Despite decades of restoration efforts by a rich ensemble of state-development actors, cultural heritage votaries and rights activists, the Bagmati is nothing less than a sewage canal by the time it meets its tributaries in Kathmandu. In her book Reigning the River: Urban Ecologies and Political Transformation in Kathmandu Anne Rademacher, assistant professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University, chronicles how the river’s degradation resonates with the perceived social, cultural, religious and political disorder in the tumultuous democracy. She shares her insights with Aditya Batra.

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