Thousands Demonstrate in Nepal Against Maoist Demands for Provinces Based on Ethnicity

I joined thousands of Nepali citizens who took to the streets on Thursday morning in Pokhara, Nepal in support of a United Nepal. Their cry, "Himal, Pahad, Terai," (Mountain, Hills, Plains), was in response to violent demonstrations that have plagued the country over the past week, as some of Nepal's more than 100 minorities demanded a new form of government that would divide the county into States based on ethnicity and identity. If their demands are successful, this tiny Asian country could be thrust into an era of tribal feuding that has not been seen since Prithivi Narayan Shah unified warring tribes into one central Himalayan kingdom in 1769. The present strife is a direct result of the Maoist-led "Nepalese Peoples War" fought between 1996 and 2005. Maoists espouse the philosophy of the late Chinese Premiere Mao Zedong, architect of the brutal Cultural Revolution, who used violence and terror to overthrow the upper class, appropriate their estates, and redistribute land to the common people. In Nepal, the Royal Monarchy led by King Gyanendra had become corrupt and unresponsive to its subjects by the mid 1990's. Maoists seized upon the unrest, promising free land, food, and the designation of States based on cultural identity to disenfranchised ethnic groups who had largely been ignored by the government. In 2006, Maoists agreed to a cease-fire and became a legitimate part of the government when Gyanendra was forced to step down in May, 2008. To read more about the situation in Nepal and about the other destinations I visit as a perpetual traveler who has been on the road since 2007, visit my blog, Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel, at