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Federalism by Jill CottrellFederalism Issues in Designing a Federal System by Jill Cottrell in english language Download Powerpoint file Read more

संघीय प्रणाली प्रारुपका सवालहरुFederalism Issues in Designing a Federal System by Jill Cottrell in Nepali language Read more



The inhabitants of Dolpa are called Dolpos (though they do not call themselves as such). Dolpa is located at the head of the Bheri River to the north of the Dhaulagiri Range and to the south of the Tibetan Plateau. Dolpos live at the altitude of 13-14,000 feet, and they have 40 settlements in all. Their physical features and habits largely resemble those of the Lhopas, though the women have their own unique dress styles. They are farmers, but their chief occupation is also animal husbandry. They practice both Bon-po and Buddhism. They practice sky barial. Their dead are cut into pieces, which are fed to the vultures. Dolpos practice polyandry, and their language and dress choices are similar to the Lhopas and Tibetans. Their population has not been reported in 2001 Census publications.

ImageThe inhabitants of the plateau in the northern part of Dolpa district are called Dolpo. This tribe lives in areas as high as 12,000 to 14,000 ft above sea level. It is also called Dolpowa (Ukyab and Adhikari, BS2057:21). Though all Dolpos speak Tibetan language, they are the first settlers of Dolpa (Lamas, BS2052). Physically Dolpos look like Lhopas of Mustang (Bista, 1996). Their language, costumes and culture are similar to those of Tibetans. They follow both Buddhist and Bon religions. They say that Padmasambhava had brought them to Dolpa (Gautam and Thapa Magar, 1994:178). Dolpos are scattered in the whole of northern part of Dolpa and also in the south. According to the French anthropologist, Ferne A Jest, they must have come from western Tibet. Dolpos have been mentioned in the archives of Jumla from the eleventh century (Sharma, BS2052). Dolpos are settled in the valley area, which is spread around the head of upper Kaligandaki beyond Himalayas where there are pastures without vegetation.

They live in two dozen villages with no contact with each other. The area where these districts are located is spread over an area of 500 square miles and contain subdistricts called Namjang, Panjang, Tar and Chhabung (Bista, 1996). There is no specific data avilable on the population of Dolpos. A substantial number of the 22 thousand people of Dolpa recorded in the census of 2001 are Dolpos. The language of Dolpos is not different from the language of western Tibetans (Gautam and Thapa Magar, 1994:178).

Christening of the newborn is done by a lama on the fourth day of its birth. Both love and arranged marriages are prevalent. There is a practice of polyandry among Dolpos. Not only brothers but even two friends may share wives (Bista, 1996). The women have the right to achieve divorce with simple process (Sharma, BS2052). The body of dead person is cremated or buried or even cut into small pieces to feed to vultures. The decision about what mode to take (out of the three options mentioned above) is determined by a lama and while lowering the corpse into the tomb the Lama decides whether it should be placed flat on the back or on the abdomen. Lamas are made to recite or read aloud religious texts from three to 47 days. If an unmarried girl becomes pregnant the boy may pay some fine and set himself free. Their houses are made of stones with two storeys and no window. The houses look like forts from outside. Simi or local, neighbour or newcomer, Gara or one who does iron work and Bera or one whose origin is unknown are the four types of Dolpos. The latter two are looked down upon by others. They wear Bakkhu (a kind of garment made of wool). Women, if they are married, put on ornaments covering their hair. During cold season they go to lower villages. The head of the village is elected by villagers and looks after the administration of the village and settles disputes. If, for any reason, they could not do it, the Thakali (village head) comes forward and settles them (Bista, 1990).

Dolpos follow Tibetan Lamaist religion. They are followers of Shakyapa and Karyupa traditions. Some of them even follow Ningmapa tradition. They worship Padmasambhava. At Buddhist monasteries they circumambulate from the left, ring the bell turning it upside down, turn the pages of books backwards. These are the characteristics of Bon-po religion they follow (Sharma, BS2052). Agriculture, animal husbandry and trade are the occupations of the people there. Although Dolpos are generally illiterate and live in remote areas, their people are not poor. They grow potato, barley and wheat. They are facing difficulties due to prohibition imposed on pasturelands in the north (by Tibet Autonomous Region). In the southern belts business in goods is settled on barter basis. Even in Dolpa, land is bought and sold in exchange for goods.

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