Monthly Archives: May 2009

Happy Republic Day Nepal :)

The Himalayan Republic Celebrates First Republic Day Anniversary
[From a year ago: 1. Nepal is Declared a Republic!!! 2. Minute by Minute Account of the Historic Session of the CA that Declared Nepal a Republic

Republic Day rally in Pokhara, Nepal
Republic Day rally in Pokhara, Nepal. Pic by Krishna Mani Baral

The first anniversary of the declaration of federal democratic republic of Nepal is being observed throughout the nation on Friday (today). Hundreds of thousands of Nepali people within and abroad the country are celebrating the first republic day. A large number of people thronged the capital to observe a special function organised at Tundikhel in which various cultural programmes and other vibrant displays were organised by the government appointed organising committee. Continue reading

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Nepal-India Relations: Open Secret Diplomacy

By Bishnu Pathak, PhD

Setting:

The United Maoist-led Government resigned as of May 4, 2009 and its resignation has been accepted. Almost three weeks back, the senior UML leader, Madhav Kumar Nepal, who failed to win people’s trust in two constituencies he challenged in the last Constituent Assembly (CA) election, was unanimously elected as the second Prime Minister of republican Nepal on May 23, 2009. The largest party with 238 members out of 601, the united Maoists, boycotted the election, protesting against the move of the president. The ceremonial president reinstated the CoAS to let him continue in his office despite the executive decision. India has now become the butt of controversy among all players – political parties, media, civil society, etc. -both in and outside the land. This article attempts to address India’s role in Nepal, its next-door neighbor in the central Himalayas.

Problem 1: Treaty of Segowlee (Sagauli Treaty)

Nepal received a draft on December 2, 1815, but only signed it 93 days later (March 4, 1816). It is marked by territorial concessions. An excerpt of the treaty has been given below:

• Peace and friendship shall be perpetual between the East India Company and the Rajah of Nipal (art. 1)

• Nipal renounces all claim to the lands which were the subject of discussion between the two States before the war and acknowledges the right of the Company to sovereignty of those lands (art. 2).

• Nipal cedes the following territories to the Company (art 3) such as

• The whole of the low lands between the Rivers Kali and Rapti (art 3.1).

• The whole of the low lands (except Butwal) lying between the Rapti and the Gunduck (art 3.2).

• The whole of the low lands between the Gunduck and Coosah (art 3.3).

• All the low lands between the Rivers Mitchee and the Teestah (art 3.4).

• All the territories within the hills eastward of the River Mitchee including the lands of Nagree and the Pass of Nagarcote leading from Morung into the hills, together with the territory lying between that Pass and Nagree. The aforesaid territory shall be evacuated by the Gurkah troops within forty days from this date (art 3.5).

• The Chiefs and Barahdars whose interest shall suffer by the alienation of the lands, the British Government agrees to
settle pensions to the aggregate amount of two lakhs of rupees per annum on such Chiefs (art 4).

• Nipal renounces for himself, his heirs, and successors, all claim lying to the west of the River Kali and engages
never to have any concern with those countries or the inhabitants thereof (art 5).

• Nipal shall not disturb the territories of Rajah of Sikkim; but agrees, if any differences shall arise between them shall
be referred to the arbitration of the British Government (art 6).

• Nipal hereby engages never to take or retain in his service any British subject, nor the subject of any European and
American State, without the consent of the British Government (art 7).

•To secure/improve the relations of amity and peace hereby established between the two States, it is agreed that
accredited Ministers from each shall reside at the Court of the other (art 8).

• This nine article treaty shall be ratified by the Rajah of Nipal within fifteen days from this date, and the ratification
shall be delivered to Lt. Colonel Bradshaw and deliver to the Rajah the ratification of the Governor-General within
twenty days, or sooner (art 9).

