Echoes of French Revolution

By Dev Joshi

In 1789, 14th July, when the people of Paris stormed the Bastille, Louis XVI, the astonished King, said to his reporting officer:

“But this, this is a revolt.”
“No Sir” was the reply: “It is a Revolution!”

I wonder if anybody, who has cared to observe things and scenes on 26th and 27th Chaitra (April 8 and 9) and henceforth, isn’t thinking of a revolution. At least, I am thinking heavily about a revolution here in my own yard! Just pondering that finally this withered and emaciated superstructure of Shah dynasty built some two and half centuries ago is, at last, crumbling, basically due to the monarchy itself as has been with the French Revolution. Madelyn had commented about the French Revolution: “It was the French Monarchy which made the Revolution.” It is too apt here.

Time changes. People change. And things change too. The universe is in flux. In just about two week’s time, we now live under an entirely different political landscape .The nation has been brought to a grinding halt, people have ceaselessly and tirelessly poured and flowed themselves in the streets across the country. But, the king does know that his whole state is now in stake and the political officers in the Singhdurbar do know that their days are numbered. Even some police officers who brutally wrecked and oppressed the demonstrations are writing to editors of popular dailies that they weren’t the ones to create tragedies in the streets. All these points prove that revolution is in air in Kathmandu and in the whole Nepal.

There is no question that in these two weeks of great struggle, an epoch has indeed germinated. King Gyanendra’s fallacious design to make himself an enlightened despot has been mercilessly thrashed by all those valiant and heroic Nepalis who braved to show the world that they are not submissive, enduring and timid humans to continue to live under the most wretched conditions forever. They rebelled. Rather, we rebelled. We joyfully rebelled to have a new morning in our dark lives and with determination plus vigor to edit the whole history of our shameful existence.

Being daily with the protests, movements and riots and observing the participants of all this saga, I fondly remember an epigram by Karl Marx: “The middle class has played the most revolutionary role in history.” We prove it to be true here in our own home turf too. Here in Kirtipur where I live, I have been gently observing the people who are in the forefront of this movement. Most of them are TU students, offsprings of middle class parents, who want to shatter all the shackles that have created their agonies, tragedies, nightmares and suffocation. The villain has been rightly identified and his evil design to institutionalize the eternal falls and decay of Nepali society is broken now.

These students are all justified with their uprising. More so with gloomy prospects of their future and no signs of any flicker of candlelight at the ends. thus, they now are open in the streets. Most of them doing their postgraduates do not know what they would do once they complete their studies. No job opportunities, continued strife and civil war back in home districts, multiplied with the useless degrees of TU, they are left with very few options other than to rebel . One should seek greater and deeper economic plus sociological meanings of these people’s uprising against King Gyanendra’s tyranny.

Enough is always enough! That’s what everybody is feeling right now. People are ready to sacrifice their economic interests and their daily life-patterns for the dream of a better Nepal. A peaceful, prosperous and just society is what I dream. I believe the mass doesn’t have any different dreams.

But contradictions exist and thankfully, people have identified them too. That’s why Kirtipur was boiling in rage against ex-PM Girija Prasad Koirala after his infamous interview with BBC. Girja’s old and decayed agenda of revival of House of Representatives stinks of that familiar power-lust. So say the people and Girija’s track records do not lead us to any better conclusions.

It’s high time the leadership began to execute plans to usher a successful revolution for The Republic of Nepal. Slogans matter. They will matter here too. Gandhi’s Dandi March mattered and was too successful to woo the whole Bharat Barsha to long and fight for the Swaraj. The salt wove all of them in a single slogan. Lenin wove his people in the slogans of peace, bread and land. Here too, we need a slogan that’s just waiting to be formally announced by the leadership. Peace and republic is our slogan. There should be no faltering and wavering to deny this. If once again the leadership fails to gauge and evaluate the sentiments and aspirations of the people and if once again leadership at the center indulges in another agreement to murder this lovely child of revolution, history will not forgive them for their sins. People will rise against that too and we have to take little more time for our struggle.

But for the time being, I wish everybody a happy revolution! Once we have a successful revolution, the great voyage of nation building will begin which surely will be more strenuous, complex and arduous. But we will do it. For now, once again, happy revolution!

UWB Note: Joshi, a postgraduate student at TU, can be contacted at tenthplague@gmail.com

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31 thoughts on “Echoes of French Revolution”

  1. आज क्रान्ति छ !

