THE LIMITS OF NATIONALISM: POLITICAL IDENTITY IN NEPAL AND THE BRITISH ISLES John Whelpton
This article, originally prepared as a lecture given to the Britain Nepal Academic Council on 23 March 2016. was published in the European Bulletin of Himalayan Research (nos.50-51 (2017-18), p.161-196). The illustrations included here are from the PowerPoint accompanying the lecture; with the exception of the photographs of statues of Prithvi Narayan and Alfred, all of these were included (in black-and-white ) in the EBHR article. Page numbers from the printed text have been inserted here in red.
 There are many definitions of the term ‘nation’ and it is not my intention in this paper to enumerate and discuss them. I will start, however, with one highlighted by Karl Deutsch: ‘A Nation... is a group of persons united by a common error about their ancestry and a common dislike of their neighbors’ (Deutsch 1969: 3). I am going to outline what we think we know about the origins of the inhabitants of Nepal and of the British Isles and then examine the way in which they have developed a sense of common identity, based on how they themselves see their origins and on a sense, if not of shared hatred, at least of shared difference from their neighbours. I will conclude with some reflections on how both societies could best manage the issues of identity confronting them.
Obviously this topic is a politically fraught one and it is impossible for anyone to escape totally from their own pre-existing biases. This was demonstrated anew during the semi-blockade of Nepal, and particularly the Nepal Valley, instituted by the Madhesi protestors from August 2015 to February 2016 with a disputed amount of covert assistance from the Indian government. Monitoring postings on Facebook probably ranks with conversations with taxi-drivers as a temptingly easy but not entirely reliable means of assessing opinions. However, it must mean something that the great majority of those commenting on social media during that period took the line that one would expect from their Pahadi or Madhesi surnames. Foreign observers equally have biases of their own, possibly reflecting arrangements in their home countries, but perhaps even more often resulting from identification with the people they have lived among or studied. Anthropologists who have studied a particular Janajati group are often sympathetic to that group’s claims, whilst historians who have focused on the Nepal state and the view _____  The author introduces this formula as ‘a rueful European saying’, implying that it had been in existence for some time and its original author was unknown.
 from the centre can end up championing a general Nepali identity. In my own case, allowances must therefore be made for my own British nationality and birth in England and for my Nepal connections being predominantly with members of the hill elite, though offset by a few months working in the Tarai many years ago. An additional factor is probably my seeing the Indian Union as a successor state to the British Empire and thus something to which as a Briton, I have a special connection.
Origins: Nepal It is generally accepted that anatomically modern human beings emerged from Africa about 100,000 years ago and subsequently spread gradually through Eurasia and then to the Americas and Oceania so, strictly speaking, all ethnic groups inhabiting what is now Nepal are descended from immigrants. However, the widely prevalent discourse of indigeneity seeks to distinguish those who first arrived in a particular territory with later incomers who often managed to gain political supremacy over them. In some cases this produces a fairly clear, binary division: for example the First Nations of the Americas crossed a land bridge over the Bering Straits some between 11,000 and 30,000 years ago, whilst the history of European settlement goes back only five hundred years. Nepal is a more complex case, with successive influxes over several thousand years, and modern historians skeptical of many of the claims to recent arrival by high-caste groups, claims which were once seen as legitimizing a claim to higher status but, ironically, now often argued to imply the reverse.
With the exception of small groups like the Kusunda and the Raute and also of the much more numerous Tharus, the bulk of Nepal’s present population can be divided into three broad categories: the original speakers of the Parbatiya or Nepali language, those who traditionally spoke Tibeto-Burman languages and the Madhesi of the Tarai whose languages are identical with those spoken across the border
 Much of the material in this section has been adapted from chapter 1 of Whelpton 2005.  There is some evidence for a dispersal out of Africa as recently as 60,000 years ago but recent investigations suggest a date between 80,000 and 125,000 years ago. See ‘Fossil teeth place humans in Asia “20,000 years early”’, http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34531861, accessed 27/2/2016.
 in India. In most cases, we have no hard evidence of when they arrived in what is now Nepal but possible migration trajectories are shown in the map below: Map 1: Probable migration routes (based on linguistic data; boundaries and waterways after van Driem (2001))
Though the Sherpas arrived from Tibet less than five centuries ago (Oppitz 1974), it is generally accepted that most of the Tibeto-Burman speaking peoples arrived in what is now Nepal before the Parbatiyas. If the Kiranti of eastern Nepal (Rai, Limbu, Sunuwar, Chepangs), whose myths show acknowledgement of a common origin, can be equated with the Kirata of the vamsavalis, Tibeto-Burmans were established in the Kathmandu Valley before the rise of the Indianised Licchavis early in the first millennium ad, whilst the common ancestors of the Gurungs, Tamangs and Thakalis perhaps arrived a little later. We are probably on
 The split between these three groups has been dated on rather speculative linguistic grounds to the 4th century ad (Kansakar 1981: 11) and the Gurungs may have moved south through the Himalayas around 500 ad (Tamu & Tamu 1993). See van Driem (2001: 423-5) for further speculation about the earlier history of the common ancestors of these Nepali groups and the Tibetans and Whelpton (2004) for a summary of van Driem’s views in 2001on language and prehistory in the Himalaya generally. See van Driem (2016) for his latest thinking on this topic.
 surer ground with the evidence of river names suggesting that both Rai and Magar dialects were once spoken in areas of western Nepal that are now exclusively Nepali-speaking (Witzel 1993) and there are also oral traditions among some Rai groups of migration from the Karnali basin.
Although the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley speak a Tibeto-Burman language they are usually treated separately from the various hill groups because of their long tradition of urbanisation and because, like the Parbatiyas, they have a caste system. Linguists argue whether their language is more closely related to Kiranti or to Gurung-Tamang-Thakali and while most scholars see Newar society as a continuation of that of the Kiratas who once dominated the Valley, the Newars, like many other groups, are an amalgamation of different peoples. The largest Newar caste, the Maharjan agricuturalists, nowadays regard themselves as indigenous but many other castes have traditions of migration, some of which will be genuine. The word Newar itself is related to the Newari Nepa and the Sanskrit Nepala, which originally designated just the Kathmandu Valley. (Malla 1981) The Newars were thus simply the ‘people of the valley’, wherever they originally come from.
The Khasa, who are the principal ancestors of those castes now speaking Nepali (originally Khasa Kura) as their native language, were part of the Indo-European influx into the sub-continent and entered what is now Nepal by moving eastwards through the foothills (see Map 2). They probably first penetrated the Himalayas west of Nepal around 1000 bc and moved through the hills to reach the Karnali basin early in the first millennium ad, displacing or assimilating the existing population. In the centuries after 1000 ad, they were joined by a small number of Rajputs, ruling clans from Rajasthan in western India, who fled into the hills to escape the Muslim invaders. It is uncertain what percentage of the Thakuri caste who claim descent from these
_________  For the establishment of the Khasa in Kumaon and Gadhwal (Uttarakhand), see Shrivastava (1966: 188).  Some Indian scholars have argued that the Indo-European language family developed in India itself before expanding into western Asia and Europe rather than vice-versa. However, most linguists accept an origin for Indo-European in the Caspian-Pontic region and there is genetic evidence for migration from there into India, though earlier inhabitants of the sub-continent made a greater genetic contribution to its present-day population. See Chandrasekar and Rao (2010: 15-25).
 refugees do really have such an origin and how many are descended from local Khas or Tibeto-Burman rulers dominant in a particular area who had simply provided themselves with a suitably prestigious genealogy. Similar uncertainty surrounds Brahman claims to plains ancestry and also the Dalits or Doms as they are known in western Nepal and in the Indian Himalayas across the border. In both cases an answer may eventually be found through genetic studies but in the meantime it is safe to assume that, taking the Parbatiyas as a whole, the older stratum is the more important one. Those Khas who did not reinvent themselves as Thakuris or Brahmans evolved into the present-day Chhetri caste or, in the far west, remain closer to their roots as matwali (alcohol-drinking) Khas.
The boundary between the Parbatiyas and particularly the Magars continued to be a fluid one until at least the 18th century, not only because the offspring of high-caste Parbatiya males and Tibeto-Burman were accepted as members of the Chhetri caste but also because of the promotion to this status both of Khas and of Magars. This situation led Kirkpatrick, writing after his 1793 visit to Kathmandu, to refer to ‘Khus and Mungur tribes of the Chetree class’ (Kirkpatrick 1811: 123) and Hamilton a few years later to endorse the forecast that the Magars would eventually become just another Parbatiya caste (Hamilton 1986 : 26).
