Social Science Baha

The Agenda of Transformation

The Agenda of Transformation: Inclusion in Nepali Democracy
(with the support of Enabling State Programme/DFID Nepal; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; Embassy of Finland; and Toni Hagen Foundation, Switzerland)
24-26 April, 2003

The conference was organised to tap into the experience of Nepali and non-Nepali scholars and look closely at the specificities of Nepal’s own diversity as well as make comparative analysis in order to provide a background against which changes could begin to be charted. The scholars making presentations at the conference were from the range of disciplines, from history to ethnography, geography, linguistics, political science, economics, jurisprudence and constitutional law, etc. This conference also provided the occasion to inaugurate The Mahesh Chandra Regmi Lecture in the presence of the late Regmi himself.


24 April (Thursday)

9:00 am – 11:00 am
Opening plenary
Welcome by Rajendra Pradhan, chair, Social Science Baha
The Mahesh Chandra Regmi Lecture delivered by Harka Gurung: ‘Trident and thunderbolt: Culture dynamics in Nepalese politics

Chair: Novel Kishore Rai

11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Social, cultural and economic exclusion – I

  • Dilli Ram Dahal: ‘Hindu nationalism and untouchable reform: The status of dalits in Nepali society’
  • Jagannath Adhikari: ‘Exclusion and access to economic opportunities: Implications for political participation and conflicts’
  • Gopal Guru: ‘Spectre of exclusion’

Chair: Chaitanya Mishra

11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Theoretical perspectives – I

  • John Whelpton: ‘Nepalese democracy and its discontents’
  • Tom Carothers: ‘The end of the transition paradigm’
  • Neera Chandhoke: ‘Living with diversity’

Chair: Lok Raj Baral

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Structures and visions – I

  • Walter Kaelin: ‘Inclusive constitutional law’
  • Sudhindra Sharma: ‘The dharmashastric view(s) of Hindu kingship: Implications for the debate on constitutional monarchy and democracy in Nepal’
  • Lynn Bennett: ‘Towards an inclusive society: The role of state policy and institutional reform in enabling more effective and equitable agency among diverse groups in Nepal’

Chair: Pratyoush Onta

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm           
Theoretical perspectives – II

  • Stephen Mikesell: ‘Unfinished agendas of the 1990 Movement’
  • Saubhagya Shah: ‘Nepali dystopia: The search for an articulating state’

Chair: Dilli Ram Dahall

25 April (Friday)

9:00 am – 11:00 am
Inclusion and regional space
Presentations by:

  • Ramawatar Yadav – on Madhesh
  • Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa – on high Himalaya
  • Maj Gen (retd) Ganesh Prasad Mahara – on Far-West
  • Kanak Mani Dixit – on Kathmandu-centricism

Moderator: C.K. Lal

11:30 am – 1:30 pm           
Social, cultural and economic exclusion – II

  • Judith Pettigrew- ‘Relating to the state: Ethno-political concerns of rural Gurungs ‘
  • David N. Gellner- ‘Inclusion, hybridity, social order: Preconditions of democracy’
  • Bishnu Raj Upreti- ‘Social exclusion and the centralism as source of conflict in Nepal: Ways forward for rebuilding trust’

Chair: Anup Pahari

11:30 am – 1:30 pm           
Inclusion at the grassroots

  • Bihari K. Shrestha- ‘Democracy and traditional social order in rural Nepal: The inclusionary ferment of change at the grassroots’
  • Sara Shneiderman- ‘Political consciousness and agency in rural Nepal: Reflections from Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk’
  • Genevieve Lakier: ‘Public spectacle and political power: The bandh and democracy in Nepal’

Chair: Sharon Hepburn

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Structures and visions – II

  • Krishna Bhattachan: ‘Expected model and process of inclusive democracy in Nepal’
  • Krishna Hachhethu: ‘The question of inclusion and exclusion in Nepal: Interface between state and ethnicity’
  • Krishna Khanal: ‘Ethnicity, exclusion and autonomy: Remaking of the constitution’

Chair: Anirudha Gupta

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm           
Politics of language

  • Pratyoush Onta: ‘Radio and the politics of democratic culture in Nepal’
  • Mark Turin: ‘The many tongues of the nation: Ethnolinguistic politics in post-1990 Nepal’
  • Rhoderick Chalmers: ‘The language of Pushkin and the language of pundits: Perspectives on Sanskritisation, Nepali, and political participation’

Chair: Santa Bahadur Pun

26 April (Saturday)

9:00 am – 11:00 am
Women in Nepali democracy
Presentation by Sapana Malla Pradhan
Panelists: Shanta Thapaliya, Seira Tamang, Teeka Bhattarai, Krishna Bhattachan

11:30 am – 1:30 pm           
Structures and visions – III

  • Bharat Raj Upreti: ‘Constitution and electoral reform’
  • Michael Hutt: ‘Ideal Nepal and the voices of Nepali writers’

Chair: A.K. Sinha

11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Institutional exclusion – I

  • Teeka Bhattarai and Bijaya Subba: ‘Disabled democracy: Leaders lacking political consciousness’
  • Mahendra Lawoti: ‘Inclusive democratic institutions for Nepal’
  • Tanka Subba: ‘Inclusion in Indian democracy: Lessons for Nepal’

Chair: David Gellner

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Closing plenary
Institutional exclusion – II

  • Anup Pahari: ‘From liberation to insurgency: The politics of paradoxes in Nepal, 1990-2003’
  • Seira Tamang: ‘Civilizing civil society: Donors and democratic space’
  • Hari Roka: ‘Towards a politics of inclusion: Redefining parties for democratisation in Nepal’
  • Dipak Gyawali: ‘Space for ethical voice’

Chair: Lynn Bennett