Book Talk with C.K. Lal
On June 8th 2018, Thames International College organized a book talk with eminent writer and political analyst, Mr. C.K Lal. He acquainted us with his widely talked-about book, "To Be a Nepalese.'
After studying civil engineering, public administration, law and urban planning in India and Nepal, Mr. Lal has been simultaneously working as a civil engineer and writing for different publications for over twenty-five years. He is a columnist for Republica, Nagarik Dainik and Himal Southasian. In 2006, he was voted the most influential columnist in Nepal. Lal's current areas of study include the concept of nationality, functioning of the media, democratization of society, and institutionalization of democracy.
During the book talk, Mr. Lal shared his experiences of how his book came into being. "To Be a Nepalese' was translated from his previous work,'Nepaliya Hunalai.'Under the theme of Nepali nationalism, he provided insights on the idea of a nation-state.
In the treatise "Nepaliya Hunulai,' Mr. Lal has mapped out the complexities, weaknesses and shortfalls of the traditional notion of being Nepali. According to him, the Nepali identity is tied to names, icons, institutions and structures of a country still in the process of transforming from a "nation-state' to "state-nation. Mr, Lal has explored the alternate potentials of constructing a Nepali identity that serves the needs of a multi-cultural country.
Many questions from the audience arose. To the question, "Is unity in diversity really possible? And has it become cheap to be a Nepali?" Mr Lal. replied, "What should be celebrated is diversity in unity. Unity remains, but it is the diversity that we should be happy about."
Provokingly written, this monograph should be read by those apprehensive about the future of Nepali identity.