AN EXAMINATION OF STATUS CHARACTERISTICS IN A
CASTE COMMUNITY AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR EDUCATION
STEVEN KENT MILLION
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES .
LIST OF FIGURES .
I. THE PROBLEM .
Introduction .. .
Definition of Terms .
Delimitations of the Study .
Organization of Remainder of
II. THEORIES OF STATUS AND CASTE .
Organization of the Present Chapter
Summary of the Literature Reviewed
III. DEMOGRAPHIC DIMENSIONS OF THE STUDY.
General History .
History of Education .
Educational Organization .
Enrollment . .
The Study Site .
IV. RESEARCH PROCEDURES .
The Method ... .
Deviations From Previously Developed Models .
The Procedure .
Determination of the Number of Status Strata a
Individual Average Placement Ratios (A.P.R.)
V. FINDINGS OF THE STUDY .
Usefulness of the Method .. .
Characteristics of the Sample Population .
Analytical Procedure .
Other Important Findings .
Implications of the Findings for Education .
VI. SUMMARY OF THE STUDY .
Summary . .
A. NEPAL (Zones and Development Districts) .
. .. 66
. .. 82
. .. 89
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
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . .. .125
LIST OF TABLES
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 . .
LIST OF FIGURES
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
AN EXAMINATION OF STATUS CHARACTERISTICS IN A
CASTE COMMUNITY AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR EDUCATION
Steven Kent Million
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.
THEORIES OF STATUS AND CASTE
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
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
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
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.,
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.
DEMOGRAPHIC DIMENSIONS OF THE STUDY
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
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.
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 are.limited
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
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)
Schools I Education
F~Eco6T T.anag i
Corriittees 2"' Local Headmasters I
ORGANIZATION OF ADMINISTRATION AND
SUPERVISION.OF EDUCATION IN NEPAL
(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
Secondary education in Nepal is far less extensive than is primary
education. Figures reported in 1975 indicate that 217,524 pupils were
enrolled.in 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
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
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
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.
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,
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
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
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.
PERCENTAGE OF PLACEMENTS PER STRATUM FOR THE TEN
JUDGES DESIGNATING A FIVE-STRATA CONFIGURATION
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
DIVISION OF A.P.R. SCORES INTO FIVE UNITS
BASED ON THE AVERAGE PERCENTAGE OF
PLACEMENTS PER STRATUM
A.P.R. Scores Occurring
Within the Relevant Division
SI .165 .610 .628 .747
.616 .649 .753
.616 .651 .779
SII .180 .437 .511 .562
.443 .518 .592
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
FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
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.
TABLE 5.1 BREAKDOWN OF THE SAMPLE BY CASTE MEMBERSHIP
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.
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.
TABLE 5.2 STATUS CONFIGURATION AND RELATIVE 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.
CHI SQUARE CONTINGENCY TABLE FOR THE VARIABLES A.P.R. AND CASTE
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
SCATTER DIAGRAM OF THE VARIABLES A.P.R. x CASTE (N=60)
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
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.).
THE MAGNITUDE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF FOUR VARIABLES
RELATED TO STATUS ASSIGNMENT IN JOTPUR
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
VARIABLES IN THE MULTIPLE REGRESSION EQUATION FOR JOTPUR DATA
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.
CHI SQUARE CONTINGENCY TABLE FOR THE VARIABLES A.P.R. AND 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
SCATTER DIAGRAM OF THE VARIABLES A.P.R. x EDUCATION (N=60)
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.
SUMMARY OF CORRELATION COEFFICIENTS
AMONG ALL VARIABLES EXAMINED
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
CHI SQUARE CONTINGENCY TABLE FOR THE VARIABLES A.P.R. AND LAND
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
' ~~ -- --* -- -
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
cATTER DIAGRAM OF.,;THE VARiABLES-;A.P,.R.. ;_LAND (N=60)
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
SCATTER DIAGRAM OF:THE VARIABLES A.P..R. X LAND (N=60)
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
CHI SQUARE CONTINGENCY TABLE FOR THE VARIABLES A.P.R. AND 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
SCATTER DIAGRAM OF
THE VARIABLES A.P.R. x RELIGION (N=60)
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
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
SUMMARY OF THE STUDY
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