Cabals and Cartels: Book launched in socially-distanced event

KATHMANDU: Rajib Upadhya, a formal journalist and longtime development professional, has come out with a book that argues that the cabals and the cartels, the dark underbelly of the transitioning Nepal, will hollow out every prospect for the change that we are still pining for if they are left to their devices.

The book was launched amidst a few journalists in a socially-distanced setting, today.

The launch was followed by a panel discussion among the writer, economists Biswo Poudel, Hima Bista, and senior journalist Kishore Nepal.

Speaking at the launch, Kishore Nepal said, “Rajib Upadhya's book is a vivid portrait of contemporary Nepal. Many books are written about Nepal in English, but most of them are of touristy type. In Cabals and Cartels, Rajib digs deep into the painful realities of the nation.”

“A gripping tapestry of interwoven events that characterises Nepal’s transformation from a multiparty monarchy fighting against  insurgency and poverty to a secular republic fighting against poverty,” one of the panelists Biswo Poudel said, describing the book as as engrossing memoir of a skilled raconteur. He further said the writer has  incisively observed “the local elites responsible for these epochal events in his capacity as an employee at the World Bank” and supplemented “his observations with the deep and precise understanding of the local political context.”

Another panelist, Hima Bista, who is a development professional said that “Cabals and Cartels is an outstanding narrative of political and economic transitions. It is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the labyrinth of international aid, its vices and virtues especially during and after the conflict.”

Upadhya, while sharing his own experiences, said that he wanted to expose his readers to the grave risks that the cabals and the cartels pose to democratic stability and equitable prosperity.

"I felt I needed to present the evidence as to how they distort the priorities of our state and market institutions and distract us from our national goals. I wanted to make the case as to why extricating ourselves of the cabals and cartels is so central to Nepali society liberating itself from the past.”

Dr Devendra Raj Pandey has said that the book is an “absorbing tale of Nepal’s trials and tribulations in a challenging period is remarkable both for the depth of analysis and the breadth of its coverage."