The Culture Of Nepal And CommunicationA group feat accomplished amongstLindsey, Felicia, Maria, and Aristotle
Introduction• Greetings, travelers – Namaste. Welcome to the mystique land of Nepal - home to the mighty Himalayas and birth place of the rocky titan, Mount Everest.• In this presentation, our goal is to – ultimately – help you to better understand the Nepali. These unique peoples are members of an ancient, mystifying culture in which they express messages far differently from the ways in which we do so ourselves.• Thus it is vital that one makes an effort to immerse themselves in their culture – to better communicate with them.• Now without further ado . .• LET’S BEGIN!
Clothes with Meaning• Although clothing functions “primarily to keep us warm and within society’s bounds of decency,” it also conveys a strong sense of culture amongst the Nepali (95).• The unique attire worn by these peoples are a brilliant blend of various religions and ethnic groups – crafted under the influence of neighboring countries such as India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.• Many other factors have contributed to Nepali attire – such as geography and history.• Let’s take a look.
Geography• Nepal – a predominantly rural society – includes a low-land in the south, near the Ganges River with a warm and humid climate.• The climate, however, is more temperate in regions surrounding Kathmandu (the large, metropolitan capital), while a cold alpine climate packed with short summers and long, harsh winters prevails at higher elevations.• This amazingly diverse climate has functioned greatly in contributing to the variation in typical Nepalese clothing for the many ethnic groups which reside within this mountainous nation.
History• Nepals history as an independent monarchy throughout the 18th and 19th centuries allowed this land to retain much of its traditional dress and customs.• Thus, the clothing in most regions of Nepal has remained relatively unchanged for centuries.
Notable Attire• Throughout Nepal, particular clothing is nationally and historically recognized among others.• One such example is the daura suruwal.• This garment (mostly for males) consists of a long tunic or vest over pants. The vest or tunic has five pleats and eight ties, each with religious significance. The pants fit quite loosely through the hips and crotch and are then fitted from the knee to ankle. A wool hat, called the topi, completes the traditional outfit. Today, the topi may be worn with Western mens dress, particularly in the cities.• Another example is the traditional Sherpa dress. This consists of a knee-length robe woven of yak wool. Itis similar for both men and women and is worn with yak wool pants. Boots made of yak hide are stuffed with dried grass for warmth were traditional
A Land Driven by Tradition• One’s gender – “the culturally constructed and psychologically based perception of one’s self as feminine, masculine, or androgynous” – is one of the determining factors of one’s opportunities in life in Nepal (143).• Unfortunately, gender discrimination and inequality prevails throughout the country.• The lives of men and women are ultimately dictated by unfair, discriminative roles grounded deep in the roots of unalterable Nepali religious tradition.
Men• Since Nepal is a patriarchal society, the birth of a son is valued at more than that of a daughter.• Men and boys are often assigned tasks outside of the house – off ‘running errands.’• Even when work is house-related, it is most often outside.
Women• “Women in Nepal face discrimination from the womb,” states Uma Bhandari, the president of Rural Women’s Network Nepal (an organization focused on gender equality and women empowerment through education).• Religious beliefs grant exclusive ‘powers’ (such as the performing rights of shraddha, a homage to the dead) to males. For this reason, many families choose to abort pregnancies if discovered their child is to be female.• Husbands are granted various marital provisions over wives.• In fact, one in three women in Nepal fall victim to domestic violence. Mostly due to a lack of awareness in society.• Women are, for the most part, grounded to their homes – in which they perform stereotypical household tasks while girls are restricted beneath overprotective parents.
Change Through Globalization and Education• Slowly, but progressively, things are changing in Nepali society. Roles are becoming more blended through education and globalization.• Although discrimination is still prominent in many rural areas (the majority of the country), females are facing less obstacles in the line of education.• Men, as well, are beginning to change.• Fathers and sons, more often than before, are beginning to immerse themselves in previously known as “feminine tasks,” such as tending to gardens or handling dishes.• More and more women are leaving homes and capturing the opportunity of studying abroad.• Fortunately, people are becoming more open-minded.
A World of Words• Nepal has an amazing variety of languages that are currently spoken throughout the country – over 120• Though the many languages are documented, there are only seven primary ones that are nationally recognized across Nepal.• These are Nepali, Newari, Hindi, Gurung, Limbu, Gorkha, and Maithili.• It wasn’t until the launch of the national education program of Nepal did the majority (58.3%) convert to speaking Nepali, but even now it is not consistent throughout the entire country.• Reason for this?• Much of the educational programs are focused on the central and eastern portions of the country – whereas the remaining regions are still land to many, many spoken languages.
