The bola or parma of the Newar in Manamaiju Village. The significance of a farm labor exchange system among indigenous peasants in Nepal.
This thesis is devoted to a study of the reciprocal labor exchange system bola, and the indigenous knowledge that it supports. The field study took place in a rural area of Nepal where agriculture is the main occupation. I observed the system in action in Manamaiju village where Newari peasant groups, including their farmer groups Jyapu, live and which is situated in Kathmandu District. The Newar people are the second largest population group in the village and they are successfully maintaining bola on their terms. It is recognized that there are 59 Indigenous Nationalities in Nepal and one of them is the Newar. Nepalese social structure is mainly based on Hindu rule and, in addition, the Newar of Kathmandu Valley have their own caste hierarchical system. It was formed on the basis of their traditional work descriptions in the period of the Malla Dynasty around 15th century BC. According to traditional social structure, Jyapu and Matwali (alcohol user by birth) remain cultivator groups as a Sudra for the Hindu Varna system. There are various Jat (sub-castes) groups that exist only in Jyapu group and who belong to a ranked system of higher and lower status positions. Accordingly, Maharjan and Rajbahak are the main Jyapu groups in the village which covers almost 50% of the total area of the Manamaiju Village Development Committee (VDC). In this regard I am only looking at these particular groups and their performance of the bola system. The key queries of this study are: what does the bola system look like in the village; and, how are they maintaining it as a successful living practice when there is a liberal economic policy in front of them? Regarding the latter, it has been found that their subsistence farming and social and cultural values are the most significant influential factors. Furthermore, their own Newari / Nepal Bhasa language, powerful Guthi (social structure) system, strong social commitment, traditional food and deeply ingrained festivals are some of the significant factors of the bola system. Hence, it plays an important role in maintaining the Newari as a distinct ethnic group and in making their adaptation economically sustainable. In this perspective the bola system might be a source of inspiration to other indigenous agricultural worlds.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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