Contributor(s)Centre d'Etudes Himalayennes (CEH)
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
Keywords[SHS.ANTHRO-SE] Humanities and Social Sciences/Social Anthropology and ethnology
[SHS.GEO] Humanities and Social Sciences/Geography
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Opening the country to the outside world in 1951 has proved a crucial step in the globalisation process in Nepal. The young generation is unaware that until relatively recently, re-admittance to one’s caste after travelling to foreign countries—and, consequently, after being polluted by accepting illegitimately cooked food or by having illicit sexual intercourse—required the performance of a special ritual called patiya. A certificate of rehabilitation was given to the person concerned by the highest judicial authorities of the former Hindu Himalayan kingdom. The procedure of re-admission to a caste is described in the old code of law, the Muluki Ain, propounded in 1854 by Jang Bahadur. The question of the intention, whether an involuntary or knowing offence, was taken into consideration, as well as the emergency of the situation. These circumstances could eventually mitigate the transgression of rules. Otherwise, the traveller lost his caste and his share in the ancestral property was confiscated. He was not even allowed to enter the sanctum of major temples.