Author: Manjushree Thapa
In June 2001, King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah was killed in a massacre at Kathmanduâ€™s Narayanhiti royal palace, allegedly by his own son, the crown prince, and the world took new notice of Nepal. Since then, several thousand lives have been lost to a violent Maoist insurgency and repressive state counter-insurgency. Parliamentary democracy, tooâ€”won late, in 1990â€”has been lost. And there are no clear indications of how long it will be before the civil war ends and popular government is restored. In this illuminating study of the tangled politics of her country, Manjushree Thapa examines what has gone wrong, and why. Starting with an account of the Narayanhiti massacre and its aftermath, she goes back in time to trace the history, often chaotic, of Nepalâ€™s monarchy since unification in the 18th century, and of the struggle, in the 20th century, for genuine democracy. She ends with a record of her trek into Maoist-held territories in west Nepal, where the majority continue to live in poverty, human rights abuses are on the rise, and boys and girls as young as thirteen have taken to the gun.