A university teacher from Southern Nepal writes to the American diplomat explaining the situation in the country and warning not to help feudal autocracy anymore. UWB translation of a ‘letter to the editor’ published in today’s Kantipur daily.
Assistant Secretary of State for South [and Central Asian Affairs]
You are arriving Nepal in a few days. We hear that you are coming to help us. All other assistances are acceptable but when we heard about military assistance, my heart froze. We are tired of war. We don’t need to fight. We wish that we don’t have to engage in internal conflict as well. Washington’s official view came a day before we knew about your planned trip that said the king should be ceremonial. It is not you but free Nepali people will decide if Nepal needs a ceremonial king or an active or no king at all.
Your arrival will not be helpful to Nepali people if you plan to bring palace and parties together. Nepali people are fighting against the feudal autocratic monarchy in a unified manner. Whatever achievement we have got is possible because of our unity. Foreign friends in the past tried to abort the peoples’ movement by promoting certain groups. They were forced to support the movement only after being unable to do so. Any activities that will save the widely criticized monarchy by ignoring the popular voice and keep Maoists outside the circle of peaceful landing forever are not acceptable to Nepali people. It is accused everywhere that America ‘provides arms, encourages fighting, and offers a plateful of alternatives to the solution.’ Are you doing the same? If so, we will be forced to conclude that America is not the real friend of Nepal.
We couldn’t understand in the past but this time around we have realized that you are not the real friend of us the loktantrik (democratic) people. We are fighting the battle of life and death to throw the centuries old feudal autocracy. Our illusion toward you was cleared after we saw you too eager to celebrate the conspirative Baishak 8 (April 21) royal proclamation. King was forced to issue another proclamation after three days. The second proclamation wouldn’t have been possible if you were to succeed. Peoples’ voice would have been aborted in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Your government again welcomed the second royal proclamation and issued a statement saying that the king should be ceremonial. We kept warning our leaders so that they would not deceive us by acting upon your advice like they did before. This time around leaders are forced to listen to the peoples’ voice than that of your advices. That is why they decided to go for Constituent Assembly on the Baishak 14 mass meeting at Khula Manch. Immediately after that Washington commented that it expects peace from Constituent Assembly. This is not a good example of friendship in the eyes of people.
We are suspicious about your arrival too. We fear that the visit might interrupt the unity among the powers representing Nepali people. Will this try to interrupt the 12-piont understanding between the parties and the Maoists? Will this destroy the flowers of peace and loktantra (democracy) that are about to bloom? I heartily request on behalf of all Nepali people that you do not take any interest in such things. We always welcome your interest-free wish to loktantra.
We very well understand that you don’t like Maoists. You tried hard to bring palace and parties together by sidelining the rebels. Our leaders actually tried to run as per your wishes. That is why thousands of Nepalis lost theirs lives in 13 years. We don’t deserve the life in the pool of blood. Whoever comes to power in a democratic way will have no difference to us. Nepali Congress or the Maoists. Whoever comes will be the sons and daughters of Mother Nepal. The only thing is that no one should hurt our unity and aspirations of peace.
Communist philosophy isn’t the competitive populism or multiparty populism. That is based on the autocracy of one party. Many felt that you were behind the murder of leader Madan Bhandari who brought the doctrine of multi-party populism. You never clarified that you were not involved. You also couldn’t digest the reformist government of the CPN UML. The same shouldn’t happen from now onwards. I remember a few days ahead of the approval of the Mahakali Treaty in the parliament, [ambassador] Sandra L. VOGELGESANG said on September 5, 1996: “Nepal will attract huge foreign investment if the treaty is approved.” Our leaders were impressed and they started saying, “We will benefit Rs. 1 trillion 20 billion yearly.” But we didn’t benefit a penny.
Being cautious by all these activities, we are constantly warning our leaders. We feel that Maoists are trying to come to the loktantrik (democratic) stream via the competitive populism. That might not be digestible to you. You created obstruction in the political path of Madan Bhadari who came to the peaceful loktantrik stream. I think that is also a reason for the beginning of the Maoist insurgency. We know that insurgency will not end as long as Nepal remains a kingdom. That is why outlets to republicanism shouldn’t be blocked. We always welcome your assistance for this.
Nepali people will rise against the Maoists if the violent war doesn’t end. Maoists are the power created from within the people so they might not ignore the popular opinion like the royal regime. Yes, such situation has been created. It would be wrong to say that Maoists didn’t have greater role in mobilizing the public in the recent Jana Andolan.
Nepali people have already moved toward the path of constituent assembly. The parliament has decided to go for it. If you are here to hurt the wish of Nepali people your visit will not be fruitful. I hope the proposal for constituent assembly will not be thrown into the dust bin just because of you.
Dr. Raj Kumar Pokharel
Mechi Multiple Campus,