Democracy Day: Tyranny Celebrates

A rally passes by a Group Four van in Tripureshwor
Democracy Day in Nepal: A rally organized by political parties today turned into an unimpressive mass meeting in New Baneshwor. All pics by Wagle

By Dinesh Wagle

If you start comparing this rally and gathering with that of the last year, then, yes, this is a big leap forward in terms of peoples’ participation and enthusiasm. This was the scenario last year: We were celebrating the first democracy day after the autocratic royal takeover, state of emergency was imposed throughout the country, many leaders and activists were in jail (well, some of them who were arrested just before Feb 8, 2006 municipal elections, are still inside), heavy censorship had tightly gripped the media, no cell phones were ringing (and pre-paid lines that were suspended for the election got life only a few days ago). But if you consider the numbers of people participating in the rallies organized by political parties over the months, today’s how was poor and unimpressive.

Umesh Chandra Thapa, a CPN UML cadre who was shot dead by the army on Feb 8 in Dang featured in placards carried by the participants of the rally and speech delivered by the leaders. It sounded as if they got new agenda to talk about. Lila Mani Pokharel recited a poem “Hudaina bihana mirere tara jharera nagaye… Bandaina Muluk Dur Char Saput Marera Nagaye” and said that to die wasn’t Nepali peoples’ intention.

The king is in Pokhara enjoying his days in the tourist destination. He issued a yearly Democracy Day message Sunday inviting parties for talks but sticking to the argument that Feb 1 election was truly representative and democratic exercise. In a telephone conversation with me, Dr. Tulsi Giri, the vice chairman of the Council of Ministers said that the latest royal message is a step forward compared to that of the royal address to the nation some 19 days ago. Parties are busy with, well, to be honest, nothing. Sher Bahadur Deuba has started speaking things that don’t really provide proper sense to the public. To see the activation of constitution in the annulment of Royal Commission for Corruption Control is nothing more than seeing the naked emperor handsome. Deuba shouldn’t give the impression that he should have been kept in the jail forever.

A boy tired to pic up a placard, with photo of Umesh Chandra Thapa who was killed in Dang by army on the election day

Martyr is left behind: A placard with photo of Umesh Chandra Thapa was left behind at Thapathali (in front of the Blue Bird Hotel) by a participant of a rally organized by the seven-party alliance. When I saw that on the footpath and was about to take a snap of that, a boy appeared out of nowhere and tried to picked up. Then he realized that he was disturbing a photo-blogger! I told him that he could pick up the placard and I was just taking photo. He did that and tried to fix that over the adjoining wall. That fell. He again picked up and fixed that firmly.

A boy tired to pic up a placard, with photo of Umesh Chandra Thapa who was killed in Dang by army on the election day

A boy tired to pic up a placard, with photo of Umesh Chandra Thapa who was killed in Dang by army on the election day

Democracy Day Celebration in Nepal

The rally in Tripureshwor. You can count them, they are not many.

Democracy Day Celebration in Nepal

Meeting And Discussing: Four women were having some kind of discussion over something that I couldn’t figure out as Lilamani Pokharel, a leftist leader, was addressing the mass in New Baneshwor’s Loktantra Chowk.

Democracy Day Celebration in Nepal

Business Over For The Day? People were seen folding flags and packing the stuffs as the mass meeting started. There was nothing new in the speeches delivered by the leaders, there was no enthusiasm in the participants and there was no charm in the rally as no ‘central leader’ was present.

Democracy Day Celebration in Nepal

Democracy Day Celebration in Nepal
The Mass Meeting that wasn’t impressive.

Democracy Day Celebration in Nepal
Umesh Chandra Thapa all over the mass meeting.

Democracy Day Celebration in Nepal

Democracy Day Celebration in Nepal

Opinion and Editorial: People were reading Op-Ed page of Kantipur that was, as one of the senior most official in the royal government told me, full of American Ambassador James F. Moriarty. The lead article, by student leader Gagan Thapa, addresses and counters views expressed by Moriarty in a recent statement. The ‘Readers’ Letters’ section contains a letter to the editor by Moriarty in which the American diplomat reacts to an editorial piece appeared on the same page three days ago.

Democracy Day Celebration in Nepal

No Disappearance: There was a signature campaign going on near Loktantra Chowk in New Baneshwor that sought public support against disappearances. The banner said that signatures would be sent to the UN telling why they should give special attention to Nepal for reducing the rate of disappearance.

Democracy Day Celebration in Nepal

Scanning The Headlines: People in New Baneshwor were carefully scanning headlines of the newspaper that were on sale in a temporary stall near Loktantra Chowk. Last year this day, we didn’t have a newspaper that wasn’t censored by the state. Situation has improved over the months though journalists are routinely harassed by state officials nominated by the king for criticizing the regime.

