Dharmadhatu Foundation

"Transforming Self, Transforming World"
" Pioneering Culturally Appropriate Community-based development in Nepal "

Ramesh Tamang - Nepal
Oct 7 2010
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Letter from the Executive Director

The world of human society, culture or social and cultural processes are ever-changing phenomena. There are many different factors functioning and influencing these social and cultural processes, human society, and ultimately the human being. Within the flux of ever-changing processes of social and cultural events, different individuals and groups always attempt to make these processes take place in their favor any interest. In a way this competing processes bring about a conflict among and between different interest group.

This leads to a situation of social injustice and unequal distribution of resources.

Therefore every society, group, and the government has to always face the challenge of maintaining justice, and equality and bring about peace.

Today if we analyze the social and cultural situation and processes, it is overwhelmingly dominated by modern urban cultural process and globalization of all most everything in the world. The whole world has become a big but single village of a global culture led by capitalistic mode of economic system that influences both positively and negatively the culture and the society through the world.

One of the social and cultural groups badly affected by the process of globalization is the indigenous and local people and culture all over the world. Because of the impacts of the contemporary global culture based on capitalistic economic system, the traditional, conventional indigenous way of life is in the verge of collapse.

This has two great negative impacts on the living style and standard of the indigenous people in particular and ordinary population of the developing countries in general. Firstly, the culture and identity of these people have been weakened and shaken which has generated a kind of fear of the identity crisis, economic crisis, and social value crisis. Secondly, as their indigenous mode of economic production has been threatened and in some cases completely collapsed, they have become poor, homeless and displaced of deprived of resources.

When these people raise their voices against the adverse impacts of globalization and global culture and economy on their lives, it apparently sounds that they are against development, progress and modern civilization. This raises different questions. Can we completely do away with the global culture and economy? Is it necessary to completely stop the process of globalization?

Rational evaluation and analysis of global happening in area of social, cultural process and global economy and politics, it is clear that there is no way it can be completely immediately done away with.

Therefore in order to save the indigenous knowledge system, culture and their identity intact, instead of resisting the process of globalization, local culture and indigenous knowledge system have to be taken into consideration when any kind of development activities are carried out in their culture and locality. In other words native culture and indigenous knowledge should be acknowledged and accommodated within the spirit of change and development.

This will generate a harmonious situation and relationship among the development activities and modernity and native and indigenous people.

Therefore Dharmadhatu Foundation has put forth the idea of “Putting the culture first� in the process of development. One of the setbacks of development plan programs and investment for it in the developing countries like Nepal is the challenge of the sustainability.

We have figured out that these contradictory problems can only be resolved by respecting and accommodating the local and indigenous culture and knowledge and encouraging the participation of the local and indigenous people in the process of development activities. There has to be a smooth transition and finally transformation towards the peaceful course of progress, well-being and prosperity.