An Examination of status characteristics in a caste community and their implications for education

Material Information

An Examination of status characteristics in a caste community and their implications for education
Million, Steven Kent, 1948- ( Dissertant )
Curran, Robert L. ( Thesis advisor )
Olson, Waldemar ( Reviewer )
Casteel, J. Doyle ( Reviewer )
Newman, Arthur J. ( Reviewer )
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
University of Florida
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
Physical Description:
x, 125 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Academic communities ( jstor )
Caste identity ( jstor )
Education ( jstor )
Formal education ( jstor )
Hindus ( jstor )
Mathematical variables ( jstor )
Religion ( jstor )
Schools ( jstor )
Social structures ( jstor )
South Asian culture ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- Foundations of Education -- UF ( lcsh )
Education -- Case studies -- Nepal ( lcsh )
Foundations of Education thesis Ph. D ( lcsh )
Social status -- Case studies ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Factors related to status assignment in a caste community are identified through a procedure developed for that purpose. The procedure was adapted from the Participant Observer methodology, and emphasized in situ scheduled interviews, subject determination of the status ranks of community members, and chi-square, scatter diagram, and multiple regression analyses. Among the factors found to be significantly related to status were ownership of land and formal education. Caste membership and religion were not significantly related to status. Other data indicated that local residents believed their community to be organized in a five-strata status hierarchy. Such a hierarchy was held to be the exclusive domain of males. Status was not assigned to women and children except as a reflection of the status attributed to the adult males with whom they were most closely associated. Males with large land holdings and formal educational training were generally awarded high status. However, highly educated males with little land or other forms of wealth were generally not assigned to high status rank. The findings suggest that (1) community residents do not assign status to themselves or others solely on the basis of caste membership and that (2) the importance of caste membership to individual status is secondary to the greater influences of landownership and education.
Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: leaves 121-124.
General Note:
General Note:
Statement of Responsibility:
by Steven Kent Million.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright [name of dissertation author]. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
000210051 ( ALEPH )
04168588 ( OCLC )
AAX6870 ( NOTIS )


This item has the following downloads:

Full Text








The problem discussed in this dissertation concerns the criteria of

status assignment in a Nepalese community. Specifically, the study seeks

to identify the factors related to status through use of a methodology

developed for that purpose. The treatment of that topic does not require

additional comment here beyond a brief explanation of the reason it was

selected for study.

In 1970 I was assigned duties as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Chitlang,

Nepal. While in service there, the Nepalese won my permanent affection

and respect, through their hospitality, their cultural pride, their com-

mitment to modernization, and their great physical and moral strengths.

Whatever I may have succeeded in teaching the Nepalese was repaid many

times by the lessons I learned from them. I am forever in their debt.

The impetus for this study grew out of personal observations of the

unique characteristics of South Asian caste social structure. In my

Peace Corps capacity as coordinator of a national program in viticulture,

it was my good fortune to travel throughout the country. In each town

or village, I observed the paradoxical influence of a pluralistic social

system based on a foundation of caste distinctions. These social influences

were paradoxical in that they seemed capable of uplifting, stabilizing,

and humiliating all caste groups simultaneously. What a western observer

might find unsavory in the caste system's capability to humiliate, would

often conflict with a more positive view of the social stability it could

command. These impressions were reaffirmed during my second visit to

Nepal in 1976, at which time I gathered the data for the present study.

Hopefully, this dissertation will assist all persons interested in caste

societies to better understand what constitutes status in such social

orders, and what meaning status attainment may hold for education.

My debts of gratitude include many persons both in Nepal and at the

University of Florida. Mr. Prakashmani A. Dixit was my tireless teacher,

guide, and friend throughout the field component of this study. To Prakash

I extend my most sincere appreciation. Mr. Mossaddi Mallick, Deputy Direc-

tor of Peace Corps/Nepal, was very generous with his time and concern, and

deserves special thanks. A third Nepalese, Mr. Binod Kumar Sharma served

as my research assistant both in Kathmandu and at the study site. To Binod

is extended my admiration and thanks for his patience, research skill, and

dedication to the project.

Special mention should be made of my debt to my committee chairman,

Robert L. Curran, who assumed direction of this dissertation at a time

when the work demanded of a chairman was at its greatest. Dr. Curran's

acceptance of this responsibility, and especially his capacity to trans-

form the drudgery of writing into an experience of learning, are deserving

of my most genuine thanks. Dr. Curran was preceded as chairman by Drs.

Hal G. Lewis and Richard R. Renner. Both Dr. Lewis and Dr. Renner were

most helpful in the earlier stages of this project, and for their direction

and friendship, I am most grateful. Finally, special thanks are extended

to committee members Dr. Waldamir Olson, Dr. Doyle Casteel, and Dr. Arthur

Newman. Their advice and encouragement is sincerely appreciated.

S. K. M.







Introduction .. .

Purpose .

Hypothesis .

Definition of Terms .

Delimitations of the Study .

Organization of Remainder of



Organization of the Present Chapter

Status .

Caste .

Summary of the Literature Reviewed


Introduction .

Geography .

Economics .

General History .

Culture .





I .

. d


. .

. .

History of Education .

Educational Organization .

Enrollment . .

The Study Site .


The Method ... .

Deviations From Previously Developed Models .

The Procedure .

Determination of the Number of Status Strata a
Individual Average Placement Ratios (A.P.R.)


Usefulness of the Method .. .

Characteristics of the Sample Population .

Analytical Procedure .

Other Important Findings .

Implications of the Findings for Education .


Summary . .


A. NEPAL (Zones and Development Districts) .


.. 34

.. 39







. 60

. 64

. 64

. 64

. .. 66

. .. 82

. 86

. 89

. .. 89

. 94

B. Proposed National Educational Capabilities in Nepal
By Educational Divisions (Projection for 1985). .

C. Flow Chart Indicating Process of "Student Flow" for
Nepalese Students in Grades I through X with Relative
Percentages of Student Enrollment to School-Age Pop-
ulation by Grade-Level .

D. First Questionnarie Used With Interviewees From the
Nine Wards of Jotpur Punchayat ... .


E. Questionnaire Used With Twenty-Five Preliminary Judges. 107

F. Forty-Two Objective Questions Asked of the Sixty Sub-
jects Selected for Inclusion in the Study Population. .112

G. Instructions Provided Each of the Twenty-Five Final
Judges. . ... ..... 119

H. Condescriptive Statistical Information for the Variables
Land, Caste, Religion, Education, and A.P.R... 120

BIBLIOGRAPHY. . ... ....... 121




4.1 Percentage of Placements Per Stratum for the Ten
Judges Designating a Five-Strata Configuration .

4.2 Division of A.P.R. Scores Into Five Units Based on
the Average Percentage of Placements Per Stratum .

5.1 Breakdown of the Sample by Caste Membership .. ..

5.2 Status Configuration and Relative Numerical Parameters

5.3 Chi Square Contingency Table for the Variables A.P.R.
and Caste . .

5.4 The Magnitude and Significance of Four Variables
Related to Status Assignment in Jotpur .

5.5 Variables in the Multiple Regression Equation for
Jotpur Punchayat . .

5.6 Chi Square Contingency Table for the Variables A.P.R.
and Education . .

5.7 Summary of Correlation Coefficients Among All Variables
Examined . .

5.8 Chi Square Contingency Table for the Variables A.P.R.
and Land . .

5.9 Chi Square Contingency Table for the Variables A.P.R.
and Religion . .


. 62

. 63

. 65

. 66

. 68

. 72

. 73

. 75

. 78

. 80

. 83


Figure Page

3.1 Organization of Administration and Supervision of
Education in Nepal (with Recommended Modifications) 41

5.1 Scatter Diagram of the Variables A.P.R. x Caste ...... 69

5.2 Scatter Diagram of the Variables A.P.R. x Education .... .76

5.3 Scatter Diagram of the Variables A.P.R. x Land. .. 81

5.4 Scatter Diagram of the Variables A.P.R. x Religion. .... 84


Abstract of Disseration Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Steven Kent Million

August 1977

Chairman: Robert L. Curran
Major Department: Foundations of Education

Factors related to status assignment in a caste community are

identified through a procedure developed for that purpose. The procedure

was adapted from the Participant Observer methodology, and emphasized

in situ scheduled interviews, subject determination of the status ranks

of community members, and chi-square, scatter diagram, and multiple

regression analyses. Among the factors found to be significantly related

to status were ownership of land and formal education. Caste membership

and religion were not significantly related to status. Other data indi-

cated that local residents believed their community to be organized in

a five-strata .status hierarchy. Such a hierarchy was held to be the

exclusive domain of males. Status was not assigned to women and children

except as a reflection of the status attributed to the adult males with

whom they were most closely associated. Males with large land holdings

and formal educational training were generally awarded high status.

However, highly educated males with little land or other forms of wealth

were generally not assigned to high status rank. The findings suggest

that (1) community residents do not assign status to themselves or others

solely on the basis of caste membership, and that (2) the importance of

caste membership to individual status is secondary to the greater

influences of landownership and education.




Social inequality is characteristic of every known human society.

Its frequent occurrence may suggest the existence of intrinsic, uni-

versal factors within social structures which generate inequality. Its

nature is variable, providing for divergent functions, and differing in

structure and degree of influence.

An element of social inequality central to the present research is

social status and factors related to its attainment. Previous studies

in this area have focused most often upon the social and status character-

istics of American society. In light of the potentially variable nature

of inequality, this study will examine status factors in a caste commun-

ity. The findings of this research may provide greater understanding of

social inequality affecting a large proportion of the world's population,

and through comparison with earlier findings, offer prospect of more

thorough analysis of the alleged universal nature of structural factors

which give rise to inequality.


The purpose of this study is to examine status structure in a caste

community, and identify and measure those factors related to different

status positions. A corollary purpose is to specify status-related

implications for education in the caste community studied.


The present research represents a three-stage study, the first two

stages of which generate hypotheses. In the first stage it is posited

that a method can be developed capable of detecting status factors in

a caste society. This hypothesis is based upon research findings from

studies of social structures which did not exhibit traditional caste

characteristics, and relies upon data collected from extensive inter-

views with residents of the study area. The second stage of the

research represents the actual use of the developed method. The final

stage is an analysis of the data gathered from the interviews. Con-

cerning these data, it is posited that caste, land-ownership, education,

and religion are status factors related significantly to status assign-


Definition of Terms

Concepts of social science may be subject to cultural misinterpre-

tation. This is reasonable in view of the fact that social concepts

derive from specific cultures. To minimize such misunderstanding,

several terms are defined in this section.

Social stratification should be understood as pertaining to sub-

ordinate-superordinate divisions of human society according to certain

arbitrary, widely understood criteria. The criteria are arbitrary in

that they accrue from social values which may or may not have cross-

cultural significance. They are widely understood and transmitted as

essential to common perception of social motivations, rewards, and


The term status is used extensively throughout this study and is

intended to represent the collective social evaluations of an individual's

position, station, and stratum in relation to other community members.

As such, it represents a single point on a theoretical social scale.

Caste is a concept often misunderstood and frequently misused.

For purposes of this study, it should be understood in the traditional

Hindu context. As such, it can be defined as a hierarchy of endogamous

groups, organized in hereditary divisions of labor, and guided by Vedic

law emphasizing concepts of physical and spiritual pollution.

Delimitations of the Study

This study is delimited to the identification of status character-

istics in a caste community, and analysis of their meanings for education.

Statistical analysis of the study data is confined to chi-square, scatter

diagram, and multiple regression tests for significance at the .05 level.

The study is generalizable to the area studied, but is not proposed as

representative of all caste communities.. The reader should also under-

stand that although this study is initially concerned with procedure con-

struction, its more fundamental aim transcends such purpose. The more

vital aim is the identification of status factors in a caste community.

For this reason the study should not be read in the narrow, technical

context of instrument construction.

Organization of the Remainder of the Study

In Chapter II literature pertinent to status and caste is reviewed.

Reported are social theories deemed applicable to the present research.

The chapter concludes with a general summary of the literature. Chapter


III is a demographic survey of Nepal and the community studied. Such

information is included as background for a reader not thoroughly familiar

with the region on interest as needed to interpret the study findings.

Chapter IV is a presentation of research procedures, including a

description of the method used to gather and analytically relate data.

Chapter V reports relevant findings and educational implications.

Chapter VI is a summary of the entire study.



Organization of the Present Chapter

Research and the development of theories related to social strati-

fication have been extensive. Scholars have studied such problems for

centuries. Yet for all their effort, knowledge of the reasons under-

lying social stratification or of its varied social effects, has made

little progress. Therefore, the review of literature presented in

this chapter should be read as illustrative of the theoretical basis

upon which this study is founded, and not as an exhaustive review of

the myriad social theories presented since the time of Aristotle.1

The chapter is organized in three sections. The first section reviews

the literature from which emerges the social concept, "status," as it

is used in this study. A second section surveys literature concerned

with clarifying the meaning of caste, and specifies the interpretation

used in the present research. The chapter concludes with a summary of

the literature reviewed.


A status represents the most elemental unit of a social structure.

It defines its possessor's potential for social interaction. A status

Aristotle, Politics, in Robert M. Hutchins, Great Books of the
Western World, Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., p. 1254-B.

2William M. Dobriner, Social Structures and Systems; A Sociological
Overview, Pacific Palisades, California: Goodyear Publishing Company, Inc.,
1969, P. 82.

also serves as a locational indicator, specifying an individual's rela-

tive position in a social system.3 In essence, status defines who a

person is and what is expected of him. Some social theorists have

attempted to redefine status as pertinent only to behaviors highly
circumscribed by social norms. However, for purposes of the present

study, status should be understood as a locational concept without

reference to the degree of influence engendered by social norms.5

Status is a phenomenon of social organization. The specific nature

of statuses is not intrinsic to men, and often vary from one social order
to the next. Among the most common bases of status are such character-

istics as age, sex, geneology, and wealth.7 All individuals possess

such statuses to greater or lesser degrees, but assessments of the

meaning of status possession is dictated by the greater social order.

Acquisition of status is commonly unintentional--such as at birth. How-

ever, wealth, education, and other purposefully acquired resources can

be used to purchase or win environs conducive to improved status.8 It

follows that loss of such highly valued social circumstances could result

in diminished status.

