated tendencies and it is interesting to note that those political activists who are now in their parties' front organizations and central committees, were previously hesitant to reveal their involvement in and commitment to the previously independent social and ethnic concerns. Activist organizations or groups that have served as gateways into the necessary networks that promote the mobilization and advancement of activism, but which are also activism groups in their own right, including women's associations (Ama Samuha), clubs, and developmental organizations.

Some Cases (from the Qualitative Interview) Ideology Indoctrination and Activism Recruitment

The deployment of ideology (as a dependent variable in the recruitment of an individual) for polemic division has been observed as a common cultural trend in Nepal. Generally, even from the first encounter, leading activists attempt to create an optimum level of moral outrage and anger against oppositional camps to obtain their end goals. Immediately after the 1990 people's movement, oppositional political activists were cut off from each other even in their day to day lives and socio-cultural interactions i.e. the historically popular Parma (labor exchange) system, Malami (funeral procession), in their use of the public tap etc. particularly in rural areas. The following cases indicate what types of instruction and indoctrination are being offered to a new recruit at various political camps and how sentiment is constructed and accumulated to create an ideological space.

'Would you mind telling me about your father and family background?'
 My father was in the British Gorkha army but later he came back to
 the village, resigned from his job, and studied. He became school
 teacher in the village and became known as social worker. I
 remember when I was a child, I visited villagers with him on two
 missions: first, to request that the villagers enroll their
 children in the school, and second to beg for votes for my uncle as
 part of his local election campaign. Both times after he won the
 election, my uncle arranged a huge feast at his house honoring his
 supporters, we had goat, chicken, and pork, managed in separate
 kitchens for high caste Hindus and others. He [uncle] used to
 address supporters in different places during the victory
 procession on the way back home. They used to offer him lots of
 flowers and smeared red powder (Abhir) [on him]. Having had such
 experiences, I used to repeatedly imitate the mass addresses alone,
 even after several days following him (uncle). In my child
 psychology those were very wonderful, heroic, and glorious events.

'When and where did you hear the word communist?'
 In childhood, I first heard word 'communist' in my house, however,
 I was also influenced by a local elder who was a communist cadre.
 Nevertheless, I felt an affinity through peeracquaintance as well
 as through my social surrounding (samajik mahaul ra sampark),
 particularly consolidated at the school. Later I received the
 ideological [communist] classes in the village. Instructors used to
 attempt to convince us by making aggressive statements and telling
 interesting stories. Yi Haat Pani Ke Communistka Haat Jun Haat
 Samantika Rato Ragatle Narangiyaka Hun. [What are these hands of a
 communist which are not 'tinted with the blood of feudals'.] He
 adds, I was also very much impressed by listening to a very
 exciting dialogue between two leaders who were farmers and also
 cadres of Chinese Communist Party, the Maoist.

 A group of farmers smashed a huge, hard rock that was in the way of
 the path from one village to another. Generally, that was assumed
 take ten days to clear out but they finished it within four days.
 Very inquisitively, another friend [group leader] asked what
 techniques were used to achieve such great success. The leader of
 the first group replied, "We used chisels and hammers to hit the
 rock, at that moment, you know, we saw our enemies' head instead of
 the rock. So we then started to charge again and again and again.
 We neither knew where we got the energy from or how fast it fell

 Actually, these days, I realize it was a story to encourage
 ideological plotting for the production of motivation and cadre
 recruitment. Now, Maoists are also repeating the same thing,
 dividing friends alliance and from enemies' cluster (Mitra Sakti Ra
 Satru Barga), which ultimately produces a deep gap within the
 social landscape that consequently, a future impact of which, will
 be an obstacle in the route to consensual democracy.

 An educated young leftist activist

 I was influenced by kin who used to convince me, saying that the
 communist destroys our social and cultural heritage, faith, and
 values; i.e. that they force us to marry within our core kin
 [blood] members, destroy temples, monasteries etc. They kill older
 generations; our parents and grandparents who are above a certain
 age, and support a one party autocracy. In the communist regime all
 basic human rights like freedom of reading, writing, and speech
 would be totally prohibited. It is an anti-human and anti-nature
 political ideology.

 Congress supporter woman activist, aged 54.

'Were you politically active from your school days?'
 In school I was not involved in politics is there was no political
 activity either. I joined politics in Dehradoon, after my school
 life finished in Gorakhpur. This [Dehradoon] was where, I met Puspa
 Lal and Yek Dev Aale and then gradually became active in politics.
 My acquaintances a agged me to politics. Initially, as new
 political recruits, we had very strict rules, regulations and
 timetables. Usually we faced three sessions in the holidays and two
 sessions a day during college days, not like today. In the morning
 between 4-6 am instructions class used to be held, focusing on
 national and international scenarios and books. From 2-4 pm they
 used to teach about various historical and contemporary political
 issues. Puspa Lal, Yek Dev Aale, Hikmat Bhandari, and others were
 our instructors.

 They used to teach all the cadres together but a few of them were
 selected for further special classes. However, everyone started
 from general classes and then were promoted into higher positions,
 Prarambhik Sadashya, Sadharan Sadashya (initial or primary
 membership and general membership). One comrade was teaching at the
 Butwal campus but had joined the communist party, who was initially
 affiliated with the Congress Party. Therefore, our leaders doubted

 However, he didn't know about it though they [our leaders] used to
 talk about it with us. Puspa Lal looked upon him with doubt. An
 internal hierarchy existed; one Brahman comrade held an education
 in Sanskrit therefore they did not fully trust him. Comrades like
 those had less powerful departments in the party organization.

The respondent later became a politburo member in the party and visited various villages as a school teacher in order to organize the people in their party. He said that by capitalizing on a teacher's social status he was able to influence people and to recruit them into leftist political activism.

'What strategies did you use to convince people during the underground period?'
 I used to visit students' houses, try to explore their psychology
 during the conversation, and decide whether it would be useful or
 not to talk with them about our political mission. In some cases I
 had to make four or five visits, walking for three or four hours to
 evaluate a single family. I used to wake up before the rooster
 crowed and come to school for teaching. It was necessary to judge
 people because once one was politically exposed the state would
 arrest them.

