(Structural) Privilege And Khas Privilege

  • Post category:Social Justice
  • Reading time:8 min(s) read
caste-literacy-income-1996
Source: Trident and Thunderbolt: Cultural Dynamics in Nepalese Politics, by Dr. Harka Bahadur Gurung.

 

A little over a month ago, following a lengthy exchange on Twitter about structural privilege, I posted a series of tweets (totalling 24) explaining structural privilege/Khas privilege in Nepal. Reproduced below are those very tweets with some explanation where necessary.

(In the above tweet, “being” should have been “begin.”)

I started with a true proposition because, firstly, many of those I have had exchanges with on Twitter have displayed limited understanding of propositions and their role in inductive and deductive reasoning and in making logical arguments.

Secondly, there was confusion between true propositions starting with the word ALL and gross/hasty generalisations. The above statement is a true proposition and NOT a gross or hasty generalization. The statement below is also a true proposition. All dogs are excellent trackers, on the other hand, is a gross generalization.

Structural privilege — or simply privilege — in the USA is synonymous with White privilege. When someone is talking, generally, about privilege in the United States, they are talking about privilege(s) enjoyed by White Americans.

It is so because of the history of the country, including the history of race relations etc.

Poor White Americans still have access to opportunities and resources, and enjoy social capital etc., that non-white Americans of similar or even better economic standing do NOT enjoy. The social, cultural, religious, economic, political and other systems in the US are such that White Americans, regardless of their economic standing, have an edge over non-whites.

(W = white)

In other words, every White American enjoys White privilege. That’s what White privilege means or is!

(The hill High Caste Hindus — Chettris and Brahmins — are also referred to as Khas Arya or simply Khas.)


Because of the particular role the Khas-aryas have played in the entire modern social, cultural, religious, political and economic history of the country — basically shaping and establishing the current social, cultural, religious, political and economic structures and systems — those born a Khas-arya enjoy privileges that most others don’t.

The Khas in Nepal have created — just as the whites in the US have — structures and systems they have a monopoly over.

To give but just ONE example, a disproportionately high percentage of positions in the three biggest and most important branches of the government — the legislative, the executive and the judicial — are held by them.

In other words, structural privilege (or simply privilege), in the context of Nepal is synonymous with Khas privilege, just as structural privilege in the USA is synonymous with White privilege.

That is NOT to say NO Khas suffer in any way that others do, nor that NO Khas are disadvanged in any way in Nepal.

Correction: “maybe” should read “may be.”

BUT, poor Khas suffer from poverty not BECAUSE they are Bahun or Chhetri.

Just like poor White Americans, poor Khas still enjoy considerably more privileges than other Nepalese in general. For one…

(K = Khas.)

Non-Khas Nepalese, on the other hand, if poor, they are so partly, if not entirely, BECAUSE they are non-Khas.

Furthermore, whether rich or poor, non-Khas suffer in a number of different other ways BECAUSE of their jat (ethnicity)/caste .

Some jats/castes suffer more than others. (Dalits more than any other caste for instance.) And within a jat/caste, some families or individuals more than others, obviously. (Hill high caste Hindu families living in the hills or mountains of the Far Western Development region more than those living in Kathmandu, for instance. Female members of a family, in general, suffer considerably more than men etc.)

The suffering maybe anything from being poor or being a victim of discrimination — or being victim of prejudicial attitude — to having limited access to resources or opportunities to being victims of human rights violations etc., in some cases throughout their lives!

For example, a Bhote or a Madhesi or a Dalit suffer in many ways BECAUSE they are a Bhote or a Madhesi or a Dalit respectively! BECAUSE of their birth as one, even Bhotes, Madhesis and Dalits privileged enough to be wealthy and/or highly educated, still suffer, in ways that NO hill high caste Hindus do. The peculiar social system of classifying  people — the caste system — ensures that.

To reiterate, Khas-Aryas do NOT suffer linguistic, cultural, social, religious, economic, or political discrimination, from individuals, from institutions or systems, nor do they suffer from violations of some of their most basic human rights etc., whether poor or wealthy, BECAUSE they are Khas-Arya.

That’s a privilege ALL Khas enjoy that others don’t.

What do you think?

 

* * * * * * * *

References

White Privilege. The link is to a meme which says: “White privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard; it means that your skin color isn’t one of the things making it harder.” Similarly, we can say this about Khas privilege.

“Khas privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard; it means that your caste isn’t one of the things making it harder.”

[Added June 7, 2018.]

Research Gate (Nov. 2015). The Ain of 1854 and after: Legal pluralism, models of society and ethnicity in Nepal. [Added on Nov. 26, 2018.]

The Kathmandu Post (Feb. 5, 2019). Structural blindness. “The foundation of modern Nepal lies in the caste system of governance.” “Lower castes faced greater punishments than higher castes for the same crime. for example, in 1940, for protesting against the Ranas, Tanka Prasad Acharya, a Brahmin, was imprisoned; his four friends, charged with same crime, were hanged and shot to death.” [Added Feb. 5, 2019.]

 

 

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Ayush Jung Pandé

    So a brahmin getting privileges during the Rana rule is considered brahmin privilege today.Update urself old man.U probably live in USA with ur kins and are now trying to spread propaganda and hate towards a group who has no ill towards u because of ur soft tissue facial structure.In fact Tibetan Nepalese are the most privileged group in Nepal in present times.U consider us ur enemy,we acknowledge u as a worthless troll.

    1. Dorje

      Sorry to say but, apart from your wanting to demean and humiliate me, I have no clue what you are trying to say in your comment! If I may say so, my sense is that you don’t know anything about privilege and you didn’t understand anything in the blog.

  2. Sandesh Grg

    You are sick, you need a psychiatric help.

    1. Dorje

      Thank you so much for your free and unsolicited diagnosis of my mental state…based on a blog post about privilege! 😉 😉 😉

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