ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dynamics of the Contemporary Nepali Society and Economy

Political Economy of Social Change and Development in Nepal by Jeevan R Sharma, New Delhi: Bloomsbury, 2021; pp 208, `499.

This is a book that very much needed to be written. Many books and articles have been published on different aspects of the momentous changes that Nepal has been through in the last 70 years or so. Having first visited Nepal in 1975, I can personally attest both to the huge transformations and to the significant quantity of publications, many of high quality, on different aspe­cts of Nepal’s history, economy, and society. And yet, as Jeevan R Sharma rightly says, “we lack a single integrated framework that encompasses different dimensions of these transformations” (p 17). That is what Sharma sets out to provide.

Not since the synthesis by Piers Blaikie, John Cameron, and David Seddon, Nepal in Crisis: Growth and Stagnation at the Periphery (1980), has there been such an ambitious attempt to pull it all together—­unless one counts Baburam Bhattarai’s classic Marxist account in The Nature of Underdevelopment and Regional Structure of Nepal: A Marxist Analysis (2003). But this came out a full 17 years after the PhD on which it was based. In other words, Bhattarai’s work, despite the date of publication (which had more to do with the progress of the Maoists People’s War and boosting the author’s profile within the movement), is in fact ­almost as old as Nepal in Crisis. Unlike these two Marx-inspired forebears, Sharma cleaves rather to a different Karl—Karl Polanyi—and to his masterwork, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, originally published in 1944.

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Updated On : 16th Aug, 2023
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