 Janajati Leader, aged 61, (Formerly-Communist)

On the recruitment in political activism and the shift to ethnic activism:
 Actually, I was influenced by the 1980 (VS 2036) student movement.
 I used to hear on the radio that policemen had physically attacked
 students and in response the students resisted and beat policemen;
 such news impressed me. I was very impressed by the information
 about the fight between students and police reported by villagers
 who used to go to the district headquarters to bring the daily
 necessities like and clothes. I used to imagine how those students
 were bravely and honestly fighting for us and the nation. Even when
 in police custody and bearing intense torture, they did not
 disclose their friends' names and organizational secrecy. Later, I
 joined Akhil Panchau. I was studying in class seven. Some senior
 colleagues (Dai-haru) came from the nearby school, Khong Ling High
 School. Those seniors gave us political instruction classes,
 focusing on existing social discrimination and inequalities. Their
 progressive songs motivated me, out sometimes I used to think of
 them as cunning elders during their instruction (Prasikshan).
 Anyway, their teachings gave me a political direction. Later they
 used to visit our school regularly.

He too turned to ethnic activism:
 I have an interesting story. I do not know how important it is. I
 am the first person to come to Kathmandu from the Tokpegola
 community and anyone who moved to or visited Kathmandu before was
 supposed to be a wealthy, Thulo Manchhe [big man]. One of the
 villagers belonging to the Tokpegola community came after a while
 but I was quite busy with my business; I had opened a carpet
 factory, therefore we did not have frequent contact. Unfortunately,
 his wife suffered from a brain tumor and he failed to contact me so
 our neighboring community Olangchunge, who were living and doing
 business in Kathmandu helped them, but after many days of care in
 the hospital she did not improve so they stopped caring for her.
 Then her husband brought her back to a room in Dalkhu where she
 died. The Newar house owner pressured them immediately to take away
 the dead body but the husband had not contacted anybody about a
 funeral procession, so he asked his brother-in-law, though he also
 belonged other than outside the Tokpegola community. Anyway, they
 carried the dead body on a motorcycle, putting it in the middle
 between two people like a cooking gas cylinder, wrapping it in a
 huge jute bag [Bora]. They rested three times on the way to a
 crematory for cremation. That became an anecdote within our
 neighboring communities. During our participation in any function
 like a funeral procession, marriage, and cultural activity, that
 event became the song [Geet]; a satirical story about
 how Tokpegola lived in Kathmandu, about how we bury dead
 bodies. They [members of other community] used to laugh at us,
 talking about the cremation, and that used to pinch
 me, used gave a heat to me [humiliate me].

 Later, many Tokpegola members came to Kathamandu saying "if Pasang
 could survive in Kathmandu why not I?" On 1999 (VS 2056), in my
 initiation, we introduced Tokpegola Samaj Sewa Samiti, (Tokpegola
 Society Helping Committee), targeting the enhancement of mutual
 understanding, helping each other, and the organization of
 Tokpegola community members who are living in Kathmandu. At the
 same time, Janajati Videyak was passed by the parliament and
 consequently our community was also listed in the 59 ethnic

 An Executive Member, NEFIN

On the inspiration to join ethnic activism as well as to form an ethnic organization:

'How did you become inspired to found the community organization?'
 There are several motivational tiers to form this community
 organization. On the one hand, [I experienced] discriminatory
 events, both individual and social, which have pushed me, and in
 another, the loss of our culture, sacraments, etc., are
 responsible. Outsiders' cultures, adaptations, and ways of lives
 have handicapped our community; we are living under poverty,
 illiteracy, and one could say in a Jangali (uncivilized) condition.
 I stayed in Sanischare, Morang district for about 12 years. One
 day, I heard someone mentioning Majhi (the community to which I
 belong) to a Brahman's child who was wearing poor clothes, full of
 mud, and who had dust on his face. His mother maltreated him saying
 how he was a dirty boy, like a Majhi child. I heard this
 maltreatment of the Majhi community and it hurt me deeply. Such
 inequitable events and social practices exist in society in day to
 day life Uncounted, discriminatory events exist in the society.

 My father was also social worker. Undoubtedly, he directly and
 indirectly influenced me, otherwise I would be a general Nepali
 Majhi as others are.

 I reached Puthauli, a Majhi village in Sindhuli district in the
 Panchyat era. They were drinking alcohol in group under a huge tree
 but went away after seeing me. There, both old and many of the
 young men wore Lagauti [a traditional, male Nepali dress]. One man,
 from a Majhi Gaoun of Sindhuli district had told me about the
 Majhis' social and economic condition. He had told me that at that
 village they would run away from seeing new visitors but then if
 one offered them Jad-Raksi (alcohol), they would come back again. I
 remembered that suggestion so I spoke to one old man who was
 looking at me from his nearby doorway. I called him using my
 finger, then he came slowly and I offered him one bowl of dad.
 Gradually all the other villagers came too, even from the jungle. I
 spent about five hundred rupees on local Jad and Raksi. I compared
 them to a pig, to first run away, looking at me, and then come
 close when offered food. That night I went to their homes and they
 did their best to be hospitable, offering Jad-Raksi, chicken, and
 talking a lot. That is the real position of Majhi. I don't know
 whether they are still at the same position. I guess they have
 relatively slightly changed. That event really hurt me and I
 committed myself to dedicating my life to the Majhi community.

'Had you just gone there to walk or did you have any specific objective?'
 I had deliberately gone there to explore the Majhis' lifestyle
 because I had heard about them. I felt that we Majhis are also
 human beings so we need to do something for us.

 An Executive Member, Nepal Majhi Utthan Sang.

To a great extent, social networks facilitate as well as intervene in individual recruitment. Such stories are very common means of influencing neutral individuals for a cause. During the periods of non-democracy (I mean prior to 1951 and during the Panchyat system from 1961-1990) interpersonal contact and kin, or socio-cultural ties were popularly used methods of recruitment across the board. Those were probably the most convenient and reliable agencies with which to recruit in an isolated geographical regions, as well methods most appropriate to the socio-cultural construction of Nepali lives, where people were bound by collectiveness or community life, especially in rural areas. The formation of organizations were outlawed, with the exception of religious ones, therefore organizations were clandestine in nature. At that time, the government had a monopoly over modern facilities. Things like telephones were prestigious symbols, and were used by wealthy and government-sponsored individuals or families. Ordinary people, and oppositional activists in particular, had little access to such facilities. Newspapers were strictly censored. Consequently, recruiters played upon known and ubiquitous factors of inherited identity and socio-cultural markers to recruit into desired ends. Caste/ethnic and family background as well as acquired social identity play predominant roles in the evaluation and selection of an individual by activist organizations and agents.

