Ghardhandha: a neglected political discourse


  • Meena Gurung Tribhuvan University



In Nepal, women’s political representation became an immense human-rights based discourse in the aftermath of the Maoist insurgency (1996-2006). Although the importance of women’s representation in mainstream politics was better realized after the Interim Constitution of 2007 mandated a 33% gender quota law in all public spheres, a lasting change in gender equality seemed quite distant. This article focuses on the practice of Ghardhandha, which is a deep-rooted, but fundamentally complicated power structure that not only constrains women’s other progress but also impacts on intersectional gender balance in the long term. This study is based on the fieldwork of Longho Kahli village and Pokhara Lekhnath Metropolitan City during the political upheaval in the years 2013-2015. The present study questions the controversial boundaries between contemporary representative politics and the tradition of Ghardhandha, a substantive political process in which I found a socio-political reality of segregated power relations in everyday livelihoods compared to state affairs. I explore this basic asymmetry from the perspective of the interlocutors through in-depth interviews and participant observation, which are the major focus for analysis and discussion.