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!

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60 thoughts on “A Year of Democracy (Loktantra) in Nepal”

  1. Now maoist start to attack NC, it is not surprising thing for people. Definately after king NC will be the target for leftist so that they can rule the country with their own ideology. This is what happened in Russia too. Paudel Baje, invited one of the prime guest, being attacked in Loktantra day in so-called maoist influenced civil society program, it means he and his NC groups are not loktantric to leftist and their organisations.

    There is a hindi dialogue, ” yours’ blood is blood and ours’ is water” which reminded me by Ghatana Bichar. The spaM and their followers media group, civil society and their own human right groups had differentiated Nepali blood in three catogories. One who gave blood for spaM treated as first class and gave heroic status, another blood of 13,000 people treated as nothing with the status of goat/bufallo and the blood of about 38 terai people considered as villian. This will clearly show how democratic they are and what is their prime goal.

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  2. Unless we correct the past wrongs, we are bound to repeat it. So maoist atrocities must be dealt with, punished as per the crime agaisnt humanity. I guess civil society in Nepal are paid propogandist of the left who see nothing wrong if it is done by Maoist or the ones on the left. Gawd- most of the civil society members and leaders are the ones who benefitted most from the past regime e.g, Dixit, and Pandey. Sure there is some Bhaunist thing working here, dontchy think?

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  3. Why are we having parties? can’t we be just Nepalese. These leaders are not going above the party’s selfish. they should think about country first then their party but here , the happenings is opposite.
    Since Maoist comrades are talking about peoples concern, we must try them. We tried all the leaders in past. Let’s try Maoist governance. a full real republic nepal.!!
    Jai Ganatantric Nepal

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  4. Mr Navin,

    Are not 14000 lives enough to trust maoists’ attitude? Do you want few more thousands?

    We do not want car thief as our ruler, do we?

    Lets go further deeper, the undergarments worn by prachanda are purchased from victims money.

    Why to descide fate of Monarchy only from referendum, why not to include maoists fate too?

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  5. People like Navin do not even know the definition of what ‘R’ stands for in Republic. They are all bhedas and cadres and comrades of SPAM warlords…just like maran and others over here.

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  6. Indian Foreign Policy and the Dynamics of Regional Politics

    (Courtesy: Siddhartha Thapa)

    The fourteenth SAARC summit, like past summits was poignantly marked with rhetoric, applauses, vague promises and strict adherence to obsessive protocol. But, unfortunately, like other past summits, the New Delhi summit failed to depart from the paradigm of inaction and identify the core problem plaguing development and democratization in South Asia: terrorism.

    Quintessentially, the drama attached to the SAARC summit was rather enchanting. Nepal, a prominent boat shaker in South Asian politics came out clearly favoring China to be given member status, this invariably in the long run will challenge India’s hegemony and influence in the region. To add to SAARC’s endless list of agonies, the addition of Afghanistan does no good, it further strains the mathematics of the beleaguered SAARC treasury. On the global front, powerful countries are coming together as efficient trading blocs and protecting the interest of member states within the trading bloc, unlike SAARC which remains bitterly divided. And despite some positive signs of economic development much to the credit of the IT sector boom and relocation of multi-nationals in South Asia; the rise in terrorism and political instability in the region has halted the consolidation of further success.

    In the past Indo-Pak rivalry accounted for much of SAARC’s failure and even to this date, the tension between these South Asian giants has hampered much of the progress at SAARC. But much has changed over the decade; India and Pakistan are not the only countries susceptible to terrorism and instability. A common feature in the politics of all South Asian countries is the resurgence of communist and religious extremism.

    So are New Delhi and Islamabad the regional spoilers?

    Pakistan’s geographic location makes it a non-contender and a lesser player compared to India. On all accounts New Delhi has indeed failed on three fronts: stabilizing the region, effective exportation of democracy in its back yard, and conflict management. Peace is a prerequisite to development. Unlike other regional trading blocs, South Asia is marred by instability and contrary to the philosophy of other regional trading blocs; South Asian politics lacks a binding force. On the other hand the in the European Union – democracy, free market and stability in the region are desired objectives of all its member states.

