The Caste Hierarchy And The State in Nepal (A Study of the Muluki Ain of 1854)

  • The Caste Hierarchy And The State in Nepal Front
  • The Caste Hierarchy And The State in Nepal Back

The Caste Hierarchy And The State in Nepal (A Study of the Muluki Ain of 1854)

By Andras Hofer

Book details

  • ISBN: 9789993343585
  • Publisher: Himal Kitab/Books
  • First Publish Year: 2012
  • Edition: Reprint
  • Cover: Paper Back
  • Category: Political | Law
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 238
  • Weight(gms): 450
USD 10.38


The Muluki Ain of 1854, the subject of András Höfer’s study, is a document of great historical, legal and cultural interest for scholars on Nepal. For nearly a hundred years since it was first promulgated in the mid-19th century, it remained in force as the prime law of the land.It was the epitome of orthodox Hindu values, and given to protecting the pre-1951 political order of Nepal as well as the social and religious values it stood for. 

Barring a couple of articles in the 1960s and the 70s, which amounted to no more than scratching its surface, no scholar before Höfer had turned his attention to tap the wealth of social and cultural material contained in the Muluki Ain in an exhaustive manner. Höfer’s book is the first-ever attempt by anyone to study the ‘anthropology of caste’ in Nepal, basing on a written legal document and digressing from the usual field-derived ‘village study’ method of an ethnographer. In fact, the prospect of cracking a jumble of a document running to over 700 printed pages, using an old form of Nepali language and unfamiliar administrative and legal terms of a bygone century, was a daunting task to undertake. It is obvious that no one else has studied the Muluki Ain either before or since Höfer at such length and in such depth. This alone is enough to make the present book a landmark research with whose help alone we are able to know the structure of the macro-Nepali society of 19th century vintage, its legacy running down to our own times still very strongly in many respects. 


Andras Hofer