The third major population category is the Madhesis, whose relationship with a still Pahadi-dominated state is now Nepal’s principal political fault line. The term is reserved for those whose ancestors have long lived in the Tarai and who share language and culture with those living south of the Indian border, thus excluding the hill Nepalis who have settled in large numbers in the Tarai in recent decades. Although the Madheshis are often regarded by the Pahadis as a single group, the Tarai has traditionally been home to caste Hindus, to a substantial Muslim minority (especially in the western districts) and to various ethnic groups (tribes). The largest of the latter, the Tharus, are of particularly diverse origin and probably had no sense of collective identity till very recently. They were regarded as a single group by __________  See Dollfus et al. (2001) for the argument that regional variation in plough design is evidence for south-north migration of Doms in association with Rajputs.
 outsiders because of their association with the Tarai jungles and particularly because of their immunity to the awl, a virulent form of malaria prevalent there until the 1950s and often preventing year-round settlement by other groups.
Map 2: Dispersal of Indo-European languages c. 4000 to 1000 bc according to the Kurgan hypothesis, which places the original homeland in the Eastern European steppe-land. (Source: Dbachmann, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurgan_hypothesis, accessed 27/9/17)
The Indo-Aryan dialects spoken by the Madhesis were brought into north India from the north-west. The main wave of migration down the Ganges Valley commenced probably towards the end of the 2nd millennium bc and one of the principal routes lay along the base of the hills on the northern edge of the Tarai, probably because it was easier to clear forest for agriculture there than nearer the Ganges itself. The Tarai became less important later on as the focus moved nearer to the Ganges itself but an increase in population seems to have begun in the 18th century. There is a widespread oral tradition amongst both Hindus and Muslims living there today that their ancestors began moving into the area about 200 years ago, which was around the time of the Gorkha  conquest of the Kathmandu Valley (Gaborieau 1977: 25, Gaige 2009: 61). The population was, of course, boosted by the deliberate policy of the Rana regime to bring in cultivators from the south to clear some of the forest and boost revenue and there has been a continuing flow across the border since the 1950s. The extent of this, and of the number of those without citizenship certificates who are recent arrivals, is a hotly disputed issue.
Although many in Nepal still like to claim that the Licchavi rulers of the Kathmandu valley ruled an area as extensive as present-day Nepal, the incorporation of all these peoples into one political unit dates, of course, only from the establishment of the modern Nepalese state by Prithvi Narayan Shah and his successors in the period from 1743 to 1814. A forerunner of the Gorkha achievement had been the Sen dynasty’s establishment of a state including Palpa, Makwanpur and much of the eastern Tarai, but this soon split into separate kingdoms, and a similar state of disunion characterized the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley from 1482. However, despite the extreme fragmentation, many of these mini-states included an ethnically diverse population.
Origins: the British Isles The British Isles are divided politically into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Their population history is a little clearer than that of Nepal because we now have some genetic evidence and because we know that the earliest ancestors of the present population arrived after the end of the last Ice Age, about 14,000 years ago, probably moving northwards from what is now the Basque region of Spain whilst the islands were still joined to the continent by a land bridge (Oppenheimer 2000, Sykes 2006, Wade 2007). ___________  For a discussion of the extent of the Licchavi state, see Whelpton (2000).  This name for the islands off the coast of NW Europe remains the most commonly used, although objections to it have been made on political grounds, particularly by the Irish. As a geographical term, Brettanike/Britannia is found in Graeco-Roman times, long before the establishment of the modern British state and the geographer Ptolemy (2nd century ad) referred to Britain as megale (big) Brettania and Ireland as mikre (little) Brettania respectively as well as using the plural Brettanikai nēsoi (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britain_(place_name), accessed 28/2/16).
 There is no doubt that the Roman occupation from 43 to 410 ad and the Norman conquest of 1066 involved the superimposition of a ruling elite rather than a mass replacement of population, and that the Norse settlement of the 9th century ad, whilst making a greater contribution than those, was small in proportion to the pre-existing population. There is less certainty about the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons, whose languages, though both Indo-European, were very different. Estimates for the date of dispersal of Indo-European speaking peoples – whether from the steppes north of the Black sea or from Anatolia – range from 7000 to 4000 B.C (Renfrew 1987, Mallory 1989), well after the initial post-Ice Age settlement. As both Britain and Ireland were Celtic speaking until the Germanic invasions of the mid-1st millennium AD, the Celts had either displaced the original population or spread their own language amongst them. Similarly, the Anglo-Saxons whose language became English must have either displaced the Celtic-speaking population of England and southern Scotland or assimilated them.
The transition from Celtic to Germanic, for which some written evidence is available, has been the most intensely studied. In the 19th century it was generally assumed that the invaders had killed or driven out most of the existing population. This theory meshed with the belief that England’s success was the result of her Teutonic origins and there appeared to be some evidence for it, in particular the relatively small number of Celtic words adopted into English and the evidence for a drastic decline in population after the end of Roman rule, with the virtual abandonment of towns and the disappearance of the potter’s wheel. This view has been increasingly challenged both by conventional historical studies looking at plausible population transfer levels and also by genetic studies. The results of the latter have not been uniform but they seem to indicate replacement rates well under 50%. Two of the best-known studies, Oppenheimer (2006) and Sykes (2006) have argued that the present population is predominantly descended from the post-Ice Age settlers, which implies large-scale switching to English by the Celts in the Dark Ages and, much earlier, to Celtic itself from a language or languages unknown. If, as seems likely, the revisionist case is
________  A recent genetic survey (Schiffels et al. 2016) has suggested that just under 40% of the ancestry of the population of eastern England is of Anglo-Saxon ancestry with a lesser proportion elsewhere, whilst Mariano et al. (2016) put the Anglo-Saxon component in the ancestry of white British at 30%. Nora Chadwick (1963) and Bryan Ward-Perkins (2000) argue on general historical grounds for language-switching rather than population replacement but such ideas appear to have been gaining ground even before the end of the 19th century (for example, Beddoe 1885). Peter Forster’s theory, accepted by Oppenheimer, that Germanic was already spoken widely in Britain in pre-Roman times so that neither population nor language replacement would be involved, has not been generally accepted (see the critique in Sampson 2016).
 correct, then probably it was the British Celtic elite (whose sentiments are, of course, reflected in the literary sources) that fled to the west whilst a substantial proportion – perhaps the majority – of their humbler fellow-Celts remained behind and slowly became English.
Although individuals of Germanic origin had certainly served in the Roman army in Britain, the traditional account places the beginning of the main influx in the mid-5th century ad. After the Roman withdrawal,  Germanic mercenaries were supposedly called in by a Celtic chieftain to assist in defence against the Picts of northern Britain who had been raiding into what is now England. According to the traditional account, the Saxons soon turned against their employers, settling initially in the eastern part of England but pushing steadily westwards. Their advance was checked for a generation after a native victory at Mount Badon (c. 500 ad), where the British forces were possibly led by a chieftain subsequently transformed into the King Arthur of later Celtic and then general European myth. By the end of the 6th century the newcomers had regained the upper hand and taken control of most of modern England, excepting Cornwall. The invaders were divided into several competing kingdoms, one of which, Wessex, with its capital at Winchester, was to play an analagous role to that of Gorkha in Nepal. It was the only kingdom to avoid conquest by the Danes or Vikings, Scandinavians who had commenced raiding in the 8th century and afterwards came to settle. The unification of England took place in the 10th century when the West Saxons conquered the northern region from the Danes. The Danish language, which was itself Germanic, contributed important elements to the evolving English language and a Scandinavian dynasty – including the Canute who failed to command the waves – briefly controlled the newly united realm, but the country remained predominantly Anglo-Saxon in culture. In 1066, the one date which virtually everyone brought up in Britain remembers from their school history lessons, the Normans, Scandinavians who had settled in north-western France and switched to speaking French, took control of England. There followed a period of elite bilingualism, with the ruling class retaining the use of French but also acquiring English, whilst, as before the conquest, Latin, the link language for Western Europe as a whole, was important in the church and for international relations. Inter-marriage between Normans and Saxons was common and the English language, though virtually ceasing for some time to be a vehicle for literature, re-asserted itself: the historian Ordericus Vitalis, born less than 10 years after the conquest to a Norman father and English mother, found himself unable to understand the language when he went to France to study at the age of ten (McCrum et al. 1986: 76). By the 14th  century, French had ceased to be a naturally acquired language in England.
