Tag Archives: nepali-politics

How Kathmandu Elites Capture Nepal’s Progressive and Political Agenda

By Ashesh
UWB Guest Blog

The elite group of Nepal includes people from different ethnic groups and various places. The richest people in Nepal are still from Madhesi, Newar, Thakali and Thakuri groups, apart from Bahun-Chhetri. Likewise , based on access to land, government services and education, elites of different ethnic groups are far ahead of an average Nepali person.

Some handful elite families from various ethnic groups and castes were privileged to study in high quality English-medium schools and renowned educational institutions abroad. They benefited the most from the Rana and Panchayat regimes and continued to do so in democratic times. Today, they are the most influential class in Kathmandu with deep political and financial interests. In the past couple of decades, they have coined a jargon “hill upper caste ruling elites” to pose as advocate for marginalized people as they saw movements targeted against them.

The “progressive elites” have become successful in creating an illusion among foreigners that these poor and rural folks are the ‘demonic ruling elites’ of Nepal and they, the real elites who benefited the most from the Nepali state since centuries, are the agents of change and progress.

Read: Madhesi Groups Have the Highest Representation in Government Jobs

This coinage has successfully helped them shield themselves from the rights-based movements by creating a “new” enemy.  In their narrative, the oppressors are the ‘hill upper caste ruling elites’ while oppressed are the marginalized ethnic, regional communities. And they ‘courageously’ side with the marginalized ones to attack the ‘hill upper caste ruling elites’, euphemism for the poor and rural Bahuns and Chhetris.

This is a letter to all these Kathmandu elites to remind them who they are and that there are many out there who don’t believe the narrative that they have been selling.

Dear Kathmandu elites,

  • Given that you and your families are part of feudal ruling elite class, you may think all Bahun-Chhetri enjoyed similar privilege. But hard facts like HDI figures and other research show there are many poor Bahun-Chhetri people. People of diverse communities have enjoyed more access and privilege from the Nepali state.

Continue reading How Kathmandu Elites Capture Nepal’s Progressive and Political Agenda

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Who is the ‘international community’ in Nepal?

As a sovereign country of Southasia, if we have to listen to international opinion, does not Nepal also need to heed the views/feelings of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, or should we continue to go by the amorphous and selective use of ‘international community’?

Kanak Mani Dixit

893035_558874680856096_914955205_oAmidst the current jousting between Government of Nepal/ruling parties and certain members/combines of the ‘international community’, I would like to know who do we refer to when we say/accept the usage of ‘international community’. Are we talking of the entire community or selected members/combines? Are we talking of the European Union, in which case do the statements/activism that have been emanating therefrom include, say, Germany? Where does South Korea stand? What about the embassies unrepresented in KTM but with interest in Nepal? Do we mean ‘West’ when we say ‘international community’? When we do say ‘West’, is the focus mainly on a US-EU combine, or do we include Australia and Japan and Canada? Is there absolutely unanimity among the ‘international community’ and the “West’, or is it he who makes the noise that gets heard? When the UN Resident Coordinator puts out a note in the name of the ‘international community’, who is included – the multilateral agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF, WB, IFC), and which all embassies, and should we not have a listing at the bottom of all statements to clarify rather than add to the murk?

The broadest use of ‘international community’ in Kathmandu seems to include India and China. As a sovereign country of Southasia, if we have to listen to international opinion, does not Nepal also need to heed the views/feelings of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, or should we continue to go by the amorphous and selective use of ‘international community’? Let us have some clarity!!

(Note: I believe that the ‘international community’ has a right and duty to speak for the protection of democracy and human rights of any country, including Nepal. (In that sense, my own use of ‘international community’ includes every country from Bangladesh to Belgium.) However, the members of the diplomatic corps, from countries near and far, must keep off the terrain of constitution-writing so the Nepali people and political forces are left to themselves on this matter.)

(This article was originally posted as facebook status by Mr Kanak Mani Dixit. We have reproduced here with his permission.)

An Analysis of Corruption in Nepal: Is It Becoming Socially Acceptable?

Siromani Dhungana/UWB

It is no surprise that Nepal is a very corrupt country, but a cause of worry today is that politicians are robbing the state coffer openly and sometimes ‘proudly’ in Nepal.

This is an analysis of very recent allegations of corruption against our politicians, which have mostly gone un-answered.

