Unbecoming Citizens: Culture, Nationhood, and the Flight of Refugees from Bhutan

Paperback | May 15, 2005

byMichael Hutt

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This book was prompted by the arrival in Nepal during the early 1990s of some 95,000 people of Nepal ethnic origin who claimed to be citizens of Bhutan (a Buddhist Himalayan kingdom with a population of less than a million) who had been wrongfully evicted from their country. Bhutan ispopularly regarded as a Himalyan Shangri-la, and very few outside Nepal believed the refugees allegations in the early years of their exile. Even twelve years later, not a single refugee had returned to Bhutan.The book is based on research conducted in Bhutan and Nepal during seven visits to the region between 1992 and 2001, and particularly on interview-based life history research in the refugee camps in Nepal. It reconstructs the history of the Nepali community in Bhutan, from the first settlers migration to its southern belt in the late 19th century up to the exodus of many of their descendants to Nepal in the late 20th century. It analyses the new policies on citizenship, language, a nd dress which were adopted by the Bhutanese government in the 1980s,and the political resistance to these measures which led ultimately to the denationalisation and flight of many erstwhile citizens. As it describes these developments, the narrative also pauses at intervals to reflect on the relationship between national, cultural and ethnic identities, and on theways in which history can be constructed and utilised to buttress competing claims. It deals with the specificities of the Bhutanese issue in detail and draws out its broader implications for a world awash with refugees.

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This book was prompted by the arrival in Nepal during the early 1990s of some 95,000 people of Nepal ethnic origin who claimed to be citizens of Bhutan (a Buddhist Himalayan kingdom with a population of less than a million) who had been wrongfully evicted from their country. Bhutan ispopularly regarded as a Himalyan Shangri-la, and ver...

HUTT, MICHAEL

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:8.07 × 5.43 × 0.79 inPublished:May 15, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195670604

ISBN - 13:9780195670608

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgementsIntroductionContexts: Land on a rim, Bhutan and the Bhutanese, Authenticity and historical truth, Unbecomign citizensMatters of historyThe history of Umbho, Nepali migration: The historical context, Since the time of the Shabdrung, priests, and patrons, To Protect the land of BharmadevaSouthern Bhutan in early British accountsEarly encounters, A narrow slip of land, Bhutan and the Younghusband mission, First sightingsThe legend of Garjaman GurungPonlops and thekadars, D.B. Gurung s memoir, Using the legend, Questions of historicityThe Settlement and Administration of the SouthA chronology of Nepali settlement, The ethnic boundary, The adminstraion of southern Bhutan, The Paro Ponlop and the Dorjes, The Mandals, Land ownership and registration, 5.7 The payment of taxes, 5.8 Revenue from below, 5.9 The contribution of labourThe changing bases of subjecthoodCalkling the raiyats back home, the case of Akhal SinghLhotshampa cultureBhutanese Nepaliness, Caste and ethnicity, Assumed characteristics, Ascribed characteristics, The absence of Nepali literature, Of pandits and pathshalasThe first activistsJai Gorkha, The death of Masur Chetri, The Bhutan State CongressComing closer to the kingComing down from Tonga, Political representation, The granting of citizenship, Opening the schools, Building the roads, Moving east, A sense of belongingThe conditions for belongingLegislation on citizenship, Censues, the 1988 census11. Becoming the sameA homogenizing nationalism, Driglam namzha, A national costume, Enforcing culture, Anxieties and dissent, A national language, Demoting Nepali, Bhutanizing buildingsNow we will all be cirminalsNepali politics in India, The petition to the king, Early Lhotshampa dissidence, Arrests and reprisals, DemonstrationsThe NgolopsThe creation of the ngolop, Becoming afraid, The closure of schools, Voluntary emigrants, The punishment of Tek Nath RizalDil Maya: fragments of a lifeRefugees and life histories, Introducing Dil Maya , Dil Maya s life, The spread of fear, Leaving Bhutan, The future, Refugees from Shangri-la, A postscript, The gaps between nation-states, The construction of national cultures, A small state, a Shangri-la, Repairing the tear in the fabric, Somelegal perspectives, The Brahmans of ShambhalaAppendixBibliography