    ए नेपाली हो
    खै के भनौं
    तिम्रो संयमता, धैर्यता या कायरता
    सोच त
    कति सह्यौ, कति पिल्सियौ र कति छक्याइयौ
    अब त खुल्यो कि तिम्रो चेत?
    यी सामन्तहरुको नजरमा तिम्रो रगतको मुल्य कति रहेछ भन्ने
    कि अझै यिनिहरुकै क्षत्रछायाँमा तिम्रो “लोकतन्त्र” फष्टाउँछ भन्ने भ्रान्ति छ?
    हैन भने आफ्नै नयाँ नेपाल बनाउने हेतु
    आज क्रान्ति छ !

    From Sajha

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  2. One More for Today……

    “हो, बा, त्यो आउँछ।
    त्यो बिहानको सूर्य झैँ उज्यालो छर्दै आउँछ।
    त्यसको कम्मरमा झुन्डिएको शीत जस्तै टल्कने
    तिमी एक हतियार देख्नेछौ;
    त्यसैले ऊ अधर्मसित लड्नेछ!
    त्यो आउँदा तिमी पहिले त सपना हो कि भनेर
    छामछुम गर्नेछौ, तर त्यो हिउँ र आगोभन्दा पनि
    बढ्ता छोइने भएर आउँछ।”
    हो र आमा?
    ………………………….
    ………..”हो, …
    त्यो आएपछि तिमी यसरी
    मेरो काखमा आएर घोप्टिने छैनौ;
    सत्य कुरालाई तिमी यसरी
    चुम्बकिएर कथा सुनेझैँ सुन्ने छैनौ;
    तिमी त्यसलाई आफैँ नै देख्न सक्ने, सहन सक्ने र
    ग्रहण गर्न सक्ने हुनेछौ;
    मैले यसरी धैर्य दिनुको सट्टा तिमी सङ्ग्राममा जाँदा
    लाख सम्झाएर पनि नमान्ने आमाको मनलाई
    सान्त्वना दिँदै विदा हुनेछौ;

    त्यो हुरी भएर आउनेछ,
    तिमी पात भएर पछयाउनेछौ!
    उहिले त्यो जीवनलोकबाट झरेर जूनजस्तै पोखिँदा
    सारा जडता सगबगाएको थियो, बा;
    त्यो आउनेछ, तिमी उठ्नेछौ!”‘

    -गोपाल प्रसाद रिमाल

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  3. Again again and again….

    काँक्रा र फर्सीको बीउ जस्तो
    पट्ट पट्ट फुटेर समयानुकूल माटो र ऋतुमा
    झाँगिदै, लहरिँदै जान्छन् आन्दोलन बनेर
    मुक्तिका चाहनाहरू
    चुँडालेर कथित बलियो बन्धनबाट
    आँप, बेल र पिपलका रंगीचंगी पातहरूको।
    होश गर्नुपर्छ यतिखेर
    निर्धाका मुटु निचोर्नेहरूले
    शक्तिशालीका मुटु निचोर्ने हातहरू यता पनि तयार छन्
    एकपछि अर्को लशकर लागेर।
    ——पारिजात

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  4. Dev ji!
    YOur right, we desperately need a slogan that binds us all and pushes this revolution to new hights. I live to be apart of that. Jai Revolution!

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  5. It is not 1871 it is in 1789. Please correct the date of French Revolution. Before writing do some research. Thanks.

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  6. Thre is a massacre in Balkhu and Kalanki, I got a report that army are collecting the body in the streatcher. Please, have details on this.

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  7. The French Revolution is a good analogy for another reason. It was not only a revolution against the king, but against the corrupt aristocracy and most importantly, against the feudal system. The development of the country was being held back by the feudal power structure, which the aristocracy and political elite defended. Capitalism could not fully develop in these conditions. After the people wiped out the feudal power structure in the revolution, the way was cleared for capitalist development and the industrial revolution came, turning France into an industrial power.

    Nepal is similarly a feudal or semi-feudal country. Similarly the economic development of the country is being held back by the feudal and political elites like the king. And similarly economic development cannot truly begin until these obstacles are wiped away.

    Nepal has great resources waiting to be unleashed: hydroelectric capacity, good quality land for agriculture, one of the world’s top tourism potentials, and a vast reserve of social capital in the form of hard-working and solidaristic people. Only when the feudal elite have been wiped away can these resources truly be developed, just as happened in France. Vive la republique!

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  8. Dhikkar KG
    Dhikkar Killer
    Hearty condolence to all Martyrs.

    Hey Prakash Koirala at least how are you supporting killers.
    Manisha is there to earn money for you.

