Exercising Democracy In Colleges

Nepal’s politically sensative colleges are holding elections of Free Student Union.

election fever in kathmandu colleges

The election fever has caught politically sensitive colleges by fire. Pro-democracy students have vowed to use the election for the benefit of the ongoing democratic movement of their mother political organizations. Colleges are decorated with posters, pamphlets and banners. Elections of Free Student Union have historical significance in Nepali politics. They were one of the major mediums for political parties to reach out to the young demography of Nepal. Pics by Shaligram Tiwari

By Deepak Adhikari

Thursday afternoon, I made rounds of colleges of Kathmandu Valley in the eve of the FSU election. Come Feb 28, almost two hundred thousand students across the country will cast their vote, choose their leaders. This election is significant for today’s student leaders are tomorrow’s national leaders. Blogger-turned-reporter Post B Basnet (of the Kathmandu Post) and I visited Institute of Engineering (IOE) in our first leg of college tour. Election was in the air but most of the candidates were unaware of the agendas, be it political or educational.

Election in Colleges

I heard (rather eavesdrop) a red T-shirt clad lady student at IOE murmuring: “Always election, no study.” Her apathy towards election struck me. I wanted to have a word with her but she vanished leaving me with my thoughts. That students are aloof from politics is so unbecoming of them. This scenario in a college heading for electronic voting for the first time in Nepal was regrettable. An FSU member of the college told me it’s owing to the technicality of subject. I wouldn’t buy his argument and further grill him. He comes up with a quotable quote: “They are not frustrated with politics but are fed up with politicization of education.” At RR Campus, candidates were making rows in the entrance, batches stuck in their chests, eager to be introduced and beg for vote. I, looking like a college-goer, introduced myself as a journo; their perception towards me suddenly goes a sea-change. “Oh, please come in,” their words tinged with politeness and respect.

Election in Colleges

Supplying me with the lists of candidates, students gather around and listen eagerly to my questions on their agendas, their united candidacy (if any). But they say they aren’t following the footsteps of mother parties. Amidst all this, the election is marked by capturing the campus premises and blocking other candidates from filing their nominations, rebel candidates and so on

Election in Colleges
Students at IOE are planning to use electronic machine (below) to cast their votes for the first time in Nepal. Pic by Shailendra Kharel

Leaders of Saraswat Campus FSU were reportedly ‘abducted,’ election chief in Tri Chandra College resigned after student protest, gang fights among rival fractions occurred in RR College. In Saraswati and Tri Chandra election has been postponed. But the student leaders keep mum over such issues. “We are having an all party meeting,” one candidate in RR Campus told me as he was serving cold drinks to his potential voters. I spoke to two ex-student leaders : Rajendra Rai of ANNFSU and Bishwa Prakash Sharma of NSU. Rai lamented the lack of understanding about political culture among students. Sharma was enthralled that the FSU election was part of ongoing democratic (read loktantrik) movement.

Election in Colleges

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11 thoughts on “Exercising Democracy In Colleges”

  1. See………These all the things happen in Nepal.Then , it is no strange to me if any student talk about politics.Wagle must have thought that only journalists know politics.Now, wagle, it is ur time to wake up………..When these all the things happen, and student see, listen, read so many things, then, obviously, they talk about politics………………
    The current impasse can be rested only with the exit of the King from the Nepal………On that point everybody agrees.

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  2. Nepal’s SPA, India Pressured by US Ambassador’s Speech
    By Preeti Koirala

    The US ambassador James F. Moriarty makes headlines whenever he makes statements. His speech delivered at the Ganesh Man Singh Foundation early this month was symbolic in a sense that late Singh was a selfless leader who didn’t crave for power for the sake of democracy and freedom. Our contemporary leaders both of the NC and the UML never followed the path of Ganesh Man.

    Girija Prasad Koirala even went ahead to minimize Singh during his own life time by actively conspiring to defeat Mangala Devi Singh (Singh’s wife) and Prakash Man Singh (Singh’s eldest son) in the general elections of 1991. Therefore, by choosing to speak at the forum of a Foundation named after late Singh, the U.S. envoy sarcastically called for inner party democracy and selflessness to nurture democracy by recalling what Ganesh Man had done but apparently what all leaders of today have forgotten.

