Message From Nepal to the International Community

“The international community’s euphoric reaction to Friday’s royal address is ludicrous, to say the least. It also shows how shallow is their reading of Nepali history and how far removed they are from the present ground reality,” Editorial in The Kathmandu Post titled ‘Int’l Community

Currently, Nepal stands at a crossroads. On the right side of it is a new Nepal where people are fully sovereign; insurgency is resolved and the Maoists join the political mainstream; the state is restructured to accommodate the disfranchised populace; and the society makes a peaceful transition towards prosperity. On the wrong side of it is the status quo, where the fundamental issue of sovereignty remains unresolved; the Maoist insurgency continues; state, under the direct control of the king, remains unitary and unwilling to address the issue of widespread exclusion. As Nepal has entered the final stage of the labor pain, the international community, unfortunately, seems to be supportive of the status quo. The international community’s euphoric reaction to Friday’s royal address is ludicrous, to say the least. It also shows how shallow is their reading of Nepali history and how far removed they are from the present ground reality. The foreign envoys’ suggestion to the parties to break with the rebels and to take the royal offer is fraught with two serious problems.

First, it does not address the Maoist insurgency, the main problem of the day. Breaking with the Maoists at this point in time and rejecting their legitimate demand for a constituent assembly means more bloodshed and more chaos for several years to come. Second, it denies the Nepali people their sovereign rights to decide — through peaceful means — the future of monarchy. Between three to four million people, who have already hit the streets nationwide, demanding the election to the constituent assembly, didn’t suddenly wake up one fine morning and said that they wanted to do away with the monarchy. These people have a painful memory of thier history where monarchy has played, time and again, with Nepali people’s democratic aspirations. King Tribhuvan failed to live up to his promise of constituent assembly elections in the 1950s. Then, King Mahendra dismissed the first democratically elected government in December 1960. King Birendra gave in to the demands of democracy only after dozens of Nepalis shed blood in 1990. Again in 2004, King Gyanendra sacked the elected government and in 2005 seized absolute power, jailed the political leaders and gagged the press.

Now the people want to break away with this history, of which the international community does not really know. That is why they are happy with the king’s announcement of transfer of executive power and want the parties to grab the prime ministerial post offered by him. Sher Bahadur Deuba was reinstated to the post of prime minister in 2004 by the king transferring the so-called executive power. What happened after a year? Moreover, parties were criticized in the past for being power-hungry, for running after the chair. Now, when they are saying it’s not an issue of becoming a prime minister but a question of resolving the country’s burning problems, they are being pressurized to take king’s offer of prime minister.

The most unfortunate failure of the international community has been their inability to see the courage and democratic aspirations of the Nepali people. This is a country marred by a violent insurgency. Yet during the last two weeks, millions of Nepalis have come to the street rejecting violence. They have braved bullets, baton charges and tear gas shells but have refrained from violence. What is the message of the international community to these peaceful protestors? Are they going to say, “No you can’t meet your demands through peaceful protests?” Are they going to say, as the Maoists advocate, that armed revolution is the only answer to the Nepali state’s violence? Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran tried to do a damage control in New Delhi the other day in a hurriedly called press conference saying that India would respect the Nepali people’s decision. If the rest of the countries do not review their stance immediately, and continue to dishonor one of the most peaceful and colossal uprisings in modern history, they will soon find themselves on the wrong side of Nepali history.

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24 thoughts on “Message From Nepal to the International Community”

  1. Good writing. I agree with you. This is the fourth attempt as you said to bring democracry in Nepal. Accepting Gyanendra’s offer (I don’t call him a King anymore. One cannot call himself a King unless his subjects do) is going back to the same old cycle. Even if he lets the multiparty flourish until he die, his son will repeat what his father and grandfater did. I absolutely agree that the contitution should be rewritten without any ambiguity.

    I live in a foreign country. Just because my country is poor (the main reason) people look me down (not directly but any man with some sense can feel it. The same thing happens when I travel in other countries.). I don’t know how other guys living in foreign countries feel. May god bring democracy and after that economic revolution in Nepal, so Nepali living at home and abroad get respect also. I salute the people who are finghting for democracy in Nepal.

