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:
And here are some more:
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).