    His contempt and dislike towards the 12-point agreement between the parties and the Maoists supposedly reached at the behest of Delhi has come up as a surprise to everyone. This agreement was reached months ago and neither the U.S. government nor Moriarty had spoken anything grossly negative when the agreement was actually reached.

    But it seems now that the Bush administration has realized how awful and dangerous the 12 point understanding actually is. The parties are where they were in front of the people but the Maoists have got huge gains out of the agreement. It has become very easy for the present government also to tell to the people that “See we were always telling you, these seven parties have been tacitly aiding the Maoists”.

    The fact remains that the Maoist movement started when there was full-fledged multi-party democracy and that the insurgency actually spiraled out of control when the Nepali Congress and the UML were in power. This theory of party leaders like Bam Dev Gautam and Khum Bahadur Khadga tacitly aiding the insurgency during their respective tenures as Home Minister proved right when the same bunch of leaders signed the agreement with the Maoists. This agreement was defective, shady and flawed from the day it was inked as has been realized by the envoy of the world’s only superpower.

    Now, if the present government bans the political parties and declares those that tie nuptial knots with the Maoists as “terrorists” themselves, it seems that there won’t be such a degree of international criticism as one would like to imagine. The publication of a caricature of prophet Mohammad by a Danish newspaper has already started global debate on whether the press should be allowed to publish anything in the name of press freedom. The Malaysian government immediately banned a 60-year-old newspaper for re-printing the same cartoon. In our case, those newspapers that openly favor the Maoist propaganda have been allowed to operate and yet the government continues to get the blame for harassing the media.

    The second element of Moriarty’s statement is overtly directed towards India. Every sane mind knows that top Maoist leaders live and give out their directives to their cadres from within the Indian territory. Lately, several interviews have been taken of the Maoist leaders from the Indian capital. It is anybody’s guess that India very well knows where Prachanda and Baburam are hiding but does not want to arrest them for some future usage that they have vis-a-vis the give and take that may take place between the monarchy and the Government of India. The 12-point agreement definitely had the tacit Indian consent. Some reports even suggested that the Government of India itself had engineered the understanding in order to pressure the King.

    But ambassador Moriarty’s compos mentis speech suggesting that the agreement was “ill-intentional” clearly indicates that the world’s only superpower is against India’s unnecessary meddling inside Nepal’s internal affairs. The publicity that the U.S. and India were in tandem in their respective Nepal policies has fallen flat after Moriarty’s speech. It has obviously embarrassed Delhi to a great deal.

    Everything that was “achieved” in the post February First period has been lost by a single statement. India has thus wasted one full year in Nepal which could have been well used in nurturing the present government and in achieving concrete things in security, political and economic areas. Besides, it now seems that the US has started looking Nepal from the Chinese window as they have been doing as regards to other countries in the region.

    After all, Moriarty is a known China expert in the State Department and speaks fluent Mandarin, he has years of experience in Beijing and Taipei. This will be dangerous to India’s long-standing unique bond with SAARC countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. With Pakistan, the American policy is exactly the same as that of the Chinese policy. What is even more astounding is that the Chinese ambassador in New Delhi openly said that his government is ready for assisting in the peace talks with the Naxalites of the entire sub-continent who use the name of Mao-zee-Dong. Therefore, from every rational standpoint, Delhi should not delay in keeping the Narayanhiti royal palace in good humor before it is too late and before the U.S-China axis from within Nepal begins to take shape of the Pakistani variety.

    His Majesty the King, on his democracy day message, called for reconciliation but the 7 parties, obdurate and inflexible as they are, have rejected his call for a dialogue. It must be well understood that the product of reconciliation is a change of the government not the other way around. Former MPs who were last elected 7 years ago do not represent the will of the sovereign people and if they claim that they still do, they must cave in their over-sized egos for their own common benefit or else have the fortitude to contest the general elections.

    Moriarty has thus told clearly to every power centre in Nepal that terrorists everywhere whether it is Osama Bin laden and al Qaeda, LTTE, Hamas or the Maoists of Nepal are basically the same. Their tactics of terror and intimidation are the same. They kill civilians and give the pretext of “empowering the people” in the name of violence. They are all terrorists and one should not negotiate with them until they give up arms.

