Friday, April 24, 2009

3 Years of Democracy in "New Nepal"

24 April marks the third anniversary of Jana Andolan II, the much vaunted "people's revolution" of 2006. Republica (how obvious can one be?), in its inaugural issue, trumpets "Triumph of People Power". In marked contrast, the Kathmandu Post which bills itself as Nepal's Largest Selling English Daily does not even mention that today is Democracy Day, being observed with a national holiday. So not all believe that people's power was what created JA II.

In a nutshell, on 24 April 2006, the then-King stepped back from his autocratic rule making way for the re-convening of the National Parliament. The anti-King movement had been spearheaded by seven political parties, led by the Nepali Congress (NC) and the United Marxist-Leninist party (UML). In November 2005, under the auspices of the Indian Government, the Maoists who were then still fighting against the government sat down for talks in Delhi with the seven party alliance (SPA). The resulting 12-points agreement effectively brought the Maoists into the SPA as an eighth political force. In a truely communist tactical move, a hard-core communist rebel movement joined efforts towards a multi-party democracy.

The initial call for an end tp an end to autocratic rule by the King snowballed into a anti-monarchy movement. instigated by SPA, Maoists and arguably (only because there is no hard proof) by the Indian Government. Every player had his/her own axe to grind. GP Koirala, the NC president aspired to be the first president of Republic Nepal, and his ambition had no bounds. The Maoists, almost by definition, were not going to support - at least overtly - the monarchy. Unfortunately, India felt put upon when the King pressed for China to have observer status in SAARC (the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation). It all came to a head on that fateful day 3 years ago when thousands of people took to the streets chanting anti-King slogans. Monarchy had become democracy's bugaboo. And alas, the monarchists had only themselves to blame for this utter failure in reflecting how monarchy and democracy were both needed for the sovereignty, unity and future of Nepal.

The people who came out into the streets have now been deified as the instruments of "people power". It is too late to count how many of those were Maoist cadres, how many were paid by the SPA, and how many were out just to watch the fun.

We observe Democracy Day today in a country whch has pre=maturely been classified as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Whether we are to be federal or not depends on the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly. We have become a republic in the most undemocratic fashion possible, sans referendum and at the whim of the triumvirate leaders of the Maoists, NC and UML parties. The term "new Nepal" is almost unheard these days. Seems we are relegated to the same old Nepal where the people are shepherded around like sheep. Democratic sheep??!!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let's not dwell in the past. The future looks bleak. What can we individually do to save our Motherland? Any concrete proposal?

The simple, common Nepali asks not for riches but the basic necessities of life. The Government certainly cannot or are unable to provide it. They need to provide it for themselves. And, without a means of productive employment the poor Nepali is doomed.
Let us pray to Lord Pasupatinath for deliverance.

Subodh said...

I will let you on a big secret - Pashupatinath will not deliver.

Anonymous said...

I accept Subodh Dai's comment. It is not the Pashupatinath which delivers the thing. Had it been so Nepal remained Hindu Rastra. Praying Pashupatinath for the democracy, good governance, development, peace, is fooling ourselves. Might is right works in the world. Maoists and their brands- Nepali Congress, UML, MJF and few others understand the language of a gun.
My words look like aggressive. But this is a fact. Unless the Rightists force/Nationalists/Patriots or so-called democrats apply the methods that Maoists did, it is for sure Nepal will see its complete destruction from the extreme-lefts.
Tit for tat works very well in Nepal. Over-power the culprits then you are the winner. Otherwise, surrender! The democratic method is not going to work in Nepal, not for the decades. By then, everybody knows what will happen to Nepal.

Bishal Shah

A Simha said...

For things to be sorted out properly I hate to say it - but there should be a bloody civil war and these sort of anodolan I & II which have given the "opposition"
power in a golden plate. OR a benevolent Jung Bahadur should arise ! We Nepalese need strong dictorial leadership otherwise these Chiya Pasal ko Kurs will overtake our senses.

HORATIO said...

Anon 4:37, well you have some concrete proposals from A. Simha - a bloody civil war or another Jung Bahadur.

The 10 years of Maoist rebellion, while not exactly a civil war, was bloody enough. And where has that got us? 13,000 dead and more "martyrs" popping off daily.Nepal will probably not survive a civil war with multi-ethnic factions.

As for Jung Bahadur, let him lie in peace. We do need a strong incorruptible leader with brains and vision. But hey, if wishes were horses and all that...! As long as the country is run by narrow minded fossils and the youth are so disillusioned, I doubt we will get even a Lee Kwan Yew, much less good ol' Junge'!

Anonymous said...

Let us not lose faith in Lord Pasupatinath. Man only proposes, Lord Pasupatinath disposes.
People who live by the gun die by the gun.
Every democracy has teething problems.
Meanwhile, let us each individually work on alleviating the suffering of our brothers and sisters by providing dignity to them that they can be self reliant and provide the basic necessities of life to themselves and their loved ones.
Any takers?
Let us be positive and constructive so that we can save the new Nepal and the disillusioned
public, especially the youth.