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Writer Shradha Ghale discusses conservation, parks, and displacement in Nepal

January 24, 2020

On Thursday, January 16, the South Asia Center and Nepal Studies Initiative welcomed writer Shradha Ghale for a talk entitled “Parks vs. People: An Unresolved Conflict in Nepal.” Ghale provided a historical overview of the creation of protected lands and parks in Nepal, which now take up nearly a fourth of the country’s total area. Drawing on interviews with indigenous Nepalis who have been displaced by these processes, Ghale illuminated multiple sites of conflict between the national government, local citizens, wildlife, international conservation organizations, corporations, and more. Ghale drew attention to the ways in which Nepal’s current eco-tourism and conservation agenda works to dispossess the state’s most vulnerable citizens, reinforcing divisions of class, caste and ethnicity while simultaneously contributing to the degradation of Nepal’s lowlands. Ghale’s talk ignited a lively Q&A session about community-centered solutions, environmental activism, and the future of displaced populations on the edges of protected areas.

(Left to right: Sauharda Rai, Shradha Ghale, Mary Anne Mercer, and Anupa Gewali)