    America has been utilizing a military solution to the al Qaeda problem and Nepal should also do the same by requesting for necessary arms and ammunition to defeat terrorism within Nepal. If peace can only be achieved by “talking” with the Maoists, then a good example must be set by those that preach this noble idea. There should be no double standard.

    If Nepal should negotiate with the Maoists by agreeing on a 12 point understanding, the EU also should first formally invite Osama Bin Laden to Brussels to hear his genuine concerns and problems. If Nepal Television should not try to interview Prabhakaran and his gang of murderers or the leaders of ULFA and BODO; then The Times of India, The Hindu, BBC and other media should also not publicize Prachanda and his idiotic verse of nonsense that everybody finds insane.

    Will the Government of India allow Nepalese journalists to interview and thereby mystify the terrorists who planted bombs in the parliament of India? What will be the Indian reaction if Nepalese media start writing editorials that it is high time that Delhi begins realizing that without an independent Kashmir, the problem of the people of Kashmir will not be resolved?

    Therefore, it is now Delhi’s turn to follow-up on Moriarty’s genuine and truthful statement and not embrace the Nepali Maoist leaders as if they were different to its own Naxalites running wild from Bihar to Chattisgarh and all the way to Andhra Pradesh. Since its ambassador at the India House has already said that “political parties in Nepal can use the Indian card”, Delhi must clearly tell the political parties that if they are to co-exist and survive, they must reciprocate the call of the monarch for a reconciliation.

    Nepal established diplomatic relations with the United States of America before it did with India and China. Sometimes, we are forced to appreciate the Ranas for some of the far-sighted decisions that they took during their 104-year rule.

    source:

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  3. 1WHOCANDIE4U,

    With ur bizarre pseudonym, u have been masquerading this blog for quite some time now. Its clear from the byline that the piece is prepared by me. Kina timi hat dhoyera Wagle ko pachhi lagchhau? Blog timilai nai chahinchha. I know u r lving in India, u r from Damak. But why this blah..blah.. blah. Plz tear the veil of ur annonymity and come forward with ur real name and then ur substatial opinions.

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  4. “With ur bizarre pseudonym”………..Mr. Deepak What is ur problem with my nick name? I can put any nick name that i like.
    You might be annoyed because i did not give any acknowledgement to your contribution………..For that, sorry Dude!!!!! Though it hardly matters for me who writes blog here. either you or Wagle……..It does not matter at all for me. I am simply referring my comments to Wagle because I think he is a responsible guy who will answer but you people have all the liberty to defend depending on who exactly writes.You both have access to its username and ID to publish any Articles here. So, for me You both are Administrators…..
    “Kina timi hat dhoyera Wagle ko pachhi lagchhau?”……….what exactly is this “hat dhoyera”? is this any sort of Purbeli/paschimeli slang word any Tukka? Excuse me dude! I did not understand…..You can calrify further if it pleases to you………
    “Blog timilai nai chahinchha”………what does this mean?Are U writing blog solely for me???? Stop talking this non-sense crap, you may please stop writing………If you are not happy with the fact that i read ur blog, you may kindly request me not to open this page, I promise you never I do again…….
    “I know u r lving in India, u r from Damak”……….Is this relevant here? why? Or u think that u did a great job finding out this?……….If u think ha….ha………ha…….(with sarcastic smile) congratulation DEEPAK Bro……… “But why this blah..blah.. blah.”……….which blah.blah.you are talking?
    I think that i have liberty to criticize you people where i do not like ur views or if i have different views. Are not I Right?
    Let me know………….
    “Plz tear the veil of ur annonymity and come forward with ur real name………….why exactly u need my real name???? Wjhat great purpose it serves here revealing my name????? and then ur substatial opinions…….. Exit of King from Nepal will resolve the problem of Nepal is my substantial opinion. What more You Want??????

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  5. “Mr. Deepak What is ur problem with my nick name? I can put any nick name that i like.
    You might be annoyed because i did not give any acknowledgement to your contribution………..For that, sorry Dude!!!!! Though it hardly matters for me who writes blog here. either you or Wagle……..It does not matter at all for me. I am simply referring my comments to Wagle because I think he is a responsible guy who will answer but you people have all the liberty to defend depending on who exactly writes.You both have access to its username and ID to publish any Articles here. So, for me You both are Administrators…..”

