Gurung - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Gurung society is organized into two tiers or subgroups called the "Char Jat" or "four clans" and the "Sora Jat" or "sixteen clans." The subgroups are endogamous and within subgroups each clan is exogamous. The Char Jat group has traditionally claimed superior status to the Sora Jat group. Clans within each subgroup intermarry and otherwise treat one another as equals.

Political Organization. Until 1962 the Gurung villages were governed by hereditary clan leaders and village headmen. In 1962 the national government instituted an electoral system whereby villages are grouped together in units of five, called panchayats, and divided into neighborhoods or wards from which local councillors are elected. The electorate also chooses a pradhan panche and uper pradhan (like a mayor and vice mayor, respectively) to lead the panchayat.

Social Control. Gossip and fear of witch attack are common means of social control. The local council is able to levy fines against panchayat residents, and for serious crimes government police may be called in.

Conflict. Disputes are often resolved by elders trusted by the parties involved. If this does not provide a solution then they may be brought before the village council or, as a last resort, to the district court.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: