Monthly Archives: August 2006

Now, Nepal Wants To Hear From King Gyanendra Shah

“Pashupati ko bayan bhayo, aba tinka pati lai bolaunu parchha,” said a friend of mine this afternoon. After thinking for about a couple of seconds, he continued his remarks as I could see anger in his eyes. “Tesko bayan ta malali lina man lageko chha.” [As Pashupati has been interrogated, he said, now is the time his boss is summoned. I want to interrogate him.] My friend, a reporter, was talking about the necessity of summoning and interrogating Gyanendra Shah, the king, by the High Level Probe Commission for his role in suppressing the historical peoples’ movement of April. The commission today interrogated Pashupati Bhakta Maharjan, Principal Chief Secretary of Gyanendra Shah who chaired an autocratic government in 2005 after successfully hatching a conspiracy against a democratically elected government in 2002. He tried with handpicked prime ministers for about three years. Maharjan, it seems, read out the script that we already knew about. We knew that he would act innocent (he said he worked as a bridge between the king and constitutional bodies and didn’t play any role in suppressing the peoples’ movement) and try to play the blame game. Continue reading

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Politics and Teen Feeling: Miss Teen Nepal 2006 Contestants Speak Out

Miss Teen Nepal 2006

Miss Teen Nepal 2006 Khusbu Oli (mid), first runner up Swekshya Adhikary (left) and second runner up Sambriddhi Rai Pic by Michael Copp via Kantipur

By Darshan Karki
(Inside: A Beauty Contest Amidst Maoist Pressure)

“Teenage isn’t an easy thing to define,” 19-year-old Sambriddhi Rai started the conversation. “The simplest way to put it would be we’re neither too old nor too young. And we haven’t been represented in Nepalese politics. We are the marginalized group in politics. Though full of innovative ideas nobody really takes us seriously.” We were in the premises of International Club, Sanepa (Lalitpur) to talk to the contestants of Miss Teen Nepal 2006 about the thrill of being a teenager. But the unexpected jump to politics came as a complete surprise. It seemed as though the beauties had had enough of answering the same old question of their reason of being in the beauty competition. Continue reading

Businessman Gyanendra Has Shares In 17 Companies

For the record: Gyanendra Shah is not only the biggest landlord of Nepal but also a businessman with shares in as many as 17 companies. Mr. Shah also happens to be the king of Nepal and if everything goes smoothly Nepalis will be voting to decide his royal fate in the next year or so.

KATHMANDU, Aug 27 – The government has informed Parliamentary Natural Resource Committee (NRC) that the King and his family members have shares in 17 industrial and business enterprises in the country. According to the report provided by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies to the Committee, the King and royal family members have majority shares in Soaltee Hotel, Soaltee Enterprises, Nebico Pvt. Ltd., Himalayan Goodrich (formerly Himalayan Tea Garden),Surya Nepal (Formerly Surya Tobacco), Hotel Del’ Annapurna, Himal International Energy and Himal International Power Corp. Continue reading

Nepali Democracy Thanks You Chhaya Devi Parajuli

chhaya devi parajuli
Nepali Congress General Secretary Ram Chandra Poudel covers the body of Chhaya Devi Parajuli by chartare of Nepali Congress. Pic by Bikash Karki

Obituary

The tireless participation of Chhayadevi Parajuli in pro-democracy movements made her one of the most prominent faces of freedom fighting in Nepal. She was old but her enthusiasm was amazingly young. She was courting arrests, clashing with police, chanting slogans denouncing monarchy and waiving flags. She was leading rallies, or at least was in the front of the rallies that were organized by the political parties aiming at restoring democracy in Nepal. When she was not carrying the chartare (four-starred) flag of Nepali Congress, she would put that on her body and chant slogans. She wasn’t just confining herself in rallies organized by Nepali Congress. She was seen on the front of a rally organized by CPN UML in Biratnagar. Continue reading

Teej Ko Lahara Aayo Barilai: Politics In Nepali Women’s Festival

Teej Festival Dancing

Teej songs, detailing dukkhas and sufferings, are being used to create political and social awareness

By Kathryn Hohman

In her 1988 article, feminist author Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak poses the rhetorical question, “can the subaltern speak?” In Nepal they sing. Each year married, unmarried and widowed women travel to their natal homes to take part in a ritual that is growing increasingly controversial. Teej has functioned, not only as an important ritual for Hindu women, but as a site of critical social commentary for dozens of years. It is for this celebration that I came to Nepal. Bearing witness to the changing elements of Teej in this crucial political environment, my mission is simple: to document these expressions in this specific space in time. I am not here as a development worker or a diplomat, as a trekker or a tourist. I am here to absorb this event and put it out into the world when I leave so that other cultures might understand different modes of identity construction and the forums in which it is discussed. Continue reading

Interim Constitution Draft For Nepal: King No Head Of State!?

