Paradise Lost?: State Failure in Nepal

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9780739114261: Paradise Lost?: State Failure in Nepal

Paradise Lost examines the state-society relationships in Nepal and demonstrates that the nature of the state, disjuncture between the state and the society, and the rupture of the ideological hegemony of the ruling class of Nepal have created a situation where existing institutional frameworks are disintegrating and the state is rapidly unraveling. Dr. Ali Riaz and Dr. Subho Basu analyze the roles of ethnicity, identity, and deprivation, in engendering discontent and the rise of the Maoists as a formidable political force. Mindful of the geo-strategic importance of the country, this book contextualizes these domestic developments within the post-9/11 global world. Jointly authored by a political scientist and a historian this book brings together structural and historical perspectives. Written in an engaging language, Paradise Lost? will appeal to political scientists, historians, sociologists, and those interested in current affairs.

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About the Author:

Ali Riaz is professor and chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University.

Subho Basu is associate professor in the Department of History at Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.

Review:

While Nepal is the oldest nation-state in South Asia, 'nation-building' is very much a work-in-progress. In the modern era which began in Nepal with the demise of the Rana shogunate in 1950, the country remained under an autocratic kingship till 1990. A 12-year democratic interlude was marked by a violent Maoist insurgency and followed by yet another royal adventure, which was finally crushed by the People's Movement of April 2006. The task of 'nation-building' has now resumed , with the goal of restructuring the state through a constituent assembly and a new constitution. Any place is complex, but Nepal is perhaps less understood than others in the South Asian neighbourhood. I believe that this work by Ali Riaz and Subho Basu will help in the understanding of a country that has seen the compressed political evolution over a few years that other countries of South Asia realised over decades. Only the analysis of Nepal as a thus-far failed state can make it a successful one. (Kanak Mani Dixit, editor, Himal Khabarpatrika and Himal Southasian)

An outstanding achievement in explaining current political developments in Nepal whilst placing them insightfully and concisely within a historical context. A timely book which will be an invaluable resource for those keen to learn about the origins of Nepal's present-day dilemmas and the prospects for her future. (Crispin Bates, University of Edinburgh)

A useful resource not only for scholars in the fields of South Asian studies and/or Himalayan studies but should also, equally, be of interest to political theorists. (Indian Sociology)

Ali Riaz and Subho Basu's Paradise Lost is an informative and engaging examination of the contemporary political crisis facing Nepal and its historical and structural causes. One of a spate of recently published books to examine the Maoist insurgency in Nepal, Paradise Lost places the insurgency, and its attendant political crises, within a broader historical narrative of state failure in Nepal . . . Riaz and Basu's book provides a compelling account less of state failure than of the necessity of institutional political reform. They provide important suggestions as to what reforms the government might want to prioritize, and they make an effective case for the necessity of land reform in particular. Paradise Lost , for this reason, serves as an important and timely examination of recent Nepalese history, and of the lessons to be learned from its recent past. (Journal of Asian Studies)

One of the longstanding frustrations of being a 'Nepal scholar' is that one's peers comprise almost entirely of other 'Nepal scholars', and that those who might be capable of bringing broader comparative or theoretical perspectives to bear on Nepali political topics, have remained clustered around issues further south in the subcontinent. It has also seemed to us that recent developments in Nepal, where the world's last Hindu monarchy and the world's latest and most successful Maoist insurgency have faced one another across a society that cries out for a participative and egalitarian democracy, should be of interest to more than just us. So it is very good indeed that these two researchers have turned their attention northward and allowed us all to benefit from their clear-eyed and perceptive assessment of the current state of Nepal and of the challenges that now faces that country's leaders and people. (Michael Hutt, University of London)

A timely analysis of Nepal's second experiment in democratic politics....The breadth of the analysis must surely be commended. The authors have centred their study on the role of the state in Nepal's post-1990 political impasse and have successfully linked it to other factors....The book is a pioneering attempt in the field of Nepali Studies, combining a political science approach to the state with a socio-historical analysis of Nepal's developments to explain the country's current political situation. This makes Riaz and Basu's volume a precious and timely contribution to the debate on Nepal's political developments which will provide readers with a number of ideas to engage and wrestle with. (South Asia Research)

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