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  2. Manmohan signals policy shift on Nepal

    N. Ram

    HANNOVER: A shift in the Indian Government’s stand away from endorsement of King Gyanendra’s proclamation of April 21 was hinted at by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s studied response to a German journalist’s question at the joint press conference in Hannover.
    “Developments in Nepal are of vital concern to us” began Dr. Singh, in response to a question about Nepal’s political crisis and what India could do to help resolve it. “Ever since February 2005, we have been concerned about the developments in Nepal which led to the removal of a multi-party government.”
    He explained that India’s effort had been to “persuade the King that restoration of a multi-party government is absolutely essential to deal with the crisis that has arisen.” His special envoy last week “impressed upon the King the need to move quickly and fast enough to restore multi-party democracy and to hand over all executive powers to that government. I think since then the political parties have been discussing among themselves how they can cooperate to carry forward this whole process.”
    It is surely significant that the Prime Minister’s comment on Nepal on Sunday includes no repetition of the earlier endorsement of the King’s latest moves as being “in the right direction”; and makes no reference to constitutional monarchy as being one of “the two pillars of the Nepali polity.” Interestingly, Dr. Singh reiterated that the King should hand over “all executive powers” to a multi-party government [emphasis added].” He also invested some faith in the discussions among political parties on “how they can cooperate to carry forward the whole process.”

    The Hindu, Monday, Apr 24, 2006

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  3. Nepal picture changing, Pranab talks to Yechury
    Ananda MajumdarPosted online: Monday, April 24, 2006

    Indianexpress

    Minister agrees with CPM view that time is running out

    NEW DELHI, APRIL 23: Under fire from the people of Nepal for still expressing support for King Gyanendra, New Delhi has fine-tuned its position on the evolving situation in Kathmandu with the monarch’s role limited to restoration of Parliament after which political parties alone chart the course.

    While Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran has gone on record advocating the twin-pillar theory, explaining this had been the earlier demand of the people and the political parties and that it was for them to decide on a different arrangement, the emerging pragmatic position on Nepal was apparently evident in the meeting of Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury today.

    The CPI(M) leader’s trip to Nepal is on the backburner for the moment, given the situation prevailing there, even though a meeting with the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists may have helped. Yechury had presented a four-point formula to the Nepalese alliance leaders on Saturday that had formed the basis of their meetings on the country’s political roadmap.

    During the meeting, Mukherjee agreed with the CPI(M)’s assessment that time was running out on Nepal and India must use its good offices to convey this in no uncertain terms to Gyanendra. Yechury later spoke to Nepali Congress veteran Girija Prasad Koirala, former PM Sher Bahadur Deuba and UML leader Madab Nepal on his meeting with Mukherjee. He has also been in touch with Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai.

    The Nepalese leaders and Yechury agreed that political parties needed to ride on popular support rather than look askance at the monarch.

    They also agreed that the key to any political agreement would be to make it apparent that the establishment of an interim government or elections to a constituent assembly was sanctified by people power and not doled out by the monarchy.

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  4. ya nepal stands at the crossroads..but the int’l reaction to the present senario of nepal is good…they r trying to resolve problem…they want to see dialogue between king and the parties….but this mess or so called revolution cant go for long…do u want to continue it for months???…..and where will the country end up going to???….this general strike and revolution is just affecting the daily life of people and draggin the nation into a failed state….its really easy to say that country is going through transition phase and country will be prosperous in future…..and who are the people taking part in this revolution??…all those street childrens and the lower class people?…how many middle class people and higher class people are in this revolution?…its easy to say but hard to make it done….i m not against any kind of revolution nor am i against democracy….but this present situation cant be continued for long otherwise there is sure to be a foreign intervention and nepal will lose everything…

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  5. the international community has to b very careful i guess before they speak out their thoughts.

    they have not fully understoon the current scenerio of nepal and after they heard the king speaking they say it is to the benefit of the people. may b because the king’s speech was also given in english. so i guess the seven party alliance (SPA) has to also give their speech in english too. they should also have invited the international journalists in the press conference. instead of the speaker of the SPA speaking someone of the SPA should have spoken in order to make their speech to be heard in the world.