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  9. m,
    Please remove your maoists propoganda from this site. Dont try and steal the thunder from the people in this hour of democracy and peoples power. No, not Maoist’s version but the common people’s version. Stop trying to ruin the flow, with all the bullshit propoganda. It is not a Maoist victory. We will deal with you next.

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  10. Have you ever pondered why the French Monarchs (and Gyanendra in our case) hated the supporters of democracy??
    Its because democracy is like a narcotic drug- very very addictive.
    Once you get the taste of it, you can`t give it up. But unlike narcotics, it doesn`t destroy you, it only makes you more strong.
    Just think of the strength of a nation of 27 million people.
    Just think how `a mule` is controlling the fate of 27 million people.
    Just think of the chances the Royal Army has against 27 million people.

    Here is what Iron Maiden has to say:
    (I changed a bit)
    “Not alone with a dream
    Just a want to be free
    With a need to belong
    I am a freeman…

    It’s a time wrough with fear
    It’s a land wrough with change

    And I know what I want
    When is timing is right
    Then I’ll take what is mine

    And I swear to defend
    And we’ll fight to the end
    And I swear that I’ll never
    Be taken alive
    And I know that we’ll stand
    And we’ll fight for our land
    And I swear that my bairns
    Will be born free…”

    Go Nepal, tell the king to eat some bread, he has got no cake…

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  11. d,

    Are you saying it is Maoist propaganda to say that the King, the Ranas and the top echelons of the RNA who are now running the country are holding back Nepal’s economic development? Is it Maoist propaganda to say that before their corrupt power structure is destroyed, there can be no economic development?

    If you are a foreign investor, do you think you will prefer to invest in a country with an elite that does not care one whit for investment because it is happy to sit on its ill-gotten wealth, or to invest in a country in which everyone recognises that conditions for economic development have to be created? This is not Maoist propaganda. This is common sense.

    It is also common sense that the revolution has to go further than just removing the king, because the king is only the figure at the top of a much larger problem. The same problem that has made Nepal one of the poorest countries in the world, the same problem that has marginalised 90% of the people. Is this Maoist propaganda? No, it is common sense.

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  12. I am really missing the current events in Nepal. I can only remember 2046s Jan-andolan when I was in TU and took part in almost all activities that were held against the then Panchyat regime and its leader Birendra.
    I am glad to read the comments in this Blog from the students of TU.
    Manlai marer desh bahir basnu parya chha, kin? I blame it to the past rulers of Nepal and their policies.
    Every revolution in the world history ends up being compared with the French or US revolution. If the revolution is against an occupied foreign force then it is generally compared with US revolution. If a revolution is against a country’s established regime, especially a hereditary one (monarchy) then it ends up being compared with French revolution.
    French revolution was bloddy and chaos filled. Anarchy, confuion, and suffering followed the revolution for a long time. The result was the rise of Napolean, he was able to cash people’s longining for stability.

    When we talk or compare a revolution, we like to recall the Bastille attack, the royals’ experiences and expressions and their murder. And there we stop.
    I would also like to see people storming Naryanhiti and flushing out the royals. But… after that what? Give the reign to Girija or Madav Nepal?
    I would not trust them, never in my life again. Like you people now, we also used to dream about repeating French Revolution in 2046, these leaders sold us then by compromising with the king. Beaware they will do the same this time if you don’t dare to step in (the younger generation). Time has come to lead the revolution by younger generation and by-passing the old leadership. Ourledership are part of the problem. Remember how easily they used to bow down to the royals and run to the DURBAR. They do not have self respect and morality; in the absence of these character, nobody can deliver what we Nepali are longining: democracy, euality, social justice and peace. For Madav Nepal and Girija and the likes, getting the PM-ship is the end of the revolution. They also thin like the Royals that people are Bheda. So be careful….
    Our revolution is thirsty, it got the blood from the common people, it will stop when it gets the blood from the oppressor,the regime. Who will be they…. lets see.
    My best wishes to the young generation, I trust them more than anybody. I wish they will come forward and take the command.

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  13. I would just like to say that you guys are getting carried away…..

    will throwing the king out end ur troubles?

    willl the end of the monarchy give the common man jobs?

    what do u think is a better option?

    the maoists who will take nepal even further back , their policies are regressive to say the least – look what happened to india after independance? with nehru and his socialist policies – there was no capitalism , no growth , no enterprise , no industry, ……. it is only after capitalism came in , in the 1990’s that indi a has grown……

    do you know whata communist regime is?

    THE RICH BECOME POOR AND THE POOR BECOME POORER!!!…………only the communist leaders become wealthy – such was the case in the eastern european communist regimes……….

    so what is the answer?

    u prefer your silly democratic leaders like koirala – remember they are only interestred in their tummies being filled……..

    dont be fooled!