Here are a few examples:

News 1: Nagarik Daily published a series of in-depth investigative reports (by Subodh Gautam) about erosion of Chure Hills in its February 22 and 23 editions. The news has hinted the apathy of the police to control rampant illegal activities in the Chure area. According to the articles, around 0.75 billion Nepali rupees have been misused under President´s Chure Conservation Program (PCCP). Can the commission for the investigation of abuse of authority (CIAA), an anti-graft body in Nepal, and the government agencies concerned, bring the guilty under scanner? Many believe they canno

News 2: On the February 22 edition, Annapurna Post published an article (by Govinda Pariyar) about import of sub-standard medicines worth Rs 500 million from India. According to the article, the government has been importing medicines that the Indian government has banned. The issue should have received a great deal of government attention, especially because this directly relates to the health of a large population, but no legal action has been initiated so far. Continue reading An Analysis of Corruption in Nepal: Is It Becoming Socially Acceptable?

Elections: Repeating History of Violence?

When leaders or parties lose their confidence to woo people through their policies and programmes, they resort to wielding violence to bring the election results to their favour.

By Sagar Ghimire

As November 19, the slated date for the Constituent Assembly election, draws closer, poll fever gradually grips the government, the Election Commission (EC) as well as the political parties. The EC is in full swing to make the election happen on the scheduled date. It enforced the Code of Conduct for the election and made the election time-table public too. Likewise, the government also held a meeting recently with security organs for the election to chart out a joint security strategy for the event.

However, political parties have failed to do their bit. Instead of forging a conducive and congenial environment to conduct the elections peacefully, the leaders of the parties are now fomenting violence through their speeches.
The unfortunate announcement from the CPN-Maoist to disrupt the election wasn’t as much a surprise as was the demand of the Nepali Congress leader and cadre to form their own ‘security squad’.

Though the NC president turned down the demand raised during the party’s Training of Trainers, the demand is indicative of the deeply embedded militant mindsets of the leaders and the cadres of all big parties. Continue reading Elections: Repeating History of Violence?

Nepali Politics: Floor Crossing During Prime Ministerial Election

nepali lawmakers floor crossing
On Monday (2 August) a group of 11 MPs from MPRF crossed the floor to vote for Maoist prime ministerial candidate Prachanda. That was round three. The fourth-round voting for a new prime minister (Prachanda vs NC's Ram Chandra Poudel) will be held tomorrow (August 6). A cartoon by Batsyayana (via Kantipur). For more info on the floor crossing incident and Round 3, click on the cartoon.

Shyam Saran, Indian envoy, Comes to Nepal to tell our Leaders how to form a Government

shyam saran in kathmandu
Shyam Saran talks to reporters in Kathmandu.

हामी लघूमानव हौं।
हामी आफूखुशी कहिल्यै मिल्न नसक्ने
कसैले मिलाइदिनुपर्ने,
हामी आफुखुशी कहिल्यै छुट्टिन नसक्ने
कसैले छुट्टायाई दिनुपर्ने,
हामी आफू खुसी कहिल्यै अगाडि बढ्न नसक्ने
कसैले पछाडिबाट हिर्काउनुपर्ने, हिँडाउनुपर्ने
हामी रङ्ग-रोगन छुटेका,
टुटेका, फुटेका
पुरानो क्यारमबोर्डका गोटि हौं
एउटा मानोरञ्जक खेलका सामाग्री,
एउटा खेलाडीमाथि आश्रित,
आफ्नो गति हराएका
एउटा ‘स्ट्राइकर’ द्वारा सञ्चालित
हो, हामी मानिस कम र बढ्ता गोटी हौं।
[Click on the photo above to read the complete poem by Bhupi Sherchan]

You will be forgiven if you thought Bhupi Sherchan penned those lines this evening after watching Shyam Saran land in Kathmandu today afternoon as Indian Prime Minister’s special envoy to Nepal to tell the quarreling political parties how to ditch differences among them and form a government. As Bhupi says: We (the Nepalis) are nothing but subhumans, we can’t voluntarily live in harmony, somebody has to come and reconcile us with each other.. we are more carrom-men than humans that are operated by a striker.”

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“Prime Minister of India has sent me here as an envoy so that I can, along with excellency ambassador [Rakesh Sood], have extensive round of meetings with all the political leaders in the country to see whether or not there is someway in which we can try build consensus so that a constitution in Nepal is formulated as quickly as possible. We have great interest, as neighboring country in the political stability of Nepal, and in the economic prosperity of Nepal, and as a friendly neighbor we will try and make all the efforts possible.”

