A Year of Democracy (Loktantra) in Nepal

Leading the nation to the Constituent Assembly election by addressing demands raised by various interest groups and move the peace process forward are the two biggest challenges for this year.

We have come a long way in the past 12 months. The peace process, started immediately after the successful peoples’ movement (April Revolution), is also on the right track. The most important thing that people of Nepal have gained in the past 365 days is the HOPE for bright future. As the daily routine of killings and counter killings stopped and the former rebels started storing their guerillas and weapons in the UN monitored cantonments and containers, Nepali people started planning for future. Well the peace is being restored, they think, now is the time to think about future and talk about business. The situation is not as bright as many would have liked to have. Business performance and economic indicators are disappointing because the driving force that is politics is not in stable condition yet. Certainly there are hurdles and people are aware of that. The country is reeling from the decade long violence and no one can do magic tricks to bring it to total normalcy. Political parties aren’t getting full marks for their performance though the credit for brining the peace process this far definitely goes to them. There is no sign that parties have learned from their past mistakes but there is no alternative of political parties. Likewise there is no choice for the political parties other than learning from the past.

People across the nation are celebrating the first anniversary of the reinstatement of the democracy in the country beginning today. To mark the Democracy Day (Loktantra Diwas) tomorrow, three-day-long celebrations will have various programmes organized throughout the country by the organizing committees in the respective regions. Last year on this very day, the April uprising was at its height, which forced King Gynendra to bend knees to the people power. The following day – April 24, 2006- people succeeded in gaining back the sovereignty, freedom and democracy that were seized by King Gyanendra on Feb 1, 2005. (more)

April Revolution that forced the despot Gyanendra to surrender to people and restore democracy (loktantra) was the combined voice of progressive Nepali people but that wasn’t the end. Many commentators have already noted in this forum that the revolution was just a beginning of the new phenomenon- demanding rights. Who is not demanding rights today? From indigenous people to the people of Terai to people of inner mountains to dalits to, well, you name it. Leading the nation to the Constituent Assembly election by addressing these demands and move the peace process forward are the two biggest challenges for this year. Some of the demonstrations have turned into violent killing field and Maoists, the other half of the peace process, are still resorting to bullying tactics. Both of these issues are sensitive and fragile. Unity among the eight political parties will be the key in addressing both of these issues. If we are successful in facing these challenges, days ahead are, yahoo!, OURS!