Does Sacrifice Avert Violence? Reflections from Nepal and the People’s War

Marie Lecomte-Tilouine

Abstract


This article attempts to address the link between sacrifice and violence by exploring the settings in which they are to be found in the ritual order governing socio-political organization. It is based on extensive ethnographic work in Nepal, a country that was regarded as a safe haven until it was swept up in a revolutionary movement that combined Maoist ideology with a sacrificial impetus. If warlike movements generate an ideology of legitimization that borrows religious imagery, those supported by a revolutionary ideal tend to spiritualize violence to the point of developing a genuine mysticism. This was the case of the People’s War in Nepal, which was presented as an apocalypse, led by warriors rejoicing in their own suffering and glorifying martyrdom as the supreme means of achieving the ideal goal of a classless society.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14672/ada2013197%25p

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