Review

Nepal
By Ally Betker

Nepali citizens need to change the way they think about their country, author and Boston Univeristy alumnus Sujeev Shakya said at the College of Arts and Sciences Friday.

Shakya's book, "Unleashing Nepal: The Past, Present and Future of the Economy," released on October 12, examines Nepal's tumultuous economic history and its potential for the future. Shakya, a BU alumnus, is a writer for the weekly newspaper The Nepali Times, business executive for Beed Management and chair of the Nepal Economic Forum.

"It's not about trying to do big things," Shakya told an audience of 18. "Everyone should change internally. Everyone should change in their sphere of work. I'm not going to wait for the government to do something."

"I'm not an economist," Shakya said. "I don't look at graphs. Instead I ask why things are happening. My book is a quest to analyze why things have gone wrong in Nepal."

Shakya, who was awarded the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship by the U.S. Department of State in 2003, a program that funds academic study in a university for foreign professionals, said Nepal needs a "social culture perspective." Global aspects such as human rights, religion, and music could benefit Nepal if its citizens opened up to them.

"We still think in a restricted way," he said.

Nepal is one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world and has remained isolated because it had never been colonized, Shakya said. Nepali citizens must change their outlook first and improvements will follow, he said.

"Nepalese are negative and only talk about politics," he said. "We should change the debate from politics and negative thoughts. These tours are to change the discourse and give another Nepali perspective."

Shakya said Nepali citizens avoid work and instead focus on finding the easiest way to make money, a mindset which Shakya called the "rent-seeking mentality." Citizens of Nepal say their homeland is just a "small land-locked country between India and China," and are too reliant on other countries, he said.

"You become a national hero if you could beg for more money," Shakya said. "Nepal has become a destination for aid, not trade. The government needs to create a platform for people to work, which would lead to development and jobs."

BU Center for the Study of Asia administrator Mike Carroll said people often forget about Nepal.

"Nepal is a place in South Asia that requires more attention," he said.

Nassera Senhadji, a current BU Humphrey fellow, said she enjoyed the talk because she does not know much about Nepal.

"I am from North Africa," she said. "We do not get much news from Nepal in my country."

Licheng Sun, a BU alumnua who completed her Humphrey fellowship in 2000, said as a Chinese woman she would "read his book more carefully because it's important for a bigger country to understand its neighbor.

"Nepal has great potential from what I've heard today," she said.

Beed Management Nepal Economic Forum Arthabeed Sujeev Shakya