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Demoting Vishnu: Ritual, Politics, and the Unraveling of Nepal's Hindu Monarchy (Hardback)
  • Demoting Vishnu: Ritual, Politics, and the Unraveling of Nepal's Hindu Monarchy (Hardback)
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Demoting Vishnu: Ritual, Politics, and the Unraveling of Nepal's Hindu Monarchy (Hardback)

(author)
£79.00
Hardback 256 Pages / Published: 17/12/2015
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At the turn of the millennium, Nepal was the world's last remaining Hindu kingdom: even the most skeptical of observers could hardly imagine that the institution of the monarchy could ever be in jeopardy. In 2001, however, Nepal's popular King Birendra was killed in the royal palace. The crown passed to his brother Gyanendra, but the monarchy would never fully recover. Nepal witnessed an anti-king uprising in April 2006, and over the course of two years, an interim administration systematically took over all the king's duties and privileges. Most decisively, beginning in the summer of 2007, the government began blocking the king from participating in his many public rituals, sending the prime minister in his place instead. Demoting Vishnu argues that Nepal's dramatic political transformation from monarchy to republic was contested-and in key ways accomplished through-ritual performance. By co-opting state ritual, the king's opponents were able to attack the monarchy's social identity at its foundations, enabling the final legal dissolution of kingship in 2008 to take place without physically harming the king himself. All once-royal rituals continue to be performed, but now they are handled by the country's President-a position created in 2008 to take over state ceremonial functions. Ex-King Gyanendra Shah continues to live in Nepal, is permitted to move about the country and abroad, but is no longer king in any respect. Mocko's book theorizes the role of public ritual in producing Nepal's state ideology. It examines how royal ritual once authorized kings to serve as the privileged apex of national governance and how, in the 21st-century, those rituals stopped serving the king and began instead to authorize rule by a party-based 'head of state.' Demoting Vishnu illustrates how upheaval in ritual contexts undermined the institutional logic of the monarchy, demonstrating in very public ways that kingship was contingent, opposable, and ultimately dispensable.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780190275211
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 552 g
Dimensions: 236 x 162 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Anne T. Mocko's study describes in detail how the last king of Nepal's authority over numerous ritual roles was gradually removed by secular political actors. This is equally the story of a modern democracy's turn away from centuries of divine rule to the messiness of a participatory political future. Mocko's well-written account will interest scholars of the South Asian region in a variety of disciplines and students of modern political transformation." --Mary Cameron, anthropologist and author of On the Edge of the Auspicious: Gender and Caste in Nepal




"Anne T. Mocko's study describes in detail how the last king of Nepal's authority over numerous ritual roles was gradually removed by secular political actors. This is equally the story of a modern democracy's turn away from centuries of divine rule to the messiness of a participatory political future. Mocko's well-written account will interest scholars of the South Asian region in a variety of disciplines and students of modern political transformation." --Mary Cameron, anthropologist and author of On the Edge of the Auspicious: Gender and Caste in Nepal


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