The Hattisar: The Integral Role of The Elephant Stable in the Apparatus of Lowland Nepali Park Management
In this paper I examine the Nepali elephant stable or hattisar, tracing its history of change and continuity within the broader context of Nepali state and society. I argue that although the uses for which captive elephants are deployed has changed as Nepal has embraced modern concerns of political reform, development and biodiversity conservation, the institutional sub-culture of the government stable or sarkari hattisar remains rooted in the structures and practices that emerged in the era of regal hunting expeditions from which it emerged. With its own elaborated system of ranks and roles, I argue that the hattisar retains its own distinctive Tharu character as an enclaved and total institution. By providing an encompassing social environment in which men live and work, and are required to make intense and enduring commitments to their elephant companions, elephant handlers or hattisares represent an occupational community with their own distinct group habitus of attitudes, dispositions, competencies and forms of know-how, which is essential to the management of Nepal’s lowland national parks and conservation areas.
SubjectsField of Research::07 - Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences::0701 - Agriculture, Land and Farm Management::070199 - Agriculture, Land and Farm Management not elsewhere classified
- Arts: Working Papers