Lhotshampa Culture

Michael Hutt

in Unbecoming Citizens

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780195670608
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081806 | DOI:
Lhotshampa Culture

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This chapter describes the nature of ‘Bhutanese Nepaliness’, and Lhotshampa perceptions of their own culture and society as being more conservative than their ‘Nepali’ or ‘Gorkha’ counterparts across the border in India. The author discusses two groups in Lhotshampa society: the ‘Bahun-chetris’ who speak Nepali and are mainly Hindu, and those of ‘Mongloid stock’ who speak Tibeto-Burman. The author discusses the almost complete absence of Nepali literature in Bhutan. He then goes on to discuss the high status given to the figure of the pandit in Lhotsampa society. He presents the first-person accounts of two refugee Hindu pandits about their Brahmanical training and education, and how they continue to perform holy rituals within the camps. They face the realization that modernity will leave its inevitable impact on their children. The author concludes by describing how reconciliation between the ‘exposed’ and the ‘unexposed’ within Lothshampa culture would become increasingly problematic.

Keywords: Bhutanese Nepaliness; Lhotshampa culture; pandits; Brahmanical education; ’Bahun-chetris’; Nepali refugee camps; Tibeto-Burman

Chapter.  7997 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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