Home Institution

Binghamton University

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Nepal: Development and Social Change


Nepal is a country with a brutal history of endemic domestic conflict and economic inequality. With the majority of the population living below the poverty line, development discourse has been crucial to political discussions for the past 20 years. The advent of the People‘s War marked a highly significant turn in the history of Nepali politics as the formation of the United Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-M) and the subsequent insurgency that followed brought issues of socio-economic equality and empowerment of marginalized peoples to the forefront of the national agenda. The CPN-M rapidly gained support predominantly in the rural countryside and carried out a violent protracted People‘s War in order bring about economic transformation. However, there has been very little socio-economic change since the Maoists gained the majority of seats in the Constituent Assembly despite promises of equality and improved livelihoods throughout the bloody years of the war. This research seeks to demonstrate how the Maoists were able to mobilize the masses and gain political support through the strategic use of development as an incentive for joining the rebellion. After having studied much of the Maoist literature published at the time of the People‘s War as well as having spoken with several noteworthy Nepali academics, I have provided an in depth analysis of the relationship between the CPN-M and development over time. The research ultimately paints a clear picture of two distinct dichotomies resulting from Maoist political activities in Nepal: between development and destruction and growth and decline. Although the Maoists have continually made promises to further develop Nepal and bring the country into a state of stability and economic prosperity, the social structure Shornstein iii of Nepal remains unchanged and underdeveloped. This research presents an alternative theory for the tactics used by the Maoists to gain political support and how these tactics have affected development activities in Nepal over the past 15 years.


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Rural Sociology