Will terrible earthquake bring a fuller democracy in Nepal?
June 9, 2015 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Will terrible earthquake bring a fuller democracy in Nepal? Amid the rubble and homeless in Nepal, the country's political parties appear poised to finally enact a constitution. Has adversity brought opportunity?
posted by Michele in California (1 comment total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Talking with my Nepali coworkers*, they seem skeptical at the pace of change in Nepal. I mean, we have guys who left nine years ago when this was all started, and the country still doesn't have a constitution. So they're naturally skeptical.

People were seriously pissed off at the political parties in the aftermath of the earthquake; all of them seem to have suffered terribly. The aftermath was really chaotic, and the government was totally ineffective. So that creates some momentum.

This article in the Hindustan Times shares my coworkers' skepticism. The main obstacle right now is that they have the framework in place, but the eight federal states are not yet drawn; presumably, given that there are a lot of regional pressures in Nepal (particularly outside the Kathmandu Valley), this could be a really contentious and potentially derailing hitch in the process. But it also notes that the Maoists seem to want to consolidate their existing position, which I think could actually help lead toward a resolution.

It's a fascinating country: totally landlocked and literally between India and China. It's terribly poor, and largely agrarian; there's actually a pretty large portion of its population that moves between India and Nepal in a long cycle. It's also fascinating to watch a 21st century struggle for democracy where two of the major parties are Communist by name: the Communist Party (Unified Marxist-Leninist) which has been for parliamentary democracy since the 1990s, and the Unified Communist Party (Maoist) which led a guerrilla insurgency just a decade ago.

A couple of recent books for context:
Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal by Prashant Jha
The Bullet and the Ballot Box: The Story of Nepal's Maoist Revolution by Aditya Adhikari

* An interesting story in itself: four of my coworkers are from Nepal; they all came to the US, studied computer science in Alabama, and now work in software development in New Jersey. And the funny thing is that I had read a lot about Nepal's history during the 2006 revolution, which was well before any of them started working here.
posted by graymouser at 1:32 PM on June 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

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