During the consolidation of England as a united kingdom, Wales remained a patchwork of Celtic statelets whilst Celtic also long survived in Cornwall. In addition, though what is now south-east Scotland was part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, Celtic maintained its position for some time to the west in Strathclyde, where the earliest surviving Welsh poetry appears to have been written. The ethnic mix in Scotland was further complicated by the arrival from Ireland in the second half of the first millennium ad of the eponymous Scotti, who spoke a variety of Celtic, not mutually comprehensible with British/Welsh. To the north there were also the Picts, whose language was probably closely related to that of the more southerly Britons. The first ruler of a united Scotland, Kenneth Macalpine, was a Scot who had gained control over Pictish territory. The English monarchy brought Wales under its control in 1282 but attempts to annex Scotland failed decisively at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Nevertheless, because the southern lowlands, and particularly Edinburgh, emerged as politically and culturally dominant, it was not any variety of Celtic but the Germanic dialect now known as Scots or Lowlans, bearing a similar relationship to what is now standard English as Norwegian does to Swedish, that became Scotland’s most important language. Pictish and Strathclyde Welsh went extinct and the Highlands and Western Isles now spoke Gaelic, the Irish dialect which the Scotti had brought with them.
As happened on a smaller scale with the Newar kingdoms of the Kathmandu valley, Scotland and England were both bitter rivals and intimately connected. James IV of Scotland, whose invasion of England in 1513 in support of his French allies led to a disastrous defeat at Flodden, was the brother-in-law of his English adversary, Henry VIII. When Queen Elizabeth I of England died childless in 1603, the throne
___  The replacement of French by English as a medium of instruction was hastened by the effects of the Black Death which reduced the population drastically in the 14th century.  Welsh remained the predominant language of Welsh people till the 19th century and is still spoken natively by around half a million out of a total population of 2.5 million. The language is now a compulsory subject of study in all Welsh schools. Cornish had virtually died out by the end of the 18th century but a revivalist movement starting at the beginning of the 20th century has had some limited success (Ellis 1974).
 was offered to James IV’s grandson, James VI of Scotland, who thus became also James I of England. James himself used the name Great Britain for his combined kingdoms but this had no official validity and England (in which Wales was legally included) and Scotland remained separate countries with separate parliaments. His powers in each country were roughly equivalent to those of the US president vis-à-vis Congress today so the monarchy, though subject to some legal restraints, was not the ceremonial institution it has now become.
The formal merger of England and Scotland came only in 1707. This was achieved by vote of the Scottish parliament to dissolve itself, a decision reached under pressure as the English parliament insisted on full union as the price for access to England’s growing markets. Both parliaments were elected on a very restricted franchise and a more representative body in Scotland would very likely have rejected the merger. The Act of Union allowed Scotland to retain its own legal system which differed in important aspects from that of England in what now became officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain. A strong sense of Scottish identity remained but a powerful separatist movement, which led to the re-establishment of a Scottish parliament in 1999 and a referendum on independence in 2015, did not develop until the last third of the 20th century: the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, though using a Scottish base and Scottish manpower, aimed at restoring the Stuart dynasty to the British throne rather than undoing the union.
Religion had early on become a component of political identity in Britain when Wessex used the shared bond of Christianity to rally the English and even some of the Celts, against the pagan Danes. It became a crucial factor again with the Reformation, when England became overwhelmingly Protestant, and Scotland mostly so and the perception of Catholicism as a common threat made the union of the English and Scottish thrones more acceptable in both countries.
The situation was very different in Ireland, which had been brought under English control in the 12th century though the English monarch only officially took the title King of Ireland in 1534. The Irish people _______  The term Great Britain had been used over a century earlier in negotiation between Scotland and England and was coined to contrast with lesser Britain, the Brittany peninsula in north-west France which had been settled during the Dark Ages by British Celts fleeing the Saxon advance.
 remained Catholic and the religious difference was a major factor in conflicts in the 17th century. These triggered a deliberate policy of planting north-east Ireland with Protestant Scottish colonists, who took over land confiscated from the original inhabitants. A rebellion in 1793, inspired by the French Revolution and with some support from radicals among the Ulster Protestant population, led the government in London to decide on the abolition of Ireland’s status as a separate kingdom. The Act of Union of 1801, establishing the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, was formally approved by the exclusively Protestant Irish parliament but, in contrast to the Scottish case, it faced strong opposition from the start and the Irish Question, as it was known, became the most dangerously divisive issue in British politics. In 1914, the final passage of a Home Rule bill by a British government dependent on Irish Nationalist support was bitterly contested by the Ulster Protestants, who established an armed militia to oppose it, prompting a similar mobilisation by nationalists in the south. The eventual outcome, following the 1916 Easter Uprising in Dublin and an insurgency in the South after the First World War, was the partitioning of Ireland with the establishment in 1922 of the Irish Free State comprising most of the country. The north-east portion of the island, comprising most of the historic province of Ulster, remained part of what was now renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but with its own devolved government. Conflict between Catholics and Protestants within Northern Ireland led eventually to the establishment of the present system of power-sharing.
Parallels After that historical summary, I propose now to compare Nepalese experience to five aspects of developments in the British Isles: the replacement of Celtic by Germanic languages, the emergence of English national identity, the emergence of a similar identity in Scotland, the creation of a useful past and the current challenges which reveal the limits of nationalism referred to in the title of this paper.
I – Language-shift v. Population-shift There are some obvious similarities between the Celtic/Germanic and the Tibeto-Burman/Indo-Aryan interfaces, with speakers of the first in  each pair having been to some extent marginalized by those of the second, and the language shift and physical displacement involved in both cases. In both Nepal and Britain it was nevertheless the earlier language that provides the modern name for the countries: Britain (Welsh Prydain) probably derives from Welsh pryd (shape, form), while Nepal most plausibly can be connected with the Tibeto-Burman roots nhet (herd) and pa (man) (Oxford English Dictionary s.v., Malla 1981), though this is not uncontested.
In both cases, too, there is controversy over how far the population speaking the more recent language is a continuation of one which spoke the older. The genetic evidence referred to above indicates that the present-day English are probably descended predominantly from Celtic speakers. Detailed genetic studies on Nepal’s great variety of ethnic groups are still awaited but the element of genetic continuity is probably rather less. However, the fluidity of the boundary between Magar and Khas, also discussed above, means that many present-day Chhetris are of Magar descent. For both post-Roman Britain and pre-unification Nepal there is also some evidence of assimilation at the highest level. Two apparently Celtic names occur in the genealogy of the royal house of Wessex, whilst a recent study (Green 2012) has suggested that the Anglo-Saxon principality of Lindissi was a continuation of the Romano-British statelet of Lindes (Lincoln). There are two names in the traditional genealogy of the Shah kings of Gorkha which may possibly be Magar (Kancha and Micha) and both Prithvi Narayan Shah and Mukunda Sen of Palpa are sometimes referred to in contemporary sources as Magars. To this can be added Dor Bahadur Bista’s argument that the role of Magars as guardians of the clan deities of Thakuri rulers shows the latters’ non-Rajput origins (Bista 1991: 37-8).
It is possible, of course, to discount some of the Nepalese evidence at elite level – for example, by pointing out that Prithvi Narayan Shah’s political opponents might have denied his Rajput status simply to lower his prestige in the eyes of other caste Hindus. Nevertheless, there is clear enough evidence for the fluidity of ethnic boundaries even where those involved are committed in theory to a racist or caste ideology based on keeping people separate. This is seen particularly in the ease with which people adopt a new ethnic label if it associated them with a powerful or prestigious group or abandon an old one if it does the  reverse. In Nepal, the Danwar, considered a major group by 19th century British authors, are now vanishing whilst in the USA the German-Americans ceased to assert a special identity after their failure to keep the country neutral in World War I. The Goths, Vandals and others who invaded the Roman Empire in the 4th century ad swelled in numbers whilst successful (Smith 1986) and Nepalese in India have generally been happy to adopt the Gorkha name which originally applied to only a very small segment of people in Nepal itself.
This is not, however, to deny that inter-ethnic relations both in the Himalayas and North-West Europe frequently involved extreme hostility. The description of alleged atrocities by the Gorkhali armies against the Limbus and the apparent flight of much of Jumla’s population after the kingdom’s conquest (Whelpton 2013) are paralleled by the bitterness of many British Celts against the invaders: other European peoples noted how the former refused to socialize with Anglo-Saxons when visiting Rome, whilst a 10th century Welsh poem gleefully prophesies the slaughter in great numbers of the Germanic settlers and the flight of the remainder back to mainland Europe (Ward-Perkins 2000). It is also significant that wealha, the Old English term from which the term Welsh derives, meant slave as well as foreigner.