By Unspoken Means• There are various non-verbal customs both practiced and understood across the country of Nepal.• One such example is their way of nonverbally expressing approval. A citizen will shake their head from side to side, signaling yes. This is in complete contrast to what we, in America, take to be as the sign of no.• Another thing to note, would be the lack of personal space given between partners in a discussion. Nepalese tend to stand closer in a conversation than we Americans, and also have the tendency to touch one another (on the arm or shoulder) to show familiarity with one another.• Lastly to note, would be an example of nonverbal greeting: the widely understood slight bow of the head – with the hands placed together – and often followed by the remark “Namaste.”
Folk Dance• Now follow this here link to see a traditional Nepali dance being performed (by Nepali, of course). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ud3aLywJJvM&feature=email
Communication Concepts in Use• When approaching members of this culture (as well as many others) one should strive to develop intercultural communication competence – “the ability to adapt one’s behavior toward another person in ways that are appropriate to the other person’s culture” (161).• Increase your competence by minimizing your own cultural identity. Become integrated.• Become other-oriented. Communicating with members of other cultures, the Nepali in particular, is quite difficult when in a self-centered state.• Assume similarities, as well as differences.
Pheri bhetaunla!• (or, “hope we meet again!”..)
Questions• Now please take the time to answer the following questions.
Q1• Question 1:• Does preserving a traditional way of life in Nepal-extended families living in harmony with the land-bring about more happiness than "improving" Nepalis standard of living with unchecked development? Does this relate to your own family? How so?
Q2• Question 2:• Is it true that Western development workers should not blindly impose modern "improvements" on ancient cultures, but that industrialized countries have lessons to learn from people like the Nepalis about building sustainable societies? What is your reasoning for your answer? Can you relate in your own society?
Q3• Question 3:• Do you believe that community and a close relationship with the land can enrich human life beyond all comparison with material wealth or technological sophistication? If so, why do you feel that way? Can you provide an example from your personal relationships?
Q4• Question 4:• Despite the fact that a man may have a wife and five children stashed at his home in Nepal and a second wife tucked away in a house in a distant city, he squares his dalliances with his devotion to religion. A man may petition his mullah for permission to make muthaa, or temporary marriage, and the custom is still common in parts of Nepal, for married men who might face intervals without the comfort of their wives, fighting in distant wars, or traveling on an extended trip. The men find it better to sanctify the union, however short-lived, in their Gods sight, than simply to have sex. Can Nepali women whose husbands were away be granted muthaa? Of course not! Do you find this barbaric and unjust, or can you empathize with their culture and reasoning?• And that’s it!
Credits• This project is a result of the combined efforts of the members of Group 2. These people are:• Lindsey – verbal and nonverbal use of clothing• Felicia –Verbal and Nonverbal Language• Aristotle – Gender roles and creation of the PowerPoint• Maria – Verbal and Nonverbal Rituals
Works Cited• Languages Spoken in Nepal.Nepal. [Online] Available• http://internet.cybermesa.com/~rotto/lang.html ,1997.• Non-Verbal Communication.Nepal. [Online] Available• http://spinybabbler.org/programs/education_focus/articles/non-verbal_communication.php,1991.• Cultural information-Nepal.Nepal. [Online] Available• http://www.intercultures.ca/cil-cai/ci-ic-eng.asp?iso=np, 2009.• Culture and Language Learning.Nepal. [Online] Available, 2001.• http://www.volunteer-nepal.org/culture_language.html• Karan, Pradyumna P. Nepal: A Cultural and Physical Geography . Lexington, Ky.: University of Kentucky Press, 1960.• Rose, Leo E., and John T. Scholz. Nepal: Profile of a Himalayan Kingdom . Boulder, Colo.: West-view Press, 1980.• Interknowledge Corporation. Nepal. [Online] Available http://www.interknowledge.com/nepal/ , 1998.• World Travel Guide. Nepal. [Online] Available http://travelguide.attistel.co.uk/country/np/gen.html , 1998.• SAARC Tourism. Nepal, [Online] Available• http://nepal.saarctourism.org/nepal-culture.html, 2009.• Culture of Nepal. Nepal. [Online] Available• http://www.everyculture.com/Ma-Ni/Nepal.html, 2012• Powell-Smith, Michelle. What Kind of Clothes Do They Wear in Nepal?• eHow Contributor, 1999-2012
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