Brahman and Chhetri of Nepal - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Rural Brahmans and Chhetris keep a few cattle and raise crops in their terraced fields. Brahmans also act as family priests, and Chhetris serve in both the Nepalese army and the Gorkha (Gurka) brigades of the British and Indian armies. In urban areas both castes are prominent in government service, financial services, and politics.

Industrial Arts. Any needs that Brahmans and Chhetris experience for craft and industrial products are met by lower-ranked artisan castes, such as blacksmiths, tailors, and leather workers.

Trade. In rural areas Brahmans and Chhetris typically rely on others, such as Newar shopkeepers, for their commercial requirements.

Division of Labor. Only Brahman males may act as priests, but much of the daily household puja (worship) is done by women. The day-to-day agropastoral activities of Brahman and Chhetri families are shared between men and women. Both sexes work in the fields, but overall women spend more hours per day in agricultural and domestic labor than men. They perform most of the child care, preparation and cooking of food, and weeding and tending of crops. Men do the plowing and maintain the terrace walls. Both are active at harvest time.

Land Tenure. Brahmans and Chhetris are often landowners. Fields are often terraced and mostly have been fractionated into small plots through inheritance over generations. Large-scale absentee landlordism is not common in the hills of Nepal.

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