In both Nepal and Dark-Age Britain where assimilation took place, deliberate state action, rather than mere imitation of high-prestige neighbours, played a role. The granting of the sacred thread to those previously without it was noted above and although in Hodgson’s classic account, the Brahmans were the agents of this, it seems to have been the rulers who made the crucial decision. There is also one piece of evidence that even in the pre-modern period linguistic uniformity, the drive for which is normally thought of as a modern phenomenon, could be encouraged from above. Marie Lecomte-Tilouine reports the belief in one Magar area of their ancestors being instructed by a chaubisi ruler to switch to speaking Nepali (Lecomte-Tilouine 1993: 31-32). This will have been one of the factors promoting the language-shift observed by Hamilton, who writes of Parbatiya (Nepali) as ‘rapidly extinguishing the aboriginal dialects of the mountains’ (Hamilton 1986 : 26). In the British case, pressure to switch to English was increased by the law code of King Ine of Wessex, compiled towards the end of the 7th century, which sets out the wergild or blood money payable after the murder of  individuals of different status and puts less value on the life of a weala than that of an English-speaker (Ward-Perkins 2000).
II- Early-England and Nepal A second parallel to explore is between the unification of England in the 10th century and of Nepal in the late 18th and early 19th century. The interesting question here in each case is whether unification or conquest is the better word. How far was it simply a question of military force, how far of people with a pre-existing sense of common identity being willing to come together, and how far did the unifiers themselves manipulate common symbols that could potentially provide such an identity?
In the English case, although some Anglo-Saxon kings had made a claim to pre-eminence amongst rulers throughout Britain, no one before the 10th century had actually controlled all of present-day England. The son and grandson of King Alfred, the ruler who had halted the Danish advance, achieved this by overthrowing a Danish ruling elite which had conveniently eliminated all rival centres of English power. There was, however, already a considerable amount in common between the inhabitants of the areas conquered. First, there was a fairly close similarity between the different English dialects, particularly when contrasted with Celtic. Danish settlers were, of course, excluded from this, but their own language was also Germanic, even though of the Northern rather than the Western variety, and this facilitated later assimilation. Secondly, the West Germanic settlers, though originally divided into Angles, Saxons and Jutes, were by now all equally willing to accept either the Angle or Saxon labels. It was the term Angle which survived in England, transformed into the modern word English but the Celts preferred Saxon – Englishman is today still Saes in Welsh and Sassenach in Gaelic. Thirdly, for at least two hundred years before a single English state was created, there had existed Latin words for the English church (ecclesia anglicana) and English people (gens anglicana).
The rulers of Wessex, in particular Alfred himself, realized the propaganda value of an appeal both to linguistic identity and to religion. Alfred organized a programme of translation of religious and other works from Latin into English, perhaps actually coined the word  Angelcynn, the forerunner of Engalond as a name for the country of the English, and he projected himself as a champion of Christianity.
In Nepal, somewhat similar factors aided the work of Prithvi Narayan Shah and his successors. Along much of the Himalayas, there were a chain of closely related Parbatiya dialects and also a broadly similar brand of Hinduism, especially in the areas east of the Mahakali where the subordination of Khasa Chhetris to supposed Rajput immigrants was less stark than further west. There was also a common sense of Pahadi identity vis-à-vis the north Indian plain – brought out by the words of a fellow hill ruler to him when they met in India (Pradhan 1982: 16). In the Dibya Upadesh, Prithvi, does not exploit the linguistic factor, but he does stress strongly the themes of Hinduism and (in his warning against enriching Indian merchants) of separation from the plains.
Parallels break down, however, because people of Celtic ancestry within England had already largely been assimilated into general English society whereas in Nepal the line between Parbatiyas and the Tibeto-Burman groups remained strong, particularly in eastern Nepal. There is also another important difference. In England, the campaign of conquest was from the start presented as one of liberation from foreign domination. Although many in Nepal would argue that Prithvi Narayan’s campaigns were planned as a pre-emption of the foreign denomination threatened by the East India Company’s expansion, it is unlikely that this was part of Prithvi Narayan’s initial thinking, even if it did became a consideration for him after the 1767 Kinloch intervention on behalf of the Newar kingdoms and perhaps even as early as the Battle of Plessey (1757) which established British control over Bengal.
III - Nepal and early Scotland A third parallel is with the evolution of the kingdom of Scotland. Here there is an important internal divide between the lowlands (speaking, as _____  On the earlier term see Foot (1996). Alfred, or some of his circle, extended this claim even beyond England. The title page of the biography by his Welsh collaborator, Bishop Asser, describes him as ‘Governor of all the Christians of Britain’ as well as ‘King of the West Saxons’.  For a discussion of this issue see Stiller (1974).
 has been seen, the Scots dialect of English) and the highlands which remained largely-Gaelic speaking into the 19th century. Accordingly, the term Sassenach (i.e. Saxon), which now refers specifically to the English, originally denoted all speakers of English – the lowland Scots as much as the inhabitants of England proper. The linguistic cleavage was reinforced when much of the highlands remained Catholic whilst the lowlands switched quickly to Protestantism. There are analogies to both hills /Tarai and Tibeto-Burman/Parbatiya divides in Nepal.
The Scottish kingdom was established by Gaels but the kings soon came under heavy English cultural influence and the culture of the English-speaking lowlands became politically dominant. There was an intermittent English claim to some kind of loose hegemony over Scotland from the 10th century onwards but no real clash until Edward I’s attempt to impose full control at the end of the 13th. century. As already seen, the Scots successfully resisted this and as one blow in the propaganda battle to gain support from the Pope in Rome, Scottish leaders in 1320 issued a document known as the Declaration of Arbroath. This asserted that Scotland had always been an independent nation, praised their king for preserving that independence but also served him a warning:
...if this prince shall leave these principles and consent that we or our kingdom be subjected to the king and people of England .we will make another king who will defend our liberties. For so long as there shall but one hundred of us remain alive we will never agree to submit ourselves to the dominion of the English. For it is not glory, it is not riches, neither is it honours, but it is liberty alone that we fight and contend for, which no honest man will lose but with his life.'
Stirring language, that has echoed down the centuries. The last sentence, originally used by a Roman historian in the 1st century bc, was reportedly seen written on a wall in Hong Kong during demonstrations in support of the Beijing students’ movement in 1989. _____  Declaration of Arbroath, translation adapted from that of Donaldson (1970: 55-57).  Sallust, Catalinae Coniuratio 33.4 (Kurfess 1968).
 Scots are justifiably proud of the document but it is not quite the contemporary nationalist manifesto that it seems. The grandees involved were, like King Robert himself, mostly feudal magnates of Norman descent, members of a ruling elite that had connections on both sides of the border with England. Though they appropriated the Gaelic name Scot, the Gaels themselves would not have understood the English (and possibly French) the elite spoke amongst themselves and certainly not the Latin in which the document was written. That said, however, it is important for the assertion that the political community of Scotland – however narrowly defined – has ultimate control over the actions of its monarch. It thus both looks back to Celtic traditions of an elective monarchy and also forward to modern nationalism which extends the political community to the whole population of the national territory.
The Nepalese parallel here is with the collective role of the bharadari as it appeared to Kirkpatrick in 1793:
The leading members of this body, whether actually employed or not, appear to possess such a high authority in the state, as renders it nearly impossible for the executive government, in whatever hands that might be, to pursue any measures of an important nature, in opposition to their advice. I have even been assured that the throne of the prince himself would no longer be secure should the principal t thurghurs [an older term for the principal bharadars] concurred in thinking that his general conduct tended to endanger the sovereignty, which they [consider] themselves bound, as far as rests with them, to transmit unimpaired to the distant posterity of its founder. (p.24).
The Nepali case is not quite so far along the road to nationalism in the modern sense, since they view their ultimate responsibility to the dynasty as a whole rather than to the country itself but Nepal was arguably approaching that with the concept of dhunga, a word apparently referring to the state itself in contrast to the individual(s) controlling it (Regmi 1978).
Returning to Scottish developments, continuing confrontation with England helped strengthen a distinct sense of identity but highland-lowland tensions remained and in the 16th century the Scottish parliament passed a law for the suppression of the `Irish language,’ as Scottish Gaelic was referred to.