Interim Constitution Draft Committee (ICDC) on Friday handed over the draft constitution to Nepal government and the Maoist party.

Interim Constitution

Laxman Aryal (mid) hands over the draft to Maoist negotiator Krishna Mahara as government negotiator Krishna Sitaula looks on.

After 172 Articles, 26 sections and 1 annex, interim constitution still has some major issues that are not left to be decided by the ruling alliance and the Maoists. Preamble of the interim constitution: The sovereignty and nationality being secured for the countrymen of Nepal, to institutionalize the results of the movements, until a new constitution is written through the CA elections, the draft constitution-2063 that was proposed by the political consensus has been declared through the parliament or any other political convention.” Chairman of the Interim House of Representative will act as the head of state in the interim period. Prime Minister will be the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Nepal Army. Nepal is a completely democratic state. Continue reading

NEPAL ARMY SERIES– III: Integration? No Problem

By Ameet Dhakal
News Editor,
the Kathmandu Post

KATHMANDU, Aug 24 – When army men start talking about the Maoists something happens to them inside: the voice suddenly becomes loud and body language changes. It’s an intoxicating mix of excitement and anger. All the army personnel interviewed for this article said the Maoists came to the negotiating table because they could not win the shooting war – Nasakera aayeka hun (they came because they couldn’t). But none of them claimed that the army won either. In between this “we-didn’t-win-they-didn’t-win” acceptance lies the anguish of the Nepali Army (NA). After all, armies the world over are institutions created to win wars. Not winning creates a trauma of its own. Continue reading

Maoist Students Surround Nepal Army Headquarter: Bad Move

Maoists students ghearo army headquarters

Students from around Kathmandu were forcefully taken to surround the army headquarters by the Maoists student organization. A wrong way of protest in wrong times at wrong venue. All pics by Shailendra Kharel

The photo above reminds me of that day when thousands of school students were forcefully lined up on the sides of the road leading up to the royal palace from Kathmandu international airport to welcome king Gyanendra who was returning back from his infamous African safari. Two days ago, students from Kathmandu were forcefully collected in similar manner by the Maoist affiliated student organization to surround the Nepali Army headquarters. Reason for the latest action is that the student organization wanted to pressurize the army to disclose the whereabouts of the disappeared Nepali people. Yes, that should be disclosed, no question. But the way the protest program was organized was inappropriate and the timing was bad move and the venue was not suitable at all. “What if victims of Maoists atrocities go and surround [places like Kamidanda in Kavre] where Maoist soldiers are kept,” asks an editorial in today’s Kantipur that condemns the protest. Continue reading

NEPALI ARMY SERIES-II: Trust yet To Be Nurtured

By Ameet Dhakal
News Editor
, the Kathmandu Post

KATHMANDU, Aug 23 – The Nepali Army (NA) is in transition: it has, to a large extent, abandoned its links with the monarchy, but it is yet to fully trust the political parties. “What happens if you buy a cow but get tired of it on your way home and abandon it in mid-journey?” asked a bright army major and answered the question himself without waiting for a reply. “Probably, the cow would go back to the old owner.” He was using the cow analogy to explain the current state of mind of the NA. Another young officer said, “We have come out of the monarchical cocoon, but the parties are yet to embrace us.” He is furious that the parties and lawmakers still doubt the army’s loyalty and fumed, “What shall we do to prove our loyalty to civilian rule? After all, we can’t go onto the street and shout jindabaad and murdabad “. Continue reading

NEPALI ARMY SERIES-I: Breakdown Of Traditional Loyalty

By Ameet Dhakal
News Editor, the Kathmandu Post

KATHMANDU, Aug 22 – The Nepali Army (NA) may appear the same old “royal” army from outside but the changes that have taken place within are immense, especially in the way it thinks. Interestingly, what has changed the most is precisely what has been asked about umpteenth times about the army on the street and in the House of Representatives since the April Revolution: it’s loyalty toward the monarch. “It [loyalty] completely broke down after Janaandolan,” said a major who has served 16 years in the army. Continue reading