Nation Building

The book discusess political development in Nepal

June 18, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -1 June 14- 2013 (Jestha 31, 2070)

Nation Building And Ethnicity In Nepal: Theory & Practice

By Prof. Dr. Ananta Raj Poudyal

Published by Pragyan Foundation, Phone 9841298838 01-4415452, Email:

Price: Rs. 1200.00 (Hard cover), Rs. 1000.00 (soft cover)

Distributed by Mandala Book Point (Kantipath, Kathmandu) Telephone: 01-4227711

In  recent years,  a good number of books  in  political studies   have appeared in the market. The political change  of 1990 ushered in a new era encouraging scholars to write various kind of books. A host of    scholars   started writing books on Nepali poltics. A blizzard of writings appeared in Nepali and foreign languages. However,  the donor agencies  were influential to create the situation to encourage writings in the name of nurturing democracy in the country.

Meanwhile, a new book entitled, “Nation Building and Ethnicity In Nepal: Theory & Practice” written by Dr. Ananta Raj Poudyal  has appeared in the market. The book is  an  outcome of teaching and research by the professor for almost forty years in prominent universities  of  the world.  Treating politics as  the  science  of  state,  designed  to  attain objectives like  the  constitutional  order, security  and  welfare,  the book shows its concern with the question: to what extent have the objectives met in the country? Are institutional value and stability achieved? Is human happiness provided?  Based on the rigorous theory  of political  analysis,  the  book  does not  only   deal     with the superficial aspects  of  nation  building, but also  elaborates on the theory and practice.  A study    of centrifugal and centripetal forces of nation building are included  to  understand  the comprehensive  aspects of  nation building.  These forces are functional  aspects of  politics.

Comprising  352 pages,  the  book  is divided into  four chapters.   The first chapter  deals with  the issues like nation state, state building, nation building, national integration, ethnicity, ethnic nation, characteristics of a nation state, concept of minority, indigenous people, ethnicity &  linkages,  ethnic conflict, nation destruction, meaning of political development and nationalism.  The second chapter deals with the charecteristics of Nepali society,  people of Nepal, social change, modernization, state building of Nepal, democracy, monarchy and nation building of Nepal. The third chapter is on  the ethnicity in Nepal,  different ethnic groups, the Maoist movement and ethnicity,   discrimination, continuity and change, along with various tables reflecting  the trends of ethnic participation. And, the fourth chapter consists of summary and recommendations. In essence, the book shows democracy  and   nationalism  are inseperable.  Professor Poudyal concludes that “the sense of nationalism is inconceivable without the idea of popular sovereignty” and weighs the outcome of the popular uprising of 2006.

The professor argues political parties are vehicles for  democracy, but in Nepal, the political leadership  is  proven as  inept and insipid. Explaining the entire political process in Nepal, including constitution building, he points out that the dissolution of the CA has created a political vaccum and democracy is under seize. After analyzing the political development of Nepal, the author argues that the situation of  Nepal  is  like  a failed state.

The author does not claim anything new in ideas, as there are a host of such books available in the Western world including in Nepalese market. Under the field of comparative politics, professor Poudyal has included the issues like  the nation  destruction, national integration, disintegration, ethnic conflict  and  etc.  He argues that this area is advanced  by  the American political scientists in 1950s & 60s, taking into account the  vulnerable   situation   of  political development  in   the  new  nations. He draws the conclusion that Nepal is also a new nation despite  her  long history of independence. The situation of   political instability and economic underdevelopment are perpetual phenomena of Nepal. It   indicates  that she  has to travel a long way. The book is “sui generis” or of its own kind. The  book  tries to  explore  the  inner dynamics  of the  Nepali politics  over the centuries. The gap between the rulers  and the  ruled  in Nepal is never  ending, people are always in the receiving end. The author’s non-conformist approach, with application   of   the functional aspect of politics, is the outcome    of  the book.Yet the political parties are  not sincere  and  behave  like the predators. Majority of  the people are  poor. They do not  have  food  to still the pangs  of  hunger, clothes to cover bones, and shelter  to  live in," said Professor Poudyal. "It is  true that one cannot make a nation out of deprivation,   the sense  of deprivation  is rampant in the country." 

He holds the view that the objectives  of  politics  like  the  constitutional  order, security and welfare are  seen as the wild goose chase. The dangerous trajectory of dissent is seen  because the ethnic  conflict is  on rise making a volcanic  eruption.   "The concept  of  welfare  state  is not  yet  realized.    Thus, the  book refers   to an analogy  that  ‘Nepal is not yet a nation,’ only notion to hope.

“Nation  building  is  the multi-dimensional process that has  not  yet begun," said Poudyal.   It   appears that   the political change  is under the influence of the “thar  ghar” ever since it started dominating  the  politics of the country. He further said the   major  political leaders  in  the  CA   worked in common  to disrupt the process. 

"Therefore,    the CA  proved a failure  to deliver a constitution. Subsquently, the CA  ended  in a fiasco.    Error is the human phenomena,  so the author  absolves  responsibilities  for  any kind of mistake in the book," said professor Poudyal.  

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