The eventual union with England in 1707 was very different from the cases of Ireland and Wales, which had involved outright conquest. Scotland and England merged under agreed terms, on lines which had actually been first proposed by the 16th century Scottish scholar, John Major (Prebble 1973: 152). However, the union was, as noted above, in some ways made under duress and initially very unpopular with much of the population. One agent of the government in London reported crowds on the streets of Edinburgh shouting ‘English dogs! No union!’ (Prebble 1973: 288). There were accusations of bribery and Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns, penned in protest a famous poem ending: ‘We’re bought and sold for English gold/What a parcel o’ rogues in a nation’. Nevertheless, when the grandson of the last Catholic Stuart king tried to lead a rebellion against the London government in 1745, although he was able to attract considerable support in the Highlands, the lowlands generally waited on events. After the suppression of the rebellion, there was an onslaught against the traditional Gaelic culture of the highlands including a ban on wearing the tartan kilt – with the exception of soldiers serving in British regiments raised in the highlands. The highlanders, once seen as a major threat by London and Scottish lowlander alike came gradually to be seen as a military asset and Scotland still contributes a disproportionately large number of recruits to the British army.
When the ban on the kilt was lifted, ordinary highlanders did not take it up again and the Highlands continued to suffer through the 19th century with the clearance of small farmers to allow for sheep farming. The problem of the hills was only solved by emigration on a massive scale. Paradoxically the symbol the ordinary highlander now did without became popular with many lowlanders – no longer feeling threatened by the highlanders they could come to feel a romantic attachment to their cultural icons. In some ways a more unified sense of Scottishness coexisted with increasing commitment to the Union, from which the lowlands at least drew substantial economic benefits. From the late 18th century onwards Scots also played a prominent role in the ranks of empire builders – David Ochterlony, Amar Singh Thapa’s opponent in the Anglo-Gorkha War and Archibald Campbell, Brian  Hodgson’s assistant in Kathmandu and later superintendent of Darjeeling are just two examples.
Here, of course, parallels with Nepal break down – except for the common factors of pressure on, and exodus from the hills. For an analagous trajectory you would have to envisage the centre of political power in Nepal shifting from the hills to the Tarai, the country merging into India and the Madhesis prizing the topi as a symbol of Nepal’s remaining distinctiveness within the larger political unit.
IV: Uses of the Past If we are seeking to use history to illuminate the present, it is frequently not so much the actual events of Nepalese or British history but their interpretation by later generations for their own purposes that is most important. This can be seen most clearly if we consider first the figures of Alfred and of Prithvi Narayan Shah and the way they have been pressed into the service to fulfill the political agendas of later generations.
Alfred’s reputation always remained high in England and he is the only British monarch conventionally styled ‘the Great’ (like Alexander of Macedon, or Peter of Russia). The origins of his cult can be found in the immediate post-Reformation period when Protestant England wanted to stress its continuity with the church of Anglo-Saxon times, before the Norman Conquest strengthened the link with the papacy (MacDougall 1982). However, Alfred’s prominence in the English historical imagination reached its zenith in the Victorian period and the statue shown in the illustration below was actually erected in 1901 at his old capital of Winchester in Hampshire, a project conceived as part of the commemoration of the thousandth anniversary of his death in 899. This meshed with the strong emphasis in the 19th century on the Germanic roots of English society. Relations with Germany itself, which was unified under the Prussian monarchy in 1870, though beginning to deteriorate by the end of the century, had generally been good and the ruling British dynasty (and more recently, Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert) had come from Germany. In addition, tensions over Irish nationalism and a prevailing essentialist view of the characteristics of ethnic groups led many people to celebrate the Germanic contribution and minimize the Celtic role in the development of the nation. Add to  this Alfred’s attraction as a warrior, Christian prince and pioneer of education and he became an ideal figure to be taken up in an age of empire, reform and militant Christianity.
He is rather less important in the present day, though the image remains a defining one – I remember first seeing it as an illustration in the children’s encyclopedia my parents bought for me when I was about ten, and then the overwhelming familiarity of the sight when, never previously realising where the picture came from, I turned a corner in Winchester and saw the actual statue in front of me. There has been revisionist work on Alfred’s period and it is recognized that there was a certain amount of spin both in his own writings and those of his circle – for example, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, whose production he probably himself initiated, most likely exaggerates the extent of the danger he was in before the Battle of Edington, in order to magnify the importance of his recovery and eventual victory. Similarly he overstates, in the preface to one of his translations, the decline of learning in England prior to his own programme for cultural recovery. However, I have yet to see a study which does not paint on balance a favourable portrait of Alfred – he has not yet been subject to the kind of demolition that Lytton Strachey undertook for some of his Eminent Victorians. __________  For possible exaggeration in the Chronicle, see R.H.C. Davies (1971). Smyth, who rejects much of the traditional picture of Alfred, nevertheless gives a very positive overall assessment: ‘He possesses that rare temperament which combined the reflective with the ability for organization and action … qualities of moderation which were indicative of his great humanity’ (Smyth 1995: 600). Similarly Robin Fleming, whose volume in the Penguin History of Britain deliberately downplays dynastic history to focus on the conditions of everyday life, highlights the story of Alfred and his descendants’ fight back against the Danes as one ‘every British schoolchild should know’ (Fleming 2010: 221).
King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha King Alfred of Wessex
Prithvi Narayan Shah was, at least until the end of the monarchy, considerably more of a looming presence in Nepal than Alfred is now in Britain. He has also since the rise of Janajati assertiveness been a much more controversial one. Looking back over Nepalese history, his reputation stood immensely high from his death until at least the mid-19th century. In 1847, when Jang Bahadur Rana got the bharadars to write a letter formally rejecting Rajendra’s attempt to regain the throne, their main charge against him was that his policies would have led ‘to the ruin of the kingdom of Prithvi Narayan Shah’, a sentiment which chimes  in well with the Kirkpatrick quote above on the role of the bharadari as he understood it in 1793. During the Rana regime, however, the Shah dynasty as a whole was essentially converted into a remote religious symbol and it was Jang Bahadur himself, rather than Prithvi Narayan, who became the major figure in popular memory. Prithvi’s restoration as the chief icon of Nepalese history was partly dictated by the political needs of his descendants from 1951 onwards but it may also be, as Pratyoush Onta has argued, that Surya Bikram Gyawali’s biography of Prithvi paved the way for this revival (Onta 1996). The biography itself, like much of the work of Gyawali and his Darjeeling associates, stemmed probably, as Onta has also suggested, from the felt need of ethnic Nepalese within India to raise the prestige of their own group in Indian society.
The tendency in Janajati circles to see `unification’ as simple conquest and domination, exemplified in Kumar Pradhan’s The Gorkha Conquests, and, most importantly, the end of the monarchy, have now undermined Prithvi’s status as the key icon of Nepalese nationalism and the celebration of his birthday (Prithvijayanti) was discontinued after the formal declaration of a republic in 2008. However the conventional positive interpretation of Prithvi, best represented for an international audience by Ludwig Stiller’s Rise of the House of Gorkha, remains a powerful one and even the Maoists have intermittently worshipped at his shrine, if only because of his opposition to economic or political domination from the Indian plains. There is now a campaign for the reinstatement of a holiday on 27 Paush, to be called Rastriya Ekta Diwas, with the Rastriya Prajatantra Party predictably in the vanguard but some support from other parts of the political spectrum.
Finally let us return to the issue of descent which we started with. The readiness of the English in the 19th century to see themselves as purely the continuation of Germanic settlers was not compelled by the  evidence but rested on the enthusiasm for things German which I have already referred to in the context of Alfred’s cult and which led to the blatantly racist formulations highlighted by Hugh McDougall (1982: 89-103). There has been a major reaction against this way of thinking, both because Germany was transformed into an enemy county throughout much of the last century and then because the consequences of racist ideology, in Germany and elsewhere, became so appallingly clear.
We can parallel this with the past determination of many in Nepal – and not always just at elite level – on tracing their descent to plains kshatriyas, particularly the Ranas of Mewar. There has been a major reaction against this also, sparked in large part by the Janajati movment. Stories of plains origin are denied for Tibeto-Burman groups (reasonably enough) but the claims by the Parbatiya upper castes are accepted, with a rejection of the notion that such an origin is prestigious and the implication that those castes are not true sons of the soil. Whatever political uses the various origin stories are put to, they are belied by the complexity and fluidity of ethnicity and its interaction with political processes both in the Himalayas and off the coast of north-west Europe.