3Jonathan H. Turner, Patterns of Social Organization, New York:
McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1972, p. 4.
4Wi-lliam J. Goode, "Norm Commitment and Conformity to Role-Status
Obligations," American Journal of Sociology, 1960, 66, 3, Nov., pp. 246-258.

5It is in fact not status but role that represents the adjustive
behavior of persons striving to conform to norms.

6Morris Zelditch, in "Status," International Encyclopedia of Social
Sciences, David L. Sills (editor), New York: The Macmillan Company and
the Free Press, 1968, Vol. 15, p. 250.

8T. H. Marshall, "Social Class A Preliminary Analysis," The Socio-
logical Review (British), 26, January, 1934, pp. 73-74.

All persons possess more than one status. No single status in any

known social order can totally encompass an individual.9 Ralph Linton

argues that statuses are both ascribed and achieved.10 Status which is

ascribed is imparted to individuals based on evaluations of birth, sex,

age, and other relatively uncontrollable circumstances. Status achieve-

ment, on the other hand, is possible through development of special

abilities and knowledge, especially when such can be used competitively.

It is through ascription that most statuses are obtained.11 Nonetheless,

only the sum total of all statuses, ascribed and achieved, represents

the actual status of an individual.12 If Linton's analysis is correct,

it seems imperative that each individual learn the process of assigning

status to persons with whom they may have contact. Such assignment would

of necessity be consistent with other members of the same social group.

W. Lloyd Warner writes in his study of social differentiation in Jones-

ville, that interviewees indicated highly consistent notions of social

organization and that

The status levels outlined by them are in general
agreement. Perhaps the most critical and decisive
proof of the general recognition of class in Jones-
ville is that those who mention names not only place
a large number of the same families but place these
families in the same class.

9Zelditch, op. cit., p. 251.

10Ralph Linton, The Study of Man, New York: D. Appleton-Century
Company, 1936, p. 115.
11Ibid., p. 115.

12John W. Bennett and Melvin Tumin, Social Life: Structure and
Function, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948, pp. 94-96.

The chances that this agreement among them is purely
(coincidental) and not a well-recognized social
phenomenon are very few. It seems highly probable
that the citizens of Jonesville know and think about
class behavior and that this knowledge is one of the
basic guides to proper and adaptive behavior for all
of them.13

Adoption and use of status criteria need not be purposeful. The use of

such factors does not imply community consciousness of status factor

specifics, origins, or rationale.14 Yet it does seem apparent that

learning the procedures for assignment of status is important in all

social orders. This idea is bolstered by theories of social organization

developed independently by George H. Mead,15 Max Weber,16 and Florian

Znaniecke.17 They argue that cultural meaning and values are learned,
and emphasize the cohesive social effects of communication and social-

ization which may lead to designation of individual status and its

relative position within the social order.

Social status is best understood relative to a counter-status.

The fundamental unit of social system analysis, therefore, is not

status itself, but the relationship between two or more statuses.18

13W. Lloyd Warner, Marcia Meeker, and Kenneth Eells, Social Class
in America, Chicago: Science Research Associates, Inc., 1949, p. 18.

14Oliver Cromwell Cox, Caste, Class, and Race, New York: Monthly
Review Press, 1959, p. 294.

15George H. Mead, Mind, Self, and Society. ., Chicago: The Uni-
versity of Chicago Press, 1934.

1Max Weber, Economy and Society. .., G. Roth and C. Wittich (edi-
tors), New York: Bedminster Press, 1968.

17Florian Znaniecke, Cultural Sciences: Their Origin and Development,
Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1963.

18Zelditch, loc. cit.

Merton delineates three basic status categories including "role set,"

"status set," and "status sequence."19 A "role set" is composed of

other-person or object statuses to which an individual constantly

compares himself. All statuses representative of the individual com-

prise his "status set," and the step-by-step process through which he

comes to be himself, establishes his "status sequence." Understanding

status in this manner permits the concept to be treated as a property

of actors--as a status characteristic--as well as a unit within a

social order. According to this interpretation, the status of a

single individual (actor) may function in social systems other than

the system of which it is a fundamental component, because it is a

property of the actor as well as the social unit.20 For example, pro-

fessor of education is a status in a university, and represents various

properties such as direct influence in departmental policy-making. A

particular professor of education may also serve on a county school board

where awareness of his university status may substantially affect the

attitudes of other board members toward him, although professor of edu-

cation is not a status within the school board.

When sociologists examine status in social systems, it is not

because status has priority over alternative concepts in explaining

individual behavior, but because it is the most elementary component

19Robert K. Merton, "Continuities in the Theory of Reference Groups
and Social Structures," in Social Theory and Social Structure, Second
Edition, Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press, 1959, pp. 281-286.

20Fred L. Strodtbeck, Rita M. James, and Charles Hawkins, "Social
Status in Jury Deliberations," in Readings in Social Psychology, Third
Edition, New York: Holt, 1958, pp. 379-388.

of social systems. In the connotations of status presented above,

status denotes evaluation; hence honor, esteem, respect, prestige, and

privilege are its synonyms.21 Status in this context is viewed as

highly desirable. Opportunities to improve status are actively sought

in nearly all of the world's social orders.22 Likewise, efforts are

made to prevent its loss.23 When such preventative behavior fails,

individuals who have lost status become angry and exhibit aggressive

behavior toward other groups within the social system.24 Such behavior

is likely the result of widely-held views concerning the importance of

individual and group status.

Characterisitcs such as sex, religion, caste, and ethnic back-

ground may be differentially evaluated within a social order. By

separating such characterisitcs from the particular actors who possess

them, it is possible to analyze the properties of a specific status

structure.2 Because status structures tend to be stable, it is

possible to formulate conditional statements and predictions. For

example, Max Weber writes that possessors of high status will in time

acquire great wealth and those who possess wealth will eventually attain

2Zelditch, op. cit., p. 253.

2Seymour M. Lipset and Hans L. Zetterburg, "A Theory of Social
Mobility," in Transactions, London: International Sociological Asso-
ciation, 1956, pp. 155-177.

23ames F. Short and Fred L. Strodtbeck, Group Process and Gang
Delinquency, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965.
Joseph Greenblum and Leonard I. Pearlin, "Vertical Mobility and
Prejudice: A Socio-Psychological Analysis," in Reinhard Bendix and
Seymour M. Lipsit (editors), Class, Status, and Power: A Reader in.Social
Stratification, Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press, 1953, pp. 480-491.

2Zelditch, op. cit., p. 254.

high status.26 Weber's predictions are based on certain assumptions

about status structure stability. Benoit-Smullyan took Weber's postulate

a step further predicting that the prohibition of movement from status to

wealth or wealth to status would result in development of a revolutionary

impetus for change in the relevant status structure.27 It is a combination

of status stability and community awareness of status structure which forms

the theoretical basis for methodological design discussed in Chapter IV.


The purpose of this study is identification of the status character-

istics in a caste community. Prior to such identification, however, it

is essential to understand the nature of social stratification in caste

orders. Gerald Berreman contends that caste systems are rigid systems

of social stratification, but that they are also systems of socio-cultural

pluralism. Both of these ideas, he suggests, are best understood in terms

of distinctive patterns of social interaction.28 He proposes that the

only valid view of caste requires recognition of the dimensions strati-

fication, pluralism, and interaction.

26Max Weber, "Class, Status, Party," in From Max Weber: Essays in
Sociology, translated and edited by Hans H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills,
New York: Oxford University Press, 1946, pp. 180-195.
2Emile Benoit-Smullyan, "Status, Status Types, and Status Inter-
relations," American Sociological Review, 9, 1944, 151-161.
2Gerald D. Berreman, "Stratification, Pluralism, and Interaction:
A Comparative Analysis of Caste," in Anthony de Reuch and Julie Knight,
Caste and Race: Comparative Approaches, Boston: Little, Brown, and
Company, 1967, p. 51.

.. a caste system occurs where a society is made
up of birth-ascribed groups which are hierarchially
ordered and culturally distinct. The hierarchy en-
tails differential evaluation, rewards, and asso-

Drawing distinctions between caste and class, Berreman indicates

that within caste systems individuals display the attributes of their

caste because they are members of it, while in a class system, individ-

uals are members of a class because they display its attributes. Fur-

ther, a caste system (one of the birth-ascribed groups) represents and

defines for its membership the limit of status-equal interaction, and

among all groups with parameters of interaction arranged hierarchially.

Within these rigidly defined cultural boundaries, Berreman indicates

that inter-caste pluralism is present. Nonetheless, castes can function

as systems only if members share common understandings. Thus caste

systems combine the principles of stratification and pluralism. A

caste system resembles a pluralistic society whose unique sections are

ranked vertically. A pluralistic society resembles a caste system with

groups (exclusive of the dominant one) unranked relative to all others.

Berreman indicates that use of ranking and cultural distinctiveness

allows caste systems to be distinguished from other important social

systems. He proposes that there is within caste not only metaphysical
structure, but also a "state of mind."30 He also suggests that "oppres-

sion" is a common feature of caste, but it is not an inherent feature.

29Ibid., p. 48.

30Ibid., p. 60.

What is inherent is the unavoidable

imposition of birth-ascribed and unalterable member-
ship in ranked, mutually isolated but interacting
groups with conspicuously different life experiences,
life chances, and public esteem. This fact birth-
ascribed rank seems to have common and distinctive
psychological and behavioral consequences for people
wherever it occurs.31

Presently, scholars tend to view the concept of caste from one

of two perspectives. The first envisages the American social order

in its relationships among Negroes and whites, as exemplifying a

caste order. This group focuses upon social stratification in the

United States and finds it analogous to systems in India exhibiting

Hindu religious-based castes.32 Opposing theorists believe that com-

parison of American social organization to Indian castes is essentially

inappropriate. Their positions are most clearly reflected in the

writings of Simpson and Yinger,33 Cox,34 and Johnson.35

Caste systems are social orders normally characterized by rigid

vertical demarcation, generally restricted mobility, ascribed occupation

and status, and elaborate systems of inter-caste etiquette.36 This is


32W. Lloyd Warner, "American Caste and Class," American Journal of
Sociology, XLII, 2, September, 1936, pp. 234-237.

G. E. Simpson and J. M. Yinger, Racial and Cultural Minorities,
New York: Harper Publishing, 1965.
Cox, op. cit.

35Charles C. Johnson, Growing Up in the Black Belt, Washington, D.C.,
American Council in Education, 1941.
F. G. Bailey, "Closed Social Stratification in India," Archives
of European Sociology, 4, (1965), pp. .107-124.

not to suggest, however, that such a description is totally adequate.

In fact, it is just such depictions of caste that cause confusion.

When any social system is composed of units separated by distinct,

nearly impermeable barriers, commonality of values and behaviors is rare.

Such is the structural condition of plural societies and, conspicuously,

of caste orders.37 Yet any social order exhibiting marked stratifica-

tion must formulate a general consensus for criteria of rank assignment.

Caste systems seem to combine these principles of stratification and

pluralism. That is, caste orders appear as plural societies with

vertically ranked and discrete divisions.38

The most obvious disparity between the American and Indian caste

systems is the American emphasis on human physical features. It seems

likely that Warner,39 and later Myrdal,40 used the term "caste" to

differentiate Negro-white relations in the South from the characteristic

"class" system of the broader nation. It may be that their decisions

to use the term were based in greater part upon failure to recognize

heterodoxical class orders, than upon discovery of hidden castes. In

any case, their decisions were likely influenced by the function of

social rules engendered in both India and the United States urging

endogamy, and exalting the purity of upper "caste" women.41 Whatever

3M. G. Smith, The Plural Society in the British West Indies,
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965.

38Berreman, op. cit., pp. 52-57

39Warner, op. cit.

4Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem in Modern
Democracy, New York: Harper and Row, 1962.
41E. R. Leach, "Introduction: What Should We Mean By Caste?" in E. R.
Leach (editor), Aspects of Caste in South India, Ceylon, and North-West
Pakistan, Cambridge: University Press, 1960.

Warner and Myrdal's motivations for using the term, they argued emphati-

cally that caste within the system of southern stratification was social

and not biological. That is to say, a person was judged to be a Negro

or a white on the basis of his (or her) appearance and behavior. Amer-

ican preoccupation with race led Kingsley Davis to write that

a non-racial system, such as the Hindu, is one in
which the criterion of caste status is primarily
descent symbolized in purely socio-economic terms;
while a racial system is one in which the criterion
is primarily physiognomic, usually chromatic, with
socio-economic differences implied. 42

Another potential contrast between the Indian and American social

systems is related to their social values. In India, Hindu religious

values emphasize previous-life actions as determinate of present caste

assignment, and an unquestioning acceptance of ascribed rank and its

associated behaviors. There are apparently few American counterparts

to such social values. In fact, although more often paid "lip-service"

than applied, contemporary Americans generally believe in the basic

equality of mankind. Americans also believe that most persons can

alter their condition by amassing talents, skills, and wealth.

Another important distinction between the two systems is evident

in their very structures. In the "Old South" there developed an essen-

tially bilateral order whites and others. An outsider, although unfamil-

iar with the region, could easily recognize members of either "caste."

In India it is estimated that there are as many as 400 major castes and

42Kingsley Davis, "Intermarriage in a Caste Society," American
Anthropologist, 43, (1941), 386-387.

nearly 4,000 "jatis" or subcastes. In the absence of "chromatic" or

other factors or recognition, there is little chance of identifying all

castes based solelyupon observation of physical or behavior character-


The "Old South" tradition was characterized by a dichotomous

hierarchy which placed "pure" whites above all other persons. Among

Hindu societies there is no single rank order of castes or "jatis"

applicable to every situation. Brahmins are always "high" and Harijans

"low," but tremendous ambiguity clouds distinctions among the intermediate

rankings. Furthermore, each major caste is subdivided, allowing some

Brahmins to claim rank superior to other Brahmins.44 All final decisions

concerning relative caste rank tend to be a function of local communities

based on local interpretation of Vedic law and the history of local

caste development.45

Beteille suggested that there was a basic structural difference

between a dichotomous system (as in the United States), and a system

of gradation (as in India).46 Such structural diversity can produce

43It should be pointed out, however, that skin color holds meaning
for many Hindus as well. Although high caste Hindus may exhibit skin
colors ranging from nearly black to nearly white, most are light-skinned.
Likewise, lower castes display a broad range of skin colors, but most
tend to be dark. Some scholars argue that differences in skin color
are related to the alleged Aryan origins of all high caste Hindus.
Whatever the reason, and acknowledging claims to the contrary, Indians
are not without color consciousness.

