Nepal is a land of contrasts-a marvelous vista. It rises impressively like a giant stairway from the northern exentions of the Gangetic plain, just a notch above sea level, to the majestic heights of snow-capped mountains. No less fascinating, however, is its sociocultural landscape. Still tightly chained to its past, Nepal has been, for more than four decades, staggering along the path of pseudo modernization. In recent years, this tiny nation of some 21 million has seen the dawn of democracy but is now mired in the murky waters of feudal politics as its various clans wage internecine battles to reap the spoils of power.
Often viewed as an exotic curio shop, Nepal is a popular destination for a growing number of western tourists and mountaineers. Yet the country is generally relegated to the fringes of most westerners' mental maps of the world. Nepal, is however, more than an exotic back-country with a magnificent gallery of mountains made for National Geographic and television documentaries. It is a country right in diverse cultural traditions that often reflect its geographical diversity as well as historical longevity.
Lucid and jargon-free in style, this volume is designed to offer a concise account of Nepal's history and political evolution, especially focusing on the period since the rise of Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1743 and on the developments that have taken place in the last 50 years. In addition, the volume provides valuable information on the country's economy, population dynamics, social systems, and cultural continuity and change in order to highlight the interface between traditional values and the forces of modernity and globalization, i.e., growing western influence. This resource is a highly informative book for both specialists and non-specialists interested in Nepal.
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Nanda R. Shrestha was born and raised in Nepal. He is currently Professor of resource and cultural management in the School of Business & Industry at Florida A & M University, Tallahassee, Florida. Keshav Bhattarai was also born and raised in Nepal. Currently, he is Associate Professor of geography at Central Missouri State University.Review:
This book is a valuable quick reference to a wide range of Nepali people, places, institutions, and social practices. Although not the first encyclopedic compilation of information on Nepal, it is the most comprehensive to date. Certainly the dictionary itself constitutes the bulk of the text, but a collection of statistical tables and a historical chronology at the beginning of the book are also quite useful. A thirty-four page introduction to Nepal additionally helps provide a context for many of the entries that follow....this is a valiant effort at providing a reference work on the whole of Nepal. Its entries on people and institutions from the 1950s to the present are especially extensive; and in the chronology and introduction, the authors have provided a useful overview of political changes since 1990. For anyone who has spent hours digging through field notes trying to find a tidbit of historical information dutifully recorded a decade or two ago on a Nanglo's napkin, this dictionary is a most welcome compilation. (Journal of Asian Studies)
This historical dictionary is well timed and relevant to modern concerns of the region....this is a good start to understanding the history of a culture virtually unknown in the West...Students and scholars of Asia as well as general readers will benefit from this source. (American Reference Books Annual)
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