In terms of representation, opportunities and social and economic well-being, the Kayastha caste of the Tarai is ahead of everyone else in Nepal, an extensive study by the Central Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tribhuvan University shows.
At second and third are Hill Brahmin and Thakalis respectively. Hill castes such as Chetris, Thakuris, Sannyasis and Tarai groups like Rajput, Tarai Brahmin, and Marwadis also make the top 10. The bottom 10 consists mostly of Hill and Tarai Dalit castes.
The study considers 39 important factors, among them economic, political, social, cultural, gender, literacy etc. Based on a scale where one is the best possible score, castes are ranked (see chart) on their inclusiveness in Nepali society. This is the most detailed study done on inclusion so far and shows which castes need or can do without the state’s help.
“We have been debating inclusivity for so long in this country, but no one ever had the numbers to prove it. Now we can get a clear picture,” says Om Gurung, professor at TU, who led the study team.