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  6. ya nepal stands at the crossroads..but the int’l reaction to the present senario of nepal is good…they r trying to resolve problem…they want to see dialogue between king and the parties….but this mess or so called revolution cant go for long…do u want to continue it for months???…..and where will the country end up going to???….this general strike and revolution is just affecting the daily life of people and draggin the nation into a failed state….its really easy to say that country is going through transition phase and country will be prosperous in future…..and who are the people taking part in this revolution??…all those street childrens and the lower class people?…how many middle class people and higher class people are in this revolution?…its easy to say but hard to make it done….i m not against any kind of revolution nor am i against democracy….but this present situation cant be continued for long otherwise there is sure to be a foreign intervention and nepal will lose everything…

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  7. Value of people’s power

    Events can throw up parallel government in Nepal
    by S. D. Muni

    Nepal has witnessed an unprecedented and historic upsurge of people’s power. The democratic struggle against a despotic monarch has gone beyond the parameters laid by its initiators, the mainstream Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) as well as the Maoists. It has engulfed not only civil society but also ordinary Nepalese—women, children, workers and peasants. Even the wives of Royal Nepal Army soldiers came out on the streets with black bands to tell their husbands and the King that they too have their “duty” to the country.

    All these Nepalese have seen the ugliest face of their erstwhile revered monarchy and they seem determined to throw it away lock, stock and barrel. For this they are enduring severe hardships for the past more than three years, particularly for three weeks, under the SPA’s call for a general strike beginning on April 6. Imagine the fate of the families that live on daily wages.

    In the context of this rise of the people’s power, the SPA could not have accepted the King’s proclamation of April 21, promising to “return the executive power to the people”. This proclamation, while ignoring the basic issues raised by the movement, was short on substance and couched in crafty formulations to nurse the royalist ego. It said nothing about the repression unleashed on the people, nor a word of sympathy for those killed and wounded. It described King Gyanendra’s power grab of February 1, 2005, as “safe keeping” of power and a “compulsion” in the “tradition” of the Shah dynasty’s commitment for democracy.

    There was nothing new in the King’s call to SPA to recommend a name for the post of “Prime Minister”, because this is what the King has been saying after the October 2002 dissolution of Parliament. His intention has been to divide the political parties rather than to transfer power to its representatives. He appointed Mr Sher Bahadur Deuba and Mr Surya Bahadur Thapa under the 1990 constitutional provision of Article 35, without changing the real grab of power in his own hands. To ridicule the office of a representative Prime Minister, he even invited applications for the position as if it was a bureaucratic recruitment. To trap the Indian support for his proclamation, he clubbed the constitutional monarchy with multi-party democracy, the so-called two pillars of India’s Nepal policy. On the top of it, he hailed the Army’s loyalty, the principal instrument of his repression against unarmed agitating people.

    It was indeed unfortunate that India worked for and hastily welcomed this proclamation. Such a proclamation made a sense only if it was issued after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s first one-on-one talk with the King in Jakarta more than 10 months earlier. At that time, neither the SPA-Maoist understanding had materialised nor the people’s power had manifested itself on the streets of Kathmandu and the rest of Nepal. India welcoming the King’s intent to hand over power, without lending support to some of the basic demands of the people like the Constituent Assembly, amounted to being partisan and manipulative. Even if Indian policy is bent upon saving the monarchy, it should follow the route of the Constituent Assembly or at least the revival of the dissolved House of Parliament.

    Foreign Secretary Shyam Sharan’s statement two days after the King’s proclamation expressing India’s commitment to people’s aspirations can be seen as a much-needed exercise in damage control. As such, this statement is also an indirect acknowledgement of the flawed initial response of welcome. But this comes with the reiteration of the twin-pillar policy by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    How can India doggedly stick to its basic approach of the twin-pillars of the constitutional monarchy and multi-party democracy when both are at daggers drawn and the King, driven by his own ambitions and arrogance, has completely shattered the “constitutional” dimension of the monarchy. India’s policy in bailing out the King is driven by considerations that are irrational and not in India’s enlightened long-term interests in Nepal. India’s myopic and ill-informed view of the Nepal Maoists, the Indian Army’s parochial emotions for the Royal Nepal Army, the influences of feudal and Hindutva lobbies and the considerations of strategic partnership with the US are misleading India’s Nepal policy.