44Andre Beteille, "Race, Caste, and Ethnic Identity," International
Social Science Journal, Vol. XXIII, No. 4, 1971, pp. 519-535.

45McKim Marriott, Caste Ranking and Community Structure in Five
Regions of India and Pakistan, 1st edition, Poona: Deccan College
Post-graduate and Research Institute, 1960.

46Beteille, loc. cit.

very different kinds of internal social conflict. This notion appears

to be supported by Dahrendorf who argues that where bilateral social

division exists, social conflict tends to be intense.47 On the other

hand, among social orders exhibiting greater numbers of ranked units,

conflict is less finely focused and tends to lessen.

For purposes of the present research, a caste order should be

understood to occur when a society is composed of birth-ascribed

hierarchially ordered and culturally distinct groups. The hierarchy

entails differential evaluation, differential rewards, differential

association, and is guided by Vedic law.48

Groups comprising a caste order are differentiated, interactional,

and interdependent elements of a greater society. They are often

interdependent economically, and occupationally specialized. All

persons living in such a social order belong to a caste, but to only

one caste.4

Each level in a caste order hierarchy hosts people who view them-

selves as a discrete social entity. The size of such groups varies,

but each has a name and exhibits intergroup interaction. Such groups

are normally characterized by common symbols of group membership in-

cluding language, occupation, dress, or place of residence. In social

47Ralf Dahrendorf, Class and Class Conflict in an Industrial Society,
Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1959.

48Vedic law derives from traditional interpretation of the most
ancient sacred literature of Hinduism as presented in more than one
hundred extant books. These works include exegesis, legend, ritual, and
religio-philosophical speculation. Initial writing of this material is
believed to have occurred between 1500 and 1000 B.C.

49Gerald Berreman, "Caste," in International Encyclopedia of Social
Sciences, op. cit., Vol. 2, p. 334.

functioning where group identification is important, individual attri-

butes are irrelevant.50 However, in the assignment of individual status,

both group membership and individual characteristics are involved.

In a caste society, status is linked with behavioral expectations

applied to particular exogamous units such as lineages. Stevenson

writes that status in caste orders is of a dichotomous nature, rating

both individuals and groups in terms of "secular" and "ritual" status.51

According to Stevenson, secular status, although variable, may be deter-
mined by criteria such as occupation,5 education, wealth, and land-
ownership. In contrast, ritual status determination accrues from

behavioral patterns linked with mystical beliefs concerning Hindu
ideas of purity and pollution.54 The major purpose of this study is

the identification of specific criteria used in assigning status in

a caste society.

Summary of the Literature Reviewed

This chapter represents a survey of literature relevant to status

in caste societies. The survey is limited to consideration of social-

theories specifically relevant to the concepts of status and caste as

they are interpreted and used in this study.

51H. N. C. Stevenson, "Status Evaluation in the Hindu Caste System,"
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ire-
land, 1954, 84: 45-65.

52Occupation may influence both secular and ritual status.

5Stevenson, op. cit., p. 46.


It is advanced that status represents the most elemental unit of
a social structure. Status defines an individual's potential for

social interaction and specifies his relative position in the social

order.56 As such, it is a product of social organization, and is char-

acterized by a variable nature. Acquisition of status is commonly

unintentional, although conditions can be prompted which influence
status assignment.57 Such assignment is normally the result of achieve-

ment of special abilities and knowledge or, more often, through ascription

based on birth, sex, age, and other relatively uncontrollable circum-
stances. It is also suggested that status assignment criteria are

generally known to residents of small or moderately populated commun-
ities. 59Such knowledge is often less than specific, however, and is

frequently acquired unknowingly.60 Once it has been applied in the act

of establishing an individual's status, the meaning of such assignment

can best be interpreted relative to the placement of all other persons.

The fundamental unit of social analysis is the relationship between two

or more statuses. It was further proposed that status is not only a

component of social systems, but also the property of individuals.

Such an understanding accounts for status functioning in systems other

than the specific one from which it emerges.61 Other literature is

Dobriner, op. cit., p. 82.

56Turner, op. cit., p. 4.

5T. A. Marshall, loc. cit.

58Linton, op. cit., p. 115.
5Warner, op. cit., p. 68.
60Cox, op. cit., p. 294.

61Strodtbeck, James, and Hawkins, op. cit., pp. 379-388.

cited which equates status with concepts such as honor, esteem, and

respect.62 It is argued that when status is so valued, it is actively

sought,6 and its loss prevented whenever possible.64 When efforts to
avoid loss of status fail, individuals and/or groups often demonstrate

aggressive behavior toward others.65 Finally, it is reported that by.

separating status characteristics from the particular individuals who

possess them, it is possible to examine specifically the properties of a

status structure.66 The stability of such structures permits the formation

of predictions of social events (supra, p.10).

The survey of literature next turns to analysis of the concept

"caste." Relevant citations assess caste systems to be more than rigid
systems of socio-cultural pluralism. It is recommended that stratifi-

cation, pluralism, and interaction be considered in all analyses of

caste. Although caste systems define the limits of status equal,and

status-unequal interaction, pluralism is not diminished. It is pro-

posed that unavoidable assignment to birth-ascribed, ranked, interde-

pendent, and interacting groups is characteristic of all true caste

orders. Because each caste group is distinctly unlike others, assign-

ments can mean significant differences in life chances. The review

also reports that some social theorists believe Negro-white relations

6Zelditch, op. cit., p. 253.

6Lipset and Zetterberg, loc. cit.

6Short and Strodtbeck, loc. cit.

6Greenblum and Pearlin, loc, cit.

6Zelditch, op. cit., p. 254.

6Berreman, op. cit.

in the "Old South" are an example of caste order.68 Several scholars are

cited who refute this, claiming that what was observed is inappropriately

labeled caste.69 Disparities among American and Indian social orders

are identified, including the American emphasis upon physical appear-

ance and behavior. It is argued that traditional caste order is

"descent symbolized," while racist social orders rely upon physical

and socio-economic differences.70 Social structural differences between

the dichotomous American order, and a system of gradation as in India

are also discussed.71 This debate prompts a definition of caste order

suitable to the present study specifying that caste occurs when a society

is composed of birth-ascribed, hierarchially ordered, and culturally

distinct groups. The hierarchy entails differential evaluation, dif-

ferential rewards, differential associations, and is guided by Vedic

law (supra, p. 17 ). It was further indicated that groups in caste

orders are differentiated, interactional and interdependent elements

of the larger society. They are economically interdependent, and

occupationally specialized.72 Persons comprising such groups generally

view themselves as discrete social entities. Such a notion seems reason-

able in view of the variable size and differing customs of caste groups.

In addition, the status influence of caste groups often overshadows the

68Warner, op. cit., pp. 234-37.

69Simpson and Yinger, loc. cit.

70Davis, loc. cit.

71Beteille, op. cit., pp. 519-35.

72Berreman, International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, op. cit.,
p. 334.

characteristics of individual members.73 In concluding the review, it -

is proposed that status in caste societies is linked with behavioral

patterns associated with certain exogamous social units. Such caste-

order status is believed to be catagorizable as "secular" and "ritual."74

Secular status is identifiable through examination of certain specific

criteria.75 Ritual status is linked with Hindu ideas of pollution and



74Stevenson, op. cit., p. 45.

75Ibid, p. 46.





This chapter represents a demographic discussion of Nepal, the

country within which the study was done, and of the particular commun-

ity studied. It is included to assist a reader not thoroughly familiar

with the study area in understanding the study findings and their impli-

cations for education. Included are reports of the geography, economics,

political history, and educational development of the relevant areas.

Discussion of the geography and economics of Nepal is included as

descriptive of the nation which hosted the study, and as broadly reflec-

tive of other developing nations with social structures based on tradi-

tional Hindu caste models. Implications derived from the study findings

may relate to other nations with similar characteristics. Description

of Nepalese geography is followed by a summary of national political

history. The summary is an attempt to highlight political developments

which have affected the organization and social perception of education

in Nepal: Subsequent discussion of education is intended to provide a

basis for understanding the educational organization and its social

significance in the specific community studied. To this end a final

discussion presents relevant social, economic, and educational dimensions

of the study community.


Nepal is a small, independent Hindu monarchy resting between India

in the south and the Tibetan Region of the People's Republic of China

in the north. Nepal's unique shape resembles an elongated rectangle

extending nearly 500 miles from northwest to southeast with widths

ranging from 80 to 130 miles (see Appendix A ). Within her borders

are situated a vast collage of geological features among which are

flat stretches of low lying plains and high mountains.

The low plains of Nepal occur in the southernmost extension of

the country. They account for only a small segment of Nepal's total

land area, but their produce represents a significant contribution to

the nation's total agricultural output. Referred to as the "Terai,"

this area lies as a long but narrow northwest to southeast band south

of the Siwalik Mountain Range. It is characterized by rich alluvial

silt and sandy soils, and a subtropical climate. Rainfall patterns

for the Terai are determined by the annual sub-continental monsoon,

with quantities ranging from 1,000 millimeters to 2,237 millimeters


In contrast to the Terai, the mountainous or hilly region of Nepal

includes several ranges all of which are dwarfed by the Great Himalayas

farthest to the north. Among the more notable of the Himalayas of Nepal

are Everest (Sagarmatha), the Annapurnas, and Manaslu all ranging beyond

26,000 vertical feet. Lying between the enormous Himalayas in the north

and the Terai in the south is a vast region of medium-height hills

(4,000-9,000 feet) interspersed with fertile valleys. This area

1Huta Ram Baidya, Farm Irrigation and Water Management, Kathmandu:
Royal Nepal Academy, 1968, pp. 6-16.

represents most of Nepal's total land area, and likewise hosts a majority

of her population. With few exceptions, the hilly region exhibits fer-

tile clay and clay-loam soils in scattered valleys and semi-fertile,

rocky-clay soils on the mountainsides where extensive terracing has been

done. The climate is temperate and rainfall is abundant during the mon-

soon period. Average rainfall amounts for the hilly region vary from

less than 1,000 millimeters to more than 2,000 millimeters annually.2

Resting between the Terai and hilly regions is a buffer area known

as the Inner Terai. It is characterized by diverse geographical fea-

tures ranging from gently rolling plains to steep mountains. Although

sub-tropical, proximity to higher elevations yields lower annual tem-

peratures than normally occur in the Terai. Annual rainfall averages

fluctuate between 1,000 millimeters and 2,600 millimeters.3 Well

drained loam and sandy loam soils are highly productive throughout the

region, although the more mountainous areas are not suited for high

levels of agricultural production.


Nepal is an agricultural nation. Nearly 92 percent of her econom-

ically active population was engaged in some form of agriculture or

agri-business in 1974.4 Agriculture accounts for nearly 68 percent of

Nepal's gross national product.5 Notwithstanding this massive emphasis


3Figures taken from data provided by the Department of Hydrology
and Meteorology of His Majesty's Government of Nepal, 1976.

4The Europa Yearbook, 1975, A World Survey, London: Europa Publi-
cations Limited, Vol. II, 1975, p. 1105.

5Statistical Yearbook, 1975, New York: United Nation, 1976, p. 678.

upon agriculture, however, the level of agriculture development is

essentially primitive. Some developmental progress has been made

during the past quarter century, but such progress has been mostly

limited to areas of reasonable accessibility. Further, much of the

agricultural development work thus far undertaken in Nepal has proceeded

from the extension activities of foreign agricultural-aid agencies. It

is doubtful that the "Agricultural Extension Division of the Ministry

of Agriculture--H.M.G." could adequately fund a significant on-going

development program without extensive foreign financial and personnel

assistance. The significance of this situation becomes obvious when

one realizes that the major crops of rice, maize, wheat, and potatoes

are produced by an agricultural system that is highly unsophisticated

and sadly inefficient.

Industrialization in Nepal, with few exceptions, is limited to

small cottage-type enterprises. Development is encouraged by His

Majesty's Government, and assistance in establishing manufacturing

units is encouraged by various foreign agencies. Nonetheless, such

industrial development is progressing slowly, and in 1973 only 10

percent of the gross domestic product was derived from industrial


The depressed economic conditions of Nepal are reflected in the

general lack of mobility within the country. Footpaths through rough

mountain terrain serve as the only means of transportation in many areas

of the country. North-south travel is facilitated by walking along

narrow paths that parallel several rivers. However, the general absence


of bridges to span these rivers renders east-west travel difficult most

of the time, and virtually impossible during the rainy season. As a

result, many Nepalese find it more convenient to travel southward into

India. There connections with buses and trains can be made. The

travelers will then proceed east or west to a location at which they

can again turn northward into Nepal.

Today, only one road connects Kathmandu, the capital city, with

the Terai. Further west, another road passes southward from Pokhara.

Additional roads have been constructed, connecting Kathmandu and Pokhara

and.from east to west through the Terai. Extensive east-west road con-

struction through Nepal's hilly region, however, remains economically

prohibitive. Consequently, His Majesty's Government has designated

several hill areas as sites for airport construction. By thus con-

necting selected outlying areas with the capital and other Nepalese

cities, the government hopes to upgrade transportation facilities. It

is hoped that planes carrying cargo as well as passengers will encourage

economic growth. Several of the more important outlying hill areas are

experiencing regularly scheduled flights by planes belonging to Royal

Nepal Airlines Corporation. Nonetheless, ticket prices and cargo rates

remain beyond the financial capabilities of most Nepalese.

The.estimated annual per capital income for a Nepalese in 1973 was

approximately N. Rs. 840.00 (about $84.00 U.S.).7 Although not suffi-

cient to afford purchase of more than the most essential foods, housing,

clothing, etc., N. Rs. 840.00 is sufficient income for basic human survival.

7Ibid., p. 696.

