Forging the Nepali Nation through Law: A Reflection on the Use of Western Legal Tools in a Himalayan Kingdom



The present article endeavours to analyse the use and scope of Western positivistic legal tools in the creation of the Nepali nation. It suggests a two-level analysis. First, a historical analysis of Nepal's political and legal developments is presented to investigate the rationale of using law as a social engineering and homogenising tool promoting an identifiably Nepali national identity. Second, the article focuses on the current debates concerning constitutional change in Nepal. The debates about the demise of the 1990 Constitution in 2007, and the election of a Constituent Assembly need to be investigated in the light of the growing politicisation of ethnicity in the country. The overarching demand for inclusion stems from the discontent of Nepal's ethno-linguistic, religious, and regional minorities with their historical subordination. Ultimately, the article aims to demonstrate that the Nepali experience is situated somewhere between the civic and ethnic models of nationalism Kohn enunciated.