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Between Donors and Recipients

Looking at Development and Donors:Essays from Nepal by Devendra Raj Panday (Kathmandu: Martin Chautari Publications), 2011; pp 419, Rs 500.

Nepal’s home-grown discourse on the developmental origins and implications of its ongoing political transformation remains muffled by the clamour of self-styled development expatriates who dissect development into piecemeal projects preaching depoliticisation. Even though the two warring parties in Nepal have consistently agreed that the Maoist rebellion grew out of the roots of “undevelopment”, little has been achieved in addressing this nexus. In this context, the current volume by Devendra Raj Panday is a timely testimony of Nepal’s 50-year journey that critically analyses the various strands linking economic and social (un)development with political dissent.

Panday is an exceptional developmental maverick. As secretary of finance during the panchayat era, he walked out of government service to protest the rise of hardliners, following Nepal’s failed national referendum of 1981. In recognition of his contributions to the democratic struggle in the decade that followed, Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai appointed him as finance minister in the coalition cabinet that took charge immediately after the successful democratic movement of 1990. However, Panday became increasingly disillusioned with Nepal’s political parties and the aid community.

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