chapter  11
15 Pages

Warriors, Workers, Traders and Peasants

The Nepali/Gorkhali diaspora since the nineteenth century
WithDavid N. Gellner

To speak of diaspora implies a scattering of people from a homeland. 1 In the case of the Jews, and other similar cases, this followed a tragic event and expulsion and/or flight. The key event, and the desire for return, were memorialized through rituals. Those rituals become the foundation of collective memory and group identity. In recent decades the term ‘diaspora’ has been stretched and expanded to refer to any migrant group retaining some memory and some link to their homeland, so that it is no longer possible to insist that diasporas must be born out of suffering and tragedy (Cohen 2008). In this new extended sense, one can even speak of a British diaspora, since there are still people (in New Zealand, for instance) who idealize the home country and whose identity is grounded in maintaining links to it (ibid: 69f). There is certainly a Scottish diaspora, encouraged and courted by the devolved Scottish government in Edinburgh. However, it would be an elementary error to assume that everyone with a Scottish surname shares Sean Connery's level of ‘diasporic consciousness’.