ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Towards Modernity

I read some of the articles EPW made available on Nepal from its archives. Thank you for that. I think the Maoists are the part of the problem and also the solution. When the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) took the line of “democratic republic” in 2005, the seed for the rift in the party was sown. The now known Baidhya faction (Mohan Baidhya “Kiran” is party vice-chairman) has been annoyed by the Dahal-Bhattarai line (Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” is party chairman and Baburam Bhattarai “Laldhwaj” is vice-chairman) of democratic republic, despite Dahal’s effort to convince the former faction that “democratic republic” is just a tactical step ­towards the goal of a “people’s federal republic”. For many years Dahal tried to cajole both Baidhya and Bhattarai – each sticking to his particular formulation of people’s federal republic and democratic republic respectively – not to continue this double dance any more. To me, ­going for a democratic republic is a vital tool to craft a civic nation.

Given the fact that Nepal is standing at a very crucial juncture of its history, the question of our political leaders’ vision of nation-building becomes crucial as this will shape the future of ­Nepal. The history of nation-building in Asia may show several forms but at the base there are two main approaches; first, nation-building on the basis of ethnicity or religious affiliation (as in Iran) and second, on the basis of citizenship, equality and commitment to a political creed. Asian history offers enough evid­ence on the ill effects of nation-building on the basis of ethno-nationalism leading to polarisation, internal conflict and ­international isolation. Nation-building on the basis of religion and ethnicity ­results in the consolidation of power in the hands of the core ethnic group which, in turn, develops and ­deploys state power to promote its own interests. If this trend continues, Nepal will not be able to realise its full potential. Hence the best way to heal the wounds of years of conflict and regime oppression in Nepal is to build it as a modern civic nation. All international actors should lend their voice to this cause.

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