Land, Lineage and State: A Study of Newar Society in Mediaeval Nepal
Prayag Raj Sharma
2015, pp. xxii + 232
ISBN: 978 9937 597 27 2
This study of mediaeval Nepal (Kathmandu Valley) attempts to show how over a period of 600 years the interplay of land, lineage and state strongly shaped Newar society, including some of its key institutions such as kinship, guthi, religion and caste as well as their settlement patterns. With a focus on the mediaeval era and using both historical and anthropological methods, the author discusses the gradual development of the Newari language and culture from the Licchavi era until the 1980s. He examines continuities and changes in different aspects of their society such as their rites and festivals, the interlinkages between land and lineage, the dynamics unleashed by Hinduism and Buddhism vying for supremacy, and the interface between state and society. Land, Lineage and State will be an important addition to the understanding of the Newar, who gave rise to arguably the most complex of Himalayan societies of the mediaeval period.
Prayag Raj Sharma retired as Professor of Ancient History from Tribhuvan University’s Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS) in 2002. He had been associated with CNAS since its inception and served as the founding dean of its predecessor, the Institute of Nepal and Asian Studies, from 1972 to 1978. He was also the founding editor of the journal Contributions to Nepalese Studies. He is the author of A Preliminary Study of the Art and Architecture of the Karnali Basin (Paris, 1972), The State and Society in Nepal: Historical Foundations and Contemporary Trends (Lalitpur, 2004), and many articles on state and society in Nepal.