Summary and Conclusion

All types of activism are motivated by some basic variables, namely opposition to social evils, ideology, family, person, and events. Some variables dominate, which indicate that both 'push and pull' factors, that is, motivations based on affinity and opposition, have a prominent role in activism recruitment. Recruiters play upon inherited identity and use ideology to create productive divisions between new recruits and the rest of society. The correlation between activism and the human development index is both evidence of this kind of manoeuvring and fodder for these tactics. As long as the cost/benefit ratio makes it worthwhile, groups that are the least developed tend to be the most active.

In this paper, the process of Nepali activist recruitment that I have described through activist's own words has demonstrated that networking is essential to activism recruitment in Nepal. This is in contradiction with Western and American processes of recruitment, which are basically evolving based on the state of individual autonomy and the grounds of secular loci. In Nepal, networks and linkages, based on not only ideology but family and socialization experiences, are an essential part of how activists describe their activism histories. During the non-democratic system (Rana and Panchayat) individual formal contacts (individual, kin, community, geographical blocks) used to be deployed more often as means of recruiting individuals because all party and community based activism were banned and organizations were in clandestine forms. Today, we still see that activist organizations are led by elites and that those possessing cultural capital are consciously targeted by recruiters and are means by which organizations attract future members and leverage power in the political arena.


Adams, Vincanne. 1998. Doctors for Democracy: Health Professionals in the Nepal Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Aziz, Barbara. 2001. Heir to a Silent Song: Two Rebel Women of Nepal. Kathmandu: Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University.

Bhattachan, Krishna Bahadur. 1995. "Ethnopolitics and ethnodevelopment An Emerging Paradigm in Nepal: An emerging Paradigm." In Dhruba Kumar (ed.), State, Leadership and Politics in Nepal. Kathmandu: Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies, pp. 124-47.

--. 2000. "Possible Ethnic Revolution or Insurgency in a Predatory Unitary Hindu State, Nepal. In Dhruba Kumar (ed.), Domestic Conflict and Crisis of Governability m Nepal: Kathmandu: Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies, pp. 135-62.

Brass, Paul R. 2005. Language, Religion and Politics in North India. Cambridge Cambridge University Press.

Chapman, Malcolm. 1993. "Social and Biological Aspects of Ethnicity". In Malcolm Chapman (ed.), Social and Biological Aspects of Ethnicity. Oxford: Oxford Science Publication, pp. 1-46.

Census. 2001. Central Bureau of Statistics. His Majesty's Government of Nepal.

Chong, D. 1991. Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement, Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press.

Dahal, Dev Raj. 2004. "New Social Movements in Nepal". The Organization. June-July.

Dahal, Dilli Ram. 1995. "Ethnic Cauldron, Demography and Minority Politics: The Case of Nepal". In Dhruba Kumar (ed.), State, Leadership and Politics in Nepal. Kathmandu: Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies, pp.149-70.

de Sales, Anne. 2000. "The Kham Magar Country, Nepal between Ethnic Claims and Maoism". European Bulletin of Himalayan Research, 19. Translated by David N. Gellener.

--. 2003. "Remarks on Revolutionary Songs and Iconography". European Bulletin of Himalayan Research, 24: 5-24.

Diani, Mario. 2003. "introduction: Social Movements, Contentious Actions, and Social Networks: From Metaphor to Substance". In Mario Diani and Doug McAdam (eds.), Social Movements and Networks. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 1-18.

--. 2004. "Network and Participation". In David A. Snow, Sarah A. Sonic, and Hanspeter Kriasi, The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, pp.339-59.

Fararo, Thomas J, and Kenji Kosaka. 2003. Generating Images of Stratification. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Fisher, William, F. 2001. Fluid Boundaries: Forming and Transforming Identity in Nepal. New York: Columbia University Press.

Garner R. and Zald, M.N. 1985. "The Political Economy of Social Movement Sectors". In G.D. Suttles and M.N. Zald (eds.), The Challenge of Social Control: Citizenship and Institution Building in Modern Society- Essays in Honor of Morris Janowitz. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex, pp. 119-45.

Gellner, D.N.. '--. 1997a. "Introduction; Ethnicity and Nationalism in the World's Only Hindu State". In David N. Gellner, J. Pfaff-Czarnecka, & J. Whelpton (eds.), Nationalism and Ethnicity in Hindu Kingdom: The Politics of Culture in Contemporary Nepal. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, pp.3-31.

--. 1997b. "Caste, Communilism, and Communism: Newars and The Nepalese State". In David N. Gellner, J. Pfaff-Czarnecka, & J. Whelp ton (eds), Nationalism and Ethnicity in Hindu Kingdom: The Politics of Culture in Contemporary Nepal. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, pp.151-84.

--. 2001. "From Group Rights to Individual Rights and Back: Nepalese Struggles Over Culture and Equality", In Jane Cowan, Marie-Benedicte Dembour, and Richard A. Wilson (eds.), Culture and Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 177-200.

--. 2003. "From Cultural Hierarchies to a Hierarchy of Multiculturalisms: The Case of the Newars of Nepal". In M. Lecomte-Tilouine and P. Dolfuss (eds.), Ethnic Revival and Religious Turmoil in the Himalayas. Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 73-131.

Gellner, D.N. & M.B. Karki. 2005. "Surveying Activist in Nepal" A Paper Presented at Workshop on Activism and Civil Society in South Asia, Special Reference to Nepal and Sri Lanka, University of Oxford, UK.

--. Forthcoming. "The Sociology of Activism in Nepal: Some Preliminary Considerations." In H. Ishii, D.N. Gellner, and K. Nawa (eds), Northern South Asia: Political and Social Transformations. Delhi: Manohar.

Gellner, D.N., J. Pfaff-Czarnecka, and J. Whelpton (eds.), 1997. Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom: The Politics of Culture in Contemporary Nepal. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers. Gellner, David, N and Eric Hirsch. 2001. Inside Organization. Oxford: Berg. Giddens, Anthony. 1993. New Rules of Sociological Method. Second Edition. Cambridge: Polity Press.

