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Panel Discussion on Nation Building and Federalism in Nepal: Contentions on Framework

Nation Building and Federalism in Nepal
Contentions on Framework
Krishna Hachhethu
8 February 2024 (Thursday), Yala Maya Kendra, Patan Dhoka

This book’s primary contribution to political science will be in the presentation and elucidation of identity-based federalism, a unique concept and a novel form of federalism. Nepal’s Interim Constitution of 2007 and two subsequent reports, prepared for Constituent Assembly-I by its State Restructuring Committee and by the High-Level Commission, were crucial for the conceptualization of identity-based federalism. Theoretical discourse within political science, the comparative experience of South Asian countries, and the federal debate in Nepal all suggest that there are two contrasting nation-building visions—that of the nation-state and that of the state-nation. There is a conceptual coherence between nation-state, liberal democracy, majoritarianism, assimilationist strategies, and a unitary state or territorial federalism. By contrast, the state-nation path of nation-building entails inclusive democracy, consociational government, the accommodation of ethnic diversity, and identity-based federalism. For Nepal, the key question was whether the project of state restructuring underway since 2006 should follow the principle of the nation-state or that of the state-nation, or rather be something else entirely. This book, written by a scholar who had a ringside view and who knows all the participants well, tracks the history of the clash between these two contrasting visions during the critical transitional period when the Constitution was being prepared (2008–2015) and in the immediate aftermath when it was being put into practice. It analyses the forces supporting both visions and explains the ultimate victory of one side over the other.

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Krishna Hachhethu is Professor of Political Science at Tribhuvan University. In addition to over seven dozen research-based articles in academic journals and edited books, published from Nepal and abroad, he is the author and editor of a total 17 books. His single-authored books include Party Building in Nepal: Organization, Leadership and PeopleState of Democracy in Nepal: Survey ReportState Building in Nepal: Creating a Functional StateCitizen Survey 2013: Nepal in Transition, and Trajectory of Democracy in Nepal. Professor Hachhethu was a member of the High Level Commission for Recommendation of State Restructuring of Nepal.

Jeevan Baniya

Assistant Director, Social Science Baha
Sucheta Pyakuryal
Director, Centre for Governance and Academic Affairs,
Institute for Integrated Development Studies
Sohan Prasad Sha
Member, Planning Commission, Government of Madhesh Province
Seira Tamang
Editor-at-Large, Studies in Nepali History and Society (SINHAS)
Krishna Hachhethu


Lok Raj Baral

former professor of political science, Tribhuvan University

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