    Firstly, thanks for bothering to commnt on my observation (I even don’t know whether u r Miss, Mrs. or Mr). So, the question of liberty is a mockery here. Acknowledgement? I don’t need it from u. Now, ur point is not only awkward,but is full of paradoxes. On the one hand, u say, both I and Wagle are responsible. But, on the other u dub me as an “Administrator,” which I am not. I am just a blogger.

    “Kina timi hat dhoyera Wagle ko pachhi lagchhau?”……….what exactly is this “hat dhoyera”? is..”

    Shame on u! U even don’t know this simple Nepali sentence. Kahako pani khayau timile? Ki India basta bastai afno matri bhasha birsyau? Maile timilai sajilo hos bhanera jhan roman ma lekhidiyeko. C’mon, its not Greek yar!

    “Blog timilai nai chahinchha”………what does this mean?Are U writing blog solely for me???? Stop talking this non-sense crap, you may please stop writing………If you are not happy with the fact that i read ur blog, you may kindly request me not to open this page, I promise you never I do again…….”

    I mean to say, there r so many expatriate Nepalis who rely on blogs to update on their beloved country. So, I thought u too are one of them. No hard feelings!

    “I know u r lving in India, u r from Damak”……….Is this relevant here? why? Or u think that u did a great job finding out this?……….If u think ha….ha………ha…….(with sarcastic smile) congratulation DEEPAK Bro……… “But why this blah..blah.. blah.”……….which blah.blah.you are talking”

    See, u r urself leaving clues but trying to camouflage urself. I got these infos here from ur comments. Blah..blah because ur comments appeared to me hollow, more of a gibberish and thereby sans-substantial.

    “I think that i have liberty to criticize you people where i do not like ur views or if i have different views. Are not I Right?
    Let me know………….”

    U r most welcome Mr/Mrs/Ms …. We at UWB always stick to the democratic credos. Different but meaningful views are what we need.

    “Plz tear the veil of ur annonymity and come forward with ur real nam…….. Exit of King from Nepal will resolve the problem of Nepal is my substantial opinion. What more You Want??????”

    If u have a genuine opinion and intention, its good to come forward with the identity. Or else, there’s no difference between Osama Bin Laden and u! Exit of King? It’s easier said than done. Don’t run after cheap slogans, come up with pragmatic solutions.
    Thank U (But, I can’t die for U!).

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  6. Mr. Deepak, i am saying that only Wagle is responsible guy for this blog because as far as i know, it is his blog, or at least he initiated this blog. Please mind ur understanding, no stretch of imagination can infer any conclusion from my writing that u are responsible guy. You are still not……..
    Regarding Nepali Knowledge and blaming me drinking somewhere’s water, I think You are an educated person and know that there is a limit in human intelligence…..Just because I do not know one Tukka, does not, I believe, give you so much space to blame me saying this or that. However, I believe that you are excercising your Right in King’s dark Kingdom. It all depends on ur thought process and ability to analyse the facts in case specific………

    I would be happy if you explain that “hat Dhoyera” in ur answer(though I do not need any specific answer for this comment still u are at liberty)
    I do not need to answer you in each of Your point, but I can predict ur ability to analyse when you compared me with Osama……….great job done !!!!!!

    N except that one “Hat Dhoyera’ stuff, I think it would be better to rest this discussion between you and me at this point because I guess, You can not except any sensible answer who is similar to Osama.

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  7. Can you imagine a day when Nepal will be free of student politics? If not, then don’t dream of developing Nepal. Only when Nepali society is free of politics in our campuses, will we have a new Nepal. FSU is the reason for Nepal not having a honest leader because the breeding ground for future leader is dirty politics of student unions.

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  8. The undying blog wakes up again.
    The problem is not with student politics, but with the practice of politics within the campuses. Student leadership election is a well known practice. The process will ideally single out the most reliable and capable individual to head the student body and act as a mediator between the administration and the student body. This should in a way hone the skills 0f the participants for a career in national politics. Thus student politics must be encouraged, under supervision, and elections conducted fairly. Coercion, threats and violence duly punished. Of course ideally!!

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