--. 2004. Modernity and Self-Identity. Polity Press.

Habermas, Jurgen. 2004. Knowledge and Human Interest. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Hachhethu, K. 2002. Party Building in Nepal, Organization, Leadership and People: A Comparative Study of the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist). Kathmandu: Mandala Book Point.

Hirsch, Eric. 1990. "Sacrifice for the Cause: Group Processes, Recruitment, and Commitment in a Student Social movement". American Sociological Review, 55: 243-54.

Hofer, A. 2004. Second edition. The Caste Hierarchy and The State in Nepal: A study of the Muluki Ain of 1884. Patan Dhoka: Himal Books.

Joireman, Sandra F. 2003. Nationalism and Political Identity. London: Continuum Press.

Johnston, Hank, Enrique Larana, and Joseph R. Gusfield. 1994. "Identities, Grievances, and New Social Movements". In Hank Johnston et al, New Social Movement Philadelphia: Temple University Press, pp.3-35.

K.C., Surendra. 2001. Nepalma Communist Andolanko Itihas. Kathmandu: Vidharthi Pustak Bhandar.

Klandermans, Bert and Suzanne Staggenborg (eds.), 2002. Methods of Social Movement Research, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

--. 2004a. "Why Social Movements Come into Being and Why People Join Them". in Judith R. Blau (second editions), The Blackwell Companion to Sociology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, pp.268-313.

--. 2004b. "The Demand and Supply of Participation: Social-Psychological Correlates of Participation in Social Movements". In David A. Snow, Sarah A. Soule, and Hanspeter Kriesi, The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, pp.360-379.

Klandermans, Bert and Dirk Oegema. 1987. "Potentials, Networks, Motivations, and Barriers: Steps towards Participation in Social Movemets". In American Journal of Sociology, 52, August: 519-531.

Klatch, Rebecca. 1999. A Generation Divided. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Lecomte-Tilouine, 2006. "Kill One, He Becomes One Hunched" Martyrdom as Generative Sacrifice in the Nepal People's War. In Social Analysis, Volume 50, Issue1, Spring 2006, 51-72, Berghahn, Journals.

Lecomte-Tilouine, Marie and Pascale Dollfus (eds.), 2003. Ethnic Revival and Religious Turmoil. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lloyd, Moya. 2003. "The End of Ideology'. In Robert Eccleshall et al., Political Ideologies. London: Routledge, pp.217-41.

Mannheim, Karl. [1928] 1952. "The Problem of Generations". In P. Kecskemeti (ed.), Essays on the Sociology of Knowledge. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp.276-332.

Matsuda Motoji. 2001. "The world of Everyday Life as a Source of Creativity and Resistance in Urban Africa", Reprinted from Eisei Kurimoto (ed.), Rewriting Africa: Toward Renaissance or Collapse, JCAS Symposium Series 14, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan.

McAdam, Doug. 1988. "Recruitment to High-Risk Activism: The Case of Freedom Summer". In American Journal of Sociology, 92: 64-90.

--. 2003. "Beyond Structural Analysis: Toward a More Dynamic Understanding of Social Movements". In Maio Diani and Dung McAdam (eds.), Social Movements and Networks. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.281-298.

McAdam,' Doug and R. Pulsen. 1993. "Specifying the Relationship between Social Ties and Activism. In American Journal of Sociology, 99: 640-667.

McAdam, Doug, John D. McCarthy, and Mayer N. Zald. 1996. "introduction: opportunities, mobilizing structures, and framing process- toward a synthetics, comparative perspective on social movements". In Doug McAdam (ed.), Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McCarthy, John, D, Mayer N. Zald. 1977. "Resource Mobilization and Social Movements." American Journal of Sociology. 82:1212-41.

NESAC 1998. Nepal Human Development Report 1998. Kathmandu: Nepal South Asia Centre.

Oberschall, Anthony. 1973. Social Conflict and Social Movements. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.Prentice-Hall.

Oommen, T.K. 2003. "New Nationalism and Collective Rights: the Case of South Asia". In Stephen May, Tariq Modood. and Judith Squires (eds.), Ethnicity, Nationalism and Minority Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.121-43.

Passy, Florence. 2003. "Social Networks Matter: But How?" In Mario Dianni and Doug McAdam (ed.), Social Movements and Networks. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.21-48.

Pfaff-Czarnecka, J. 1997. "Vestiges and Visions: Cultural Change in the Process of Nation-Building in Nepal", In D.N. Gellner, J. Pfaff-Czarnecka, and J. Whelpton (eds.), Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom: The Politics of Culture in Contemporary Nepal. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Press, pp.419-70.

Porta, Donatella Della and Mario Diani. 2004. Social Movements: an Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Porat, Donatella Della and Sidney Tarrow (eds). 2005. Transnational Protest and Global Actiyism. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, INC.

Rana, SSJB. 1978. "Hinduism". In Nepalese Cultural Heritage in Nutshel published by HMG Hotel Management and Tourism Tranning Centre, pp 2-21.

Rawal, Bhim. 1990. Nepalma Samyabadi Andolan Udbav and Vikas [in Nepali]. Kathmandu: Pairabi Publication, Putali Sadak.

Shah, Shaubhagya. 2005. "From Evil State to Civil Society". In Kanak Mani Dixit and

Sastri Ramachandaran (eds.), State of Nepal, pp. 137-60.

Snow, David A, Sarah A. Soule, and Hanspeter Kriesi. 2004. The Blackwell Companion to Social Movement. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Stryker, Sheldon. 1981. "Symbolic Interactionism: Theme and Variations". In Morris Rosenberg and Ralph H. Turner (eds.), Social Psychology: Sociological Perspectives. New York: Basic Books, pp.3-29.

Tarrow, Sidney. 2003. Second edition. Power m Movement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tilly. Charles. 2003. The Politics of Collective Violence. Cambridge University Press.

Weigert, Andrew, J. Smith Teitge, and Dennis W. Teitge. 1986. Society and Identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Whelpton, J. 1997. "Political Identity in Nepal: State, Nation, and Community". In D.N. Gellner, J. Pfaff-Czarnecka, and J. Whelpton (eds), Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom: The Politics of Culture in Contemporary Nepal. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, pp.39-78.

Whittier, Nancy. 2004. "Consequences of Social Movements for Each Other". In David A. Snow, Sarah A. Soule, and Hanspeter Kriesi, The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, pp.531-551.