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26 thoughts on “Democracy Day: Tyranny Celebrates”

  1. While the article seems to be critical of the lack of numbers in rally, I want to point out that protest is not always a number game. These are people who are taking time out of their already difficult life. If they always come out to the streets and getting beaten up who is feeding their family? So its good enough that people are out and aware and are getting their message across. Not every rally has to be a ‘power demonstration’.

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  2. Raja ko ra maoist ko pokhara ko barta ko barema kehi khabar chaina? Some body was saying that actually the talks are being held in parbat, is that true? Any reumors?

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  3. Country without freedom ought’nt celebrate democracy day.
    Are we making fools of ourselves by joining those no judgement mass-meetings, while Mr. KG is having long vacation after EASTERN trekking.

    Its now clearly evident;

    – Election took place, as wanted by Mr. KG.
    Only thing parties have been doing was just back-bitting about the event, even till today. No major step towards revolution, not even hint of it can be seen.

    – Prachanda shows his glimpse, actually more than a glimpse, but verdict is out; what were the effects of his words, ZERO.

    So, I think its time to get back to biz, forget all this ANTI-MONARCHY slogans, Nepal Bandh… and start living your life as peacefully as u can, earn hard to live, think harder to improve your situation. Then some day, country will change itself.

    It seems Nepal wont be changing… with petty political forces (incl. mao).

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  4. D.MICHAEL_VANDEVEER was it u who wrote that stupid article about king planning to go on exile. ha ha what a joke it was pretty funny. i guess u were high when u wrote that article. i dont know u r nepali or not but it is that kind of reporters who has compelled government of nepal to take action and introduce firm laws.

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  5. Democracy is for only the oppressors.The only thing people doubt about 12 point programme is that whether Maoists are coming or have come to the multi-party democratic competition or they want to decieve the people and the parties. On the other hand, King has taken power for what reasons ? To give harships to the people or to empty the treasury of the State. Many people are thinking that there is no money or budget in the coffer of the government. We have to start from very scratch because King has already looted the treasury.

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  6. Political parties do not have any programme what to do in the near futre when they come to power. They must announce that they would not be invovled in corruption and mismanagement of the country as before.

    Sher B Deuba is a robot in Daura Suruwal. After he came out of jail, again he wants to support the palace to come to power. He is a real Bukhyacha.

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  7. UWB – the one eyed journalist amateurs back again?
    I hope you guys will now see the picture. Maoists are now trying to kill every Nepali – look at their Nepal Band for indefinite period from Chaitra 1. And you guys are cursing the King – who is trying to save you from Maoists tyranny. So, u still stand for corrupt party and tyrannical maoist alliance? What are the party saying about Maoists trying to strangle Nepalis with their permamnent Nepal band? So how many are they trying to kill?
    LONG LIVE KING GYANENDRA!! HE IS THE AVATAR TO SAVE US NEPALI FROM MAOIST TYRANNY!!!!!

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  8. Nepalisong.Info seems to in a state of delirium. His perception towards the unfolding chain of events in Nepal look murky and childish. Politics isn’t a ODI to expect the results by the end of the day.

    Pessimism and cynicism can not lead you to victory.

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  9. Editorial
    The Times of India
    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Rethinking Mao

    Peace in Kathmandu is impossible unless Nepal’s Maoists gain a stake in it. In a rare interview to an Indian newspaper, Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, popularly known as Prachanda, has outlined what it would take to end the ongoing bloody conflict in Nepal.

    Of the many things he has talked about, a few issues stand out. One, the willingness to be part of a multiparty democracy. Two, the goal of a democratic republic would be achieved through peaceful means.

    Three, the king can’t have even a ceremonial role in the republic. Four, Maoists are talking to a gamut of international bodies including the European Union.

    Central to the new politics Maoists are talking about is a constituent assembly that will have the mandate to decide the future of Nepal.

    This assembly will have to be constituted through an election held under international supervision. What Prachanda appears to be suggesting is that Maoists’ call for multiparty democracy is no longer a tactical move, but a theoretical position approved by the party.

    Prachanda’s confidence that a constituent assembly will vote for a democratic republic could be born out of the current state of politics in Nepal.

    A largely discredited monarch has allowed Maoists to gain an upper hand in rural Nepal. It is improbable that Gyanendra will retreat to the role of a constitutional monarch and allow democracy to flourish.

    Creative responses to break the current impasse, be it a unilateral ceasefire or political rethinking to broadbase democracy, have come from Nepal’s Maoists.

    To engage them is no more an option but a necessity for all those interested in the future of Nepal. The Maoist experiment in Nepal is bound to have a fallout among their ideological brethren in India.

    Prachanda posits developing democracy as the key political issue in the 21st century. He argues for political competition or multiparty democracy in this context.

    There are some lessons here for Naxalite groups active in Andhra Pradesh and central India. Two decades of violence have not resolved social and economic inequities in these areas.

    Further, they have legitimised state repression. A rethink of politics on the part of Naxal groups is needed to break out of the spiral of violence.

    There is evidence from around the world that democratic institutions shaped and guarded by vigorous politics can ensure social and economic freedoms.

