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.

Religion, Rituals, and Symbols of Belonging: The Case of Uttarakhand

Religion, Rituals, and Symbols of Belonging: The Case of Uttarakhand

Religion, rituals, and symbols of belonging: The case of Uttarakhand


In this chapter I pose the question, ‘What effect does statehood have on local forms of belonging in India?’ I answer this question by examining the case study of Uttarakhand, which was founded in the year 2000 and is therefore one of India's newest states. In searching for a theoretical framework for this essay, I first looked at the extensive anthropological literature on ethnicity. It is important to state at the outset that for some time now, at least since the publication of Barth's seminal work on the subject, anthropologists have understood ethnicity in a non-essential way. As we see it, ethnic groups are not united ...

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