    India seems to be lacking in self-confidence to deal with a republican Nepal. In its fear of uncertainty and disorder in Nepal, Indian policy has become less than sensitive to the aspirations of tomorrow’s Nepal and its rising people’s power. If stability is the primary concern of India in Nepal, its policy-makers must realise that King Gyanendra no longer remains a stabilising force. He is a part of the problem, nay, the basic problem itself.

    If history has to be analysed objectively and carefully, the Nepalese monarchy will be seen as an institution which has never been responsive to the security and developmental interests of either India or the Nepalese people. Why is a democratic and republican India alienating itself from the people’s power in Nepal for the sake of such a discredited and unfriendly feudal institution?

    The people’s power in Nepal is indeed creating history. Very soon the SPA will have to constitute a parallel government because the persisting anger of the people on the street can grow into a monstrous destructive power. The SPA must move fast to harness this power into a constructive force. This can be done by setting up a parallel government that will enable the SPA to engage the Maoists in a purposive dialogue within the framework of their November 2005 and March 2006 mutual understandings and prepare for holding the elections to the Constituent Assembly.

    Nepal cannot go back to the Constitution of 1990 as King Gyanendra has already raised it to the ground. If India wants to regain its lost ground in Nepal, it must prepare itself to recognise a parallel government of the SPA and endorse its road-map for the restoration of peace, order and democracy. No such road-map can succeed without getting the Maoists on board.

    Indian diplomacy should also prevail over the King to impress upon him that if there is even a slim chance of saving the monarchy as a ceremonial institution left by now, it lies through the road-map of the SPA mainstreaming the Maoists through a Constituent Assembly.

    Indian diplomacy has to work on the US and rest of the international community to accept the SPA’s road-map. That may not pose a major challenge as all the key members of this community have been inclined to follow the Indian lead in Nepal. The new constitution, to be framed by this representative body, will have to be an inclusive democracy. India will have to remain constructively engaged with the constitution-making process, not to save the monarchy but to support the SPA in its efforts to ensure that democracy in Nepal never gets derailed in the future.

    The writer is a noted commentator on South Asian affairs.

    http://www.tribuneindia.com

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  8. What said and done by the king is now the history in Nepal. There is no option left for King within 1990 constitution. The mass protests increasing nationwide against the King will now decide place of royal regime in Nepal. In history king have always offer same type of betrayal with some sugar coated words which was against the will of people. It is not the king who will offer sovereign rights to people it is the people who will offer place for king.

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  9. reply to all u r right…everyone knows that…kantipur is anti government…..always its the same for kantipur…it sucks ….only maobadis rock….

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  10. Editorial
    The Hindustan Times

    Palace off the wheels

    April 23, 2006

    It is a measure of King Gyanendra’s ‘achievement’ that in the space of a few days he has managed to convert the pro-democracy upsurge in Nepal into a movement demanding the end of a more than 250-year-old line of monarchs who were, till not so long ago, revered as living gods. The scornful reaction of the seven-party alliance (SPA) to the king’s offer of taking the reins of government is a measure of how much the ground has shifted from under King Gyanendra’s feet. Listening to his Friday speech offering to restore “executive power” to the people, it was difficult to decide which model of monarchy he was espousing — that of Louis XVI, who refused to see the approaching revolution, or his successor, Louis XVIII, who inspired Talleyrand’s immortal comment that the Bourbons had learnt nothing and forgotten nothing.

    King Gyanendra ought to have at least known that the circumstances of February 2005, when he seized power, and of April 2006, when he was compelled to make his offer in the face of mounting protests, are not the same thing. Time has not stood still: the monarchy’s position has been eroded and its options sharply reduced. The SPA has been superseded by a people’s revolt that may not be in anyone’s control. At the same time, the Maoists in the countryside have become more powerful.

    The king’s actions may or may not have been occasioned by his meetings with the Indian prime minister’s special envoy, Karan Singh, on Thursday, but it should be clear that India has nothing but Nepal’s best interests in mind. Geography, specifically the Himalayas, makes us the mountain kingdom’s only real neighbour and, therefore, we have great stakes in each other’s well-being. At the same time, it should be clear that the time for restoring status quo ante has gone. So, while the restoration of the 1990 model constitutional monarchy may be good in theory, it may no longer be a practical proposition, given the widespread distrust and revulsion that King Gyanendra’s tactics have evoked. If the Nepalese people are determined to create a Constituent Assembly and become a republic, so be it. It is not in India’s interest to block change in Nepal, but to ensure that it takes place peacefully and does not destabilise the country.