Annual per capital incomes for persons living outside Kathmandu Valley

were probably lower still. Aware of this situation, several foreign-

aid agencies are participating in the development of "cash crops"8 and

various other alternatives which offer potential for increased cash

income. The initiation of such programs may suggest that a general

deficiency of spendable income has significantly discouraged economic

progress. It may also reflect concerns for the present condition of

the Nepalese economy and its heavy dependence upon foreign aid. Fig-

ures for income from foreign aid sources in 1974 amount to approximately

22 million U. S. dollars.9 The total Nepalese gross domestic product

during 1974 represented only 130 million U. S. dollars.10

General History

Reliable information concerning the earliest history of Nepal is

nonexistent; however, some mention is made of Nepal in connection with

the Hindu period known as "Kaligat," which began approximately 3,101

years before the Christian era.11

Tentative anthropological reports indicate that the central moun-

tain region of present-day Nepal was occupied by numerous hunting and

gathering tribes. Whether because of encroachment of more civilized

societies into central Nepal, or because of conquest, sickness, or other

8Steven K. Million, Report to the Department of Horticulture--H.M.G.
of Nepal, Viticulture, Kathmandu: Peace Corps/Nepal, 1972, pp. 69-72.

9The Europa Yearbook, 1975, A World Survey, op. cit, p. 1107.

10Statistical Yearbook, 1975, op. cit., p. 696.

11Munshi S. S. Singh and Pandit Sri Gunanand, History of Nepal, Cal-
cutta: Susil Gupta Private Ltd., 1958, p. 20.

factors, the descendants of these tribes have moved to sections of

western Nepal, and reportedly continue to flourish as hunters and


Much of what is known of Nepal's subsequent ancient history has

been drawn from various religious writings and folklore. Of the earliest
written histories, the Buddhist Chronicles are the most-often cited.3

From these writings and from Nepalese folk history, it seems certain

that an organized and flourishing community existed in Kathmandu Valley

of central Nepal as early as the fifth century B. C. Although little is

known of these ancient valley inhabitants, their major cultural influence

was Indian and, therefore, probably influenced by the religious and

social mores of Hinduism.

Daniel Wright suggests that a more contemporary history of Nepal

is divisible into three distinct periods. The first of these periods

he labels as the Sambat of Vikamaditya. Wright believes that this seg-
ment of Nepalese history began 57 years before the Christian era.1

The second period Wright refers to as the Sambat of Salibahana, and

he suggests that it began approximately 78 years after the Christian

era. The Sambat of Salibahana continued until October of 880 A.D., at

which time Wright believes the current "Nepalese era" began.

12These anthropological statements are tentative and based primarily
upon personal conversations with an American anthropologist, Joe Burkhart,
who conducts research in Nepal. The author had contact with the anthro-
pologist numerous times during his stay in Nepal, between 1970 and 1972.
Although the author is aware of no written reports of the event, the
anthropologist claims to have encountered and lived among the members of
one hunting and gathering tribe for an extended period prior to 1970.

1Netra B. Thapa, A Short History of Nepal, Kathmandu: 1967, p. 6.--

1Singh and Gunanand, op. cit.

Although the exact date is unclear, a Chinese emissary reported

that Dharmakara was crowned as the first king of Nepal at approximately

the time of Manju'sri's (in Chinese: "Wen Shu's") pilgrimage to Nepal.15

Records indicate that Manju'sri's journey probably occurred in the early
fifth century.6 Dharmahara is reputed to have established a cultural

and economic order in Nepal similar to that of ancient China.17 The

coronation of Dharmahara initiated a long and divergent line of Nepalese

monarchs whose most contemporary royal descendant rules today.

The seventh century A.D. in Nepal hosted the Tibetan success in

establishing a southern passage through the north-central region of

the Himalayas. This passage was known as the Kerong Pass and has

survived to the present. Salt and livestock were the primary south-

bound products, while a variety of manufactured goods flowed northward

from India. The commerce generated by this Himalayan route established

Nepal as a commercial waystation between Tibet and Northern India.

The Mongul invasion of India during the twelfth century A.D. sent

many high caste Hindus into the hills of Nepal seeking refuge. Having

established themselves in Nepal, many of the descendants of these high

caste Hindus remained in the area. Their presence significantly

altered the cultural and economic mores of the nation, resulting in

establishment of a social system based on precepts of Hindu law.

The political history of Nepal likewise did not escape the great

influence of Hinduism. In 1457 A.D., King Yaksha Malla ruled Nepal.

1Thapa, loc. cit.

1Samual Couling, The Encyclopedia Sinica, Shanghai: Kelly and
Walsh, Ltd., 1917, p. 326.

1Thapa, loc. cit.

At that time the country represented approximately 26,000 square miles

of territory emanating in all directions from Kathmandu Valley.18 At

the end of his reign, King Malla divided his kingdom into three smaller

units and appointed three of his sons to govern them. The new kingdoms

were named Bhatgaon, Kathmandu, and Patan. They retained their sovereign

character until hostilities were initiated against them by the Shah

family of Gorkha in present-day western Nepal. A devastatingly lengthy

series of battles continued until in 1769 the last of the three kingdoms

was annexed to the Gorkha empire.

For forty-five years the Shah family continued an ambitious cam-

paign of expansion. At various times during this period they engaged

the armies of China and Great Britain against whom their successes were,

at best, limited. A final territorial treaty was ratified with the

English on March 4, 1816.19 With the exception of a small parcel of

land given to Nepal by the British in 1860, the modern boundaries of

Nepal basically conform to those established in 1816.20


Culturally, Nepal is unusually diverse. This diversity, however,

follows general geographical patterns and is, therefore, easily div-

isible into three basic cultural units. The first of these units is

18The territorial dimensions suggested above are based upon the
author's computations of geographical information reported by Surya V.
Gyavali in his work Prithvi Narayan Shah, Darjeeling, 1962.

19Satish Kumar, Rana Polity in Nepal, Bombay: Asian Publishing
House, 1967, p. 13.
201bid., p. 14.

the Tibetan-Mongoloid groups of northern Nepal. This people has been

heavily influenced by Tibetan language (Tibeto-Burmese), dress, and

religion (Buddhist). Among the various tribes of the northern region

of Nepal, the Sherpas of the Mount Everest area and the Thakhalies of

north-central Nepal are the best known. As Nepal becomes a more mobile

society, increasingly large numbers of these people are settling in the

central and even the southern regions of the country.

The second and most populous group of Nepalese live in the hilly

areas south of the Himalayas and north of the Gangetic plains. This

people represents a blend of Mongoloid and Aryan physical traits and

a unique combination of Indian and Tibetan cultures. From these unusual

mixtures has sprung the racial, cultural, and linguistic characteristics

most often identified with Nepal. Religiously, the central-region

Nepalese are predominantly Hindu, but significant numbers of Buddhists

exist among them. Very often, Nepalese will adhere to both Hindu and

Buddhist faiths in seemingly compatible fashion. The Hindu and Buddhist

faiths shape most of central Nepal's cultural mores. The Hindu caste

system appears to provide the single largest contribution to cultural

shaping. In fact, the impact of the caste system is felt in almost

every aspect of Nepalese life.

Linguistically, the central Nepalese have helped to bridge much

of the cultural diversity found in the nation. From west-central

Nepal came a language originally known as "Khas." A form of this

language has displaced Hindi as the official court language in

Kathmandu.21 As feelings of nationalism began to emerge, Khas was

21Krishna R. Aryal, Education for the Development of Nepal, Patna,
India: Shree Himalaya Press, 1970, p. 18.

renamed Nepali and was designated the official national language. It

was the use of Khas (Nepali), however, by the Gorkha soldiers in the

British Army that finally led to the first systematic effort to

organize an English-Nepali dictionary, which was published in 1960.22

Today throughout central Nepal the use of Nepali is widespread as a

first or second language. The "Ministry of Education--H.M.G." has

determined that Nepali will be used as the language medium in most

Nepalese schools. This fact, plus increased mobility and advancing

technology in Nepal, is fast making Nepali an important language in

both the northern and southern regions.

The southern region of Nepal, the Terai, is very unlike the central

and northern areas. Topographically, the Terai is flat when compared

with the hills and mountains to the north. Further, a vast majority

of its inhabitants migrated from areas of India. These people brought

with them strong faiths in Hinduism or Islam, and a plethora of languages.

Of these languages, Bengali, Maithili, Bhojpur, Hindi, and Urdu predom-

inate. The barriers presented by the influx of such diverse language-

usage, and especially those presented by the sometimes conflicting

doctrines of Hinduism and Islam, have caused significant unrest in some

areas of the Terai. In addition, the caste system as generated by the

Hindu faith is more rigid and, consequently, more debilitating for low

caste Hindus in the Terai than in any other area in Nepal.

22M. Meerendonk, Basic Gurkhali Dictionary, Singapore: Sen Wah
Press and Company, 1960.

History of Education

The educational history of Nepal is a collage of differing official

views and policies, ranging from the sixth century to the present. The

earliest appearances of formalized education can be identified during

the sixth and seventh centuries and were mainly of an indigenous nature.23

Characterized by religious motivation, the early seats of learning in

areas of northern Nepal were charged with the training of Buddhist

monks. Such education was free, but not compulsory.24 Apparently, the

curriculum in these earliest school was broad enough to include some

form of mathematics, epistemological and metaphysical philosophy, and

astrology.25 Thus, until the fourteenth century, education continued

along these basic lines.

When in 1382 King Jayasthiti Malla assumed the Nepalese throne,

a major commitment to education based upon Hindu religious law was

established. King Jayasthiti, and the Malla kings who were to rule

after him, placed great importance upon the socio-economic guidance

provided by the Hindu codes, e.g., providing guidance related to social

organization, social etiquette, restricted occupational choice. Each

Malla king ruled by divine right, and believed such right to be founded

in his allegiance to Hinduism.26 The effect of the new emphasis

23Report of the Nepal National Education Planning Commission, "Edu-
cation in Nepal," Kathmandu: Bureau of Publication, College of Education,
1956, p. 25.

24Aryal, op. cit., p. 13.
25Dilli R. Regmi, Ancient Nepal, Calcutta: K. L. Mukhopadhaya,
1960, p. 177.

26Tulsi R. Vaidya, "Kingship during the Malla Period," Journal of
Tribhuvan University, 4, 1, 1968, p. 19.

promulgated by the Malla kings was to promote Brahmanic institutions at

the expense of the monasterical schools mentioned above. No efforts were

made, however, to eliminate the monasteries of northern Nepal. In fact,

the Malla rulers seem to have promoted a spirit of religious toleration,

which in turn fostered continued growth of education throughout Nepal.

During the Malla period, education as well as the arts27 and literature28

flourished, although a relatively small percentage of the total popula-

tion was directly involved.

The continuity of the educational upsurge under Malla kingship,

however, was broken at the time King Yaksha Malla divided the kingdom

into the three sections. His action, as described earlier, served as

a catalyst for a long and bitter series of military and political con-

flicts. The effect of these conflicts upon the educational developments

of Nepal is staggering. Eventually, even the coffers of the Nepalese

monasteries and Hindu schools were depleted to pay for the incessant

fighting. During this period, only the introduction of a few Christian

missionaries signaled any significant educational advancement, and even
they were eventually expelled for alleged political indiscretions.2

Other than the cases cited above, few educational gains were made in

Nepal before 1846, the time of the Rana accession to power.

Report of the Nepal National Education Planning Commission, "Edu-
cation in Nepal," op. cit., p. 18.

2Regmi, op. cit., p. 634.

2Aryal, op. cit., p. 19.

Satish Kumar writes that of all the phases of modern Nepalese


the one from 1846 to 1951 is the most important
because of its two main characteristics: one, for one
hundred and five years. ., a family of usurpers
(Ranas) ruled the country without having legitimate
claim to power; and two, the rulers, in the process
of ruling selfishly and dictatorially, developed
anachronistic political institutions which not only
hampered the growth of the country in the relevant
period but also had important repercussions on de-
velopments in post-Rana Nepal.30

Among the various "contributions" of the Rana prime ministers was a gen-

erally held high-level disdain for public education. Specifically, such

an attitude toward learning seems to have been generated by fear that
education might lead to political instability. Further, any vocational

need for education was discouraged by the aversion of the Ranas to

extending employment to educated men who might use such learning against

them.32 Predictably, those young men interested in governmental advance-

ment placed little emphasis upon academic preparation, and instead concen-

trated upon establishing an agreeable relationship with the Rana family.

The Prime Minister and some rich families who could
afford it employed European or Bengali tutors to
teach English to their children. Other persons inter-
ested in education taught their children themselves
or employed family priests or pundits (scholars).
The lower classes had no facilities for education,
since there was no public provision for it.33

3Kumar, op. cit., p. 1.
3Perceval Landon, Nepal, London: London Constable and Company,
Ltd., 1928, p. 179.

3Regmi, op. cit., pp. 14 and 26.

3Kumar, op. cit., p. 137.

In fact, Daniel Wright suggests that "the subject of schools and colleges

in Nepal (at the time of the Ranas) may be treated as briefly as that of

snakes in Ireland. There (were) none."34 This may, however, be some-

what too critical. In 1918 two actions taken by Chandra Shum Shere, a

conservative Rana prime minister, established primary schools for Gorkha

soldiers and a college in Kathmandu. The Gorkha schools encouraged the

desire of the hill people for further education. Eventually, social

unrest among the Gorkhas became a significant factor in the overthrow

of the Rana regime. It should be noted, however, that Chandra Shum

Shere's motivations in these reform activities were likely spurred

more by a desire to maintain viable relations with the British in India

than by any genuine concern for the general promotion of public educa-


Hugh B. Wood adequately summarized the situation in stating that,

the Rana period, is best described as one
of general opposition to education by the ruling group.
In an era when western countries were developing and
extending their systems of learning, the Ranas were
attempting to remove nearly all vestiges of education
in Nepal. Although they imported British or Indian
Pundits to teach their own children according to the
British system, they thoroughly opposed education for
the masses. In fact, anyone advocating it risked the
death penalty or the dungeon.35

The beginning of the end of the Rana period was marked by the ascen-

sion to power of Padma Shumshere Rana in November, 1945. This man, more

than any of his family predecessors, was genuinely concerned with public

34Daniel Wright, as seen in Singh and Gunanand, op. cit., p. 18.

35Wood, op. cit., p. 9.

education. To this end, he established a constitution which recognized,'

each Nepalese child's "right" to an education. He also organized

schools, established teacher-training programs, and printed textbooks.

His reforms were short-lived, however, and on February 9, 1948, dissident

members of the Rana family forced his resignation.36 His successor was

Mohan Shumshere Rana, who abolished Padma's educational reforms and

systematically limited most civil liberties. This reactionary admin-

istration was to serve as the initial catalyst for a popular revolt

that in early 1951 ended the Rana rule.

