FOREWORD

 

In the spring 1979 Mary Douglas visited the department and held some inspiring lectures on her research on food and culture. Shortly thereafter, I wrote a seminar paper on the ritual expression of social boundaries among the Hindus of Nepal. In 1980 the Swedish Council for Planning and Coordination of Research decided to give priority to research concerning the cultural aspects of food, and in the autumn 1980 Professor Anita Jacobson-Widding asked me if I wanted to join a project designed to compare the relationship between food and culture in three different cultures. My part would be to explore the complexities of Hindu food culture and its relation to social organization. This resulted in a request for grants for field work from the the Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, and in a series of seminars with representatives from the Department of Nutrition and the Department of Economic History, who were also designing similar projects. I am grateful to the Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences for the generous grants for field work, and to Professor Anita Jacobson-Widding for her inspiring guidance as project leader.

 

I would like to extend my thanks to Mrs. Sarcha Maharjhan, the members of her household, and particularly her son Durga Bahadur Maharjan who was a faithful friend and an invaluable assistant during the field work. I would also like to thank Prem Bahadur Kangsakar for his hospitality and all he taught me about Newari culture. I am also grateful to Siddharta Man Tuladhar and his wife Sunom Tuladhar who helped me translate some Newari works into English, and for their interest and constructive criticism of my work.

 

I am deeply grateful to His Majesty's Government of Nepal for granting me a research visa. I also wish to extend my thanks to Director Shanta Bahadur Gurung at the Tribhuvan University's Research Division, and to Krishna Man Pradhan, for their assistance, both when I first arrived in Nepal and throughout the field work. I would also like to thank Dr.Pandey for granting me affiliation to the Center of Nepalese and Asian Studies. I am also indebted to Nirmal Man Thuladar, at CNAS, for many interesting conversations on Newari culture.

 

In Sweden, Dr.Claes Corlin has provided invaluable support, and given generously of his time in discussing and offering comments and critisms of my manuscript throughout the entire process of writing. Dr.Kaj rhem has offered ecouragement and constructive and intellectually stimulating criticism. I also like to thank, Dr.Hugh Beach, Jan Ovesen, Professor Peter Schalk, Dr.Sven Cederroth, Erik af Edholm, Leif Asplund, and Juan Carlos Gumucio, who have read earlier drafts and offered valuable comments, though, of course, I alone am responsible for any faults that may mar the discourse. I am also indebted to Marie Clark Nelson who has corrected the English. At last I like to thank my wife Elisabeth for her support and interest in my work, and for her devotion to Nepal which has become as a second home for both of us.

 

Uppsala April 1986

 

Foreword to the Second Edition

 

Ten years have passed since I defended this dissertation and received my doctoral degree. Then, Harald Tambs-Lyche was the discussant appointed by the Faculty of Humanities. I am indebted to him and to Gabriella Eichinger Ferro-Luzzo for constructive criticism. I am also indebted to Mahdab Lal Maharjan who has consistently encouraged me to make a second edition.

 

Since then I have spent my time doing research on Swedish economic policy and politicians muddling through repeated economic crises, a subject no less exotic than the symbolic significance of food in Newar society. Nevertheless, we have not completely lost contact with Nepal. We have frequently visited old friends, to find that babies have turned into adolescents, youngsters into adult householders, while some of the people I respected and admired most have expired. I mourn Mrs. Sarcha Maharjan and Prem Bahadur Kangsakar deeply.

 

In the wake of the dismantling of the Pancayat-system the pace of social change in Nepal has been stepped up rapidly. When we visited Sunakothi in 1993 we found the village deeply divided into politically labelled factions. There was noticeable disappointment with the new times. The Nepalese have had to learn the lesson that democracy is not enough to bring development.

 

Uppsala, July1996

 

Foreword to the Web-edition

 

Originally, Food Ritual and Society, was my doctoral dissertation, att the Department of Culture Anthropology, University of Uppsala. In Sweden one defends ones dissertation printed as a book. It was reprinted by Mandala Book Point in 1998. The electronic revolution, has rapidly changed the possibilities to disseminate scientific results. This electronic edition is virtually unchanged from the previous two editions, except for that photographs from the fieldwork have been added.

 

In retrospect it seems that the main value of my work may be as a contribution to Newar memory and history.

 

Uppsala, July 2002