Robin Lustig of the BBC's The World Tonight, one of my favourite BBC broadcasters, seems to be in Nepal thesedays. Last night I heard his report from Nepal, on The World Tonight, about his meeting with a maoist commander in Janakpur area. And early this morning, I found his news piece on BBC online - Up close with Nepal's Maoists, which is basically a summary of his audio report that I heard last night. I didn't know Robin was so much of a purist - he has translated even the Maoist commander's name to English, from Commander Bikalpa (my guess from Robin's translation) to Commander Alternative. Even interesting is the name of their political spokesman - Commissar Content, which in my guess must be Commissar Santosh! ...continue reading "Robin Lustig in Nepal…"

Fund for Peace (FfP), a Washington, D.C. based organisation has recently released its ranking of “failed states” – called the Failed State Index 2006. Nepal is listed at number 20, in fourth place among the South Asian countries, after Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. In its preamble it states:

We encourage others to utilize the Failed States Index to develop ideas for promoting greater stability worldwide. We hope the Index will spur conversations, encourage debate, and most of all help guide strategies for sustainable security.

Of course, the debate has already spurred, especially in Pakistan as it was placed in 9th place, above Afghanistan. BBC quoted Pakistani information minister saying the report “joke of the year”. Whatever the opinions and facts, the report did succeed in spurring the debate so that’s good. But what about similar debates in Nepal? So far I have not heard a single official comment regarding the report, nor have I seen any analytical piece regarding this issue in the mainstream media. So, is this report worth debating over (in case of Nepal)? I think it is. ...continue reading "Nepal – the 20th failed state?"