With elimination of the Ranas and reestablishment of the Shah

dynasty, King Tribhuvan quickly enacted measures designed to create

public education. Many schools were opened immediately, and often little

consideration was given to adequate planning, financing, or facilities.37

The general character of the schools, curricula, and procedures which

emerged were similar to those in India.38

His Majesty's Government, in an effort to maintain some order in

the development of Nepalese education, instituted several organizational

steps which were based upon Indian models. These included formation of

a Ministry of Education, strengthening of the educational directorate,

and appointing seven "school inspectors."39 Following establishment of

a Board of Education, the National Education Planning Commission

(1954-55) was created to chart long-range educational objectives.

3Thapa, op. cit., p. 136.

3Wood, op. cit., p. 11.

38Horace B. Reed and Mary J. Reed, Nepal in Transition, Pittsburgh:
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1968, p. 9.

39Wood, loc. cit.

Aid from the United States helped to expand primary education.40

Simultaneously, teacher-training programs were established, adult-

literacy classes were initiated, and textbooks were printed. As these

primary- and secondary-level educational developments continued, Tribhuvan

University in Kathmandu and several smaller colleges in outlying areas

were established with foreign assistance. Consequently, educational

development made significant headway in Nepal over a surprisingly short

period of time. Much of this progress was reported in 1962 in a com-

prehensive educational survey sponsored and administered by UNESCO.41

Subsequent development of educational programs and facilities in Nepal

indicates sincere commitment by his Majesty's Government to the concept

of public education. When considered in the broader context of Nepalese

political and social history, such commitment may exemplify the post-

revolutionary spirit of Nepal.

Educational Organization

Prior to the 1951 Revolution, there was little need for adminis-

trative educational personnel in Nepal. Although the Office of Director

of Education was created in 1858, it represented no real authority or

responsibility.42 Until 1951, the position of Director of Education

was awarded to a series of Rana army generals who commonly viewed the

job with indifference. During the post-revolutionary period, efforts

have been made to increase the effectiveness of educational administration

40E. B. Mihaly, Foreign Aid and Politics in Nepal, London: Oxford
University Press, 1965, pp. 28-41.
41Wood, Hugh B..and Bruno Knall, Educational Planning in Nepal and
Its Economic Implications, UNESCO, (mimeograph), Paris: UNESCO, 1962.

42Wood, op. cit., p. 12.

and supervision. However, inadequate experience and training, as well

as the rapid expansion of education in Nepal, have significantly hindered

such efforts. Nonetheless, in 1951 an organizational plan for educational

administration and supervision was established. Subsequent studies have,1

indicated a need for specific changes in and additions to the original

plan, as illustrated in Figure 3.1.

Among the organizational reforms of 1951 was creation of a Ministry

of Education.43 Official procedure provides for "political" appointment

of a minister who "serves at the pleasure of the king."44 As late as

1976, however, education had not attained sufficient importance to

merit a full-time minister. Instead the ministers have traditionally

held other appointments simultaneously. Deputy ministers have normally

been appointed to handle most of the Ministry of Education's affairs.

The responsibilities of the ministry extend to all matters of

education in Nepal. These responsibilities include coordination of

specialized educational activities (e.g., higher education, health

education), establishment of national educational policy, and direction

of educational development. Each of these functions is coordinated by

the Secretary of Education who, unlike the Minister of Education, is

exclusively concerned with educational matters.

The-secretary, like the Minister of Education, is appointed by the

king. However, because he is not linked directly to the Minister, some

continuity is maintained when either office is vacated. The Secretary

is served by several under-secretaries whose responsibilities

43Randhir Subba, T. N. Uraity, and H. B. Wood, "Report on the Ministry
of Education," Education Quarterly, Vol. 2, 1965, pp. 123-132, ,,

44Wood, op. cit., p. 12.

Jat-----: ---In------ Miise ofEuain----------------1nest
National Curriculum i Minister of Education -- University |
i Co iission
----------------* *

Secretary of-Education

Educational Planning i Auxiliary
Research & Statistics toAgencies

_-- (b) -

SCurriculum Educational dinit n Primary
Supervision Materials Administration Scnools

_---- 14 Zonal Inspectors: 14 Zonal Dcuty Inspectors.

75 Block Sub-Inspectors (Generai)
Block Sub-Inspectors (Specialists)


Secondary Adult
Schools I Education


F~Eco6T T.anag i
Corriittees 2"' Local Headmasters I



(with Recommended Modifications)


i lNote.--Solid lines indicate lines
of authority; broken iines in-icate
coordinating and advisory relation-
(a) Channe reco-mended by tne
U:SCO tea- in 19r2.
(b) Addition reco;:~:en':cc by the
UNESC3 tea; in; 19,2.
(c) Higner education is acacemically
autonomnus but largely deaencent
upon the Ministry for financial
Source: Wood and Knall, op. cit., as
seen in Wood, op. cit., p. 15.


to specific educational areas (e.g., primary, secondary, and higher

education). In the past, overlapping of responsibilities between the

Secretariat and the Ministry has resulted in duplication of efforts.

In 1958, such duplication resulted in creation of two distinct national

education programs. More recently, however, the influence of the

Director of Public Instruction has helped stem duplication of matters

relating to primary and secondary education.

The Directorate is the contemporary version of the earlier Office of

Director of Education, established in 1858. It is the coordinating cen-

ter for all primary- and secondary-school activities on a national

scale.4 It administers the organization of new schools, the distribution

of school funds, the preparation and distribution of learning materials,

adult education, and most of the other aspects of educational administra-

tion not delegated to the Ministry or to the Secretariat. The Director

of Public Instruction is represented at the public school level by

numerous inspectors. They, in accordance with the responsibilities

of the Directorate, exercise significant administrative influence in

matters concerning local schools. They are responsible for opening

or closing schools, approval or disapproval of grants, and hiring and

dismissing headmasters and teachers.46 During the past decade, their

role has become increasingly supervisory. They are now actively involved

in efforts directed toward improvement of instruction and administration

at the local level. The inspector serves as the primary link between

the local school and the Ministry.

4Wood, op. cit., p. 14.
46Ibid., p. 16.


Reliable figures for total numbers of schools and students in Nepal

are difficult to locate. This is due in part to limited communication

and transportation capabilities, and to discrepancies among definitions

of what actually constitutes a "school" or who is a "student." Nonethe-

less, studies done in 1973 report a total primary school enrollment of

392,229 students,47 more than twenty percent fewer than earlier pro-

jected.48 Numerically, the Nepalese are far from achieving the Govern-

ment's stated intention of expanding tuition-free, primary education to
all students by 1985.4 Graphical representation of Nepal's proposed

educational enrollment is presented in Appendix B. Fundamentally,

the proposal calls for primary education for all who desire it (although

not compulsory), secondary education for about 20 percent of the total

elementary enrollment, higher education for approximately 5 percent of

secondary enrollment, and adult education for all who seek it.

A study of the number of students progressing from one grade level

to the next-higher level was reported in 1959.50 The study indicated

that only 38.1 percent of the total primary-age population had begun

formal schooling at Grade I. The report also indicated that only 2.4

percent of the total population remained in school to Grade X. A flow

Statistical Yearbook, 1975, op. cit., p. 857.
48Wood and Knall, op. cit., p. 32.

49Ministry of Education, The Five-Year Plan for Education in Nepal,
Kathmandu: Bureau of Pulications, College of Education, 1957.

5Trailokya N. Upraity, "Historical Background of Educational
Development in Nepal," Financing Elementary Education in Nepal, Eugene,
Oregon: The American-Nepal Education Foundation, 1962.

chart in Appendix C demonstrates the percentage differentials between

the various grade levels, and the standard "student flow" from Grade I

through Grade X. Reference to the flow chart will indicate not only

the relative percentages of student enrollment to school-age population

by grade-level, but also a diagrammatical representation of the student

flow process. That is, it displays the prescribed procedures of student

passage from one level to the next, as well as repetition of the.same

level, and termination of the schooling process. Comparison of the

relevant percentage of school-age population at any one level with that

of other levels, provides a reader the opportunity of more clearly

grasping the significance of student attrition rates, especially follow-

ing Grade III. Other important information is presented with regard to

the School Leaving Certificate examination, normally administered

following completion of Grade X. Reference to the flow chart indicates

that only 35 percent of all students examined succeeded in satisfying

the test demands. This may raise questions of the content of the S.L.C.

examination, and of the quality of the secondary-level education which

preceded it.

Secondary education in Nepal is far less extensive than is primary

education. Figures reported in 1975 indicate that 217,524 pupils were secondary-level general education programs in 1973.51 The

majority of Nepal's secondary schools are located in Kathmandu and

several other areas with high concentrations of population. However,

the Three-Year Plan (1963-65) proposed the creation of at least one

secondary school in each of Nepal's 75 development districts (see Appendix A).

5Statistical Yearbook, 1975, op. cit.

Secondary school curriculum is dictated by the School Leaving Certi-

ficate Board, and is oriented toward preparation for the S.L.C. Examina-

tion. Wood was written,

teaching methods are confined largely to lecturing
and rote recitation, often en masse. There is a
single objective: to past the final School Leaving
Certificate (S.L.C.) examination at the end of the
10th grade.52

The limited value of Nepalese rote learning, as well as its likely product

has received no small share of negative criticism.5

Like secondary education, higher education is limited in its

capability of meeting the needs of Nepal. Although there were 33

recognized colleges and universities in Nepal by 1961, enrollment fig-
ures indicated several student bodies with fewer than 500 students.

Nonetheless, an abundance of graduates with degrees in economics, poli-

tical science, and history led to employment difficulties as early as

1962. At the same time, the College of Education (Tribhuvan University)

could not fill its available student places. This situation is probably

due to the low pay and limited prestige afforded teachers in Nepal. The

UNESCO report in 1962 recommended a quota system to correct this imbalance

of degree awards.55

The-quality of higher education in Nepal is in large measure a

reflection of secondary education. That is to say, teaching consists

52Wood, op. cit., p. 43.

5Steven K. Million, Rote Learning in Nepalese Public Schools,
Unpublished master's thesis, University of Kansas, 1975.

54Wood and Knall, op. cit., p. 46.


primarily of lecture, and incentive for study appears to be limited to.-,-

the final weeks prior to examinations. Teaching aids and textbooks
are scarce,6 and library facilities--when available--are seldom

utilized. The UNESCO report considered these problems and issued

numerous recommendations for improvement.

The educational, social, and political conditions of Nepal are

reflected in the particular community selected for study in the present

research. Although all communities exhibit some degree of uniqueness, ..

the study site was purposefully selected as generally representative of

the broader nation.

The Study Site

Selection of a representative sample population was critical to

the present research. Criteria used in making the final selection are

reported in Chapter IV. At this juncture, however, it is appropriate

to mention several demographic characteristics.of the area within which

the sample population resided.

The community selected, a "punchayat" or county known as Jotpur,57

is situated in the area earlier identified as the Inner Terai. It lies

at the extreme northern extension of the Gangetic Plain. Topographically,

Jotpur's area of nearly twenty-five square miles exhibits a wide variety

of features ranging from nearly flat plains to steep mountains.

56Wood, op. cit., p. 54.

5"Jotpur" is a pseudonym. It is customary that intimate studies of
communities not report the actual name or precise location of the study
area. This is done to protect the anonymity of those participating in
the study. Such anonymity permits study participants to speak more freely
about their own social condition and that of others living around them.

Although most of Jotpur's soil is fertile and highly productive,

large tracts have been washed away by the Nilo Khola River during past

monsoon seasons. In addition, little mountain land is suitable for

cultivation because of extreme gradients and inadequate moisture.

Where practical, extensive terracing has been done, Such areas produce

maize, buckwheat, and some dry land rice. Other crops grown in the

flat, fertile soils of Jotpur Punchayat include rice, wheat, maize,

and mustard. To supplement their diet, most residents also plant

vegetable gardens.

The history of Jotpur is elusive. This is due in part to absence

of a record-keeping tradition, and in part to community disinterest.

What little oral history is available recounts the area's settlement

by hill and Terai people approximately 150 years ago, a fact verified

by official records. Originally a dense jungle, trees were cut away

and fields cultivated. Populational growth was at first sluggish, but

increased steadily after malaria eradication programs were begun. The

total population of Jotpur today is approximately 7,000 persons.

The economy of the Punchayat is dependent upon agriculture and

agri-business. Only a few general supply stores and tea shops are

not directly related to agriculture. Two rice mills operate with a

combined'annual income of approximately N.Rs. 95,000 (U.S. $9,500.00).58

The mills employ seven workers whose average monthly earnings seldom

5Annual income figures are based on information supplied by the
ownership of one mill and substantiated by the chief governmental officer
of Jotpur Punchayat. The mills operate during most of the year milling
rice, wheat, maize, and mustard.

exceed N.Rs. 200 (U.S. $20.00). Virtually all other personal income in

the Punchayat is derived from private farms or farm labor.59

Many areas of the Inner Terai are characterized by dissimilar

religions, castes, and racial backgrounds. Jotpur is one such area,

hosting Hindus, Buddhists, and Moslems from both hills and Terai.

Buddhists with Mongolian physical features live side-by-side with

descendants of Indian Hindus. The result of such mixing is a miniature

composite of Nepal. That is, most major religions and cultural groups

of Nepal are represented in similar proportions in Jotpur Punchayat.

As in the broader nation, Hindus predominate social and religious life,

with Buddhists only slightly less influential, and Moslems relatively

powerless. Occasionally Hindus or Buddhists will adopt religious prac-

tices previously associated with the faithful of the other religion. Such

behavior may enhance the prospect for continued peaceful coexistence of

such diverse groups. However, similar sharing of religious customs with

Moslems is unknown in Jotpur.

Culturally, Jotpur residents are as diverse as their several reli-

gions and numerous castes. Hindus tend to adhere to traditions similar

to those of Hindus in India. They participate in the same religious

festivals, emphasize physical and spiritual purity, and support main-

tenance-of caste order. Among Hindu groups, several large castes and

subcastes exercise powerful influence over the whole of Jotpur. Not

the least of these are Brahmins representing spiritual authority, and

Newars who are often successful business persons.

59Several persons are employed by the Jotpur Malaria Eradication
Program, but the work is seasonal and the pay is subsistence.