V: Future challenges Different as Nepal and the United Kingdom are in their history and socio-economic structure they both face the task of having to negotiate different levels of identity. Leaving aside the special complexities of Northern Ireland, the inhabitants of the UK can be regarded at base level as English, Scottish or Welsh (regional identities within those three generally not having anything like the emotional salience of the larger unit), then they are British citizens and finally they are Europeans. For Nepal, things are rather more complex, with a caste or ethnic identity as the lowest level, then the status of Pahadi or Madhesi, next a shared Nepali citizenship and finally their identity as South Asians. Individuals in both countries differ in how important the different levels are to them and may indeed reject a particular level completely: disillusionment with SAARC and, as the Brexit vote conclusively demonstrated, with the more strongly supra-national European Union, is widespread. In addition, relationships of part to whole within the United Kingdom and Nepal are deeply contested. The Catholic ______  The legends surrounding Jang Bahadur are discussed in Whelpton 1987.  At a press conference held by the Prithvinarayan Shah Smriti Pratishthan in December 2014, speakers included historians Ramesh Dhungel and Surendra K.C., who are generally seen as sympathetic to the Nepali Congress and the UML respectively. See http://kantipur.ekantipur.com/news/2014-12-18/400521.html, accessed 6/3/16. This campaign has to be seen in association with the mobilisation of the Parbatiya upper castes analysed by Adhikari and Gellner 2016.
 community within Northern Ireland has always wanted to join the Irish Republic, whist the Scottish vote to remain within the union could easily have gone the other way and may well do so the second time round. Nepal does not at present have any strong secessionist movement but the continuing impasse over federal structure underlines the clear danger that the Madhes independence campaign headed by C.K. Raut could in future gather more support.
The Madhes issue highlights a problem for nation-states world-wide. Building a nation involves emphasizing, and to a certain extent actually constructing shared symbols and values, and these are often those associated with the core territory around which the nation was constructed. Regions outside the core which still retain a sense of identity of their own may thus see their inclusion in the larger unit as subordination. Inclusion in the old Soviet Union was experienced by many as domination by Russia and many Mongols and Tibetans feel similarly about their position vis-à-vis the Han Chinese in the People’s Republic of China. Britain is an acute example of this problem because of England being by far the largest component within the unit and London serving as capital both for England and for the UK as a whole. This has resulted in the English generally using the terms English and British interchangeably and, at least till recently, brandishing the Union Jack – the flag designed precisely to combine emblems of England, Scotland and Ireland – in support of the English team in sporting events. With the English themselves confounding what should be two separate levels of identity, foreigners cannot be blamed for doing the same; J.F. Kennedy’s analysis of Britain’s failure to respond early enough to the threat posed by Hitler’s Germany was entitled Why England Slept whilst the regular Chinese term for Britain is Ying Guo, combining the first syllable of England with the Chinese for country. The upshot of this has been that separate identities as English, Scottish and Welsh have remained the most emotionally salient and are re-asserting themselves _________  Individual Tibetans and Mongolians certainly differ in how far they accept or reject a pan-Chinese identity in addition to their ethnic one but there are reports of tension with Han Chinese in interaction and great virulence in sentiments sometimes expressed outside China. Across the border in Mongolia graffiti calling for violence against the Chinese are commonplace (Billé 2013).  For England in the narrower and more accurate sense, Chinese (at least in Hong Kong) also has the transliteration Ying-ga-lan.
 now that the bonds of Protestantism and a shared role in empire are gone (Colley 1992, N. Davies 2000).
In the Nepal case, the equivalent of England in the UK is clearly pahad, the hills, even though this is not recognized as a legally distinct unit, within the state. As explained above and discussed more fully in Whelpton (1997), a cluster of shared characteristics have produced a distinct pahadi identity, especially but not exclusively for the upper castes. C.K. Lal’s 2012 essay uses the term Nepalipan for this cultural assemblage and rightly sees the Nepali language as a major part of it, though he seems to think Nepali’s predominance stems from the choice by the British of Gurkhali rather than Hindustani as working language for the Brigade of Gurkhas. In fact the expansion of Khas Kura, as Nepali was originally known, was part of a long-time trend starting much earlier and, despite appearances to the contrary in post-1990 censuses, continuing today. Both the Nepal language and Nepalipan in general would be a reasonable basis for national identity if we were dealing with the hills alone.
This model does not, however, fit those who term themselves Madhesi, because they are not only non-Pahadi but also part of the Other against which pahadi identity is defined. Being Nepali in the traditional sense is to a large degree a matter of not being Indian, just as being (southern) Irish is not being British and being (western) Ukrainian is not being Russian. Hostility to Madhesi in general – whichever side of the border they come from – is a recurrent theme in Nepalese history, exemplified by soldiers in the 1840s using the phrase ‘vile madesiahs’ when they complained about Brian Hodgson’s protection of Indian traders, by the cries of ‘Dhotiwala murdabad’ in protests against the merger of Sikkim into India in 1974 and by the ugly scenes on the streets of Kathmandu in the December 2000 riots over Hritik Roshan’s alleged anti-Indian remarks:
‘One of the most worrisome aspects of these violent days was that some Indians, including tourists…, Nepalis, especially from the Terai, who looked like Indians, and Marwaris were beaten up and
_____  For the argument that mother-tongue data in the census frequently represents an assertion of ethnic identity rather than a description of actual language use, see Whelpton (1997).
 their property damaged…Even the vendors who push bicycles laden with baskets of fresh fruit and vegetable from door to door in residential areas, and who are believed to be Biharis, were attacked and beaten, their bicycle tyres punctured and their produce ruined’ (Hawley, 2015: II, 1115- 1116).
This episode is particularly significant because of C.K. Raut’s statement in a recent interview that this was what turned him ‘from a Nepali into a Madhesi’ (Prashant Jha 2016). And, of course, the largely Pahadi security forces were frequently accused of using racial taunts against demonstrators during the recent Madhes Andolan.
Even when outright aggression is not involved it is often difficult for Pahadis to see Madhesis as truly Nepali. The choice of a Birgunj street scene as cover illustration for my own History of Nepal was condemned by prominent Kathmandu intellectual K.P. Malla as it ‘seems to have nothing to do … with Nepal – ancient, modern or in the making’ (Malla 2006). This is in fact true on Malla’s own understanding of what being Nepali entails but a sense of shared identity that embraced all the communities within the present state of Nepal would require a new understanding, something which C.K. Lal was trying to promote with his contrast between Nepali in the old sense and a new Nepalese (Nepaliya) identity.
There are in fact two theoretical alternatives to developing a new concept of Nepaliness. One would be simply to allow the southern portion of the Tarai to secede (or more likely join India), an outcome which nobody, other than Raut and his followers, is seriously proposing at the moment. The other would be to compel the Madhesi population _______ . The problem of Madhesi Nepalis being mistaken for non-Nepalis because of their appearance is paralleled by the experience of Indians from the North-Eastern state assumed in Delhi to be Chinese or Nepali (see Wooters and Subba 2013).  The original Nepali version of Lal’s ‘think paper’, entitled Nepaliya hunalai has been published, along with reactions to it from over 40 commentators as Parajuli 2013. An English translation of the essay alone was published as Lal 2012.  At the end of the 1960s, Leo Rose (1971: 291) wrote ‘it has been suggested that Nepal’s likely future is a division of the state under which the plains area … would be absorbed by India and the hills by China’. Although Indian intelligence chief R.N. Kao supposedly toyed with the idea of absorbing the Tarai into India in response to perceived increase in Chinese influence in the region (Yadav 2014: 263), neither China nor India appears at present to have designs on Nepalese territory. They are, though, both seeking influence even if at the moment China recognises that India’s stake in Nepal is the more important one, and some analysts (e.g. Garver, Upadhyaya) doubt China will be as willing long-term to accept Indian predominance in South Asia as Leo Rose envisaged.
 to accept something like the old model but this is simply beyond the capacity of the Nepalese state.
Any new understanding would have to involve a much diluted form of nationalism compared with the classic model that King Mahendra embraced and which assumes all members of the nation share cultural characteristics and political allegiance completely distinct from that of neighbouring states.