Williams, Rhys H. 2004. "The Cultural Contexts of Collective Action: Constraints. Opportunities, and the Symbolic Life of Social Movements". In David A. Snow. Sarah A. Soule, and Hanspeter Kriesi, The Blackwell Companion to Social Movement. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, pp.91-115.

Zirakzadeh, Cyrus Ernesto. 1997. Social Movements in Politics: A Comparative Study. London: Addison Wesley Longman.


(1.) This article is a product of an academic programme entitled, "The Impact of Activism in Nepal: An Anthropological and Historical Study" which was jointly carried out by Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies CNAS, TU and Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford from 2003 to 2006. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. David N. Gellner, the principal researcher of this project and Dr. Krishna Hachhethu, the country supervisor. This paper would not be in this form and version without the help of Ms. Jessamine Dana. I would also like to thank Dr. Morimoto Izumi for kindly providing related materials and Dr. Maire Lecomte-Tilouine for her useful comments. An earlier version of this paper was delivered on the workshop on "Globalization and Local Knowledge" at CNAS, TU, on September 3, 2006. I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to Prof. Dr. Furukawa Akira, Prof. Dr. Matsuda Motoji, and Dr. Shaubhagya Shah for their valuable suggestions.

(2.) The Maoist's supreme leader, Puspa Kamal Dahal alias 'Prachanda', has proposed an innovation of the multi-party political structure other than conventional (Western) parliamentary model. 'Post: What about your goals? Prachanda: Since we belong to a communist party, our maximum goals are socialism and communism. Those are the maximum goals of all those accepting Marxism, Leninism and Maoism as philosophical and ideological assumptions. Given the international power balance and the overall economic, political and social realities of the country, we can't attain those goals at the moment. We must accept this ground reality. We have mentioned democratic republic and constituent assembly, with the understanding that we should be flexible given the balance in the class struggle and international situation. This is a policy, not tactics. This is a necessary process for the bourgeoisie and the national capitalists alike, let alone the middle-class. Post: Constituent assembly? Prachanda: Yes. Constituent assembly is not a demand of the communists. It's a democratic process established by the capitalists a long time back. We are not saying this as a tactic. We have adopted this policy due to today's balance in class powers and today's world situation so that the Nepali people won't have to endure any more troubles. (See The Kathmandu Post, February 9, 2006).

(3.) Phrases Bagiyan, Gath-gadi Taakne, Rajdrohi, Ratradrohi, Adaharmi, Arastriya Tatwa, Gobar, Kharani, Kulakshani, Sampradahik, Kshetriyabadi, etc, used to hold tag to various types of oppositional activists in different political regimes. Still it is conceptualize as careerists as well as interest groups to some extent to some activists. It would not be illogical to level as earliest women activists in Nepal to Yogmaya and Durga Devi, however, even today rumours persists that Shakti Yogmaya was (just) a religious fanatic who threw herself into the river in an nihilistic fever. Sexual laxity was another characterization, a prostitute and kind followers were sexual deviates as well as a communist. At least that appellation acknowledges her political character' (Aziz 2001: xxix prologue).

(4.) Increasing interest in social movements is also indicated by the proportion of articles on collective action and social movement, published in four top American journals (Sociology: American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, and Social Problems). Since the middle of the past century these subjects have accounted for 2.23 per cent of the total articles included in these journals in the 1950s, 4.13 per cent in the 1970s, and 9.45 per cent in the 1990s (Snow, Soule, and Kriesi 2004:5).

(5.) Snow, Soule, and Kriesi (2004: 3) state that "social movements are one of the principal social forms through which collectivities give voice to their grievances and concerns about the rights, welfare, and well-being of themselves and others by engaging in various types of collective actions (such as protesting in the streets) that dramatize those grievances and concerns and demand that something be done about them".

(6.) I worked for an academic research program entitled 'The Impact of Activism in Nepal: An Anthropological and Historical Study'. This began on 1 February, 2003, and lasted for three years. The project was a joint undertaking between my research centre, the Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University, and the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, UK. Dr. David N. Gellner was the principal researcher, Dr. Krishna Hachhethu was the country supervisor, and I was the research associate in the project. Mr. Suresh Dhakal, Mr. Basanta Maharjan, and Ms Babee Shrestha were also part of the project during the quantitative interview phase.

(7.) Universities, colleges, industries, business houses, religious, ethnic organizations, media (electronic and print) state facilities etc.

(8.) Existing organizations and institutions may be divided into major two camps according to the nature of their structure; the mono-level denotes organizations and institutions having only one registered committee, whereas multi-level contains a centre and districts or more than two branches. Political parties, some ethnic organizations, and religious organizations follow the second category, ie Tamu Chhoj Djin, Tamang Ghedung, Vishwa Hindu Mahasang Nepal chapter, Nepali Congress, and the Communist Party of Nepal United Marxist Leninist. Social organizations, youth organizations, women associations Arna Samuha fall in the mono structure and issues like Bagmati Bachau Abiyan, Phewa Tal Samrakshan Samiti, Ratamate Ama Smuha, Bajarang Yuwa Samaj. In terms of membership distribution, general and active/Sangathith those two types tradition is popular in political parties, however, in ethnic organizations and social organizations honorary, life long, executive Visistha are being popular. From those memberships an executive body is formed or elected which deserves executive rights to day to day functioning, however, need to rectify from general convention along with active members or in some cases general members' assembly.

(9.) Earlier the Thekibethi Uthaune (local tax collectors) authorities were known as 'Jimmawal, though Mukhiya was/is lower level state official.

(10.) Defining democracy may come into view to be easy, nevertheless in fact full of problems. Which deserves varieties of concept, definition and ideology therefore, here, I am intended to express for conducive environment to form the organization, to recruit member, and right of expression through the peaceful means. These rights have assured in the 'Constitution of the Nepal 1990'.

(11.) I take the lead here from Stryker who writes that "identities are conceptualized as being organized into a hierarchy of salience defined by the probability of the various identities being invoked in a given situation or over many situations" (Styker 1981: 23-24) See McAdam and Pulsen (1993) for similar.

