Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
09 Dec 2009
A nation in the making
Unleashing Nepal is a revealing narrative on a country that has rarely been seen beyond a tourism destination by most middle-class Indians. That it is land-locked country strategically located between two traditional enemies - India and China - is beyond the imagination of those for whom the images of the ubiquitous chowkidar and the glamorous Manisha Koirala complete the Nepalese picture. Neither was any conscious effort made to alter that picture.
Sujeev Sakhya, a business executive with societal conscience, attempts to re-write the past by tracing nearly 300-year old history of the country which, many believe, is still in the making. Successive rulers focused on 'Kathmandu centricism' as a deliberate attempt to keep the masses impoverished. It made the then mountain kingdom a development aid destination. Nepal's economy remains precariously dependant on remittance and aid.
The development industry in Nepal is estimated to account for 10 per cent of the national GDP, compared to the 3 per cent contribution of tourism and 7 per cent contribution of manufacturing. Sakhya argues that the new government must realize, understand and believe in ensuring and protecting economic freedom as a non-negotiable. Reforms in financial sector must run concurrent with land and tax reforms in fuelling a vibrant economy. Without doubt, the Nepali youth have global aspirations even when the capital city contends with darkness on account of consistent power failures. Sakhya hopes that the constituent assembly that is drafting the country's constitution will pull the country out of the dark, literally and figuratively.
By Sujeev Shakya, Penguin Books, Delhi, 258 pages, Rs. 299