Observation: Buddhi Narayan Shrestha states, “The result of the treaty was that Nepal lost almost-one third of its territory on the east, south, and west.” Nepal lost its unified and expended land Tista in the east, Kangara in the west, and nearly the confluence of Ganga and Jamuna in the
south1. Sugauli has been called an unequal treaty, where Nepal only lost but the British Empire gained a huge territorial advantage, despite the equality, mutual friendliness, and understanding language within the treaty. The treaty was signed unwillingly by Nepal. Budhi Narayan writes:

“The British East India Company prepared the draft of the treaty with the signature of Lieutenant Colonel Paris Bradshaw on December 2, 1815. It was sent to Nepal with a 15-day ultimatum for counter-signature and asked to return it to them. Nepal did not like the terms and conditions of the treaty, so it did not sign within that period. The British then spread rumor that they were launching attack on the capital, Kathmandu, and
even carried out troop movement to show Nepal that it was serious. When Nepal thought that the attack on the capital was inevitable, it was forced to accept the treaty. As it was a treaty imposed on Nepal, the King and high ranking officials did not want to sign it. But as Nepal was under duress to accept its terms, Chandrashekhar Upadhyaya, who had accompanied Pandit Gajaraj Mishra to the British camp at Sugauli, put
his signature on March 4, 1816 and gave it to them. As Nepal had signed the treaty under coercion after 93 days against the 15-day ultimatum, the treaty came into effect from that day2.”

The British Governor General had a fear that Nepal might not implement the treaty fully, as the king of Nepal had not signed or followed article 9. The treaty had cumulative effects, particularly on sovereignty, due to the final decision over any conflict arising between Sikkim and Nepal resting with the British. The treaty did not last forever as per article 3, as Nepal restored its sovereignty over the plains between the Koshi to Rapti within nine months of the signing3.

By the Sugauli treaty, Nepal lost 120,394 sq. km. and was confined to 147,181 sq. km. The present clamor for greater Nepal is the concept of gaining the 45 percent more land – what had been lost by the Sugauli treaty. Wikipedia states that greater Nepal is a concept referring to the state of Nepal extending beyond present boundaries to include territories ceded to the British East India Company under the Sugauli Treaty that ended the Anglo-Nepalese War in 1814 – 16. Some
Madhes-Terai land was restored to Nepal in 1816 under a revision of the treaty and more territory was returned in 1865 to thank Nepal for helping to suppress the Indian rebellion of 18574. The idea of a modern Nepal or ‘greater Nepal’ covering the same territories is raised by some Nepali nationalist groups5.” In Prachanda’s last speech to Constituent Assembly (CA) in the capacity of Prime Minister he said Nepal has remained a semi-colonized state ever since the country signed
the Sugauli Treaty with British India and that Nepal has “failed in the historic necessity to redefine and develop bilateral relations as per the [recent] change.”6

1 http://www.geocities.com/sugaulitreaty/nepal?20091.
2 http://www.geocities.com/sugaulitreaty/nepal
3 http://www.geocities.com/sugaulitreaty/nepal
4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Sugauli
5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Nepal#cite_note-Telegraph_Nepal-0
6 Kathmandu Post. May 23, 2009. Relations with India Need Redefining. Kathmandu: Kantipur Publication

Madhav Nepal, the Moderate Communist Leader, is the Prime Minister of Nepal

“I announce that Madhav Kumar Nepal has been elected unopposed in the position of Prime Minister as per the Constituent Assembly’s Legislature-Parliament Business Advisory Regulations 2065.”

With that declaration from Subash Nemwang, the chair of the CA, today evening the moderate Marxist and Leninist leader became the third communist prime minister in Nepal. MK Nepal had previously served as the deputy prime minister in the nine-month-long government led by his Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist and Leninist)’s Manmonah Adhikari, the first elected communist prime minister of Nepal. That was in 1994-95. MK Nepal led the party for 15 years from 1993 to 2008 as the General Secretary. He took over the responsibility after the accidental death of charismatic communist leader Madan Bhandari. He resigned from the post citing moral responsibility for his party’s humiliating defeat in the Apri 2008 CA polls. He was later nominated in the CA. Continue reading

Madhav Kumar Nepal Set to Become Prime Minister of Nepal

madhav kumar nepal
Madhav Kumar Nepal, veteran communist leader of the Himalayan republic who have been tipped to be the prime minister of Nepal several times in the past and lost from both constituencies in the April 2008 CA elections, is finally set to become the third Communist prime minister of Nepal.

