In Nepal, king is in charge of everything and pro-democracy leadership is limited to reacting to the royal actions.
He is happy today but doesn’t know when he will be arrested again: Dr Shashank Koirala of Nepali Congress takes curd after he was released on Monday along with four other leaders including NP Saud, Baldev Majgaiya, Mina Pandey and Bhim Chand. Pic by Bikas Rauniar via Kantipur
By Dinesh Wagle
In a recent interview with me for Kantipur, celebrated writer and pro-democracy activist Manju Shree Thapa made an interesting point. Manjushree was talking in the context of why she stopped writing political commentary in foreign press after July 2005. We are confining ourselves only at reacting to the royal actions, the writer of famous books including Forget Kathmandu observed, and king is still in charge of the operation. “He does something and we react,” Manju Shree said. “We are going nowhere and king is doing exactly what is wants to do.” What a realistic observation! That is exactly what is happening these days in Nepal.
Take this photo as an example. Shasank Koirala, a Nepali Congress activist, is seen enjoying curd after he was released by the government today. Nothing wrong with this as everyone celebrates after getting out from the jail. Over the months, many leaders have been arrested at crucial times and after that ‘crucial’ period is over, they have been released. We make a hue and cry over the arrests and be happy and celebrate when the same person is released. We have not been able to move forward from that point. We have not been moving further than just reacting the royal actions.
Pro-democracy leadership is busy responding to the king’s actions and king is busy doing a new thing after another that are far from bringing the environment of reconciliation in the country. King throws a bait and we start analyzing that. The same is happening with the latest royal message delivered on the Democracy Day. Now the political leadership is busy condemning the message. If we closely analyze the major developments, we find Manju Shree Thapa very right that we have not taken initiation but limited ourselves reacting over royal actions.
Mentioning of Sahanak Koirala in this blog should not be considered a personal matter. He is just an example. There were many other leaders who were arrested before the municipal and were released today. All of them did what Shasank is doing in this photo. But they will be arrested again.
When the Supreme Court declared the notorious Royal Commission for Corruption Control null and void, not just Sher Bahadur Deuba but the whole of pro-democracy side of Nepali society celebrated in the decision thinking that the court really issued the verdict independently. I heard Shambhu Thapa, president of Nepal Bar Association saying that the decision demonstrates the there is still something called independent judiciary. But there are some people, and I fall in this category, who firmly believe that the court did not issue such a dramatic order without the prior knowledge of the Narayanhitti Royal Palace.
I was having a political discussion with youngsters of Kathmandu’s +2 colleges for Kantipur’s Anniversary and Democracy Day special supplement and a student to 11th grade in Noble Academy interestingly analyze the effects of the Supreme Court verdict. “The same court that refrained from issuing a stay order in a writ filed against the media ordinance declared the RCCC unconstitutional and dissolved the organization,” he said. “The king has successfully diverted the attention from the election criticism to this and we are now starting to think that the court is independent. With this decision, the king has not only diverted the attention of the country from the disputed election but also helped remove the previous impression of the court not being independent.”
Tanneri ra Prajantra: Kathmandu’s young folks are not naïve about political matter. They understand it. More on this discussion will be posted tomorrow.