Former UN official Kul Chandra Gautam pens book on Nepal

KATHMANDU: Former Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Kul Chandra Gautam has penned a book exploring plethora of challenges – primarily economic and political – that Nepal faces and offered suggestions how to rebuild the nation in the wake of decade-long Maoist conflict and protracted political transition, now followed by the devastating April 25 earthquake.

The publisher Publication Nepa~laya said the book entitled "Lost in Transition: Rebuilding Nepal from the Maoist mayhem and mega earthquake" would be formally launched in Kathmandu on Saturday.

In his commentary, Gautam, with his experience as a development professional and a patriot,  calls for an end to Nepal’s seemingly endless political transition and shifting the nation’s focus to economic development and social progress without further delay.

The reputed international diplomat has included an unsent letter to Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" that he wrote in 2005 – urging the latter to give up the armed rebellion and make peace – and an epilogue on India's de facto blockade against Nepal following the promulgation of new Constitution.

Gautam, who was one of the first persons to advocate for the United Nations’ good offices to resolve Nepal’s armed conflict, has dissected the bias of some members of the international community and UN officials in Nepal towards the Maoists after the former rebels joined the peace process through Comprehensive Peace Accord.

“If politicians, policymakers and the general public find my experiences and suggestions worth following to rebuild Nepal then I will feel truly happy,” Gautam said, exuding great confidence that Nepal can be turned into a peaceful and prosperous nation by following sensible and pragmatic policies of progressive socioeconomic transformation under a democratic framework, instead of further experimenting with outdated ideologies or parochial approaches.

Author Kul C Gautam @kunjarmani holds the first copy of his book #LostInTransition #FreshFromThePress @nepalayabooks

— PublicationNepa~Laya (@nepalayabooks) December 8, 2015

According to the Publication Nepa~laya, the book was originally planned to release the book right after the Constitution was promulgated. "With the recent unfolding of events we, however, were forced to wait for some months,” Kiran Krishna Shrestha of Nepa~laya said, "Despite the ongoing crisis, we decided to move ahead and release the book now, as some of the author’s commentary are highly relevant in the current context.”

Former Regional Director of UN Development Fund for Women, Chandni Joshi, commented that Gautam's book – written in a lucid, storytelling style – presents illuminating insights on how the Maoists sought to take advantage of the peace process, and how the international community was deceived and deluded by their progressive-sounding rhetoric.

"The book is a valuable gift for Nepal’s younger generation, as the author shares his inspiring vision for rebuilding a just and prosperous future," Joshi said.

Prof. Kedar Bhakta Mathema, who served as the Vice-Chancellor of Tribhuvan University and Nepal's Ambassador to Japan, hailed the book as "stimulating and provocative book replete with personal anecdotes that offers an invigorating blast of fresh air to the ongoing debates on the Maoist movement, the peace process, federalism, identity politics, the Constitution making and the rebuilding of Nepal".

"The author brings an observer's sharp eyes and an analyst's close grasp to subjects desperately in need of close scrutiny," Mathema stated, "It is a book written with love for Nepal and must be read by all who wish to understand the context of Nepal’s political and development challenges."

Likewise, Prof. Chaitanya Mishra is of the opinion that the book is a reasoned and visceral account of Nepal during 1995-2015 by a senior international civil servant who is pained to see missed opportunities for democracy and prosperity in his home country.

"The author delves deep to identify both the reasons for missed development and to seek solutions. Everybody interested in contemporary Nepal should read it," Prof. Mishra has been quoted in a statement released by the publishers.

Nepa~laya said in the statement that book has been priced at Rs 675 and would be available in all major book store by Saturday. Also, an e-book version would be available on Muncha's KaKha for Android devices, and on Kathalaya’s WeRead for Android and iOS devices.