Maximillian MørchSep 7, 2023
Plains of Discontent
A Political History of Nepal’s Tarai (1743-2019)
When we think of Nepal, we think of its high Himalayan mountains, or maybe the highlands of Kathmandu. But somewhere between a quarter and a third of the country is nothing like that: marshy, forested, malaria-infested swampland, along the southern border with India.
This is the Tarai, the most productive region of Nepal—and also the focal point for the once-Kingdom of Nepal’s conquest. Maximillian Mørch writes about the region’s history in his latest book Plains of Discontent: A Political History of Nepal’s Tarai (1743-2019) (FinePrint, 2023), published earlier this year
Maximillian Mørch is an author & researcher specializing in Asian borderlands. He is also the author of By the Way of the Border: Travels around the frontiers and Beyuls of Nepal (Vajra Books: 2019). His research has focused on a wide range of issues including political dissent and judicial reform in Myanmar, the legal status of Tibetan refugees, migrant workers in Thailand and identity and citizenship in Nepal. His writing has been published in Himal Southasian, Huffington Post, The Diplomat, East Asia Forum, The Kathmandu Post, The Record, Republica, Global Is Asian, Fair Observer, Tea Circle, The Tibet Post and more.
Today, Maximilian and I talk about the Tarai, how it relates to Nepal’s history, and how development in the Tarai may have had some unintended consequences.
Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.