ABOUT THE BOOK:
This book is based on a report that was itself based on research undertaken during 2014 and 2015 in collaboration with the Nepal Madhesh Foundation (NEMAF) and funded by the US-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). The report combined a review of the secondary data available in published and unpublished sources with the analysis of the findings of fieldwork undertaken by a NEMAF team during May-July 2015, in Kathmandu and in the districts of Banke and Dhanusha in the terai. The book now also contains additional material collected and/or analysed during 2015-2017. Although the Muslim community as a whole constitutes one of the larger groups in Nepal (accounting for some 4-5 per cent of the total population, and ranking ninth in the order of the largest groups), there has been relatively little effort to date to assess in a comprehensive fashion the distinctive economic, social and cultural traditions, beliefs and practices of this distinctive and disadvantaged community, or to identify the aspirations, needs and capabilities of its members, male and female, young and old. Despite the contribution made by earlier research, there is still relatively little in the way of up-to- date information and analysis easily available in one place about the Muslim communities of Nepal who together constitute a significant – and distinctive – minority. It is hoped that this book will remedy this situation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Formerly Professor of Development Studies at the University of East Anglia, Dr David Seddon took early retirement to operate as an independent free-lance researcher and consultant. He has lived and worked in Nepal for more than four decades and has authored, co-authored or edited a number of books on Nepali politics, economy and society, including Nepal in Crisis, Peasants and Workers in Nepal, The Struggle for Basic Needs in Nepal, Nepal – A State of Poverty, the People's War in Nepal: left perspectives, and In Hope and in Fear: living through the People's War in Nepal. He has also written widely on a variety of issues in the Nepali press as well as in professional and academic journals.
In recent years, he has become interested in the significance of the decision to identify Nepal as a 'secular' state and in the various responses to this decision by different religious and political groups in Nepal. He has written a pamphlet for the Nepal Humanists' Association (SOCH) on 'Maintaining Secularism - an uphill struggle in Nepal' and is currently writing a book with three Nepali colleagues on 'The Challenge of Conversion'. The same issue is addressed in this book on 'the Muslim Communities of Nepal', which also attempts to provide a comprehensive historical and contemporary overview of the Muslim minority as a whole.