The leader of the moderate Communist Party of Nepal United Marxist and Leninist (CPN UML) who resigned from the post of party General Secretary owing moral responsibilities to his party’s disastrous performance in the CA polls, have already been the deputy prime minister in the cabinet of Manmonah Adhikari, the first elected communist prime minister of Nepal, in 1994 for nine months. He is considered the moderate and inclusive leader in the communist party that, unlike the Maoists, have been taking part in parliamentary democratic elections ever since democracy was restored in 1990. He is criticized as a leader who sometime becomes indecisive and can’t take any firm stands on hard issues.

After the country plunged into political uncertainty with the abrupt resignation of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on May 4 the process of forming a non-Maoist government had started in the primary initation of opposition Nepali Congress. The hectic deliberations and possibly some amount of horsetrading finally appeared to have ended today (Sunday) when the CPN UML submitted the signatures of 350 lawmakers (out of 601 CA members) to the CA chairman to open up the way to form the new government. Madhav Kumar Nepal has been backed by 22 different parties representing in the CA including the second largest Nepali Congress. Continue reading

Iron Man: Conversation With a Press Wallah

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal
[This article first appeared in today's Kathmandu Post. Here is PDF version. Shorter version in Nepali appeared in today's Kantipur.]

This is about this guy whom I have been seeing busy at his work all day, almost every day, since I came here to Jangpura Extension, one of south Delhi’s many residential complexes. He is there, right at the front of the building, on the side of the road that is attached to number B-19 whose third floor I live on. It’s been six months, and we have never talked. When leaving my apartment and returning, I see him busy at his work. Freezing cold? He is working. Scorching heat? He is busy. Every time I see him I can’t but appreciate his dedication to work. I am inspired. Look at this guy who is working so hard, standing and in harsh weather. How can you complain or possibly find difficulties in the comfort of a chair and air conditioner? How can you not complete the work that has been pending for a week? Continue reading

How Maoist-Delhi Relations Soured

The game in the background. How India played a role in the downfall of the first ever democratically elected Maoist government in Nepal.

By Akhilesh Upadhyay

KATHMANDU- The turn of events that first led to the sacking and reinstatement of Chief of Army Staff Rookmangud Katawal exposed that relations between New Delhi and the Maoists once on the mend after their surprise election victory last April have now hit a low. Continue reading

India and Indians: Friends of Two Different Kinds

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal
This article appeared in today’s Op-Ed of The Kathmandu Post. Here is PDF of the page

Sometimes, I wonder why the official Nepal-India relationship doesn’t become as friendly and earthy as the down-to-earth friendship I enjoy with some Indians here in Delhi. Why doesn’t the bond between the two countries become as affectionate and emotional as the bond itself? The bond being that of roti aur beti (bread and daughter) that has brought families across the open border closer together.

[Somehow related: Indian parties spat over Nepal crisis (PDF)]

It seems friendship between the two nationals is not the same as the relationship between their respective countries. The diplomacy is ruthless, heartless and, in the words of a former Indian diplomat who was talking about Indo-Nepali relationship in Delhi a few weeks ago, immoral. Otherwise, a prime minister, in a nationally televised address, wouldn’t have complained about foreign intervention albeit without naming the country (but who doesn’t know the name!). And his finance minister wouldn’t have angrily told an Indian channel the story, in his own words, of the intervention of Delhi’s bureaucracy in Nepali affairs. Continue reading

Army in Nepali Politics, Politics in Nepal Army [Everything You Wanted to Know]

UWB note: The issue resulted in the resignation of the first democratically elected (and Maoist) Prime Minister of the Republic of Nepal after his split cabinet fired the Army chief only to be rejected by the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Nepal. The country is now into a constitutional crisis with the Supreme Court issuing a show-cause notice to the President’s secretariat as to why he ordered the army chief, who was sacked by the cabinet, to stay on. Maoists and some members of the civil society are hitting the streets saying the Presidential letter to the ‘sacked’ army chief was unconstitutional where as opposition parties representing more than 50 percent in the 601 seat constituent assembly feel the Maoist’s unilateral decision to fire the army chief was unconstitutional and improperly executed. Here is a research article, written before the resignation of PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal, that explains the issue that has almost threatened to put the fragile peace process in peril.
……………..