Buddhists are culturally similar to Tibetans and other South Asian

mountain groups. Their Tibetan heritage is reflected in dress, social

and religious customs, and physical appearance. Likewise, Moslems

pattern the traditional dress, personal grooming, and social styles

of other South Asian Islamic people. Jotpur's combination of these

diverse cultures yields a cultural collage rich in variety and reflective

of the broader nation.

Provisions for education in Jotpur are products of the organiza-

tion and purpose of agencies in His Majesty's Government of Nepal. There

are seven National Primary Schools with a total enrollment of 469.60

These primary schools offer instruction to Grades I, II, and III. In

addition, the Punchayat hosts one secondary school which serves seventy-eight

students, and provides instruction through Grade VII. Because pro-

vision has not been made for further education, those students who wish

and are qualified to study beyond Grade VII must assume temporary

residence in Dhalpur, a town located approximately two and a half hours'

walk from Jotpur. Seven of the eleven students enrolled in Grade VII

last year passed their examination and elected to continue their education

in Dhalpur.

Jotpur's eight schools are directed by fourteen teachers and a head-

master. 'The schools are widely dispersed, but are normally placed in or

near a town. Expenses for operation of Jotpur's schools are borne by

His Majesty's Government of Nepal. Operational expense for Shree

Chandra Secondary School is met by local government and student tuition,

60All local educational figures are based on records maintained by
the Jotpur Punchayat headmaster with offices in Shree Chandra Secondary
School, and reflect data current at year's end, 1976.

with the former assuming roughly 75 percent of total costs. Class-

rooms and teaching aids are inadequate, although several maps and a

globe are available in the secondary school. The average student-to-

teacher ratio approximates 36 to 1, although in some cases a 50 to 1

ratio may be encountered.

Four teachers have completed an Intermediate Arts degree61 at

Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. All other members of the staff

have some secondary level education, several having received the School

Leaving Certificate. Their salaries, although low, are scaled to reward

further study. Teachers in Jotpur holding the Intermediate Arts degree

earn N.Rs. 292.50 (U.S. $30.00) monthly. Those with only the School

Leaving Certificate receive a monthly income of N.Rs. 201.50 (U.S.


In summary, Jotpur Punchayat is very much a reflection of Nepal. Its

geography is characterized by flat plains and high mountains, features

of the broader nation. Its economy is heavily dependent upon agricul-

ture. The population of Hindus, Buddhists, and Moslems from hill and

Terai backgrounds is similar to the host nation. Educational organization

is likewise a reflection of national educational programs. These simi-

larities were purposefully sought, and it is hoped that through study of

a community like Jotpur, greater understanding of Nepal will result.

61An Intermediate Arts degree is roughly equivalent to an Associate
of Arts degree in the United States.

62Salary figures for teachers who had not earned the School Leaving
Certificate were unavailable.



The Method

Development of the method used to reveal status factors in this

study was based on several previous models. The most important of these

models was developed by W. Lloyd Warner and associates and used in his

studies of American social classes.1 The method, entitled "Evaluated

Participation," was founded on the proposition,

that those who interact in the social system of a
community evaluate the participation of those
around them, that the place where an individual
participates is evaluated, and that the members
of the community are explicitly or implicitly
aware of the ranking and translate their evalua-
tions of such social participation into social-
class ratings that can be communicated to the

Collection of the information prerequisite to determination of status

ranking was accomplished through a series of interviews. An analysis of

the content of these interviews served as the determinate of status rank

and subsequent construction of a representational social status con-

figuration. Application of the adopted interview procedure did not

impose status rankings or preconceived notions of social configuration

which might have affected study results. Instead, the procedure allowed

W. Lloyd Warner, Marcia Meeker, Kenneth Eells, Social Class in America,
Chicago: Science Research Associates, Inc., 1949.

2bid., p. 35.

for systematic compilation and analysis of interviewee input. The

analyst then translated the accumulated data to explicit, verifiable

criteria of status rank and developed a social status configuration

representative of the study community.

Deviations from Previously Developed Models

The present research examined social status in a setting very

unlike the American communities previously studied. For this reason

no assumptions were made regarding the criteria of status determination

or of the-conceptual design of the relevant social configuration. The

study allowed status rankings and concomitant structural features to

assume whatever condition and shape was reported by those interviewed.

No effort was made to fit the society studied into a previously created

stratificational scheme. It was recognized that data might indicate

continuous, normally distributed categories exhibiting no definitive

demarcations among strata.3 It was also allowed that data might demon-

strate multi-dimensional stratification as in a single society ranking

its membership within an economic order, prestigal or honorific order,

and a power structure.4 Of equal importance was a willingness to

acknowledge that the Warnerian theory of status determination might

prove inappropriate to Asian caste societies. These basic theoretical

variations were accompanied by three important deviations from pre-

viously used procedures.

3Stanley Hetzler, "An Investigation of the Distinctiveness of
Social Classes," American Sociological Review, 18, October, 1950,
pp. 493-497.

4Reinhard Bendix, Max Weber, An Intellectual Portrait, Garden
City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., pp. 85-87.

Other studies of status determination have indicated little con-

cern for threats to external validity, especially as related to gener-

alizability.5 This is most obvious in studies similar to that done by

Wayne Wheeler within which interviewees and judges are selected on the

basis of their interest in the research, their previous association

with the researcher, etc.6 To minimize such threats to the present

research, all participants (exclusive of the research staff) were chosen

by random selection without replacement. The findings of this study

are believed to be generalizable to the entire study community and to

other communities similar to the one examined. Pre- and post-studies

were conducted and appear to confirm this claim to generalizability.

The pre-test was conducted in the same community as the actual study,

and indicated agreement with the later findings. The post-tests were

administered in three different communities approximately 100 miles

from the actual study site. Not unlike the pre-test, they indicated

high degrees of concurrence among the status figures designated. Con-

cern for external validity was accompanied by similar interest in

threats to internal validity.

Use of an interview technique renders threats to internal validity

especially perilous. This is because variations in the content of inter-

views or-in presentation of interview material can prompt artificial

responses. As a precautionary measure, all randomly selected subjects

5Harold W. Pfautz and Otis Dudley Duncan, "A Critical Evaluation
of Warner's Work in Community Stratification," American Sociological
Review, 15:205-215, 1950.

6Wayne Wheeler, Social Class in a Plains Community, Minneapolis:
Wayne Wheeler, 1949, p. 34.

were contacted and interviewed by the same research personnel. The,

questions asked and the manner in which they were presented were as

consistent as it was possible to make them.

A procedure unique to this study was the use of photo-number cards.

These were five inch x eight inch, unlined, white cards with a Polaroid

color photograph of each subject mounted left of center. To the right

of each photograph appeared an arabic numeral which corresponded to the,

serial number of the subject featured in the photo. The proper name of

the person in the photograph did not appear on the card. This design

was adopted to allow the literate and illiterate a similar opportunity

for identification of the photo subjects. This procedure is based on

the assumption that presentation of a subject's name on the card would

provide literate persons with an unequal advantage in recognizing the

individual pictured. Such an advantage was considered undesirable

because only those subjects recognizable to the judge were eligible

for ranking.

The Procedure

It was important to select an appropriate study population. The

process of selecting such a population began in June, 1976, simultaneous

with development of the total research program. At that time Nepal was

chosen as the general study area owing to its traditional association

with the caste system, its predominately Hindu population, and its

unusually limited exposure to non-caste cultures. The study sitewas

to be a rural area outside Kathmandu Valley in order to minimize the

effects of exposure to dissimilar cultures. Few rural areas are visited

by tourists or other persons foreign to the area. Ideally, the site

would be generally representative of Nepal, and provide a relatively

uninhibited example of caste social order. The population of the study

community was to range between 4,000 and 7,000 persons. A larger popu-

lation would likely have been too massive for thorough examination. It

was important that the community reflect the caste membership proportions,

language patterns, religions, and general lifestyles of the broader nation.

This was deemed necessary to increase the potential generalizability of

the study. To this end was solicited the assistance of persons familiar

with Nepalese demography.

Through the cooperation of several officers of His Majesty's

Government of Nepal, and Nepalese and American employees of the United

States of America and the United Nation's Development Program (U.N.D.P.),

more specific criteria for site selection were designated. These per-

sons met individually with the author on five separate occasions, and

offered suggestions for locating a study site compatible with the speci-

fications mentioned above. In addition, they recommended that the site

selected should be (1) located in an Inner Terai area, (2) situated away

from major roads or other avoidable sources of external cultural con-

tamination, and (3) inhabited long enough for community residents to

know one another well. The specification of an Inner Terai location

was based on the belief that residents in that area represent virtually

all cultural, religious, and economic groups characteristic of Nepal.

Such mixing is seldom found outside large urban areas. The third

specification was intended to avoid selection of a newly settled com-

munity which might have been so culturally diverse that identification

of community status factors would be impossible. A "punchayat" consistent

with these specifications was identified in October, 1976, and is

referred to by the pseudonym of Jotpur.

Once the author and a research assistant were established in the,

study community, they conducted interviews with one or more persons

from each of Jotpur's nine wards. In order that the interviews would ,

be representative of social, political, commercial, occupational, edu-o:.;i;

national, and other community segments, they were selected both at

random and on the recommendation of the chief governmental officer.

They were requested to provide names of persons they believed repre-

sentative of all status levels in their ward. Collectively they

identified forty-one individuals. They were also asked to characterize

each status stratum as they perceived it, and to differentiate it from

all others. Other questions included the influence of caste on status

and the status of women. The entire interview is presented in Appendix D.

A preliminary survey of the interviews indicated that persons

living in Wards 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9 were generally unknown to residents:

of wards other than their own. This is believed due to restrictive

geographical features including the mountains of Wards 1 and 2, the

dense jungle of Ward 9, and the great distance from Jotpur's central

bazaar of Wards 7 and 8. It was decided, therefore, to restrict the

scope of this study to the contiguous Wards 3, 4, 5, and 6 within which'

persons were generally well-known to residents to the other three wards.

From the four-ward area, twenty-five (25) preliminary judges were

selected at random from the group of forty-one names identified in the

initial interviews. They were interviewed and asked to respond to

questions about their individual perceptions of status in the study, -I

community, and to several objective queries concerning their ages, occu-

pation, sex, and caste. Reference to Appendix E will provide a reader

with the content of this interview in both English and Nepali. The

preliminary judges named 118 individuals whom they believed represen-

tative of a cross-section of status levels in the study area. From

this group were later selected those persons whose interviews represent

the crux of the present research.

Initially, it was planned that an equal number of subjects from

each category would be chosen from each ward. However, because some

wards indicated higher concentrations of persons in one or another

of the status categories identified by the preliminary judges, it was

decided to place all 118 persons together and select eighty-four (84)

names at random. The figure eighty-four was based on an ideal selection

of equal numbers of subjects from each of the four wards. In the actual

selection, eighy-four names were selected at random without replace-

ment. Among those selected, ten were persons selected more than one

time as a result of being listed under more than one name. The

seventy-four names remaining were those of subjects who were designated

to be photographed and interviewed.

Interviews with the seventy-four subjects selected above consisted

of forty-two questions designed to gather objective information about

each subject's caste, occupation, religion, land holdings, etc. The

entire interview, in both English and Nepali, is presented in Appendix F.

At the conclusion of each interview the author assigned a "+" or "o"

to each interviewee as an indication of his acceptability for inclusion

among the final judges. Virtually all subjects were included, although

some exclusions were made as the result of interviewee inaccessibility;

i.e., interviewee worked out-of-town, was too ill for additional inter-


The photographing of each subject involved a waist-up, partial

side view. Care was exercised to make each photo similar to all others,

although some variety of backgrounds and variations of the prescribed

pose were employed. A Polaroid Colorpack camera with Type 108 color

film was used for all subjects.

Among the seventy-four individuals designated for inclusion in

this phase of the study, eleven were unavailable. The reason for this

ranged from serious illness to relocation outside Jotpur Punchayat.

In addition to the eleven, three other subjects were found to have been

listed more than once under different names. With these exceptions,

sixty subjects were interviewed and photographed.

The random selection of twenty-five final judges was the next

procedural matter. The selection was followed by a second random

selection without replacement of four alternate final judges. The

alternates would be used only if one or more of the original final

judges was unable to participate. The order of selection determined

the order of substitution for the alternates. That is, the first

alternate selected would be the first substituted. Having established

the format for the final judging, it was possible to proceed to the

last stage of the field component of this study.

Each of the twenty-five final judges was contacted personally,

and privately. They were seated at a desk and given a series of instruc-

tions concerning what was about to occur and what was expected of'them

(See Appendix G). They were then presented with fifty-nine randomly-

arranged photo-number cards,7 and instructed to sort them according to

those they recognized and those not recognized.8 Each judge was asked

to reexamine all unrecognized photo-number cards carefully until he was

certain he had identified all those known to him. This complete, it

was possible to begin the actual ranking.

The final judges were presented with all the photographs of persons

they recognized, and were requested to arrange them in order from high-

est status level to lowest status level. When this function had been

completed, they were asked to explain the rationale for their individual

placements and for the stratificational design they had identified. They

were also asked if there were other status groups in Jotpur not repre-

sented by persons featured in the photographs. All judges agreed that

all status groups were represented, and none could suggest individuals

or groups which were not represented.9 A systematic procedure for

recording each judge's placements was used, and combined with his oral

explanations of placements and strata, provided the data on which this

study is based.

The judges' own photo-number card was withheld until all other
functions of this segment were satisfied. Each judge was then asked
to place himself relative to all previous placements.

8When a judge "recognized" a photographer but admitted knowing
nothing about him, that particular photo-number card was excluded.

All interviews with final judges were tape-recorded and later
transcribed and translated by native speakers of Nepali (the language
used for interviewing) and English (the language to which translation
was made).

Determination of the Number of Status Strata and Individual
Average Placement Ratios (A.P.R.)

The method used to determine the number and appropriate parameters

of status strata in the study community was unique to this research and,

therefore, should be explained. Development of the method was guided

by a desire to minimize purely subjective determinations of the data's

meaning. To this end, efforts were made to balance the influence of

qualitative and quantitative data in designating a status configuration

representative of the study community.

During the interview segment of the study, judges identified seven

different status configurations within which the number of strata ranged

from a minimum of three to a maximum of ten. The mean number of strata

identified by all judges was 5.32 with a standard deviation of 1.54.

