25 responses

  1. Audrey
    November 5, 2012

    I love your Old lady from Bhaktapur photo. Stunning!

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      Thanks Audrey!

  2. Wade | VagabondJourney.com
    November 5, 2012

    Amazing piece of work here, Dave. It’s always great to read something that shows the other side of an issue that I did not previously know about.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      I’ve been meaning to write that for a while. Generally I don’t see most people taking a huge interest in it. But in terms of global observations it’s interesting to me in terms of documenting it. Much like the great work you’re doing in China.

      Hopefully it will be of interest to others who long-stay or go to volunteer or learn more about the cultures.

  3. Emma
    November 5, 2012

    Very insightful piece. I never new there was this much going on in the world. Thank you.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      Just scratching the surface

  4. Jan
    November 5, 2012

    Could have read this on National Geographic, fascinating! I couldn’t imagine living in a society like that.

    But as you wrote there’s something similar over here too. People do judge you on your name (Nationality) and of course job status.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      Good points about being judged internationally on nationality and job status. There’s always a strange look when traveling and sitting at a table with a doctor, a bricklayer and a cook.

  5. Stanley
    November 6, 2012

    Dave,

    This is a terrific article – well researched and well written. It was a pleasure to read.

    Best,

    Stanley

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      Many thanks Stanley!

  6. Stuart
    November 6, 2012

    One of the most interesting reads I’ve had in a while. Strange to read about being born into a caste, interesting to read about those happy with it!

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      It’s almost like a union you are born into!

  7. Jeremy Heath
    November 7, 2012

    As an old hat in Nepal this is one of reads I’ve come across by a traveller in some time. Well done.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      Thanks Jeremy!

  8. Amir
    November 11, 2012

    Once every generation we see the shackles society remove from this caste way of life. It’s replaced by a society that values it’s people based on wealth alone.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      Agreed. Hopefully the new generations after the “wealth” generation offer something better.

  9. Mrs Neupane
    July 25, 2013

    Interesting article, however I think you might have missed the intersections between ‘caste’ and ‘wealth’. I am married to a Nepali man (and from my name you can see he is from Brahmin caste)but he grew up in a poor family. Indeed his sisters had arranged marriages to men from Kshatriya (mainly Rana/Ranabhat) families as their Brahmin caste gave kudos and the Kshatriya families could guarantee a much more comfortable life. There are at least as many poor Brahmins as there are rich in Nepal, the same goes for many of the castes & ethnic groups. I do see more of a willingness for Nepalis to have a mixed marriage with a foreigner than with a different ethnic groups within Nepal, which is odd but apparent.

    In Nepal it’s never as simple as Brahmin = rich. The nearest analogy I can think of are the marriages and relationships formed out of the ‘new money’ of USA with the poor but aristocratic families of Europe that took place in the late 19th & early 20th century. Many poorer Brahmin & Kshatriya families will encourage marriages with a rich, but ‘lower caste’ family

    It’s encouraging to see many Nepali friends who basically don’t give a damn about ‘caste’ and I am optimistic. In centuries past English surnames were a kind of caste system but they still give a clue as to a family’s origins (eg, Prime Minister ‘Thatcher’). But until Rai marries Sharma and Pun marries K.C. Nepal will always have a meaningful system of discrimination – I hope the youngest generation there will show the way.

  10. Agnes
    November 22, 2013

    While reading your article I was wondering about some things. As a foreigner are you allowed to make relationship and friendship with people of all the castes? If I understood it correctly it is ok as far as you don’t attend to force people of two different castes to each other.

    Does this system still have an impact on marriages? Is it possible for a couple from different castes to get married? And what about foreigners? I’ve read your other article about living in Nepal so I know that it is possible/allowed to get married to a foreigner, but I still don’t understand whether they have to be aware of the casts?

    Thank you for your answers!

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 23, 2013

      Yes as a foreigner you are allowed to have a relationship or friendship with any caste. As a Nepali technically and legally this is also true. In practice however, especially among the older generations or those who still believe in the caste system, it’s more difficult. Especially a higher caste marrying a lower caste. As this would be seen as bringing shame on a family.

      Again technically and legally there’s no law preventing different castes from getting married. In reality it’s not that often you would see a lower caste man marrying a higher caste woman.

      As there’s no law that prevents who you marry yes a foreigner can marry someone from any caste. In a strange way if a foreigner married someone from a lower caste it would probably elevate them somewhat in the caste hierarchy. So long as the foreigner had money, influence etc.

      I hope I answered your questions!

      • नेपाली केटा
        April 23, 2014

        However, it depends upon the family. You will be a disgrace to the family and the house if you fall in love with someone from other caste, except for some educated families inside Kathmandu.

        Laws have been made. But it shall take a long time to change people’s mindset.

  11. Mr Brahmin
    April 23, 2014

    I am from Nepal and I personally have been a sheer victim of caste system. I recently had to give up on my 4 year old relationship with my classmate girlfriend as she was from a Newar background. I had almost convinced my family however her family and relatives were too strict on her. She couldn’t just move in with me because she didn’t want her mom and her family to get hurt and the society is too wrong.

    I know, caste system have had worse impact on society than this but that’s the exact reason why I hate this with my life.

  12. Esteban
    June 9, 2014

    Hello. I am Esteban, from Mexico. Winner of the last year national prize for children’s literature in Mexico. I am in Nepal now doing some research as the novel I am preparing now has to do with the left overs of cast system here and the weakness of the government when assuring equality. You article has helped, and also the very new comments below. Thanks.

Back to top
mobile desktop