Directed by Kesang Tseten
Dor Bahadur Bista, one of Nepal’s most controversial intellectuals in modern times, disappeared
without trace in 1996. Beginning as a field assistant to well-known Austrian anthropologist
Fuerer Haimendorf, with whom he had strained relations, he was largely self-trained. He wrote
several books, among them People of Nepal (1964) and the controversial Fatalism and
Development: Nepal’s Struggle to Modernise (1990).
Fatalism and Development, written in English, argued Nepal didn’t develop because of
Bahunbaad or Brahminism, by which he meant the values of fatalism and hierarchy, imported
from India’s caste culture, which had eclipsed local more egalitarian value systems. Himself a
high caste, his views created acrimony, particularly among other high castes. He moved to the
remote western district of Jumla, where he established the Karnali Institute to put into practice
his beliefs and challenge the Kathmandu elite. The film tracks his life and beliefs and tries to
understand his sudden disappearance.