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Nepal's Mini Revolution

O.P. Sabherwal

By D.P. Kumar
Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, 1980, pp. 200, Rs. 60.00

VOLUME V NUMBER 1 July/August 1980

‘Nepal is an area on the political evolu­tion of which not enough is known as yet,’ says the author; and to meet this gaping need he sets out to make his own contribution. What sort of treatment he renders to the subject is indicated in the title itself —Nepal: Year of Decision. It is the ‘contemporary upsurge’ in Nepal, unleashed by the student move­ment of April-May 1979 which is the prime focus of the book, and provides the .hook on which the 200 odd pages volume hangs. The events in Nepal which began with a student demonstration in the capital, Kathmandu, on April 6—‘the date is important because it will always afterwards be regarded as marking the turning point in the history of Nepal', says the author—have been pieced to­gether, meticulously, in a manner which keeps alive the spirit of the April 1979 days in Nepal. The vivid unfolding of the happenings in Kathmandu—in the streets, in the corridors of power in the Palace, and in the politicians' ante-rooms—in the period April 6 to May 24, the day on which King Birendra made the proclamation offering a referendum to decide on the future of Panchayat sys­tem, have been described in the opening chapter, as ‘Mini Revolution’. It is from here that the survey of Nepal's contemporary developments begins. A year gone by, it is interesting, even absorbing to retract and have a flash­back on the student stir in Nepal, which spread rapidly to other far-flung areas in the Himalayan land, and to delve a little into the motivating concepts of those days. It is interesting, for instance, to recall that the stir which began an im­portant new chapter in Nepal's political history was pegged on a protest against the hanging of the former Pakistani Prime Minister Z.A. Bhutto. Students of some of the colleges of the Tribhuvan University joined in a silent procession and proceeded to the Pakistan Chancery, carrying placards, to protest against the hanging of Bhutto. Why and how this apparently harmless protest against the hanging of a civilian leader in Pakistan could spark off the biggest student and popular stir in Nepal's recent history does not remain a mystery as the sequence of events is unfolded. The student procession was handled not with sympathy but with repression by the King's administration. It is this that provided the spark. This is how it ...

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