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The Price of Neglect: From Resource Conflict to Maoist Insurgency in the Himalayan Kingdom

The Price of Neglect: From Resource Conflict to Maoist Insurgency in the Himalayan Kingdom

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Published by The Wilson Center
Saleem Ali reviews The Price of Neglect: From Resource Conflict to Maoist Insurgency in the Himalayan Kingdom.
Saleem Ali reviews The Price of Neglect: From Resource Conflict to Maoist Insurgency in the Himalayan Kingdom.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: The Wilson Center on Sep 05, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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EnvironmEntal ChangE and SECurity program
123
 Althoughsurroundedbyconictoverthelast
two centuries, the Himalayan nation o Nepalhas been resilient in the ace o colonialism.
EvenduringtheBritishRaj,thefeudalrulersof
Nepal managed to stay relatively independentby oering diplomatic and military support to
theBritish.However,for10years,contempo-
rary Nepal was beset by a civil war that killed
13,000people.Afragilepeaceagreementsignedin2006ledtohistoricelectionsinApril2008,
but the years o internal strie exacted a serioustoll on the country.Overtly, the conict began as an ideologi
-
cal clash between a monarchic system and a socialist egalitarian ideology inuenced by the writings o the Chinese revolutionary leader
MaoZedong.TheMaoistsdifferentiatethem-
selves rom classical communists because thestrength o Nepal’s proletariat lies with the ruralpeasantry rather than the urban working class. While many o the key Maoist leaders are high
-lyeducatedintellectuals(includingBaburamBhattarai,whowastrainedinenvironmental
planning), they clearly tapped key grassrootsactors that supported the rise o this move
-
ment among the masses, such as elite corrup
-
tion and marginalization o rural areas by theurban economy. It is particularly surprising thatthe movement gained traction at a time whenmost other communist states, including China and Vietnam, began tacitly moving towards a capitalist economic model, while retaining cen
-
tralized political control.
BishnuUpreti’sbook,
The Price o Neglect: From Resource Confict to Maoist Insurgency in the Himalayan Kingdom 
waspublishedin2004, justastheMaoistinsurgencywasreachinga
ever pitch and violence was spreading to thecapital, Kathmandu. In the book’s frst six chap
-
ters, Upreti oers an introduction to resourceconict, covering theories o conict and theirapplication to environmental resources such as
 waterandforests.Theauthorusesexamplesto
demonstrate the importance o resource con
-
ict’s cultural context; or example, those seek 
-ingtounderstandtheconictovertheAsianDevelopmentBank-fundedirrigationprojectinAndherikholamustconsidertheHinducaste
system, which is still prevalent in Nepal. South
 Asiangraduatestudentswillndthiscontextu-
alized introduction to resource conicts mostuseul—and aordable too, since the book waspublished in Nepal.Upreti uses some rather unusual quotationsto highlight the importance o environmental
conicts,suchFidelCastro’sspeechatthe50th
anniversary o the World Health Organizationindicting the “blind and uncontrollable laws o 
themarket”forenvironmentaldegradation.Yet
he misses an opportunity to link such anecdotalreerences and quotations to the book’s larger
theme.Analyzingsuchrhetoricinthecontext
o the Maoists’ maniesto would have been illu
-
minating; or example, it is ironic that Upreti
The Price of Neglect: From Resource Conflict toMaoist Insurgency in the Himalayan Kingdom
By Bishnu Raj Upreti Kathmandu, Nepal: Bhrikuti Academic Publications, 2004. 446 pages.
Reviewed by SALEEM H. ALI
Saleem H. Ali
is an associate professor of 
envonenal sdes a e unvesy of  Veon’s rbensen Scool of Naalresoces, and s on e adjnc faclyof Bown unvesy’s Wason inse fo inenaonal Sdes. hs os ecen ededvoles ae
Earth Matters: Indigenous Peoples, the Extractive Industries and CSR 
(geenleaf, 2008), and
Peace Parks:Conservation and Conflict Resolution
(mitPess, 2007). p://www.v.ed/~sal/

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