It would mean fully accepting that Madhesi Nepalis legitimately also form part of communities which span the border. It would also require both India and Nepal to lay aside some of their current emotional baggage. On the Indian side there needs to be full acceptance of the fact that Nepal, whilst culturally and economically deeply entwined with India, is politically independent and that Nepalis in general cannot be expected to behave ‘like good, patriotic Indians’ in any confrontation with China (Rose 1971: 290). Pahadi Nepalis have to abandon the wishful thinking that India’s present predominance could somehow disappear or even that India itself is an illegitimate entity as it is the creation of British imperialism rather than internal South Asian dynamics. A recent example of this approach is Buddhinarayan Shrestha’s (2005) fantasy of negating the Sugauli treaty whose 200th anniversary we are now commemorating. Even if one accepted his arguments that the document was not properly signed on the Nepali side or that it lapsed with Indian independence (a parallel claim to that made by some Sikkimese nationalists about the gifting of Darjeeling to British India), the parallel offered with the return of Hong Kong to China ignores completely the power equation: Hong Kong was taken because the Chinese in the 19th century lacked the power to resist and it was returned in 1997 because by then the Chinese did have the power to insist, not because the British were convinced by the `unequal treaty’ argument. Can one realistically imagine a scenario where Nepal could insist that India hand over Uttarakhanda? _______  It was an argument of many of the imperialists themselves that India was only held together by the British presence. One British Indian administrator forecast in the 1930s that, should India ever become totally independent, it could fall victim to Nepali expansionism (Kennion 1932).
 Aside from the question of boundaries between one nation and another and the need for the psychological ones to remain fuzzy, what might be common symbols around which British and Nepali identities could be constructed to meet changed needs. For Britain, candidates are the simple fact of sharing an island and possessing a common language (or rather speaking a global language with distinct pronunciation), the Celtic roots of the word Britain itself and a historical understanding that emphasizes the mingling of people rather than empire-building. For Nepal, C.K. Lal suggests as well as the highly distinctive current flag, acceptance of ethnic variety, secularism and a new selection of heroes - though the latter could be a tricky exercise because the choice of some of the Maoist combatants from the `People’s War’, which Lal appears to recommend, would serve to divide rather than unite. A rather more plausible proposal would be highlighting the Maithili element in the royal culture of the Kathmandu Valley, as suggested by one of Lal’s commentators (Subedi 2013) but, at the end of the day, there is very little Madhesis have culturally in common with Pahadis that they do not also have in common with South Asia as a whole.
Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and the rising tide of atavistic nationalism in many other countries might make it seem a forlorn hope, but, long-term, might not the way forward for South Asia be to put less emphasis on national identity itself and more on membership of that wider region? The open border between Nepal and India, sometimes seen as a problem, should be seen rather as a model towards which India, Pakistan and Bangladesh should aspire. Inter-state problems would continue but they should be seen as struggles between power-centres rather than nations. Protestors opposing the government of India’s policies should, for example, be careful to denounce Delhi and specific Indian politicians rather than India, a tactic likely to maximize their support within India itself.
This paper began discussing the complexity of the term British Isles, which was in use as a geographical term long before a British state centred on London came into existence. This is even more true of India, ____  Language is a difficult criterion because the definition of what constitutes a distinct language is itself political. Cantonese and Mandarin, for example, are as distinct as Nepali and Hindi but classified as dialects because of China being a single country.
 a name which had meant the same as South Asia does today before it was adopted as the official English name of the state centred on Delhi which came into being on 1 August 1947. The empowering of the Indian state’s component units, plus the acceptance of greater cross-border ties across the region, would mean India itself becoming more like the European Union, though still with a stronger centre. This would reduce tensions within the Indian union and between India and the other South Asian states. For Nepal, emphasis on the South Asian dimension would chime with its dependence on labour migration and with the fact that China cannot, except at astronomical cost, replace India as Nepal’s main link to the outside world.
For Nepal in South Asia as for Britain in Europe less emphasis is needed on the maintenance of barriers, whether, physical or social, and more acceptance of migration flows and the consequent mingling and modification of national cultures. The politics of nationalism and ethnicity have indeed been recently moving things in the opposite direction. One thinks, for example, of the partial revival of old ethnic divisions in Darjeeling driven by competition for reserved quotas and well reflected in the statement recorded by Mark Turin and Sara Shneiderman (2006): ‘We must become more tribal.’ There is also the proliferation of separate caste or ethnic organisations amongst Nepalese who have settled in Britain, a trend paralleled in Hong Kong. In British politics, both the United Kingdom Independence Party’s successful campaign for Brexit and the rise of separatism in Scotland have shown the strength of resistance to the building of wider identities. Nonetheless, in both our regions the real need today is surely to put greater emphasis on the larger units - to be less tribal and also less national. ______  As pointed out by Kanak Dixit (2013). It is also significant that Jinnah wanted India to retain its original meaning and have Pakistan’s neighbour call itself Hindustan but although the latter term continues to be widely used its formal adoption was impossible because of its sectarian overtones.  See Pariyar (2011), who links this development to the wish to build wider networks for arranging (intra-caste) marriages.
 REFERENCES Adhikari, K.P., Gellner, D.N. 2016. ‘New identity politics and the 2012 collapse of Nepal’s constituent assembly: when the dominant becomes “other”’. Modern Asian Studies 50(6): 2009-40. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X15000438. Beddoe, J. 1885. The Races of Britain; A contribution to the anthropology of Western Europe. Bristol: Arrowsmith.https://archive.org/stream/racesofbritainco00bedd#page/268/mode/2up Billé, F. 2013. ‘On direct interpellations: hate speech and “bad subjects” in Mongolia.’ Asian Anthropology 12(1): 3-19. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1683478X.2013.773118. Bista, D.B. 1991. Fatalism and Development: Nepal’s struggle for modernization. Calcutta: Orient Longman. Chadwick, N.K. 1963. Celtic Britain. New York: Frederick A. Praeger. Chandrasekar, A., Rao, V.R. 2010. ‘Genetic fingerprinting and peopling of Indian sub-continent’. In Human Origins, Genome and People of India: Genomic, palaeontological and archaeological perspectives, edited by A.P. Sankhyan and V.R. Rao, pp. 15-27 . New Delhi: Allied Publishers. https://books.google.com.hk/books?id=hZXSCQAAQBAJ Colley, L. 1992. Britons: Forging the nation 1707-1837. New Haven: Yale University Press. Davies, N. 2000. The Isles: A history. London: Macmillan. Davies, R.H.C. 1971. ‘Alfred the Great: propaganda and truth’. History 56: 169-82. Deutsch, K.F. 1969. Nationalism and its Alternatives. New York: Random House. Dixit, K. 2013. ‘The reformatting of India’. Himal South Asian 26(1) http://himalmag.com/the-reformatting-of-india/, accessed 21/9/17. Dollfus, P., Lecomte-Tilouine, M., Aubriot, O. 2001. ‘Un araire dans la tête ... Réflexions sur la répartition géographique de l'outil en Himalaya’. Techniques & Cultures 37: 3-50. Donaldson, G., ed. 1970. Scottish Historical Documents. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press. Driem, G.L. van. 2001. Languages of the Himalayas: An ethnolinguistic handbook of the Himalayan region. Leiden: Brill. Handbook of Oriental Studies: Section 2 (India), vol.10.
 Driem, G.L. van, 2016. `The Eastern Himalayan corridor in prehistory.’ In Проблемы китайского и общего языкознания — Problems in Chinese and General Linguistics, edited by Elena Nikolaevna Kolpačkova, vol. II, pp.467-524. St. Petersburg: Izdatel’stvo Studija. http://www.isw.unibe.ch/unibe/portal/fak_historisch/dsl/isw/content/e41142/e41180/e523709/e560119/ 2016g_ger.pdf, accessed 12/10/17/ Ellis, P.B. 1974. The Cornish Language and its Literature. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Fleming, R. 2010. Britain after Rome: The fall and rise, 400-1070. London: Penguin Press. Foot, S. 1996. ‘The making of Angelcynn: English identity before the Norman conquest’. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 6: 25-49. Gaborieau, M. 1977. Minorités Musulmanes dans le Royaume Hindou du Népal. Nanterre: Laboratoire d’Ethnologie. Gaige, F.H. 2009. Regionalism and National Unity in Nepal. 2nd ed. Kathmandu: Himal Books. Garver, J.W. 2001. Protracted Contest: Sino-Indian rivalry in the twentieth century. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Green, T. 2012. Britons and Anglo-Saxons: Lincolnshire AD400-650. Lincoln: History of Lincolnshire Committee. (preview at https://books.google.co.uk/books? printsec=frontcover&id=727icUJrV80C&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false, accessed 1/3/16). Hamilton, F. Buchanan. 1986 . An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal. New Delhi: Asian Educational Service. Hawley, E. 2015. The Nepal Scene. Kathmandu: Bajra. Jha, P. 2016. ‘ “Hrithik Roshan riots” turned me from Nepali to Madhesi, says CK Raut’. Hindustan Times, Jan 26. http://www.hindustantimes.com/world/hrithik-roshan-riots-turned-me-from-nepali-to- madhesi-says-madhes-activist-ck-raut/story-RfRrxOu0zKyPotJRvfb6qL.html, accessed 1/7/2017. Kansakar, T.R. 1981. ‘Newari language and linguistics: conspectus’. Contributions to Nepalese Studies 8(2): 3-18. Kennion, R.L. 1932. Diversions of an Indian Political. Edinburgh and London: Blackwood. Kirkpatrick, W. 1811. An Account of the Kingdom of Nepaul. London: W. Miller.