(12.) Siller writes, 'the Newar kings themselves made extensive use of Parbatiya and Magar mercenaries, who were quite happy to fight against Parbatiya opponents, until Jaya Prakash, King of Kathmandu, made the mistake of assassinating his Parbatiya general, Kaji Ram Thapa, and seven companions, for being defeated by Prithvi Narayan Shah. Only on one occasion during Prothvi Narayan's campaign against the Valley did Newars from other kingdoms come to the aid of fellow Newars: when Prithvi Narayan made his first attack on Kirtipur in 1757" (1973:111-12, quoted in D. N. Gellner 1997b).

(13.) "The case of multinational polities: people with distinct homelands and cultures, particularly language and religion, coexist in one polity. In contrast, multicultural polities are products of the deterritorization of national groups who migrated to new homelands" (Oommen 2004: 123).

(14.) The 59 indigenous nationalities groups divided into the five categories by NEFIN on 1 March 2004 are: 1) Endengered Group: Kusunda, Bankariya, Raute, Surel, Hayu, Raji, Kisan, Lepcha, Meche and Kusbadiya. 2) Highly Marginalized Group: Majhi, Siyar. Lohmi, Thudam, Dhanuk, Chepang, Satar (Santhal), Jhangad, Thami, Bote, Danuwar and Baramu. 3) Marginalized Group: Sunuwar, Tharu Tamang, Bhujel, Kumal, Rajbansi, Gangai, Dhimal, Bhote, Darai, Tajpuriya, Pabari, Topkegola, Dolpo, Free, Mugal, Larke, Lohpa, Dura and Walung. 4) Disadvantaged Group: Gurung, Magar, Rai, Limbu, Chhairotan, Tangbe, Tinganule Thakali, Bargaule, Marphali Thakali, Sherpa, Yakkha, Chhantyal, Jirel, Byansi, and Yolmo, and 5) Advanced Group: Newar, Thakali (See Gellner and Karki 2004).

(15.) We did not find enough independent Dalit organizations and even in their involvement in other area of activism, however, it does not mean that Dalit Activists are absent but because of February 1st, 2005, King's political move and our time schedule we covered other activists in the place of Dalit activists.

(16.) Zirakzadeh (1997) argues that the poorest, must socially disorganized, and most politically powerless strata in every society has a tendency to avoid participation in movements despite the daily indignities and deprivations they endure. This is because an individual immediately visualizes the avowed aims of the movement pertinent to his or her current position and calculates the cost benefit ratio of any involvement.

(17.) Hill Brahmans have dominated the Nepali Congress (NC) central committee; out of 19 elected posts including its president, 10 are hill Brahmans, of them, five belongs to a Koirala family (a high hill Hindu caste), and only four hill Kshetries succeeded to win. The Nepali Congress Democratic (split from the NC) central committee has an equal share of the hill Brahman and Kshetry members in central committee election securing seven each of 19 seats. The NC and the NC (D) are headed by Brahman and the Kshetry leaders respectively. This may demonstrate that once the primary foundation breaks the second boundary creates or merged on other common identities sharing whatever these might be it caste, ethnicity, region, etc. Even in private conversation amongst the party cadres it is usually said that they are parties of Kshetries or Brahmans, such types of motivation attempted.

(18.) Academicians have been controlling general secretary of NEFIN which is most powerful post in the organization. Suresh Ale Magar, Parsuram Tamang (two tenure), Bal Krishna Mabuhang and Om Gurung all are lecturer of Tribhuvan University.

(19.) Here, I do not claim all members of first category entirely fall into right-based activism and vice versa, with second category it is but a general trend.

(20.) On 18 May 2006, a nine-point proclamation of the reinstated House of Representatives declared Nepal 'a Religiously Secular State'.

(21.) Since this religion is not only about the infinite but also about the eternal; and its principles are based on the internal principles if the cosmos, they called their religion as Sanaatan Dharma. (see "SSJB Rana, 1978)

(22.) Hindus claim that 'Omkar' refers to those adhering to the 'Omkar', which refers to the Vaidic, Jains, Buddhist and Sikh; but Buddhist (Majority) have strong contention with this concept

(23.) The DKKA (Dhanuk, Koiri, Kewat, Amat), an organization of nationalities from the Tarai, was established in 1998. They claim that they meet all economic, historical, and social measures as existing Tarain members of the NEFIN but because they practice the Hindu religion they are excluded from NEFIN membership. The Gopal Sewa Samiti, a community organization of Yadav/Ahir raised a question; "we were me first kings of Nepal, the 'Gopal Vanshi', which is entirely recognized fact, but it is ridiculous not to include us in indigenous communities. The Kirati Kings came very late in the Kathmandu valley, however, they are pure indigenous, 'Khatti Adhibasi, why aren't we?' Another, executive member of the Gopal Sewa Samiti pointed out that the Newar Kings also ruled in a later period. There seems to be a contradiction in the selection of Indigenous/Nationalities to Danuwar, actually they have their Danuwar Kuti, at Ramanda Chouk, Janakpur where they worship Hindu gods (as claimed by its priest), they also have Gotra, and some wear the sacred thread, like involved in Kshetri Saamaj at Sarlahi District but recognized as Nationalities that contradicts with the existing definition of 'indigenous/nationalities'.

(24.) Significant events happened during the King's visit to Janakpor in the Vivaha Panchami. Mithila Natya Kala Parisad is one of the oldest renowned clubs in Janakpur. It is basically focused on Maithili arts, literature, and dances. The president of the Parisad illustrated the cultural misunderstanding/gap between the hill people and the people of the Tarai. They had prepared 'Ahipan/Aripan' (commonly used both) to welcome the king on the road spending about four hours but an army officer came and ordered them to erase it. Initially they tried to convince him explaining the importance of Aripan but the officer told him to either erase it or be arrested. In fact, the Aripan is prepared through Trantic Vidi to welcome a god during great occasions in the Mithila region, so they prepared it supposing the king to be a god but the army officer did not understand its significance. The members of Parisad were naturally very disappointed with the soldier's refusal.

(25.) in this research, we have surveyed all national constitutional political parties and some local parties except the Maoist. Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal, United Marxist and Leninist, Nepali Congress Democratic, Janamorcha, Rastriya Prajatanta Party, Nepal Majdoor Kisan Patty, Ekata Kendra Nepal, Nepal Sadbahwana Party, Nepal Sadhawana Party Anandidevi etc.

