"Peace Building in Nepal" Formally Released In New Delhi
Date 2012/6/23 17:32:58 | Topic: Hindu Press International
NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 23, 2012 (HPI-Rajiv Malik): A new book, "Peace Building in Nepal," was released yesterday at New Delhi's prestigious India International Centre. The book was edited by Dr. Hari Bansh Jha, executive director of Centre for Economic and Technical Studies and long-time Nepal correspondent for Hinduism Today magazine. A select group of intellectuals, scholars and friends of Nepal in India attended the function organized by Schumacker Centre in association with the Centre for Economic and Technical Studies, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Alliance for Peace building.
Speakers at a meeting in New Delhi expressed concern at the critical situation prevailing in Nepal in the absence of a constitution. Due to lack of constitution the people at the helm of affairs did not know how to operate democratically and provide good governance to the Nepalese people. The development of the country was suffering due to the present climate of uncertainty. There was unanimity that the situation at present was worrisome and grim, however still all hope was not lost that a solution would soon emerge and normalcy will come back in this troubled nation.
In his introductory remarks, Dr. Hari Bansh Jha said, "Nepal was engulfed in a state of conflict in the year 1996 and it went on till 2006. The conflict initially started in the hills of Nepal and gradually spread all over the country. Nowhere in the world, could insurgency spread across the nation in a small period of seven to eight years. It was the first time that we were facing such a situation and neither the government, nor the media and people had any clue how the crisis was to be defused. To cooperate with the government and to bring awareness among the Nepalese people and at the same time to make an effort to defuse the crises Centre for Economic and Technical Studies [CETS] in association with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung [FES] and Alliance For Peace building organized a series of seminars in Nepal. These seminars were held in the years 2009 and 2010 on the issues related to conflict and peace building in Nepal. This book basically is a compilation of the papers presented at the seminars held in Kathmandu."
He went on to say, "Before 1996 we had peace in the country but during this ten year period we had massive turmoil in Nepal. Over 18,000 people were killed either by the army or the insurgent groups during this period of conflict. The number of army personnel had to be increased from around 20 thousand to around 96 thousand and most of the expenditure that was to be spent on the development of the country had to be diverted to maintain security."
Dr. Jha concluded, "Even now the situation is that the problems of Nepal have not be resolved. Though a constituent assembly was formed, despite several extensions we could not come up with a constitution for the country till date. Today technically the situation is that the country is being run without a constitution and the government has no basis on which they are running it. The present situation is that the opposition is very strong and we do not know what is going to happen in the next moment. However I still hope that things will subside and the Nepalese people will show their wisdom to bring peace and development in the country. Right now nothing substantial is being done in the country for its development. Though the situation is very critical as even the parliament has been dissolved in the country. However we are still hopeful that something positive will emerge."
Professor T.K. Oommen, Chairman, Schumacher Centre and a well known sociologist who formally released the book, said, "This is a very timely book. The need of the hour in Nepal today is certainly peace building. However the process involved is very tortuous because Nepal right now is going through a transitional anomie, a state of absence of normal standards, a period of lawlessness. During transition there are normally problems, but in the case of Nepal, it is particularly acute. Because Nepal for a long time had a coercive equilibrium which was due to a monarchical regime. Then it initiated the process of evolving a constitution and that lead to consensual equilibrium. That is what is democracy is all about. That people decide to govern themselves. The Nepalese at the moment are caught between the two, the coercive equilibrium and the consensual equilibrium. The country is now moving towards the consensual equilibrium. However I would like to say that the societies of both Nepal and India are complex. They are hierarchy based, based on caste and class, therefore the solutions are also quite complex. Finally a peaceful society is based on four pillars and they are equality, identity, dignity and security. I feel that to provide these four in Nepal in the current scenario and background is going to be quite a challenging task."
An old friend of Dr. Jha , Professor Suresh Dhingra who taught at the Delhi University, said, "Professor Jha is a great organizer and a tireless worker. All political parties and leaders have failed the Nepalese people. It is a political failure. It is a failure of the vision and failure of capitalizing on a given situation.The need of the day is that the media should also play a positive role. In fact there is a need for the media to look backwards and take up its job like a mission."
Others who spoke at the meeting included Professor Devi Prasad Tripathy, scholar and politician and Shri D.K. Giri, director, Schumacher Centre, New Delhi who also moderated the discussion.