Coping with Discourses on Minority Populations among the Rang of Far Western Nepal: Nation, Scheduled Tribe, Janajāti, and Indigeneity

  • Katsuo Nawa (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


The main inhabitants of Byans, Chaudans, and Darma, three adjacent Himalayan valleys in the Mahakali (Kali) drainage system, call themselves ‘Rang’ in their own languages. Their homeland, which has long constituted part of the extensive frontier between South Asia and Tibet, has been politically divided between Nepal and India for nearly two centuries. Even though the Rang have maintained their socio-cultural unity across the international border, the Rang in India and the Rang in Nepal have had to deal with different minority policies and discourses, coping with various ‘foreign’ ethnonyms as well as meta-level categories like ‘scheduled tribe’, ‘jan(a)jāti’, and ‘indigenous people,’ as most Rangs live as citizens of either one of the two states. Primarily based on my ethnographic fieldwork in Darchula district in Far Western Nepal and elsewhere, I discuss in this paper how Rang in Nepal have coped with changing institutional frameworks and discourses on minority populations on both sides of the Mahakali or Kali River.


Nepal, India-Nepal border, Rang, Rung, Byansi, janajāti, minority politics, indigenous people