(26.) The "time when involved in the activities of the organization" pertains to the definition of activist which we have used in our project and in this paper. It may not reflect the length of time in which individuals have been informally active.

(27.) As a lust in the political history of Nepal, the Nepali Congress Democratic party introduced reservation practices at their 11th national patty convention in 2005. The party allocated two reserved seats in its central committee for indigenous ethnic people, women, and Tarain people, including one seats to Dalits, and backward region (Karnali).
Table 1 : Social status of activist's father and grandfather

Social Status Father Grand Father
 Number Per cent Number Per cent

Social activist 218 27.3 172 21.5
General people 205 25.6 309 38.6
Political leader 122 15.3 18 2.3
Karmachari/Teacher 121 15.1 26 3.3
Thalu/Mukhiya 104 13.0 190 23.8
Ex. Army/police 94 11.8 38 4.8
Merchant 92 11.5 91 11.4
Others 57 7.1 48 6.0
Religious activist 42 5.3 51 6.4
Pandit 37 4.6 48 6.0
Ethnic leader 3 0.4 5 0.6
DK 1 0.1 7 0.9
Total 800 137.0 800 125.4

Note: Per cent based on multiple responses.

Table 2: Activists and their core relatives' occupational position
Field of recognized post of the close relatives-

Politics 149 41.4
Govternment office, officer level 213 59.2
Police/Arm officer level 120 33.3
Industrialist/Businessman 26 7.2
Occupation 9 2.5
International service 14 3.9
Others 16 4.4
Total 360 151.9

Note: Percentages based on multiple responses.

Table 3: Educational institutes where activists' children
are getting education

Place of educational center of Number Per cent
the children--combined
Public 156 27.8
Private 375 66.8
Foreign 65 11.6
Others 42 7.5
No where 17 3.0
Total 561 116.8

Note: Percentages based on multiple responses.

Table 4: Ethnicity/Caste and Activist

Ethnicity/Caste National Population Activist
 and Percentage

 Number Percent Number %

Brahmin-Hill 2896477 12.74 172 21.5
Newar 1245232 5.48 121 15.1
Ethnic Groups- Hill and 4983957 21.91 109 13.6
Chhetri- Hill and Thakuri 3927616 17.27 102 12.8
Yadav and other Tarai 2409075 10.60 92 11.4
Hill Dalit 1605248 7.00 58 7.3
Brahmin-Tarai 134496 0.59 29 3.6
Dalit-Tarai 674859 2.98 16 2.0
Musalman 971056 4.27 13 1.6
Kayastha/Rajput 94525 0.41 12 1.3
Ethnic Groups- Tarai and 2225593 9.81 11 14.0
Inner Tarai
Sanyasi 199127 0.88 11 1.4
Others 1369673 6.00 54 6.8
Total 22736934 100 800 100.0

Source: Field Survey 2005 and 2001 census.

Table 5 : Religious Activists and their motivating factors

Inspired from Hinduism Bauddhism Muslim
 No % No % No %

Opposition to 192 34.2 54 39.7 8 40.0
social eveils
Ideology 186 33.2 41 30.1 7 35.0
Family 125 22.3 30 22.1 5 25.0
Person 124 22.1 28 20.6 3 15.0
Events 83 14.8 18 13.2 5 25.0
Books 44 7.8 9 6.6 0 0.0
Ethnic cause 30 5.3 14 10.3 3 15.0
Social service 37 6.6 11 8.1 2 10.0
Selfawareness 40 7.1 6 4.4 2 10.0
Promotion of own 32 5.7 6 4.4 0 0.0
group interest
Peer association 16 2.9 9 6.6 0 0.0
Resistance 14 2.5 3 2.2 0 0.0
Preservation of 8 1.4 7 5.1 1 0.0
art, religion
and culture
Others 25 4.5 7 5.1 0 0.0
Social environment 12 2.1 5 3.7 0 0.0
Historical tradition 9 1.6 0 0.0 2 10.0
Social exclusion 8 1.4 1
Educational institute 7 1.2 1 0.7 0 0.0
Total 561 176.8 136 183.8 20 190.0

Inspired from Christianity Kirat Others
 No % No % No %

Opposition to 5 31.3 7 35.0 12 44.4
social eveils
Ideology 9 56.3 10 50.0 14 51.9
Family 4 25.0 7 35.0 2 7.4
Person 4 25.0 2 10.0 5 18.5
Events 1 6.3 4 20.0 2 7.4
Books 4 25.0 2 10.0 5 18.5
Ethnic cause 0 0.0 6 30.0 4 14.8
Social service 0 0.0 0 0.0 2 7.4
Selfawareness 1 6.3 0 0.0 1 3.7
Promotion of own 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0
group interest
Peer association 0 0.0 1 5.0 3 11.1
Resistance 0 0.0 0 0.0 3 11.1
Preservation of 0 0.0 2 10.0 2 7.4
art, religion
and culture
Others 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0
Social environment 0 0.0 1 5.0 0 0.0
Historical tradition 0 0.0 0 0.0 1 3.7
Social exclusion 6.3 0 0.0 1 3.7
Educational institute 0 0.0 1 5.0 0 0.0
Total 16 181.3 20 215.0 27 211.1

Inspired from Not reported Total
 No % No %

Opposition to 8 40.0 286 35.8
social eveils
Ideology 5 25.0 272 34.0
Family 4 20.0 177 22.1
Person 4 20.0 170 21.3
Events 5 25.0 118 14.8
Books 4 20.0 68 8.5
Ethnic cause 1 5.0 58 7.3
Social service 2 10.0 54 6.8
Selfawareness 2 10.0 52 6.5
Promotion of own 0 0.0 38 4.8
group interest
Peer association 0 0.0 29 3.6
Resistance 1 5.0 21 2.6
Preservation of 0 0.0 20 2.5
art, religion
and culture
Others 0 0.0 32 4.1
Social environment 1 5.0 19 2.4
Historical tradition 0 0.0 12 1.5
Social exclusion 0 0.0 11 1.4
Educational institute 0 0.0 9 1.1
Total 20 185.0 800 180.8

Percentages are based on multiple responses.

