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Item #: BK1193-8362
SHADOW OVER SHANGRI-LA: A WOMAN'S QUEST FOR FREEDOM Durga Pokhrel 1996 1st ed Hardcover DJ New 2 Copies Available
By Pokhrel, Durga and Anthony Willett
Price: $3.95

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Detailed Product Description

Washington, 1996. 354 pp, b/w photos. Hardcover with dust jacket. New.

Nepal is not the political paradise that we think it is culturally and scenically. The author was an imprisoned democratic opposition figure, until death threats forced her escape to the US. This memoir by a Nepalese antigovernment activist who, in 1981, was imprisoned without charges for nearly a year, is an indictment of the country's rulers for human rights violations 15 years ago.

Written with her British-born husband, the book's power is diluted by clumsy writing and a failure to explain some of the details of Nepalese culture and politics. Until her arrest, Pokhrel, an upper-caste religious Hindu, ran a flourishing publishing company in Kathmandu with two friends, printing both political and nonpolitical materials. A few months before she was seized, strangers asked her help in a plot to kidnap the king's son.

She refused but failed to report the incident and gave them a considerable sum, ostensibly so they would stop bothering her. She assumes this incident figured in her arrest. Her account focuses on the appalling conditions of prison life, although her own suffering was mitigated by exceptional privileges, particularly the services of a cellmate as her maid and cook. After nearly a year of prayers and with the help of Amnesty International, she was freed, emigrating shortly thereafter to the U.S. Her unusual suggestions for prison reform include daily meditation and yoga practice for both staff and inmates, abolition of the caste system and implementation of traditional Nepalese principles of physical and mental health. 


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