3. Conflict

Nepal is a country of sharp social divides – divides that were even more apparent some 20 years ago than today. These fuelled the civil conflict that raged from 1996 to 2006. This chapter describes the social setting of Suri in the late 1980s, and explores, through the accounts of villagers, some of the impacts of the conflict on their lives.

Definitions of feudalism can be debated at length. Yet feudal – in terms of the relationship between a wealthy landlord and serfs – was the word that came most readily to my mind when trying to describe the social structure of Suri at the time I lived there. In the Suri of the late 1980s, land ownership was not only concentrated in the hands of the Chhetris, but in one household in particular: Yermu, in the hamlet of Nakpa…