The pre-twentieth century Gorkha state can be thought of us segmentary in Aidan Southall’s sense as opposed to a unitary state, which is more common in modern twenty first century western states, as vectors of power and identity, as expressed through political sovereignty and ritual suzerainty, don’t overlap. A core component of segmentary state is the incorporation Karl Marx’s proposed Asiatic mode of production, in which the king maintains a fixed core with peripheral domains in order to enforce the political sovereignty over a wide area. Similarly Southall maintains that religion encompasses a flexible periphery and thereby is an expression of ritual suzerainty, amongst the Gorkha states however the ritual domain is restricted to a
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The rights to the land were agreed upon through a contractual agreement and could be renewed or renegotiated annually during the Dashara festival. The subjects, which could therefore be considered tenants of a sort would then supply the ruler with surplus in the form of taxation and could be submitted either through revenue collectors or as in the case of the local ‘big men’ individually. Moreover as these boundaries were flexible occasionally tenants would find themselves forced to submit taxes to two separate rulers, when their domains overlapped, membership within a polity was therefore as shown not restricted to one ruler.
Southall maintained that ritual suzerainty “extends towards a flexible changing periphery” . Whereas amongst the Alur ritual suzerainty is expressed through the hiving-off process, in which the King sends off his sons either through a system of banishment or staged kidnapping to act as extensions of Kings supernatural powers bringing with them the powers of fertility or bringing rain; Through this we see how though the King’s themselves remain within a core fixed domain, that their political power does not reach beyond, their ritual suzerainty stretches beyond their administrative border. Among the Gorkha in Nepal Southall’s theory is reversed, political