In order to understand the recent political and constitutional events of Nepal, and to discern feasible and fair ways to move forward, it is essential to consider the complex composition, circumstances and potential for conflicts by and among the many groups and minorities that constitute the people of Nepal. The future inclusion of marginalised groups requires the drafters of the Constitution to attend closely to various models and mechanisms for managing group claims and conflicts. They include a federal Nepal, various group rights, and a voting system of proportional representation. Closer scrutiny reveals that these demands may be interpreted and institutionalised in several ways consistent with the objectives and needs of the population, especially the desire to prevent domination by a predatory centre, and to bolster local autonomy. To understand and facilitate these developments, the present special issue explores several perspectives and analyses.