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  11. SYNG, If you are Nepal you surely must realize that the protests are diminishing now-19 days of strikes and curfews does that to the poor people. Can’t you see everyone is tired?

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  12. ya it is diminishing…and after some days it will just stop…and it should stop…country cant face such a long standstill…so parties should have a dialogue with the king and stop this so called revolution…otherwise our nation will be a failed state….

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  13. hey kirat , wat is your age yaar,
    why do u act like a bridda…..
    wat do u want actually, maybe u want people to make samjauta with that gyanendra. u must have known well he is not anyone to do samjauta.. he demands us to be waar yaa paaar.. u too have to decide which side u r on… this is not the time to do samjauta… nepali congress ra shere le dhari rajalia chinera samjauta nagreko belama which ullu r u to look at gyanendra with some hope ki if we become a bit matthar he will do some dayaaaa…
    gyane lai chinya chaina ki kya ho?

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  14. interesting article..
    Well, when u have a conflict in your family it is not really important to dig into what your neighbors have to say.

    What kind of support r we waiting for? UN mediation? Do you think that’s going to help/happen at all? Suggestion/comment/strong statement against the king? How would that affect his decisions when he hasn’t done anything yet. Luk at his lame response to the weeks long protest (an honest dumbass would find some respect and humility for that).

    Its okay to expect some help but again, we need to solve our own problems. Some of these leaders around us are here because of some fundamental problems in our society. We need to voice our opinion strongly (like they are now) about what we feel and i am personally optimistic about the country at this point.

    At the end of the day, the fact is we live in our country, by our rules, under our govt. If we are in deepsh*t, we have to figure out our way out of there, why should another country have anything to do there? It would b nice but that’s not real is it? unless there is some incentive..think about it.

    Peace!

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  15. Taaya, if you’re old enough act your age. If you’re not I guess you can’t help it. It’s easy talking about a revolution but do you know the cost of a revolution? Will it bring stability to Nepal? I hate the king as much as you do. We can either move sensibly into a democratic nepal where the king has no powers or we can go for a bloody fight against Gyane. The former may take longer and will require the SPA to be bold and skillful and the people to be alert but it can be done in a non-violent way. The latter will cause untold misery to the people.

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  16. kirat………
    my honest and sincerest request to u to change ur sign in name.
    i am also a kirat. do u think , u represent all kirat ? as it seems to offending to go via ur remarks , simply by the name that precedes it.
    my humble request to u ,not to sign with this name for any of ur remarks in this blog.

    thanks

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  17. Chandra you are highly misguided to ask all Kiratis to have same views are yours. I don’t expect all my bros to has same view as mine. I am disappointed to see this patronizing behaviour of yours.

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  18. Are you so naive as to think that the parties would be any more effective than before if they have control again? The political leaders are interested only in lining their pockets and acquiring personal power at the expense of the nation and people. They are criminals and traitors. In any case, once the bastard alliance of Maoists and pol parties brings down the King the Maoists no longer need the politicians and they will be eliminated. The nine parties have no guns. Are you so blind?

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  19. Consider the demonstrated character of the Maoists. Is this a “Velvet Revolution” or “Prague Spring” with idealistic revolutionaries putting flowers in the muzzles of soldiers rifles? Or is it terrorists blowing up public buses, asassinating public officials, kidnapping school children and robbing, looting and extorting like common dacoits? When they win will they march the former leaders, military, police and intellectuals to the roof tops and shoot them like in Iran? Or slaughter in unimaginable numbers anyone who can read and write such as in Cambodia? Send them to Gulags for life like Stalin did to millions? Or just send everyone to “Re-education Camps” for slave labor like in Vietnam. What is the character of this revolution? Do you really want to help them win? Are you so blind?

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  20. Yes, Bideshi, unfortunately even the intelligent, thinking people of Nepal seem to have become blind and have been carried away by this “democracratic” movement.

    We need democracy, but not the type we will soon get. There will come a day when hundreds of people and their families will be shot by unthinking, unfeeling maoists. At the point of death, they will SEE what they have helped to unleash. But, by then it will be too late. God save them !!

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