By Krishna Giri
Post Constituent Assembly election Nepal has witnessed a series of political dramas that only few people get to see in their lifetime. Some of these dramas are provocative, some are reprehensible, some are revolting and some are unpatriotic. The beauty is they all are happening in the name of democracy. I am fascinated by this term ‘Democracy’. ‘Prajatantra’, ‘Loktantra’, ‘Ganatantra’ etc etc. If we just go back to 60 years, we can find the following models of democracy in Nepal:
1. Shree 3 Rana’s Democracy (until 2007)
2. Shree 5 Tribhuwan’s Democracy (2007-15)
3. Nepali Congress’s Democracy (2015-17)
4. Shree 5 Mahendra’s Democracy (2017-36- in my view)
5. Shree 5 Birendra’s Democracy (2036-46)
6. NC/UML’s Democracy (2046-57)
7. Shree 5 Gynendra’s Democracy (2058-62)
8. SPAM’s New Domocracy, New Nepal & Loktantra (2063 onwards)
Not a bad record to exercise democracy. In my understanding we have always wanted more and more but never really realised what precisely we wanted. We have always tried to import democracy as a commodity but always failed to scrutinize the fact that democracy is not some form of a commodity. We have always eyed for the American or Western Europeans style of democracy but always failed to realise our own position in global perspective. It is like a private soldier aiming for Filed Marshall position within 5 years. It is not a bad thing to aim for the title or position, but the process is the key.
A soldier has to go through the processes to get into the high ranks. We have heard of many cases like Idi Amin who have managed to break those processes but we do not call them democratic events in civilised terms. However, consistent winners are those people who have followed the processes and challenges and proved themselves victorious. Similarly, American and European democracy is functioning in today’s world after following many processes. We must not forget that they too got involved in civil war, occupation, expansion, revolutions etc etc. Anyways, they have travelled a long durable enclosure to get here. We have to consider their education, employment, economy, culture, height of civilisation, health care, mortality rate, natural resources, military power, neighbourhood (very important) etc etc.
Democracy is not some concentrated ready made mixture. It takes time to flourish and it needs serious care and love. We have either expected western democracy to be mixed up in our society like a ready made mixture or we wanted a mature and flourished democracy that can guide us towards prosperity rather than us guiding the democracy for our prosperity and wellbeing. We have repeatedly insulted democracy and we have proven history of that. All the major parties and their leaders have failed to refrain from individual and party interests. They are always engaged in short term goals and interests rather than working towards the future of the country and the people.
Not just the leaders but we also have amazing people. People describe their association towards some party by blood or some relation rather than their own judgements. Further more; almost everybody is associated with some political elements. This is not expected in democracy. Does this happen in USA and Western Europe? Sovereign people exercise their sovereignty by gratifying or punishing political party rather than joining a party. We need political cadres to function democracy but if every body is a political cadre, then democracy can not function because there is no one left to judge the parties. The very basic rights of democracy will be apprehended if too many people joined political parties.
For example, the CA has failed to appoint a Prime Minister; the executive head of Government, for more than 3 months and the nation is so calm as if nothing has happened. But the way people have reacted when a pro Maoist business man was killed; pretty illusory. This is one simple example of how people are so used to or so motivated to rally behind political cause. Why the cities and streets are so calm even after these repeated horrific political dramas? Where are the people to give pressure to the leaders to do their jobs? When will the time come when the leaders will fear from people rather than other way around? When will we stop ourselves to treat politicians like warlords? Democracy and civilisation can neither be bought nor be imported. They have to develop within us and that is not going to happen overnight. We have to fight for a cause. We have to fight for objective things. We have to fight for gettable things. We should stop fighting for speculation and subjective things.
Let’s look at democracy in our neighbourhood and beyond. We are sandwiched between largest Democracy and largest People’s Republic. Can we ignore one of them? No. If we move to East-South; we have Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. If we look at North, we have Mongolia, Russia and Korean brothers and in South we have Sri Lanka and Maldives. If we go towards West and West-North, we have Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
Do we find any substantial democracy in the whole region? My answer is ‘No’. Every country listed above has tried to define its own form of democracy. China argues for its democracy, so does Bhutan, Myanmar, Maldives, Pakistan and Syria. We should do very sincere home work to identify the type of democracy we want and we need. Rather than importing democracy, we need to compose our own democracy. We can identify the goods of all democracy and analyse whether they can fit in our society or not.
In good old days, people used to call it ‘research’. We should work to make Nepal just a Nepal, not New Nepal or Europe. We would always remain Nepal and Nepali and let’s be proud of that. I remember Osho describing life as ‘full of hopes and misery’. Let our lives not be gone in just hopeless hopes with intense miseries.
Krishna Giri is based in Canberra, Australia.