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Forget Kathmandu: An Elegy for Democracy

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  223 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Rev and expanded edition.Major history, analysis of contemporary Nepal politics, excellent reviews such as Newsweek.
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published December 1st 2005 by Viking Books (first published 2005)
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Parva 'chhanu' Chhantyal
It can be a great book for someone who is interested in the history of Nepal. The Shah dynasties that ended dishearteningly (more or less) with Royal massacre, the Maoist insufficiency, ups and down of Nepalese democracy, and never ending corruption; everything is explained along with the writer's personal experience . I actually found that part very interesting and I am not hesitating to say, I will read that part of this book again.

Later part of the book, it looks like a travel diary of the w
Jan 23, 2014 Northpapers rated it really liked it
It's easy for an American to fall in love with Nepal's native mythology. We easily recognize its appeal and harmonize it with our own Western myths of the East. The profusion of local gods promises plentiful objects of worship. They accomodate our own narratives and invite worship without demand for restraint, cooperation or submission.

It's easy for self-absorbed travelers to fixate on these analogies and miss much of what goes on around us when we visit Nepal. I've certainly done it.

During my
Feb 02, 2014 Jason rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Nepal.
Oh my god Nepali politics are just one insane thing after another. Thapa comes out and says that her book is a bit of a mess. A mixture of personal anecdotes, historical information, a bit of travelogue. She is also good about identifying herself as cosmopolitan, bourgeois, ambivalent about the monarchy, mystified by and a bit scared of the Maoists...I would like to read something from a perspective further from my own.

Luckily, she also edited The Country is Yours which includes a large number
Feb 04, 2015 Prabhat rated it it was amazing
I have often lamented how secure I had been from the happenings of the political-social problems in Nepal circa 2000-2005. These were also the years, when I was busy preparing for higher education outside of Nepal, and had no time or encouragement to look beyond, the preparations to escape the political turmoil and spiral into the dysfunction Nepal seemed to be entering. The books fills many gaps for me, but also provides voices to the segments of society and parties of civil war, which as of la ...more
Adove Pun
Dec 20, 2014 Adove Pun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-read, nepali
If you are Nepali or a person interested in Nepalese History and politics, must-read book for you! No wonder, I like Game of Thrones.
It will help you to understand the situation of Nepal, why we are where we at now! It will make sense. For in-depth research you will need other books but this book will introduce almost everything about Nepali history.

I would especially recommend to friends who lived in Kathmandu and judge everything in Kathmandu perspective. This book will shed some light how peo
May 15, 2015 Kayleigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really excellent book on the history of Nepal and the coup in 2001, as well as how this affected the people in the immediate years afterwards. Before picking up this book, I had no idea that Nepal even had violence, never mind the fact that Maoists and the government had recently caused destruction across the country, that the royal family (Nepal had a royal family?) had been killed, or any of the history of the country. I would like to blame this on the fact that I was pretty young i ...more
May 26, 2011 Dpdwyer rated it really liked it
This book is a must read for anyone who’s lived in Nepal and wonders what life in the capitol is like today. The author is a Thapa, one of the big political families. She was mostly educated in the West. She vividly describes daily life in Kathmandu beginning with the massacre in the royal family and through the rise of the Maoists and all the political shenanigans that followed. It was a time of misinformation, rumors, crackdowns, curfews, bundhs, and demonstrations. When the Maoists joined the ...more
Michal Thoma
Nov 24, 2013 Michal Thoma rated it liked it
Shelves: history, asia, travel
Definitely a great introduction to Nepal political history, both old and recent. Book starts with the royal massacre of 2001 and although I did read a good deal about it, author managed to give new interesting perspective, not focusing on what happened and why in the first but explaining how the author herself and her friends and other people were affected by that and how they understood what is happening. Other chapters are quite good explanation of the star-crossed history of Nepal since the c ...more
Nov 14, 2014 Joe rated it liked it
I'm not sure what this book was supposed to be. It started out almost as a novel describing how elite middle class young adults were responding to the political turbulence and subsequent royal massacre in Nepal. It then transformed into a glossed over account of several centuries of history. Finally it was a dry travelogue of a journey through territory where the author seemed to hope to find evidence of human rights violations during the insurgency. It was interesting to read, although not over ...more
Aug 12, 2011 Katrin rated it it was ok
Apparently the must-read book if you want to know more about Nepal beyond the picturesque villages. Funny enough: I found it on a flea-market here in Cologne ... It is interesting to get a first-hand narrative of the events surrounding the royal massacre of 2001, and the Maoist insurgency, and on top of that a short history of Nepal. It is also encouraging to see that the Nepali people have for a long time longed for real democracy, and often took their fate in their own hands, organising strike ...more
Mona Bomgaars
Mar 18, 2014 Mona Bomgaars rated it liked it
Non fiction book which covers the country of Nepal and it's monarchy from the position of an author who grew up in an educated Nepali family who held significant government assignments during the last quarter of the last century. I would have liked more details of the last decade.
Nov 09, 2012 Alisha rated it it was amazing

