5 reasons why not to believe Michael Hutt

Michael Hutt writes seemingly scholarly articles on the Bhutanese refugee issue now and then. But his views are completely biased because of his long connection with Nepal, Nepalese and Nepali language, while he has not done any field research inside Bhutan.

According to his official biography at his university's website, "Michael Hutt is Professor of Nepali and Himalayan Studies at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). He completed a BA in South Asian Studies (Hindi) in 1980 and a Ph.D. on the history of the Nepali language and its literature in 1984, both at SOAS."

Here are 5 big reasons why anyone should not take Michael Hutt's articles at face value:

1. He has not done any research inside Bhutan. So his knowledge of Bhutan is superficial. Probably he has not even been to Bhutan.

2. He has long connection with Nepal and Nepalese. In fact, his whole adult life has been about Nepal - studying about Nepal at university and now working about Nepal. His professional life revolves around studying Nepali language and Nepali culture. He has done his Ph.D. on Nepali language, and now as a professor, he has mainly Nepalese Ph.D. students in his lab. So, he is deeply sympathetic of the Nepalese people everywhere. His views on the Bhutanese refugee issue are naturally biased.

3. He twists facts and figures to suit his twisted views on Bhutan. This is totally unbecoming of a scholar. No doubt that he is not highly regarded among his peers.

4. He quotes literature very selectively, only making references to those studies which conveniently suit his point of view. It is not becoming of a scholarly study to do so. All studies on the subject should be referenced for reaching a balanced conclusion.

5. Other researchers have pointed out that his articles contain factual errors.

Bhutanese writers and researchers out there, I urge you to expose some of Mr. Hutt's lies and set the record straight. We, Bhutanese are a reserved lot by nature. But, in this age of information, remaining silent could be suicidal.

Some articles he has published about Bhutan:

Here is one of the latest in a series of articles bitter on Bhutan he has published:
1. http://www.newstatesman.com/asia/2008/01/bhutan-party-elections

And here are some more:

2. http://himalaya.socanth.cam.ac.uk/collections/journals/pdsa/pdf/pdsa_01_01_05.pdf

3. It seems he has even written a book about Bhutanese refugee issue without conducting any field research inside Bhutan:

4. This website is also probably supported by him. Most materials there quote his works:

The following is excerpted from his official biography at http://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff31153.php:

Michael Hutt is Professor of Nepali and Himalayan Studies at SOAS. He completed a BA in South Asian Studies (Hindi) in 1980 and a Ph.D. on the history of the Nepali language and its literature in 1984, both at SOAS. In 1987 he returned to SOAS as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, and has been engaged in teaching and research relating to Nepal here ever since. He was Head of the South Asia Department from 1995-9, and has served as both Associate Dean (2002-4) and Dean (2004-10) of the Faculty of Languages and Cultures.

The study of modern and contemporary Nepali literature is Hutt's home ground, and he is well known as a translator. However, he has also published on Nepali politics, Nepali art and architecture, censorship in the Nepali print media, and the Bhutanese refugee issue. His latest completed work is a book length biographical study of the Nepali poet Bhupi Sherchan, which will appear in 2010 or 2011. New articles on the abolition of the Shah monarchy and on the selection of Nepal's new national anthem are forthcoming. In 2010 he will begin a major new research project on the construction of public meaning in Nepal.

His publications include Himalayan Voices: an Introduction to Modern Nepali Literature (1991), Nepal in the Nineties: Versions of the Past, Visions of the Future (1994), Modern Literary Nepali: an Introductory Reader (1997), Unbecoming Citizens: Culture, Nationhood, and the Flight of Refugees from Bhutan (2003) and Himalayan People's War: Nepal's Maoist Rebellion (2004).

2 件のコメント:

  1. Comment by TheReveler from bhutantimes.com forum
    Dear Kunlong,

    Let me assure you that there is no need for any of us to loose our sleep over this lame duck professor who, without ever having set foot on Bhutan, brazenly calls himself an expert on the country and its history. When someone claims expertise over a country, it is generally understood that the person would have lived in the country of his expertise for many years and interacted with the people intimately. He is expected to have travelled the length and the breadth of the country, observed and understood the country’s geopolitical realities. He is expected to understand and be mindful of the peoples’ concerns and trepidations arising out of the country’s fragile ecosystem, tensions and disharmony caused by the multiplicity of religious practices and social customs and habits and the dangers posed by demographic imbalance.

    A balanced and educated writer worth his salt would assimilate all these information and knowledge, first hand, before he embarks on a work that he hopes will qualify as something credible and of substance and that which is worthy of attention and admiration from the intelligentsia. No such thing is true of our lame duck Professor Michael Hutt and his publications relating to Bhutan, a country about which he has no understanding at all. None of his writings are based on his personal hands-on experience or understanding of the real issues. All his writings were gleaned from the internet and world wide discussion forums and, that is why, some of the factual inaccuracies reported by him are so glaring and preposterous that any writer would cringe in shame that he has been party to the perpetration of such blatant falsehood.

    The professor’s knowledge on Bhutan is so dismal that if someone in London were to ask him where Thimphu was, he will in all probability tell the person that Thimphu is in Tsirang Dzongkhag. And the goat claims he is an expert on Bhutan! There is a term in the English language that aptly describes a pretender like Professor Michael Hutt - the term is known as: S~H~A~M~M~E~R.

    The idiot professor is not even aware that Bhutan issued its first postage stamp in 1962 and that there were no licencing system prevailing then. I think licencing was introduced sometime towards the later part of 60’s or early 70’s. So what is he talking of when he writes that “Their numbers were augmented by later migrants, who continued to be brought in by licensed contractors until about 1930”. What he is implying is that there were licenced labor contractors pre-1930. As far as I know, the Royal Government of Bhutan started to issue licences to “Labor Contractors” about ten years back. Before that, “Sadars” or “Baidars” used to bring in the laborers.

    He further quotes the statistical figures quoted by the Dutch linguist George van Driem to mislead the readers into believing that the Lhotsampa population was superior to those of the Sharchops. He conveniently forgets to explain that George van Driem’s numbers were for the purpose of segregating the country’s population based on linguistic lines and did not represent regional head count.

    From all the above, it is clear that our goatee-less goat is not only not competent to write authoritatively on Bhutan, he also distorts facts to present a poor picture of us. Fortunately, not all those who read is rambling are fools - they have sense enough to cross-check the validity of what he writes. And they know that he writes rubbish.

    Seriously, someone should tell the people at University of London to de-classify Professor Michael Hutt as an expert on Bhutan. He does not qualify as one. Has he ever been to Bhutan? What kind of expert do you call that???????

    So, fellow Bhutanese, do not worry about him and his cheap shots at Bhutan - he is nothing more than that famous UN Yak expert :)