By Prof. Dr. Shastra Dutta Pant
Published by: Dr. Shastra Dutta Pant,
Institue for Rural Development (SIRUD), Kathmandu
The author escapes mainline intellectualism in Nepal currently perhaps because of his association with a nationalistic movement that has been relegated to the sidelines by today’s monopolists of modernism and democracy. Among other things, his copious list of publications printed in the back cover of this hard bound book should manifest his claim to that list of Nepali knowledgeables who have increasingly taken to publications to score their point. The book, all 615 pgs of it comes packed with information, is extensively footnoted, indexed, referenced and glossaried enough to make it an informative intellectual exercise to the credit of the author/ publisher. Dr. Pant’s intent is to project and alternative to the current scheme of things and our masters today do not want an alternative other than that they prescribe for the country, Dr. Pant has both the education, the experience and vision to delve into a future for the country whereas the status quoists today perpetuate an agenda of dubious national intent. One only wishes that a publication of this sort employed better language skills to make the package better saleable as a result of which perhaps it will shunted again to the peripheries as among the many publications drowned out as inconsequential ranting.
One definite contribution though will be his account in the book, as principal subject matter, of the activities of that Indian intelligence institution—the Research and Analysis Wing. RAW, its structural composition and its global responsibilities for India and its conduct worldwide has been much talked about much in Nepal and the region particularly and perhaps Dr. Panta has contributed well by delving on the topic. After all, ever since Bangladesh and Sikkim and then Sri Lanka and now Nepal the Indian role and that of RAW’s among these populations and that in Pakistan moreover compose volumes as subject matter for not mere political allegations but actual on the ground cloak and dagger destabilization. More than his ideological discussions on what should be in Nepal, the account he has given of RAW in the book is actually the basic subject matter as the title suggests.
That it suggests so would go miles in instilling insights into whether RAW has helped build strong Indian foreign relations or whether it has actually hindered it. It is this that should matter both in New Delhi and the neighborhood capital. The fact that we are so aware of Indian destabilization policies and are prepared to discuss it outright has certainly not helped build trust in the neighborhood. Which then leads one to question whether Nepali policy should factor this negative Indian role permanently in building alternatives or whether trust-building in relations would mean subservience to RAW policies both in New Delhi and capitals like Kathmandu. In this sense, Dr Pant’s exercise would be fruitful indeed.