Was the Muluki Ain of 1854 the first codification of Nepal a strategy of Hinduization? (MT17)

Location: OCHS Library
Speaker: Dr Rajan Khatiwoda
Date: November 9, 2017
Time: 2.00-3.00

Most western scholars, as a result of their social anthropological and historical research, have interpreted and presented the Muluki Ain of 1854 as a strategy of Hinduization or establishment of supremacy of Hindu values, possibly also as reinforcement of Hindu norms or the re-establishment of stricter caste hierarchy. Nevertheless, a subtle philological approach is required to understand whether the Muluki Ain was a strategy of Hinduization or whether it represents, to a certain degree, an attempt to create a confessional type of theocratic state by bringing the pluralistic social and religious cultures and customs of pre-modern Nepal into a single legal framework in which a modified Hindu caste system and some explicit Hindu elements—which deviate vastly from the classical Brahmanical orthodoxy—were principally dominant. Therefore, the current presentation will deal with the relevant provisions of the code which will address the necessity of re-interpretation of the existing social anthropological theories.

Dr. Rajan Khatiwoda has a PhD in South Asian Studies (Heidelberg University) and MA in Classical Indology (Nepal Sanskrit University, Balmeeki Vidyapeeth). Dr Khatiwoda has been a Research Assistant and Cataloguer at the Nepalese-German Manuscript Cataloguing Project (NGMCP) at the Nepal Research Centre (NRC) in Kathmandu for 10 years (2003-2013) and is affiliated with the Śākta Traditions project at the OCHS led by Professor Gavin Flood and Dr Bjarne Wernicke-Olesen. His interests span widely from Śaivism to Indian Philosophy, Buddhist Logic, Manuscriptology and Epigraphy with a focus on Ancient Nepalese History, law and Śākta literature.