    For instance, the made in Delhi ’12 point agreement’, might yield dividends in Kathmandu but at the expense of the survival of democratic discourse. Where as in Bangladesh, India finds it hands unbound in taking strong measures against a military government. Worse still is Bhutan, where tragic ethnic cleansing, the relocation and repatriation of these refugees to a third country remain unsolved, though seventeen long years have passed by. The price that Nepal has had to pay has been dear, growing frustration among refugees has resulted in refugees posturing extreme nationalistic sentiments and in some cases resorting to violence. And last of course, Sri Lanka, where various groups within Tamil Nadu supported the LTTE. Unfortunately the see-saw change of policy in Delhi vis-à-vis Sri Lanka, costs many lives in the Indian army and tragically that of India’s visionary Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

    Therefore, for any successful overtures in South Asia – India needs to re-evaluate its foreign policy and national security and in conjunction, identify the main threats to its national security. It might also be prudent for the administration in New Delhi to question its policy makers in the South Block about a most pertinent issue – is South Asia headed towards disintegration? To find answers, policy makers and politicians in New Delhi need to identify interest groups within India that have worked in tandem with various extremist groups in South Asia.

    It is no secret that the weapons in the Maoist armory were provided largely by radical communist sympathizers in West Bengal and Kerala. Historically speaking, BP Koirala was funded by various socialist parties around the world in collaboration with Indian socialists to provide him with arms. Similarly, the CPI-M has without a doubt provided moral support to the Maoists and more significantly, introduced them to the secret arms market of India.

    Second, radical Islamic groups within India have perpetrated the ranks of various political parties in Bangladesh. But in regard to radical Islam, Pakistan ‘s notorious Islamic fugitives have outdone Indian Islamic radicals in disturbing the existence of a quasi- secular political balance in Bangladesh.

    In the case of Sri Lanka, Karunanidhi in the early 80’s not only provided monetary assistance but also sanctuary to Prabhakaran and his associates against the Lankan government. And in Bhutan, continued support to an autocratic regime and the reluctance of India to pressurize the Druk government on the repatriation of refugees languishing in Nepal are all parts and parcel of the fallacies of Indian policy in South Asia.

    India and Pakistan have to recognize the unifying element in South Asian politics. Unfortunately, home-grown terrorism has contributed towards instability and extremism. First – the unprecedented growth of communism and the notion of self-determination have the proponents of mustering secession movements in India. Although India might have made gargantuan leaps economically, its failure to protect democracies in its backyard has undoubtedly questioned India’s intentions and abilities in the global arena. If India cannot solve problems effectively in its own backyard how can she play a greater role in international relations?

    The only solution to the advancement of South Asian regional development is a re-evaluation of policy at South Block and Race Course Road. But on a substantive policy level – it must be realized that both radical communism and religious extremism are the biggest threat to peace time politics in South Asia. And the only real response is a collective comprehensive security mechanism and the identification of common threats and rapid socio-economic response to the disgruntled masses. But more importantly it is imperative that India departs from a policy of ‘democratic hypocrisy’.

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  7. सन्ध्या राई,

    ज्ञानेको मात्र होइन प्रचण्डे, बाबुराम, गिरिजा र माकुने सहितको पञ्च बलि नै चढाउँ|
    एउटालाई मारेर अर्कोलाई शक्तिशाली बनाउनु झन मुर्खता हुन्छ |

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  8. I guess Girija is doing a right thing. Neither he can trust Prachanda nor he can make favorable situation for CA Polls. The best way to deal with maoists is to linger for as much as possible. This will create chaos among PLAs and more the linger more they loose patience. This is a good strategy.

    Further, this strategy is working and creating havoc among maoist leaders. As from the maoists central committee meeting, there were some rumours about division among maoist. This is a good sign.

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