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  14. m,
    Yes it is maoist propoganda. Before we jump the gun, I want this King out because I have seen enough of his failed 14 month rule, but before the 14 months the parties ruined this country and no thanks to the maoists and their revolution. And we should get over the Rana hangover, I think we have progressed from there, it is typical maoists propoganda to go back 60-70 years. Economic development has been hampered not only because of one King, but also because of bad governance and especially you the maoiosts. RNA were nicely in their barracks running peace keeping missions until you let them in the countryside. I think you should be talking less of revolution and more of correct policies,development practices, good governance and a curb on corruption. Your maoist sort of revolution just ends up in more blood shed. If you can win the votes without guns and convince the people fine, but dont force your ideas on people with the use of force and guns.

    You talk of elites, well there are elites all over the world (rich elites, political elites, inteelectual elites etc.), but this does not stop development and progress there, even your damned Prachanda and Baburam are elites. What stops development is outdated and mad policies like you maoists propogate and let me stress with the use of violence.
    This King hardly lasted 14 months, even with the RNA in tow, and do you foolishly think that maoists will even last three months with your mumbo jumbo?
    Stop pulling out the economic and elite trump card, this is an old tactic used by all politicians. It’s ironical that a maoist propogandaist uses the economy as a reason when the main cause of economic decline has been the maoists themselves. Have you read your prachanda path booklet lately? It’s more outdated in thinking then the Panchayat system, it’s time you kept up with the rest of world my dear comrade.

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  15. Hi d, Glad you don’t agree with that silly m as well. I don’t think he is a Maoist though. I think he is one of those ‘pseudo’ intellectual types who can’t get over the theoretical beauty of communism. Idealistic but totally unrealistic.

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  16. You’re probably right Kirat. A Karl Marx wannabe, just like Karl Marx wrote his Das Kapital sitting in the comforts of his English friend Frederick Engel’s (the son of a wealthy Manchester industrialist)mansion and living off him, this m fellow must be sitting in the comforts of United States and enjoying it as well. I just hope this m guy does not beat his wife regularly, gamble and womanise and have illigitimate children like Karl Marx did. A man not unlike Paras really in character.

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  17. You’re probably right Kirat. A Karl Marx wannabe, just like Karl Marx wrote his Das Kapital sitting in the comforts of his English friend Frederick Engel’s (the son of a wealthy Manchester industrialist)mansion and living off him, this m fellow must be sitting in the comforts of United States and enjoying it as well. I just hope this m guy does not beat his wife regularly, gamble and womanise and have illigitimate children like Karl Marx did. A man not unlike Paras really in character and ofcourse lest we forget – Mao Tse Tung himself, who lived a life of luxury when in power, doing all the indulgence we can think of including sleeping with different women every day. Mao loved self indulgence, and had a fleet of limousines, and infact ordered that one be made which would be the longest and most luxurious the world has ever seen, unfortunately for him the lunatic died before it was completed.

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  18. d,

    I am not attempting to blame Nepal’s problems of underdevelopment on one man or group of men. But the bad governance of the 90s represented a continuation of a longer process. My entire point was that what most be overthrown is not just the King but a way of governing the country which has not been democratic, but rather has been corrupt and self-serving including in the years of so-called democracy. This way of governing is represented by and protected by certain groups that have economic interests in it. Either they have to step aside or be overthrown. That does not solve the problems of underdevelopment or bad governance but it clears the way for it to happen, and this is why I was saying France is a good analogy. Because the industrial development of France also did not happen automatically, it happened because people made it happen; but in order for this to occur, certain obstacles had to be taken out of the way. The prime obstacle that was taken out of the way in the French Revolution was the old political elite that benefited only from stagnation; this was replaced with an elite that benefited from development, and that is why development occurred. I see nothing unreasonable in this, and I have never denied that the big problems are ineffective development policies, bad governance, etc. But in order to improve governance and policies, the first thing you need is the political will. And like in France, if you have a political elite (including many in the parties in the 90s) that does not have the political will to move forward, because they benefit too much from stagnation, then you cannot start to address the other problems.

    As for your torrent of childish verbal abuse, I will just ignore it because I don’t really think it deserves the attention of an adult.

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  19. You are wrong and you will regret it when revolutionaries come to power. You will be persecuted by those you now applaud. Revolutions are always like this. You are like blind people not knowing – or making as you do not know – who is behind the scenes.
    Monarchy is the best regime as corruption is everywhere in this world. You are stupid people but you do not know it yet. Good luck.

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