This volume is an exploration of the various forms of bonds and attachments by which individuals in the Himalayan regions of India and Nepal are bound to their groups. To grasp these phenomena adequately, the book proposes a new analytical approach through the concept of belonging.
The book is based on several case studies carried out by anthropologists, historians, and geographers who help bring together rich ethnographical data from different regions of the Himalayas. Organized in three parts, it describes the interactions between local forms of belonging and new forms of classification imposed through national integration or modes of politics.
The book analyzes different societal formations in various historical periods and captures the ongoing change in them. Fundamentally, this collaborative publication is an attempt to go beyond (and beneath) identity constructions and to call into question the idea of permanence implied by the term.
Chapter 14: Trials, Witnesses, and Local Stakes in a District Court of Himachal Pradesh1
Trials, Witnesses, and Local Stakes in a District Court of Himachal Pradesh1
India has developed a well-established secular democracy, with a strongly independent judiciary system, a free press, and a growing economic and political liberalism that has integrated the effects of globalization, consumerism, social justice, and international and human rights. On the other hand, this democracy has been superimposed upon a society that remains largely based on local servitudes of religion, gender, age, caste status, and territorial, kinship, and feudal allegiances—all highly coercive mechanisms through which authority was, and still is, exercised, especially at the rural level. This is not to say that today a ‘modern’ state coexists with ‘traditional’ forms of authority—since even ...