 Kurfess, A., ed. 1968. C. Sallusti Crispi Catalina, Iugurtha, Fragmenta Ampliora. Leipzig: Teubner. Lal, C.K. 2012. To Be a Nepalese… Kathmandu: Martin Chautari. Lecomte-Tilouine, M. 1993. Les Dieux du Pouvoir: les Magar et l'hindouisme au Nepal central [The Gods of Power: Magars and Hinduism in central Nepal]. Paris: CNRS Editions. MacDougall, H.A. 1982. Racial Myth in English history – Trojans, Teutons and Anglo-Saxons. Montreal: Harvest House. Malla, K.P. 1981. ‘The linguistic archaeology of the Nepal Valley’. Kailash 8(1-2): 5-23. Malla, K.P. 2006. ‘Review of John Whelpton, History of Nepal’.European Bulletin of Himalayan Research 29-30: 178-183. Mallory, J.P. 1989. In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, archaeology and myth. London: Thames and Hudson. Martiniano, R., Caffell, A., Holst, M., Hunter-Mann, K., Montgomery, J., Müldner, G., McLaughlin, R.L., Teasdale, M.D., van Rheenen, W., Veldink, J.H., van den Berg, L.H., Hardiman, O., Carroll, M., Roskams, S., Oxley, O., Morgan, C., Thomas, M.G., Barnes, I., McDonnell, C., Collins, M.J., Bradley, D.G. 2016. ‘Genomic signals of migration and continuity in Britain before the Anglo-Saxons’. Nature Communcations 7. http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms10326, accessed 2/4/2017. McCrum, R., Cran, W., MacNeil, R. 1986. The Story of English. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Onta, P. 1996. ‘Creating a brave Nepali nation in British India: the rhetoric of jati improvement, rediscovery of Bhanubhakta and the writing of bir history’. Studies in Nepali History and Society 1(1): 37-76. Oppenheimer, S. 2006. Origins of the British: A genetic detective story. London: Constable. Parajuli, R. 2013. Nepali Rashtriyata: Chintan ra Abhivyakti. 2nd edition. Kathmandu: Martin Chautari. Pariyar, M. 2011. Cast(e) in Bone: The perpetuation of social hierarchy among Nepalis in Britain. Oxford: Centre on Migration, People and Society. Working Paper No. 85. Pradhan, K. 1982. Pahilo Pahar. Darjeeling: Shyam Prakashan. Pradhan, K. 1991. The Gorkha Conquests: The Process and Consequences of the Unification of Nepal
 Prebble, J. 1973. The Lion in the North. London: Secker & Warburg. Regmi, M.C. 1978. ‘Preliminary Notes on the Nature of the Gorkhali State and Administration.’ Regmi Research Series 10(11): 141-47. Renfrew, A.C. 1987. Archaeology and Language: The puzzle of Indo-European origins. London: Pimlico. Rose, L. 1971. Nepal: Strategy for Survival. Los Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press. Reprinted 2010, with an introduction by John Whelpton, Kathmandu: Mandala Book Point. Sampson, G. 2016. ‘Stephen Oppenheimer and the Language History of Britain.’ http://www.grsampson.net/QOppenheimer.html, accessed 5/4/2017. Schiffels, S., Haak, W., Paajanen, P., Llamas, B., Popescu, E., Loe, L., Clarke, R., Lyons, A., Mortimer, R., Sayer, D., Tyler-Smith C., Cooper, A., Durbin, R. 2016. ‘Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon genomes from East England reveal British migration history.’ Nature Communications 7. http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms10408, accessed 2/4/2017. Shneiderman, S.,Turin, M. 2006. ‘Seeking the Tribe: Ethno-politics in Sikkim and Darjeeling’. Himal South Asian 19(2): 54-58, March-April. Shrestha, B.N. 2005. ‘Paper presented in an Interaction Programme, organized by National Mighty Person Amar Singh Thapa Foundation, Lalitpur, Nepal on 5 April 2003’, updated 5 August 2005. Shrivastava, R.P. 1966. ‘Tribe-Caste Mobility in India.’ In Caste and Kin in Nepal. India and Ceylon, edited by Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf, pp.161-212. London: Asia Publishing House. Smyth, A.P. 1995. King Alfred the Great. Oxford University Press. Stiller, L. 1973. Rise of the House of Gorkha. Ranchi: Patna Jesuit Society. Stiller, L. 1974. ‘The Role of Fear in the Unification of Nepal.’ Contributions to Nepalese Studies 1(2): 42-89. Strachey, L. 2009. . Eminent Victorians. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Subedi, A., 2013. ‘Review of C.K. Lal, To Be a Nepalese’. In Nepali Rashtriyata: Chintan ra Abhivyakti, edited by Ramesh Parajuli, pp.43-46. Kathmandu: Martin Chautari. Sykes, B. 2006 Blood of the Isles: Exploring the genetic roots of out tribal history. London: Bantam.
 Tamu, B.P.,Tamu,Y.K. 1993. ‘A brief history of the Tamu tribe’. In The Gurungs, Bernard Pignède, edited by Sarah Harrison and Alan Macfarlane, pp. 479-493. Kathmandu: Ratna Pustak Bhandar. Upadhyaya, S. 2012. Nepal and the Geo-strategic Rivalry between China and India. London: Routledge. Wade, N. 2007. ‘A United Kingdom? Maybe.’. New York Times, 6 March. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/06/science/06brits.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin, accessed 5/4/2017. Ward-Perkins, B. 2000. ‘Why did the Anglo-Saxons not become more British?’. English Historical Review, 115: 513-33. Whelpton, J. 1987. ‘The Ancestors of Jang Bahadur Rana: History, myth and propaganda’. Contributions to Nepalese Studies, 14(3): 161-92. http:linguae.weebly.com/ancestors-of-jang.html, accessed 31/7/2017 and http://himalaya.socanth.cam.ac.uk/collections/journals/contributions/pdf/CNAS_14_03_01.pdf, accessed 31/7/2017. Whelpton, J. 1997. ‘Political Identity in Nepal: State, Nation and Community.’ In Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom: the politics of identity in contemporary Nepal, edited by David Gellner, Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka & John Whelpton, pp. 39-78. Amsterdam: Harwood. Whelpton, J. 2000. ‘From the Beginning: Themes in the history and prehistory of Nepal.’ Voice of History, 15(2): 38-69. Whelpton, J. 2004. Review of George van Driem, Languages of the Himalayas. Studies in Nepali History and Society, 9(1): 193-205. http://linguae.weebly.com/nepali.html, accessed 31/7/2017. Whelpton, J. 2005. A History of Nepal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Whelpton, J. 2013. ‘Political Violence in Nepal from Unification to Janandolan I: the Background to “People’s War.”’ In Revolution in Nepal, edited by Marie Lecomte-Tilouine, pp, 27-74. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Witzel, M. 1993. ‘Nepalese hydronomy: towards a history of settlement in the Himalayas.’ In Nepal: Past and Present: Proceedings of the France-German conference, Arc-et-Senans, June1990, edited by Gérard Toffin, pp.217-66. New Delhi: Sterling.  Wooters, J. J.P., Subba, T.B. 2013. ‘The “Indian Face,” India's Northeast, and “The Idea of India”’. Asian Anthropology 12(2):126-140. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1683478X.2013.849484. Yadav, R.K. 2014. Mission R & AW. New Delhi: Manas. http://www.nepaldoor.com/2015/08/rk-yadav-says-monarchy-remained-more.html, accessed 5/5/2017.