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The Thakali of Nepal: Historical Continuity and Socio-Cultural Change

Donald A. Messerschmidt
Ethnohistory
Vol. 29, No. 4 (Autumn, 1982), pp. 265-280
Published by: Duke University Press
DOI: 10.2307/481101
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/481101
Page Count: 16
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The Thakali of Nepal: Historical Continuity and Socio-Cultural Change
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Abstract

The Thakali of north-central Nepal have long captured anthropological interests as a people who have readily adapted to changes in their social, religious, economic and political environments. Recent ethnohistorical research, however, casts new light on the question of how discontinuous contemporary Thakali culture is vis-a-vis the past. This study traces changes in Thakali religion from shamanic Dhom, through Bon and Buddhism, to modern Hinduism and scientific athiesm, and simultaneous political changes from the 7th century A.D. to the present. Quite apart from the usual interpretation of radical cultural change, this study demonstrates a basic underlying adaptive continuity, with obvious ramifications on scholarly interpretations of change in Nepalese Himalayan society.

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