By Bishnu Pathak, PhD

Setting

The confrontation between the United CPN (Maoist) and the then Royal Nepal Army began when the former first attacked the Army barracks in Ghorahi, Dang on November 24, 2001 and continued up to the initiation of the Popular Movement (Jana Andolan II) in April 2006. When the present Prime Minister (PM), Puspa Kamal Dahal, popularly known as Prachanda, first appeared in the media two years ago, along with Dr. Baburam Bhattarai at Baluwatar, he harshly criticized the Nepal Army (NA). Even his retraction soon after did not untie the knot that had developed in the relationship. The result of Constituent Assembly (CA) widened the gap. This gap intensified more due to the Maoists having their own army, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The anti-Maoists generals felt abandoned, and the national and international forces who were against the Maoists-led government were (are) able to exploit their feelings to serve their interests. Their traumatized psyche aligned them towards politics. They knocked on doors of their near and dear ones, forgetting their structured and disciplined duties and responsibilities. The NA generals, particularly the incumbent Chief of Army Staff, (CoAS) Rookmangud Katawal, started to deliver political lectures as if they were political leaders, against the Interim Constitution, elected government, peace process (integration or formation of a new national army), and so forth. The vested interests of a few generals fomented distrust with the civilian government. Continue reading

Addressing the PLA Combatants, Prachanda Outlined How Maoists Wanted to Capture State and National Army

Maos respond to the video: here


The video was first aired yesterday evening by Image Channel. YouTubed today by myrepublica.com

During the uncertain times just two months before the 10 April 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” was addressing a meeting of People’s Liberation Army commanders and combatants at Shatikhor, Chitwan cantonment. In that 2 January 2008 speech, Prachanda talked about how the Maoist leadership had inflated the numbers of the PLA soldiers by almost five-fold and how the Maoist planned to capture the state and the national army. The speech was videotaped. The video was broadcast late yesterday night by Kathmandu-based network Image Channel. [Meanwhile, the elections did happen, which at the time of Prachanda speech, seemed uncertain because of differences between the Maoist and non-Maoist parties over percentage allocation for the electoral systems First-Past-The-Post (PPTP or direct votes) and proportional representation. Prachanda's party emerged single largest in the CA and four months after the polls Prachanda formed a multi-party government that lasted until yesterday. The reason behind Prachanda government's fall? It wanted to sack the army chief who, in the videotaped speech, Prachanda says is obstructing the PLA's integration into Nepali Army.] Continue reading

Prime Minister Prachanda Resigns

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ announced his resignation in a nationally broadcast TV address a while ago. With this the eight-month old Maoist rule has ended. This decision comes as a surprise to many while some have appreciated Dahal’s act as democratic. The Maoist party is the single largest in the Constituent Assembly that was elected in April 2008. The Maoist leader’s resignation comes in the wake of the controversy regarding the sacking of the chief of the army staff by his split cabinet yesterday. The cabinet meeting was boycotted by the alliance parter CPN UML who promptly took back its support to the government pushing it to the minority in the 600-seat constituent assembly. The cabinet decision was unilaterally taken by the Maoists. The decision was later declared unconstitutional by the President who reinstated the army chief. The Maoists have termed the President’s action as ‘constitutional coup.’ Finance Minister and senior Maoist leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has said that his party would hit the streets now demanding resignation of the President.

The President: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav issued a press statement just ahead of the Prime Minister’s address to the nation in which he said his yesterday’s decision to ask Army chief General Rookmangud Katawal to continue with post despite his dismissal by the cabinet constitutional. The President said his decision didn’t violate the constitutional provisions instead the Maoists sacked Katawal without consulting all its coalition partners in the government.