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The difference of vocations between various cultural groups and its implications for economic differentials are aspects that have grave imprints on political and social movements, yet these have been largely ignored by economists, anthropologists and political scientists. On the one hand, business elites are the biggest beneficiaries of economic and social change; and on the other hand, they are known for their cold adherence to monetary calculations which leaves them one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to ushering any forms of social change. Although the pragmatic forces defining this class group speaks for the way they tend to willingly cooperate with political regimes of any credentials and ideologies that hold power, their engagements with the State are not always culture-neutral. A brief account of Nepal’s business history shows how there have been deep cultural overtones to the way entrepreneurs are treated by the State. This paper reconstructs Nepal’s modern history spanning half a century to highlight how business elites from certain caste and ethnic groups have flourished in Nepal during the rules of caste-based muluki ain, monarchy-based panchayat and/or multi-party democracy. It then turns to an examination of the way in which the rise of the Maoists has added a new dimension to the continuum of the rules of the game. While the Maoists seem to take some credit for finally unpacking the old baggage of caste and ethnicity in the way Nepali State politics is run, it has to be said that the nature of the struggle has been implicit within the Nepali history long before they came to dominate Nepali politics.

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