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  10. Politics has ruined the country whether it is our economy, culture or even morality. So yes I think it is time that we as a people not give it the importance that we do and start working on other aspects of our country and delicately weave our Nepali identity and honour back. We all have leadership qualities within us whether we are doctors,lawyers,bus drivers or sweepers. Why do we look for a leader in these politicans? Their job is to administer and deliver goods and services for the people, we can lead ourselves. I hear too often that we do not have a leader, I say that is wrong, we are all leaders, we have to have the discipline to bring it out. All we want from those who govern us is efficiency, leave the leadership to each one of us.

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  11. Dear sI

    U are absolutely wrong in saying that politics has ruined our country. It is not the politics that has spelled so much sufferings on us but the political system that prevails here. It is high time for people like us to realise that detaching ourselves from the politics may not yield solution to the existing problems. By saying that i am not insisting you to embrace an active political life. What i am saying is that we make a clear perspective of events, be it political, economic or others, unfolding in the society which can potentially make an impact on our lives.

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  12. Yuddhabiram,

    If it is not politics and politicking that has ruined our country, then either you believe the country is doing fine or it is something else that has ruined us. Please let me know what it is you think that has brought our country to this state?

    A few pointers for you think about before you reply:

    The Economy is in a mess due to bad governance by all of the parties involved due to policial fighting whether it be the congress, UML, Maoists or the King.

    Nepalese are no more known around the world as an honourable peopeles, we are known more for corruption and human rights abuses. All due to politics and corruption within poliotical parties.

    I can get your point about the political system, but systems are made and used or abused by people and unfortunately polticans are the ones who have the most power to abuse the political system. Idealistic views are for the book, look around you we are all falling apart!!!

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  13. Nepal is on the way to democracy.
    Last year we celebrated democracy day with some hope of King’s rule. Maybe he will be the one to make Nepal a peaceful country.

    But, he too disappointed us.

    One long year of autocracy gave us nothing but sorrow.

    We, Nepalese, are now aware of our rights and we fight for it.

    We are fighting for it.

    What we need these days is a leader who can concentrate all the force to a point and take the movement to the end.
    long live democracy in Nepal

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  14. King fools people!

    How stupid can one be?

    20% of the Nepali population support monarchy. They hold the weapons of the state. They rule by the barrel of the gun.

    People do not want to be ruled by the guns. So they do no longer massively support the parties, as they did not dare to criticize the rebels for restarting the useless killings of simple Nepali.

    The parties must distance themselves from any violence by the state and the rebels, to get the support of the masses. People of Nepal are simply tired of being forced. They do not believe in these guncarrying primitives from neither side. Only a nonviolent movement can sweep away the illegal rulers and keep the rebels away from power.

    AHIMSA can bring the change!

    King Kong knows: Kings are history!

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  15. Why Vandeveer is silent? Please answer us the questions raised by Mr. Buda and Mr. Chankhe that whether u r the same stupid journalist who rumored nonsenses in Indian webpaper about King in Exile and US Embassy planning to evacuate or not?

    What r u gaining by spreading these false and ridiculous rumours, if u r that guy?

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  16. We have seen many Democracy days since 2007/11/7. All has become ritualistic. Those who dies for the NETAs to become the ladder of power to them is considered as martyr and reluctantly remembered once a year. Nobody asks what the family members are doing though most of them r living in hardships and chronic poverty.

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  17. Hello yuddhabiram,

    u think 10 years is ODI ?

    where have you been living?
    R u even in Nepal?
    If you are then, u should have realised how many lives have gone since last 10 years.

    Or you are just another coward NRN who ran away from country, in the name of further education and oversea work.
    Who always try to SHARE FIRANGI IDEAS which cannot be implemented in under-developed country like Nepal.

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  18. I have looked through your interesting site. It seems the same people visit this site all the time. Probably they are friends by now. Maybe it’s by invitation only. But most of the views are like listening to a combination of Girija Prasad Koirala and Prachanda.

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  19. Democracy day!!! – what a farce, we have a long way to go before we even begin to understand what it means. And this is not just about one King and the facist Maoist headed by Prachanda, there is no democracy even inside the so called democratic parties. When majority of Brahimins rule the roost followed by Chettris and then high caste Newars to boot, when can other groups represent themselves, or women for that matter?

    Do you really think that Madhav Nepal who calls himself a Communist will let his daughter or son marry a dalit or a Sherpa? Maybe he will if they had plenty of money but that too by swallowing a bitter pill. Can Prachanda follow his calling and step aside to have a revolving leadership, starting from today? Can he stop killing poor people or anyone else who are defenseless for that matter? Has he ever killed anyone even in defence or does he just order children to kill other children? Can the King swallow his pride and behave more like a father and less like a Fuerer? And finally will the party old guards step down now and let the young generation leaders like Gagan Thapa and Shashank Koirala and many others whome I dont know by name, take over? Is this too much to ask for when our goal is democracy and thereby prosperity for our homeland?

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