Nepal is a crazy country--it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, at the same time its politics have been so insane that it would be laughable, like an impossible joke, if it weren't so tragic. A fascinating and deeply personal account of the final abolishment of a long-lasting monarchy, the rampant powermongering of so-called democratic parties, and the sad fate of the rural poor in a land where infrastructure is still a dream and widespread opportunity an illusion. Here's to hop
Rachel Demi
Jan 04, 2016 Rachel Demi rated it it was amazing
The best book about Nepal period.
May 09, 2013 Bghose rated it liked it
The book chronicles the history and political struggles of Nepal in a very readable narrative. Starts with the palace massacre of June 2001 and then goes back and forth in history.

While reading the book I read the morning newspapers of nepal and realise that nothing much has changed! Even the characters in the book still occupy spaces in the headlines and columns!

At times a bit naive but worth a read
Jun 19, 2007 Kasia rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who want to know more about Nepali politics
This book seems to be the only way to make sense of the ridiculous political situation in Nepal, though at this point I suppose it's a little outdated, given the recent developments. It reads like a novel, but is insightful and informative at the same time. I also found it to be remarkably unbiased, or as unbiased as might be possible for a book like this.
Apr 25, 2010 Kory rated it liked it
Learned a ton about Nepali politics...what a mess! So many kings, and coups, and yikes!!! Nothing seem to last as a government there very long.

As a tourist it helped me understand the strikes that affected my travels.
written by a woman named Manjushree; the Buddhist equivalent of Saraswati - goddess of knowledge, in and about a country of astounding misogyny. Nepal's politics, history and her personal experience - beautifully written.
Jun 05, 2014 Skz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-keeps, for-nepal
A wonderful introduction to the history of Nepal and the progression of political standing that transforms the country. For a Nepal History deprived Nepali individual this was a real treat.
Nabin Pathak
Jun 09, 2015 Nabin Pathak rated it really liked it
We people of Nepal were deeply stricken by the death of the Royal Family. This book brings back those bad memories of that very black day. Worth Reading !
Shah Saguna
Aug 09, 2011 Shah Saguna rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned-books
wudnt call it a must read but i found it to be better than the previous one The Tutor of History..
Fré Van Oers
Dec 14, 2010 Fré Van Oers rated it liked it
Loving it so far.

Great way of combining a personal story with history.
And a nice style.
Rusin Mishra
Dec 17, 2013 Rusin Mishra rated it liked it
Love Nepal and it's history...Then read it!

At times a bit naive but worth a read
describes well the forbidden Nepalese community
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Manjushree Thapa is a Nepali writer.[2]
She grew up in Nepal, Canada and the USA. She began to write upon completing her BFA in photography at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her first book was Mustang Bhot in Fragments (1992). In 2001 she published the novel The Tutor of History, which she had begun as her MFA thesis in the creative writing program at the University of Washington. Her best know
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