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The Unmaking of Nepal $24.00
by USI Journal, Brig SP Sinha Date Added: Monday 16 August, 2010
This book is of great relevance today. It is different from other contemporary books on Nepal. It is almost entirely based on author's field work, which involved trekking through areas that have been Maoist's stronghold and interactions with a large cross section of ordinary people and key personalities from the world of politics, academia, bureaucracy, media and business. The narrative has a freshness of its own as it avoids borrowed wisdom and prejudices of others. As a consequence, there are no citations; this has been applied even to factual data, for which the source should have been given.

It focuses on three contemporary themes. First, it explodes the myth of Maoist invincibility and the popular view amongst a large section of strategic thinkers, linking Maoist electoral success to their being the genuine voice of the people. The author argues quite convincingly that the Maoist success was primarily the outcome of coercion, for which they were ideally placed. No political party other than the Maoists had any presence in large parts of the hills and the government's presence was minimal. It is not hard, in such circumstances, to imagine how easily the hapless people could have been coerced by threat of violence.

Second, the author underscores the centrality of Terai in any future political dispensation of Nepal. A number of Madhesi political parties, many of them being criminal outfits in the garb of political activism, have mushroomed; but what is undisputable is that Madhesi activism has stopped the spread of Maoism in its tracks.
Third, the author draws attention to the ominous shadow of China's creeping influence in Nepal's politics in so many unobtrusive ways: the opening of China Study Centres, many in the Terai; infrastructure projects that plan to link mountain passes in the north to urban centres in Tibet by road; and most ominous from the Indian point of view is the proposal to link Lhasa and Kathmandu by rail.

The chapter on Nepal Army is particularly of interest. The Royal Nepal Army, which was seen as handmaiden of the Monarchy is transformed into the last bastion of democratic aspiration of the people. The devious ways of the Maoists to subvert the Army as an institution has been thoroughly exposed in the book. The book has been written in a lucid style and makes for intelligent reading. It is. a valuable book that treats the contemporary political scene in Nepal objectively and should be ready by all who have a role to play in formulating India's post-Monarchy relationship with Nepal.

- Brig SP Sinha (VSM), USI Journal

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars! [3 of 5 Stars!]
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The Unmaking of Nepal
This book is of great relevance today. It is different from ..
3 of 5 Stars!

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