Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multi-caste, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural country. Socio-cultural and biological diversity in Nepal is unique in the world. Although Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world in terms of economic development, it is immensely rich in biological diversity and socio-cultural heritage. Today there are more than one hundred different indigenous ethnic, castes and other minority groups who speak about 125 different languages.
The Planned development initiatives in Nepal began in 1950s but there have been less significant effects in people’s every day life. Various development models, theories and strategies adopted in the past failed to alleviate poverty and to raise the quality of life of the majority of the people. Socio- cultural factors have been overlooked in development processes. The failure of past periodic plans, therefore, calls for alternative development strategies.
The processes of Hinduization, Sanskritiztion, Bhunbad and Westerniztion have marginalized indigenous people’s culture and heritage. Indigenous tradition and culture are eroding. Economic hardship and social injustice have been the part of daily lives of the majority of indigenous ethnic peoples of Nepal. A balanced ethno regional development plans and strategies within the framework of national development goals have not been initiated by the government. Until we understand various dimensions of Nepalese social structure, particularly caste, ethnicity language, religion, region and culture we can neither understand Nepal’s developmental problems nor find out its solutions. In this context, the Centre for Ethnic and Alternative Development Studies (CEADS) is committed to identify development potentials, suggest alternative development programs for indigenous ethnic and minority people of Nepal.