Among all judges, ten identified a five-strata configuration, more

than any single alternative. It was decided, therefore, to adopt a

five-strata configuration as most representative of the reported status

stratification in the study community. Each subject would then be

fitted to the prescribed configuration on the basis of his Average

Placement Ratio (A.P.R.).

Computation of the A.P.R. began by creating a fraction-like value.

The denominator of this value represented the total number of strata

identified by the rating judge, while the numerator reflected the

actual stratum within which a particular subject had been placed. For

example, a value of 1/4 would indicate that a judge had identified a

total of four strata, and that he had placed a particular subject in

the first, or highest, of these. All such values for each subject were

converted to corresponding decimal values, summed, and divided by the

total number of judges who had ranked that particular subject. The

resulting value was subtracted from 1.0, yielding an A.P.R. score for

each subject indicative of the relative highness or lowness of all

placements. It was then necessary to devise a means of fitting the

A.P.R. scores to the five-strata hierarchy.

Examination of the ten original five-strata configurations per-

mitted calculation of an Average Percentage of Placements per Stratum,

(A.P.P.S.). The A.P.P.S. reflected the frequency and relative per-

centage of subject placements in each stratum. By ranking all A.P.R.

scores from lowest to highest value, it was possible to divide the

total distribution of scores into five units based on the A.P.P.S.

with adjustments for natural numerical breaks. The A.P.P.S. values

and the resulting division of the A.P.R. scores into five units are

presented in Tables 4.1 and 4.2, respectively.



Number of Placements per Stratum
Percentage of Total Placements Within Five Strata



SI 1 6 4 10 4 2 12 4 2
.052 .127 .181 .285 .25 .04 .428 .083 .044 .165

SII 4 12 4 6 5 6 4 6 5
.21 .255 .181 .171 .31 .12 .142 .125 .111 .180

SIII 8 12 4 7 5 8 3 9 34
.421 .255 .181 .200 .31 .16 .107 .187 .755 .286

SIV 5 12 5 8 1 32 1 27 2
.263 .255 .227 .228 .062 .64 .035 .562 .044 .257

SV 1 5 5 4 1 2 8 2 2
.052 .106 .227 .114 .062 .04 .285 .041 .044 .144





A.P.R. Scores Occurring
Within the Relevant Division

SI .165 .610 .628 .747
.616 .649 .753
.616 .651 .779
.623 .661

SII .180 .437 .511 .562
.443 .518 .592
.481 .525
.482 .534

SIII .286 .330 .348 .352 .404 .425
.336 .348 .385 .405
.336 .350 .388 .415
.345 .352 .392 .423

SIV .257 .115 .244 .278 .299
.117 .249 .292 .325
.125 .263 .297
.196 .276 .298

SV .144 .000 .066
.043 .086
.047 .105



Usefulness of the Method

It was hypothesized that a methodology capable of identifying factors

of status in a caste community could be developed. This hypothesis appears

to have been substantiated through comparisons of interview data which

indicate high levels of subject agreement. That is, although each sub-

ject was interviewed in private, the factors reported as related to

status were generally in agreement with those proposed by all other inter-

viewees. In fact, it would seem that residents of the study community

had formed very clear ideas about factors related to status. The features

mentioned most often included landownership, other financial resources,

knowledge of improved farming practices, general education, and community

service. These factors were advanced by virtually all interviewees.

Because efforts were made not to prompt responses, such unanimity is

compelling evidence that these factors are actually those used to deter-

mine status in the study community. It seems reasonable to conclude,

therefore, that the instrument has demonstrated a capability for identi-

fication of status factors as they are perceived by the residents of


Characteristics of the Sample Population

The sample population consisted of sixty randomly selected male resi-

dents of Jotpur, Nepal with an overall average age of forty-one. Collectively,

the sample represented all suspected social, economic, caste, religious,

and educational groups in the study community. A breakdown of the

sample by caste indicates that each of the four major Hindu castes and

a significant number of Buddhists were represented.


Caste Number of Subjects (N=60) Relative Percentage

Brahmin 18 .330
Chetrie 16 .266
Vaisya 13 .216
Sudra 2 .033
Buddhist 11 .183

Among the sample subjects, land ownership ranged from possession of no

land to ownership of 780 "katthas."1 A mean land ownership of 187.4

"katthas" with a standard deviation of 176.6 "katthas" and a range of

780.0 characterized the sample. In addition, the mean number of months

of formal educational training was 42.8 months with a standard deviation

of 87.7.2 The range of total education extended from no education to

600 months. Within the homes of the sample population there resided a

mean of 3.3 school age persons3 with a range of 10.0 and a standard

deviation of 2.2. From this school-age group a mean of 1.5 persons

attended school, with a range of 6.0 and standard deviation of 1.5.

1A "kattha" is a local unit of land measure which is approximately
equal to 1/80 of an acre.
2Formal educational training refers to organized learning activities
in either a secular or religious school. A school year is defined as ten
months of formal educational training.

3School-age persons are all individuals residing in the home who are
from six to twenty years of age.

Analytical Procedure

As described in Chapter IV, a five-strata configuration has been

adopted as reasonably representative of all reports of status stratifi-

cation in the community studied. The parameters of each stratum are

defined in terms of A.P.R. scores established for each member of the

sample population, and the A.P.P.S. values obtained from averaging the

ten original five-strata configurations. Table 5.2 presents the five-

strata configuration and defines the numerical parameters of each

stratum and its relative A.P.P.S.


Numerical Parameters
Strata (by A.P.R. scores) A.P.P.S.

SI (highest) .610 through .799 .165
SII .437 through .609 .180
SIII .330 through .436 .286
SIV .115 through .329 .257
SV (lowest) .000 through .114 .114

By constructing chi square contingency tables with one side represent-

ing the five-strata defined above, it was possible to measure the degree of

relationship between status and other qualitative variables by comparing

obtained frequencies with those expected under a hypothesis of independence.

To further clarify the meaning of the chi square analyses, scatter diagrams

are presented. These diagrams feature two variables, and yield correla-

tion coefficients indicative of the degree to which variation in one vari-

able is related to variation in the other. Having established correlation

for a number of pairs of variables, it was possible to compare the

strength of relationship between one bivariate analysis and any other, ,e

similarly computed. Determinations of bivariate correlation coefficients

were expanded to consideration of the linear relationships between all

independent variables and the A.P.R. by means of multiple regression


The principle task of the multiple regression analysis was pro-

duction of a linear combination of several independent variables which

would correlate as highly as possible with the A.P.R. The computed linear

combination can be used to predict values of the dependent variable, and

the importance of each independent variable to such a prediction.4

Traditional wisdom would seem to suggest that status is a function

of caste membership. To test this hypothesis a chi-square contingency

table and scatter diagram are presented in Table 5.3 and Figure 5.1. Examina-

tion of the chi square and scatter diagram analyses reveal several inter-

esting findings. First, based on a raw chi square value of 33.56 with 16

degrees of freedom, caste as a factor of status assignment is not significant

4The usefulness of multiple regression and path analysis in under-
standing qualitative data has provoked serious controversy, especially
evident since 1972. Those who object to such analyses contend that use
of multiple regression in establishing the independent contribution of
an independent variable fails because the alleged independent variable
is not free of the influence of other variables. Further, the regres-
sion approach can lead to overestimation of the importance of a given
variable when that variable is entered into the regression equation
first. Because all independent variables examined are correlated, the
shared portion of the explained variance which could be accounted for
by any variable is attributed to the variable first entered. The sta-
tistical intricacies of the debate are beyond the scope of this study,
but the reader is advised to consider their potential influence on the
findings reported here.

5Arthur M. Hocart, Caste, A Comparative Study, London: Methuen
and Company, Ltd., 1950, pp. 35-42.

6Condiscriptive statistical information for this and all variables
is presented in Appendix H.










SI 4 5 2 0 0 11
36.4 45.5 18.2 0.0 0.0
22.2 31.3 15.4 0.0 0.0
6.7 8.3 3.3 0.0 0.0 18.3

SII 5 2 0 0 2 4
55.6 22.2 0.0 0.0 22.2
27.8 12.5 0.0 0.0 18.2
8.3 3.3 0.0 0.0 3.3 15.0

SIII 4 5 4 0 5 18
22.2 27.8 22.2 0.0 27.8
22.2 31.3 30.8 0.0 45.5
6.7 8.3 6.7 0.0 8.3 30.0

SIV 4 2 3 2 4 15
26.7 13.3 20.0 13.3 26.7
22.2 12.5 23.1 100.0 36.4
6.7 3.3 5.0 3.0 6.7 25.0

SV 1 2 4 0 0 7
14.3 28.6 57.1 0.0 0.0
5.6 12.5 30.8 0.0 0.0
1.7 3.3 6.7 0.0 0.0 11.7

COLUMN 18 16 13 2 11 60
TOTAL 30.0 26.7 21.7 3.3 18.3 100.0

Raw Cht Square = 22.56075; df = 16; Significance = 0.1260
Kendall's Tau B = 0.19546; Significance = 0.0334
Somer's D (Asymmetric) = 0.19809 with A.P.R. Dependent














Brahmins Chetries Vaisyas Sudras Buddhists





2 2 2

2 2 2
2 2 2




1.00 1.40 1.80 2.20 2.60 3.00 3.40 3.80 4.20 4.60 5.00
Correlation (R) = -0.26739; R Squared = 0.07140; Significance = 0.01944


at the .05 level. Although inconsistent with the thinking of some

social theorists, this finding does conform to the current interview

data. During the interviews subjects indicated that they did not hold

caste to be an important determinate of individual status. It may be

that these findings are a reflection of recent changes in the social

ideas of Jotpur residents. However, the implication that caste has

never been significantly related to individual status must be recognized.

Secondly, the contingency table indicates nearly equal distributions of

Brahmins, Chetries, and Vaisyas among all strata. Sudras were ranked

in the fourth stratum (SIV), indicating a tendency toward lower rank-

ing. Buddhists were generally clustered around the central stratum

(SIII). A major importance of the findings rests with the absence of

a more definite tendency of castes to attain consistently high or low

placements. Chetries comprise forty-five percent of all subjects assigned

to SI, more than Brahmins. Similarly, they predominate SIll. Brahmins,

Critics of this study may argue that cells in chi square tables
with fewer than five cases should have been combined with other cells
until a minimum of five cases occurred in every cell. The author acknow-
ledges the potential for misinterpretation of data when empty cells
occur, but believes that the collapsing of cells may also pose threats
to interpretation. For example, Table 5.3 displays the chi square
analysis.of caste and A.P.R., and regrettably contains seven (28%) empty
cells. By combining the five columns into three columns, all empty cells
could be eliminated. However, in so combining (or collapsing) the five
columns, their distinctiveness is forfeited. That is, instead of re-
porting that of all those placed in SIV, four were Brahmins, two were
Chetries, three were Vaisyas, two were Sudras, and four were Buddhists,
a reader would only know that among the four castes and the Buddhists,
fifteen were placed in SIV. Likewise, it seems important to know that
no Vaisyas or Sudras occurred in SII. This information would likely be
lost if the columns were collapsed. Therefore, the reader is cautioned
to evaluate the chi square contingency tables in light of the potential
threat presented by empty cells or cells with fewer than five cases.

on the other hand, represented 70 percent of SII assignees, but only

fifteen percent of SV. Certainly there is a tendency for Brahmins to be

assigned high status, but the fact that they occur at all in SV, that

they did not dominate SI, and that they were equally represented with

Buddhists in SIV, may be surprising to those who closely associate caste

membership with individual status. These findings are confirmed by the

multiple regression analysis presented in Table 5.4. Reference to that.

table will indicate that, although the variable caste has a multiple R.

value of 0.74691, another variable (land) accounts for all but 0.01095

of the relevant multiple R value.8 The relative insignificance of caste

to A.P.R. becomes even more obvious when its zero-order correlation is

compared to that of land. The difference between the two values is more

than twice as great as the zero-order correlation for caste. These find-

ings, however, should not be interpreted to mean that caste is unrelated

to status assignment. In fact, its zero-order correlation and F value

(as reported in Tables 5.4 and 5.5), are greater than those of all reported

variables other than land. Therefore, analysis of this data permits the

cautious suggestion that, although historically associated with individual

status, caste membership is not significantly predictive of A.P.R. at the

.05 level.

The second alleged factor of status determination is education.,

Certainly the history of education in Nepal has influenced education's

role in status assignment as discussed in Chapter III. The sample pop-

ulation, with an average age of forty-one, was fifteen years of age in

8This finding is the result of subtracting the multiple R value of
the first variable from that of the second. The resulting value repre-
sents that portion of the second variable not attributable to the influence
of the first as related to a dependent variable (in this case A.P.R.).



Order in
Variable the Equation

Beta (Beta)2 Correlation


Multiple With Variable
R Partialed Out

0.73596 none 67.35738*

0.74691 land 35.32973

0.79047 land, caste 30.53539

0.79052 land, caste, religion 22.49185






























Error of B




























1951 when Nepalese public education was introduced. This may account

for the large number of uneducated subjects. Notwithstanding the

deemphasis of education prior to 1951, it is hypothesized that chi

square and scatter diagram analysis will indicate a significant rela-

tionship between education and status. The appropriate contingency

table and scatter diagram are presented in Table 5.6 and Figure 5.2. It

appears that education as a factor of status is significant at the .05

level. This finding would seem to suggest that with increased amounts

of education up to one hundred months, Jotpur residents are less likely

to be assigned low status. Educational training beyond this level may

be counter-productive as related to status assignment.9 Reference to

the contingency table will demonstrate that of four subjects with

seventy-one or more months of schooling, three were placed in SI.

In contrast, nearly half of the sample had thirty or fewer months of

education, yet only one subject among them was assigned to SI. It should

also be noted that the distribution of individuals with thirty-one to

seventy months of education was nearly normal for all strata.10 This

normal distribution contrasts sharply to the skewed distributions of

the two alternative educational categories (see Table 5.6). Equally

interesting is the finding that fewer than 2 percent of the total

sample with at least some secondary education were placed in SV. This

finding is balanced by other figures indicating that fewer than 2

This statement is based on the finding that one subject with more
than seventy-one months of schooling was placed in SIV as a result of
community opinion suggesting that he had failed to use his education to
earn money or acquire land (see Table 5.6).

