Deciphering Nepal’s Recent Turmoil

By Biswo Poudel in Berkeley, CA

“The passion of men for equality is ardent, insatiable, eternal, and invincible” (De Tocqueville, 1860)

For a brief moment last winter, it seemed as if Nepal was on the brink of being disintegrated. The demands made by Janajati, Madhesi and other groups made the political environment muddled. There were demands of all kinds. The demands ranged from the demand for quota, and jobs to the demand for reservation on the parliament. Occasionally, it was laced by Brahmin-bashing.

It seems like an eon ago, but around five years ago, this author was shocked by the prevalent attitude in Nepal, especially among the elites of Kathmandu. Remember this was before the Madhesis or other groups were in the street. The parliament was in the thrall of NGOs. I met several friends who used to recount the tales of parliamentarians coming to them and asking them to take small projects to their districts. In return, the NGOs, often run by the western educated people, had such an access to the parties and parliament that they seemed to be running the government and writing the bills. NGOs were parallel government, they were different from the existing government in that the government was theoretically subject to popularity test every five years, while NGOs were like a permanent government, never subject to any test by the people. Continue reading Deciphering Nepal’s Recent Turmoil