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Urbana: University of Illinois Press, pp. 394. Price $ 24.95. Except few studies done in different contexts by anthropologists, such as Patricia Caplan, Gregory Meserick and Peter Prindle, ethnographic research on low caste groups, particularly untouchables (popularly known as Dalits these days and I frequently use this word here for convenience) is virtually nil considering their population size (12% of the total population) and relative backwardness of the group (in social, economic and political platforms) compared to other Hindu and Tibeto-Burman groups in Nepal. Mary Cameron comes forward to fill in this ethnographic lacuna and deserves special merit here because: (i) Ethnographic research on the Dalit communities as a whole has been neglected to date both by the native and foreign scholars; (ii) Research on gender and caste is the burgeoning issue in the over all development problems in Nepal; (iii) The Far- western Region of Nepal, particularly the Western hill region, has been neglected in anthropological research throughout history; (iv) To date, there has been an overemphasis on non-Hindu (or Tibeto-Burman) groups in anthropological research that contributed to a false notion to western readers that Nepal is a country composed of primarily the ethnic/tribal groups with Buddhist values; (v) More research on the Hindu caste culture and values is desirable not only considering their large population size (over 80% of the total population are Hindus) but also the changing nature of Hindu-tribal dichotomy, Dalit movements and ethnic insurgency in recent years; and (vi) The male-centred analyses of the subject cause different but parallel problems in the ethnographic sphere and theoretically, concepts of gender, hierarchy and dominance demand female than male-centered approach in ethnography.

July 1
Research Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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