Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Ismael Muvingi

Second Advisor

Cathryne Schmitz

Third Advisor

Robin Cooper

Abstract

This research explores the indigenous conflict resolution processes practiced by the Tharu community living in Nepal’s Bara, Dang and Bardiya districts, the role of Tharu traditions and customs, and the function of the Barghar-Mukhiya. Due to geographic and monetary challenges experienced by the Tharu accessing Nepal’s formal justice system, they continue to serve as a viable and vibrant vehicle for resolving minor and major conflicts at the community level and form the basis of researcher’s Barghar-Mukhiya model. Shaped by Tharu collectivist culture and traditions, it supports the social fabric of the community. Utilizing qualitative case study methodology, this research assesses important aspects of the Barghar-Mukhiya model, processes and impact. Primary data sources include individual and focus group interviews, and researcher observations; and, secondary sources include document collections and archival material. Research findings explore six emergent themes: Rituals/Festivals, Inclusion/Dialogue, Identity/Security, Structure/Barghar-Mukhiya, Process/Reconciliation Processes, and Participation/Acceptance. This model is assessed for strengths and challenges. Where it is practiced, it continues to help maintain community harmony and peace. The model’s core of restorative practices, forgiveness, reconciliation, consensus-based decision-making, and use of dialogue circles is instrumental in transforming conflicts. This research contributes to the field of peace and conflict studies, providing analysis of an indigenous model that strives to reach a balance between traditional beliefs and the modern judicial system.

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