Ranjan Adiga’s debut collection Leech and other stories comprises 10 short stories based around the experiences of Nepalis adapting to new worlds, lands and experiences. The majority relate to migration, both internal, with migrants from rural Nepal traveling to try make it in the capital, or abroad, in search of their dream life in America. It is unsurprising that a nation shaped by migration should produce a writer who tackles the subject with such nuance and tenderness. 

Sir Sam Cowan worked with Gurkha soldiers for many years in Nepal but also in Malaya, Singapore and Borneo, eventually becoming Colonel Commandment of the Brigade of Gurkhas and the Chairman of the Gurkha Welfare Trust. In this capacity he interacted with several of Nepal’s key players, including King Birendra and King Gyanendra. After retirement from the army, Cowan started researching and writing articles on Nepali history. This new book brings together a selection of his more popular and important articles in Maharajas, Emperors, Viceroys, Borders: Nepal’s relations North and South.

Nepal’s tumultuous political history is the focus of Lok Raj Baral’s latest book, Nepal: From Monarchy to Republic, which charts the country’s journey from its political unification in 1769 to its present status as a federal democratic republic. The veteran author and political scientist charts the seismic shifts that have fundamentally changed Nepal’s politics, society and structure as a state. 

Seemingly small and, thereby, homogenous, Nepal is a nation-state fraught with problems common to almost all of South Asia: ethnic diversity that leads to tensions between the various groups, painful identity politics with the aim of securing group rights, debates about who originated in an area that has come to be defined by migration over centuries, border conflicts, corruption, and environmental policies that create conflicts between humans and other species (dilemmas in which wildlife all too often takes precedence over human rights). And yet, it is the images of the snow-capped Himalayas, the abode of the Lord Shiva, and Sherpas and Gorkhas as quintessentially Nepali that come to mind when one thinks of Nepal.

South Asian history is so complex and layered that making sense of it can take considerable effort. T Richard Blurton’s richly-illustrated India: A History in Objects emphasizes precisely this complexity and diversity—“The variety of South Asia is remarkable in terms of language, script, ethnicity, religion and architecture”— rather than a single narrative throughline.