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History of Sociology and Anthropology in Nepal


Sociology and Anthropology don’t have a long history in Nepal. Since, 1981 the study of sociology and anthropology was introduced in master degree on the central campus, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur. Before this, some research works on the ethnic group of Nepal, social structure of Nepalese society and cultural studies were made by foreign scholars. During the British colonization in India, some British scholars entered Nepal and describe the vast and diverse Nepali culture and society. Daniel Wright, Col. Kirk Patrick, Brian Hodgson, F.B. Hamilton, Oldfield, and others are the noteworthy scholars who wrote about diversified Nepali culture and society for the first time and introduced Nepal in Europe in early 19th century.

During the Rana period, Nepal was known as the dark country. None of the foreign visitors and scholars was to allow visiting and writing about Nepal. Before it, during the British colonization in India, some British scholars and historians entered Nepal and studied the diversified Nepali society and culture. While talking about the sociology and anthropology in Nepal, this period is known as the age of British historians and missionaries. They were charmed by the diversified Nepali society and culture and wrote their findings. They depicted some important features of Nepalese society and culture such as:

  • Observed Anglo-Nepal war
  • Watched Shah Dynasty capturing the Kathmandu valley
  • Excavated the mosaic of Nepali people, culture and society which is diversified racially, religiously, culturally, ethnically, etc.
  • Felt jealous of Nepali culture and wrote in an insulting manner but have become useful written documents to study Nepali society and culture.

The formal development of the sociology and anthropology began in Nepal after the fall of Rana regime. It was the fertile time for the development of sociological and anthropological studies and researches.

Institutional Development of Sociology and Anthropology

The institutional development of sociology and anthropology began after 1950 A.D. on the process of development of sociology and anthropology. Village development training center was established in 1953. Along with the significant political change in the 1950s, many people were provided with training and mobilized in the rural development program forwarded by the government. In such training sociological and anthropological knowledge was provided to the people. During this phase various institutions were established so has to develop sociology and anthropology in Nepal. Some of them were:

  • Institute of Nepal and Asian studies was established under T.U.
  • Department of sociology and anthropology was established under T.U.
  • Panchayat training center was founded by the government of Nepal later changed into Village development training center.
  • Center for economic development and administration was established in T.U.
  • Sociology and anthropology Association in Nepal was founded under T.U.

Academic Development of Sociology and Anthropology

T.U in Nepal was established in 1960 but it took 20 years for the foundation of the department of sociology and anthropology under TU. The academic development for the formal teaching to MA level student was carried out. Therefore:

  • In 1979, some of the Nepali scholars were sent to India for the training for curriculum development in MA level.
  • In 1980, the department of sociology and anthropology was founded in Nepal under the chairmanship of professor Dr. Chaitanya Mishra under T.U.
  • In the same year, the curriculum of MA level sociology and anthropology was developed.
  • From 1981 in a taking of students in sociology and anthropology started for academic purpose in T.U.
  • In 1985 the BA level program was extended to other four campuses: Trichandra College in Kathmandu, Patan multiple Campus in Lalitpur, Prithivi Narayan Campus inPokhara and Mahendra Morang Campus in Biratnagar.
  • In these given colleges, the MA level program commented by 1990 onwards.
  • Teaching sociology and anthropology was extended in 12/PCL level from 1996/97 onwards.
  • The subject is too taught at the school level as social studies as a compulsory subject.

However, there is no remarkable progress on study and investigation through coordination with an international university. For this, the central department itself should take some initiations. Investigation and coordination with the international university contribute towards the exchange of knowledge and experience at the same time strengthening the ties between two countries.

Sociological and Anthropological Research and Studies

Although sociological and anthropological researchers has flourished in Nepal after falling of Rana regime. It was existing during the period of European Missionaries and British scholars. This scholar paid attention to study diverse Nepali culture, society, and ethnicity. These studies are of prime importances as these have enriched the ethnography and other sociology and anthropological materials about Nepal and have helped us to learn about our own people and analyze their facts.

Scopes of studying sociology and anthropology

  • To study the diversified society and culture in Nepal.
  • To conduct the ethnographic study and research of various ethnic groups residing in Nepal.
  • To recognize Nepali religion and cultural diversity.
  • To involve in the formulation of plan and policies on development sectors.
  • To study and analyze the social, political and economic issues.
  • To play the role of helping hand for boosting activities of different CBOs, GOs, NGOs, INGOs etc
  • To study the impact of globalizations, modernizations as well as liberalization in Nepal in the field of socio-cultural structure, change, and development.
  • To understand the theoretical and practical differences between Ancient Society, Feudalism, Capitalism, and Socialism.
  • To develop the concept of social inclusion and harmony among peoples.
  • To understand and analyze the market situations.
  • To understand ourselves, community and nation as well as the world then and now.
  • To promote the issues of minorities, disadvantaged groups, rural women, Dalits etc.
  • To help socio-culture reconstruction.
  • To land on job market easily.
  • Social engineering, data collection, record keeping, participatory research, monitoring and evaluation of all development activities.

Role of sociologist and anthropologist

  • Planner
  • Social analyst
  • Social manager
  • Social engineer
  • Teacher
  • Gender Expert
  • Conflict manager
  • Social mobilize
  • Catalyst
  • Consultant
  • Researcher


Kharel, Durga, Elementary Sociology and Anthropology-XII

Sharma, Kamal Raj, Introduction to Sociology and anthropology in Nepal-XII, Sunrise Prakasan Pvt., Ltd., Kathmandu

Pokharel, Ishwor, Sociology-XII, Ekta Books and Distributors, Kathmandu

  1. The formal development of sociology and anthropology began in Nepal after the fall of Rana regime in 1950.
  2. TU in Nepal was established in 1960s but took 20 years for the foundation of the department of sociology and anthropology under T.U.
  3. Many people were provided  training and mobilized in the rural development program forwarded by the government.
  4. Sociology and anthropology came as the new subject in TU education and so are their scopes.
  5.  It is interesting and knowledgeable subject matter for study and research.

Very Short Questions



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