Table 6: Factors that inspired involvement in the activities of
organizations Inspired from

 Sex Total
 Female Male

 No % No % No %

Opposition to 94 42.9 192 33.0 286 35.8
social evils
Family 83 37.9 94 16.2 177 22.1
Ideology 72 32.9 200 34.4 272 34.0
Person 54 24.7 116 20.0 170 21.3
Events 24 11.0 94 16.2 118 14.8
Books 17 7.8 51 8.8 68 8.5
Social service 16 7.3 38 6.5 54 6.8
Self awareness 14 6.4 38 6.5 52 6.5
Social environment 8 3.7 11 1.9 19 2.4
Ethnic cause 7 3.2 51 8.8 58 7.3
Others 6 2.8 26 4.5 32 4.1
Educational institute 4 1.8 5 0.9 9 1.1
Peer association 4 1.8 25 4.3 29 3.6
Preservation of art, 4 1.8 16 2.8 20 2.5
religion and culture
Historical tradition 4 1.8 8 1.4 12 1.5
Resistance 3 1.4 18 3.1 21 2.6
Promotion of own 2 0.9 36 6.2 38 4.8
group interest
Social exclusion 1 0.5 10 1.7 11 1.4
Total 219 190.4 581 177.1 800 180.8

Note: Percentages are based on multiple responses.

Table 7: Factors inspiring to various activisms

Inspired from Q.1 Name of the associated

 Political BS Religious
 No. % No. % No. %

Opposition to 15 13.6 32 24.2 17 22.7
social evils
Ideology 57 51.8 50 37.9 43 57.3
Family 25 22.7 43 32.6 16 21.3
Person 51 46.4 34 25.8 15 20.0
Events 26 23.6 24 18.2 8 10.7
Books 19 17.3 16 12.1 7 9.3
Ethnic cause 0 0.0 1 0.8 1 1.3
Social service 2 1.8 5 3.8 5 6.7
Self awareness 2 1.8 3 2.3 7 9.3
Promotion of 0 0.0 9 6.8 0 0.0
Peer association 4 3.6 5 3.8 2 2.7
Resistance 6 5.5 3 2.3 0 0.0
Preservation of 0 0.0 0 0.0 3 4.0
art, religion
and culture
Others 4 3.6 3 2.3 3 4.0
Social environment 2 1.8 2 1.5 5 6.7
Historical tradition 0 0.0 0 0.0 8 10.7
Social exclusion 1 0.9 1 0.8 1 1.3
Educational institute 3 2.7 3 2.3 0 0.0
Political party 1 0.9 3 2.3 0 0.0
Knowledge 1 0.9 1 0.8 0 0.0
Extension of 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0
political ideology
Total 110 199.1 132 180.3 75 188.0

Inspired from Q.1 Name of the associated

 Janajati Women Total
 No. % No. % No. %

Opposition to 52 47.7 36 52.9 286 35.8
social evils
Ideology 24 22.0 14 20.6 272 34.0
Family 22 20.2 21 30.9 177 22.1
Person 12 11.0 13 19.1 170 21.3
Events 9 8.3 11 16.2 118 14.8
Books 4 3.7 2 2.9 68 8.5
Ethnic cause 30 27.5 0 0.0 58 7.3
Social service 8 7.3 8 11.8 54 68.0
Self awareness 6 5.5 6 8.8 52 6.5
Promotion of 1 0.9 0 0.0 38 4.8
Peer association 2 1.8 2 2.9 29 3.6
Resistance 3 2.8 2 2.9 21 2.6
Preservation of 11 10.1 1 1.5 20 2.5
art, religion
and culture
Others 1 0.9 0 0.0 20 2.5
Social environment 1 0.9 5 7.4 19 2.4
Historical tradition 2 1.8 0 0.0 12 1.5
Social exclusion 3 2.8 0 0.0 11 1.4
Educational institute 1 0.9 1 1.5 9 1.1
Political party 0 0.0 0 0.0 6 0.8
Knowledge 1 0.9 0 0.0 4 0.5
Extension of 0 0.0 0 0.0
political ideology
Total 109 177.1 68 179.4 800 180.8

Note: Percentages based on multiple responses

Table 8: Cross-sectional cohort of activists

 Time when involved in the activities
 of the organization (26)

 Before 2008- 2018- 2037- 2047-
 2007 2017 2036 2046 2062
 (Prior (1952- (1962- (1980- (1991-
 to 1951) 1961) 1979) 1990 2005) Total

Age of First Second Third Fourth Fifth
Respondent Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen.

18-27 58 58
28 1 12 13
29 2 14 16
30 5 19 24
31 3 11 14
32 3 17 20
33 3 10 13
34 11 16 27
35 14 21 35
36 2 5 12 19
37 2 9 13 24
38 10 7 17
39 4 6 11 21
40 2 8 22 32
41 9 10 19
42 6 8 20 34
43 3 4 14 21
44 2 6 8 16
45 2 11 12 25
46 6 9 11 26
47 10 3 7 20
48 7 1 6 14
49 4 6 12 22
50 5 9 11 25
51 1 2 4 5 12
52 7 4 8 19
53 3 1 7 11
54 5 1 4 10
55 5 2 1 8
56 7 1 2 10
57 6 2 2 10
58 3 1 5 9
59 3 3 6
60 4 1 3 8
61 5 2 3 10
62 2 1 6 9
63 2 4 4 10
64 1 1 1 2 5
65 2 1 3 6
66 1 3 1 1 6
67 2 4 6
68 2 1 1 4
69 1 1
70 1 2 3
71 2 1 1 4
72 1 1 1 3
75 2 2
76 1 1
78 2 1 3
81 1 1
85 1 1
Total 6 2 122 180 423 733

Source: Field Survey 2005.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Research Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Karki, Mrigendra Bahadur
Publication:Contributions to Nepalese Studies
Geographic Code:9NEPA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Previous Article:The effects of social autonomy on BMI scores: a study of women in Nepal.
Next Article:Status of environmental health in Nepal.

Related Articles
Zinc oxide reduction becoming a necessity.
The value of sons and daughters among the Gurungs in Nepal.
The effects of social autonomy on BMI scores: a study of women in Nepal.
Status of environmental health in Nepal.
LeVine, Sarah and David N. Gellner. 2005. Rebuilding Buddhism: The Theravada Movement in Twentieth-Century Nepal.
NEC Releases Annual CSR Report 2007 and CSR Digest 2007.
Marubeni Corporation to Participate in Peru LNG Project.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters