We attempt to explain the present ethnic-based conflict in the Terai of Nepal by deeper social and economic structures. Based on previous research on the village economies of Terai we describe the main socio-economic structures, and discuss to what extent the Terai movement represent the socially, and economically, excluded people. We argue that the landowner class, as represented by the Yadavs, is dominating the Terai movement, and a main conclusion is that the uprising is a struggle for political positions for the Madhesi leaders, rather than social and economic change. This contrasts with the Maoist insurgency, which to a larger extent has been a socio-economic struggle.

Magnus Hatlebakk

Senior Researcher; Coordinator: Poverty Dynamics