NEPALI NON-FICTION in Nepal has not yet achieved a critical mass, but few books by journalists have won accolades both in the country and outside. In recent times, Manjushree Thapa and a few others have done well. Now another work of non-fiction — Tyo Nepal (That Nepal) by Nepali journalist Dadi Sapkota appears very refreshing. It is yet to be translated into English.
‘Tyo Nepal’ is an original work completely woven around the realities of those French citizens, who have lived and worked in Nepal over the last two to three decades. The book is based on interviews of twenty nine French people.
The author seems to want to reaffirm that the benign functionalism of bonds can easily coexist even beyond conventionally restricted relationships. Familiar as he is with both France and Nepal, interviewees’ description from Paris to Nepal and Himalaya trekking, working with Sherpas, close contact with the former Royal family, experiences of a diplomat allow readers to experience events and places with comfortable ease.
Dadi also delineates Nepal’s milestones of the last decade with a balanced vigour which keeps the reader informed and engaged with the twists and turns of the plot. Moreover, his focus on the conflicts among community and vested political interests of different political groups necessitates knowing the ongoing struggle of Nepal’s democracy in a multi-layered way, not a monolithic frame. The way Tyo Nepal’s fate is so easily decided can be taken as symbolic of the fact that the loss of a human being is no big deal for believers in strife, like Maoists and other insensitive political participants. The book seems to nudge the reader towards disenchantment with existing institutional frameworks, although this might be a subjective interpretation by this reviewer.
The Book tries well to establish those disenchanting urges with the directionless political development in Nepal. The pain of Nepal’s democratic transition is far from over. A big gulf created by the end of monarchy — perhaps the process started even before the palace massacre — still haunts the prospects of political normalisation. Elite Nepali journalists and intellectuals enjoying recognition at international level must concentrate more actively on their crisis-ridden homeland!