10Formal education should be understood to include organized learning
activities in secular or religious studies. A school year represents ten
months of formal education.



EDUCATION (in months)







SI 1 3 3 7
14.3 42.9 42.9
3.4 18.8 75.0
2.0 6.1 6.1 14.3

SII 3 2 0 5
60.0 40.0 0.0
10.3 12.5 0.0
6.1 4.1 0.0 10.2

SIII 10 7 0 17
58.8 41.2 0.0
34.5 43.8 0.0
20.4 14.3 0.0 34.7

SIV 9 3 1 13
69.2 23.1 7.7
31.0 18.8 25.0
18.4 6.1 2.0 26.5

SV 6 1 0 7
85.7 14.3 0.0
20.7 6.3 0.0
12.2 2.0 0.0 14.3
COLUMN 29 16 4 49
TOTAL 59.2 32.7 8.2 100.0

Raw Chi Square = 17.90408; df = 8; Significance = 0.0220
Kendall's Tau C = 0.33236; Significance = 0.0031
Somer's D (Asymmetric) = -0.41304 with A.P.R. Dependent













0.0 60.0 120.0 180.0 240.0 300.0 360.0 420.0 480.0 540.0

Correlation (R) = 0.20058; R Squared = 0.04023; Significance = 0.06219


* *


* *




* *




percent of the total sample with no secondary education were placed in

SI. It seems that accomplishment of approximately seventy months of

formal education is a reasonably reliable guarantee of high status

assignment. As suggested above, however, education may be characterized

by a point of diminishing returns. It is not possible to designate the

exact level at which returns begin demission, but such may occur between

100 and 160 months. This estimate is based on interview data which sug-

gest that persons with high school and/or college training are expected

to use what they have learned to obtain other status commodities, e.g.,

land, money, or high-salaried employment. A person failing to acquire

such status commodities is subject to low status assignment in spite of

his level of educational training.

The multiple regression analysis may appear to refute the chi square

report of significance for education. For example, the multiple R value,.

for education increases only 0.00005 over the cumulative multiple R

value of 0.79047 for land, caste, and religion. Further, the zero-order

correlation for education is only 0.19150, far smaller than the value

reported for land. Yet reference to the correlation coefficients among

variables presented in Table 5.7 indicates a positive relationship between

education and land greater than that of caste or religion. The reasons

for the apparent discrepancies are not clear. It may be that the chi

square value is a statement of the statistical significance of the

relatedness of education and A.P.R., while the multiple regression value

is a report of education's practical usefulness as a discriptor of A.P.R.

It may also be that one of more variables are serving to supress the

potential influence of education. Whatever the cause, it appears that

education is related, albeit minimally, to A.P.R.









coefficient with:





















Ownership of land is another factor potentially related to status.

Nepal's history is filled with examples of individuals and families

attaining great power and influence as a result of large land holdings

or the acquisition of other forms of wealth. Perhaps the Rana family

and their exploits as reported in Chapter III is the best example of

this phenomenon. The analyses clearly substantiate the relationship

of landownership to status assignment. Inspection of the relevant

contingency table (Table 5.8) and scatter diagram (Figure 3.2) indi-

cate that the two individuals owning 625 or more "khattas" of land were

both placed in the highest stratum, SI. At the opposite extreme, only

one of thirty-three subjects with 156 or fewer "khattas" of land was

placed in SI. Multiple regression analysis as reported in Table 5.5

bolsters these findings. Having a zero-order correlation of 0.73596,

land is vastly more significant than any other variable examined. In

fact, its significance may suggest that with little exception, Jotpur

residents equate the amount of land owned with status. Careful examina-

tion of the data, however, provide exceptions adequate to discourage

the advancement of this idea as a social value. A possible reason for

the significant relationship of landownership to status may be the

importance of agriculture to the local economy. The importance of owning

land could decrease in an economic setting less dependent upon agricul-

ture, and within which other occupations might be pursued. The findings'

greatest significance, therefore, may be in what it suggests about occu-

pations in general. That is, if status is closely related to occupation,

and occupations in caste societies are usually linked to caste member-

ship, it may be that social observers who have argued that status was





LAND (in "khattas")







SI 1 5 2 1 2 11
9.1 45.5 18.2 9.1 18.2
3.0 27.8 40.0 50.0 100.0
1.7 8.3 3.3 1.7 3.3 18.3

SII 2 5 1 1 0 9
22.2 55.6 11.1 11.1 0.0
6.1 27.8 20.0 50.0 0.0
3.3 8.3 1.7 1.7 0.0 15.0

SIII 10 6 2 0 0 18
55.6 33.3 11.1 0.0 0.0
30.3 33.3 40.0 0.0 0.0
16.7 10.0 3.3 0.0 0.0 30.0

SIV 13 2 0 0 0 15
86.7 13.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
39.4 11.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
21.7 3.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 25.0

SV 7 0 0 0 0 7
100.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
21.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
11.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 11.7

COLUMN 33 18 5 2 2 60
TOTAL 55.0 30.0 8.3 3.3 3.3 100.0

Raw Chi Square = 34.0103; df = 16; Significance = 0.0054
Kendall's Tau B =.0.58065; Significance = 0.00001
Sommer's D (Asymmetric) = -0.66202 with A.P.R. Dependent













S* *


' ~~ -- --* -- -


** *

S78.0 156.0 234.0 312.0 390.0 468.0 546. 524.0 702.0 780.

Correlation (R):= 0.74152; R Squared = 0.54985; Significance = 0.00001
** *

4_FIGURE 5.3



0.0 78.0 156.0 234.0 312.0 390.0 468.0 546.0 524.0 702.0 780.0

Correlation (R) = 0.74152; R Squared = 0.54985; Significance = 0.00001


a product of caste have misunderstood what they observed. This idea

is especially important to those occupations like farming which accommo-

date several castes. It could mean, for example, that occupation is

one of the "great equalizers" in caste societies.

Religion is also advanced as a potentially significant factor in

status assignment. This idea is based on the potential religious deter-

mination of behavior for Jotpur's predominately Hindu population, and

on Nepal's official opposition to religious proselytization. The

relevant analyses are presented in Table 5.9 and Figure 5.4.

In view of the previously reported findings concerning caste, a

reader should hardly be surprised to discover that religion is not a

significant factor of status. The zero-order correlation for religion

was only 0.08300, lower than that for all other variables examined.

The multiple R increment with the variables land and caste partialed

out, amounted to only 0.04356 (see Table 5.4). It seems reasonable

to conclude that religion is not significantly related to A.P.R.

Other Important Findings

Although the major findings are discussed above, two additional

discoveries are worthy of report. The first has to do with the status

of women in Jotpur.

When first proposed, this study intended to include females in the

sample population. Their inclusion seemed reasonable because Nepalese

women are often quite active in business enterprises, and often exer-

cise great influence in family financial matters. However, pre-test

interviews in Jotpur and post-test studies elsewhere indicated that

women were not perceived as possessing status apart from their fathers

TABLE 5.9.








No Religion

SI 11 0 0 11
100.0 0.0 0.0
22.9 0.0 0.0
18.3 0.0 0.0 18.3

SII 7 2 0 9
77.8 22.2 0.0
14.6 18.2 0.0
11.7 3.3 0.0 15.0

SIII 13 5 0 18
72.2 27.8 0.0
27.1 45.5 0.0
21.7 8.3 0.0 30.0

SIV 11 4 0 15
73.3 26.7 0.0
22.9 36.4 0.0
18.3 6.7 0.0 25.0

SV 6 0 1 7
85.7 0.0 14.3
12.5 0.0 100.0
10.0 0.0 1.7 11.7

COLUMN 48 11 1 60
TOTAL 80.0 18.3 1.7 100.0

Raw Chi Square = 13.19318; df = 8; Significance = 0.1054
Kendall's Tau C = 0.10000; Significance = 0.1277
Somer's D (Asymmetric) = 0.20442 with A.P.R. Dependent




No Religion


















2 2
2 2


1.00 1.20 1.40 1.60 1.80 2.00 2.20 2.40 2.60 2.80 3.00

Correlation (R) = -0.18406; R Squared = 0.03388; Significance = 0.07960

or husbands. Absence of unique status was normally attributed to the

lack of education among women, or to a disinterest in matters external

to the home. In fact, only one interviewee, a woman, believed that

women had status. Yet even she was unable to name a female living in

Jotpur who possessed such status. It seems reasonably certain that

Jotpur residents assign status to females reflective of the males with

whom they are associated.

It should be noted that Jotpur males seemed little interested in

altering the situation mentioned above. Many of those who justified

the absence of status assignment to women because they lacked education,

refused to allow their own daughters to attend school. Others volunteered

that they would not consider marrying an educated woman, but could not

specify a particular reason. It was the perception of the researcher

that males were generally threatened by the prospect of females receiving


A second finding is related to the status of children. As with

women, pre- and post-test interviews suggested that children did not

have status, as that concept is understood in Jotpur. The interviewees,

among whom were children, unanimously agreed that children are assigned ;

status only as a reflection of the status of their parents. When they

are grown, girls assume status commensurate with that of males with

whom they are associated. Boys, on the other hand, attained individual

status at some stage in their early life. Interviewees suggested that

the exact age of status assignment was not clearly established, but likely

occurred sometime between the ages of twelve and thirty. The average of

all ages proposed by the interviewees was 18.63 years.

Implications of the Findings for Education

As indicated above, education appears somewhat related to status

assignment in Jotpur. The implications of such findings suggest that

persons interested in improving their status have some chance of doing

so by furthering their education. There is in operation, however, a

point of diminishing returns. This is most clear in the case of one

sample subject who, although in the highest educational group, was

assigned to SIV status. Review of the interview data indicates that

most judges believed the subject had spent too much time in academic

pursuits and too little time using what he should have learned to earn

a living. Apparently the residents of Jotpur believe education has little

intrinsic value, and disjoined from financial success is insufficient to

merit high status. Education is perceived of instead as a means of

acquiring competencies which may lead to personal and community betterment.

Other study implications are related to government. The foremost

among these is the failure of local government to fully develop manpower

resources. This is nowhere more obvious than in the failure to educate

local females. Not only does this failure result in wastage of great

human potential, but it also threatens community health and well-being.

Jotpur women are responsible for most homemaking chores, including the

preparation of food and maintainence of family hygiene. In the absence

of basic knowledge of human disease, the lives of family members may be

jeopardized. Courses in science which include basic instruction in

hygiene are provided in Jotpur's secondary school, but such information

seldom reaches persons not in attendance. This situation is further comp-

licated in Jotpur where no local medical facilities are available.

Data gathered during the present study indicate that the 60 sub-

jects who served as the sample population had fathered 408 children.

Tragically, 138 children, nearly 34 percent, had died. Perhaps

improvements in hygienic standards brought about in part by the

education of greater numbers of women could reduce this unusually high

mortality rate.

A third implication of the findings is the need for expanded primary

and secondary education. The statistical analyses presented above,fore-

cast little hope for status attainment among the uneducated. Further,

secondary'education is probably valuable enough to warrant its provision

beyond grade seven in Jotpur Punchayat. Students forced to move away,.

from home for study beyond seventh grade normally represent a significant

financial burden for their families. Poorer families simply can not

afford such additional education, the absence of which may serve to

perpetuate their poverty. If secondary education is to expand, it might

benefit from adoption of a vocational orientation. This idea is based

on what is believed to be a community-wide perception of education as

a means to personal success. A vocational orientation would likely

satisfy both community and student needs, especially if such is presented

in concert with less technical material.

Perhaps the most important implication to come from this study is

the potential it implies for escape from the debilitating influences

of caste. Although Brahmins are very likely to acquire high status,

Sudras and other castes now have evidence that they, too, can attain.

such rankings. The study findings suggest that (1) community residents ,

do not judge their neighbors on the basis of caste alone, and that (2)


the actual influence of caste in determining individual status is

dwarfed by the greater influence of landownership and to a lesser

degree by education. This study seems to confirm the possibility of

low-caste persons acquiring status equal to or greater than that of





The study reported here is divisible into three parts. The first

of these was the development and testing of a methodology capable of

identifying status factors in a caste community. The second segment,

closely related to the first, was the actual identification of status

factors in a caste community using the new method. The final phase

involved an analysis of data generated by the entire study.

The method used was based on previously developed models (supra,

p. 51). The basic premises underlying its development posit that

status factors are present in all social orders, and that they can be

identified through interviews with community residents. The developed

method was modified to accommodate a Nepali-speaking, mostly illiterate

population residing in a traditional caste culture. Tests seem to

confirm the method's capability.

Jotpur Punchayat, a small, political subdivision in the Inner Terai

area of Nepal, was the site of the study. The site was chosen as broadly

reflective of the nation (supra, p. 54). The sample population was com-

posed of sixty men, randomly selected, representing all suspected social,

economic, religious, educational, and caste groups in the study area.

They were photographed and interviewed (supra, p. 58). From the sample

were selected, at random, twenty-five men who served as status judges.

These judges subjectively ranked all recognized members of the sample

population by status. They created a status hierarchy which they

believed represented status ranks in Jotpur, and were questioned about

the rationale for'their decision. The analysis of this data served as

the basis for conclusions later proposed.

The initial phase of data analysis required the formation of

hypotheses. They were based on traditional knowledge of caste societies

and on ideas generated by the interviews. They predicted that data

analysis would establish significant relationships between status and

the variables of caste, education, landownership, and religion. To

confirm or reject these hypotheses, it was first necessary to calculate

an Average Placement Ratio (A.P.R.) score for each member of the sample

population. The A.P.R. represented a subject's average placement by all

judges ranking him, divided by the number of such judges. Secondly, a

five-strata hierarchy was adopted as reflective of status stratification

in Jotpur. Adoption of the configuration was based on the specification

of a mean of 5.3 strata by all judges, and the more frequent choice of

five-strata configurations among all judges. The A.P.R. scores were

then fitted to this five-strata configuration in accordance with the

Average Percentage of Placements per Stratum (A.P.P.S.). The A.P.P.S.

represented the average percentage of placements in each stratum by

those judges originally adopting a five-strata configuration. The para-

meters of each stratum were defined by the appropriate A.P.R. scores

(supra, p. 66). Statistical analyses compatible with qualitative data

were selected.

Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID EZ5XP8H1V_COR6CZ INGEST_TIME 2013-09-14T00:18:30Z PACKAGE UF00075319_00001