– Tom Bell covering unrest in Kathmandu
Kathmandu is the greatest city of the Himalaya; a place where unique cultural practices that died out in India a thousand years ago have survived. It is a carnival of sexual license and hypocrisy, a jewel of world art, a hotbed of communist revolution, a paradigm of failed democracy, a case study in bungled Western intervention, and an environmental catastrophe. Closed to the outside world until 1951 and trapped in a medieval time warp, Kathmandu’s rapid modernisation is an extreme version of what is happening in many traditional societies. The many layers of the city’s development are reflected in the successive generations of its gods and goddesses, witches and ghosts, the comforts of caste, the ethos of aristocracy and kingship, and the lately destabilising spirits of consumer aspiration, individuality, egalitarianism, communism and democracy. Erudite, entertaining and accessible, it is the fascinating chronicle of a unique city.
Come join us for the launch of Tom Bell’s Kathmandu
Tom Bell in conversation with Prof. David Gellner
When: Thursday March 31, 6.30-9pm
Where: Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London, NW1 2HD
RSVP: Amy Riach, firstname.lastname@example.org
Proceeds from copies of Kathmandu sold at the event will be donated to CITTA, a non-profit organization working in India and Nepal to bring health, education and economic development of women to impoverished communities.
‘A wonderfully discursive account of the personal discovery of a great city. Looping through centuries and slaloming between journalism and history, memoir, mythology and gossip, Tom Bell has written a portrait of Kathmandu like no other, taking us from Manjushree to the Maoists via witches, colonial Orientalists, LSD cults, spies wars and old Serge Gainsbourg movies. A splendidly eccentric and enjoyable first book’ – William Dalrymple
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