-Shyam Saran, speaking to journalists at Tribhuvan Inernational Airport, Kathmandu today.

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New Delhi: India has send a senior envoy to Nepal to help resolve a political crisis that has left the Himalayan nation without a prime minister for five weeks. Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran has reached Kathmandu to aid talks between rival parties who have repeatedly failed to elect a new prime minister in the latest chapter of a long power struggle. “Nepal’s political situation is in limbo, and India wants to help them set up a stable government,” an Indian foreign ministry official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Continue reading Shyam Saran, Indian envoy, Comes to Nepal to tell our Leaders how to form a Government

Third Phase of Maoist Agitation Ends With a Threat to India

By Kamal Raj Sigdel

Maoists Want Talks with India: The United Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist (UCPN-M) wrapped up its third phase of protests and declared a fourth one today (Tuesday) concluding that there was no point in holding talks with local parties since they were all controlled by New Delhi. It was more meaningful to talk directly with Delhi.  The party has been hitting the streets demanding the establishment of civilian supremacy in the country.  This is the first instance since the 12-point agreement in 2005 that the Maoist leadership has come out openly against what it calls Delhi’s intrusion in Nepali politics. The implication was that the entire peace process was basically between the Maoist party and New Delhi, with other Nepali parties as fringe players.

The party announced that a national awareness campaign would start from Dec. 25 and run for a month. If the speeches made at the party rally on Tuesday were anything to go by, the Maoists will adopt a strong nationalist pitch in the next few weeks. Still, the party leadership displayed ambivalence in its treatment of India.  “We are ready to hold talks with New Delhi,” Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal told the party rally, held symbolically outside the Constituent Assembly where the Maoists are the largest party. “But what is the agenda? Are we citizens of a sovereign country?” There was the inevitable frustration with local parties. “For the last six months, I have reached out countless times to the parties, but they have all gone in vain,” said Dahal. “It’s a pity that the parties are helpless when it comes to taking any decision on their own as they are remote-controlled by New Delhi.”

India Reacts to Dahal Statement

By Dinesh Wagle

NEW DELHI – Influential Indian leaders and foreign policy buffs expressed a range of views on Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s statements pertaining to India on Tuesday. Dahal had said that he would only talk to New Delhi.

While some termed Dahal’s speech ‘a street talk by an angry leader’, others took it as a reflection of the ‘India will resolve it all’ tendency in Kathmandu.

The Ministry of External Affairs refused to comment. “We don’t want to comment on the internal issues of another country,” said a ministry official.

Former Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha saw Dahal’s speech as contradictory. “They blame India for interfering and then say they want to hold talks with India,” Sinha said noting that the onus of resolving Nepal’s problems lies with Nepali leaders and elected representatives. According to him, Maoists in Nepal have been trying to impose what they wish. “But in democracy, it doesn’t work that way all the time. “When in the government, they wanted to impose decisions through the Constituent Assembly. Now they want to impose things through force.”

Former Indian Ambassador to Nepal K.V. Rajan said India has always been in touch with all political parties in Kathmandu in one way or the other. “The government could rethink if Dahal means to talk straight with the ministry or the Prime Minister’s Office, skipping the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu,” said Rajan.

Dahal offered five key agendas that should feature in the Nepal-India dialogue: 1) scrapping of the 1950 Nepal-India Friendship Treaty,  revision of other unequal bilateral treaties, 3) revision of Indian policy to ensure Nepal’s right to international transit, 3) a tripartite agreement between Nepal, India and China on a long-term strategy for Nepal’s development, 4) Nepal-India border disputes, including Susta, and 5) the Indian army’s withdrawal from Kalapani.

Who is Kapoor to say like that? Dahal expressed serious concern over Indian Army Chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor’s recent remarks against the en masse integration of former Maoist combatants in Nepal Army. Gen. Kapoor’s statement came during Army Chief Chhatra Man Singh Gurung’s India visit that concluded on Saturday. Kapoor had said that “if Maoist fighters wish to join Nepal Army, they should follow the due recruitment procedure as other Nepali citizens aspiring to join the Army.”

“What is the point in India prescribing what should or what should not be done on the Army integration issue, which has been clearly outlined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement?” asked Dahal, adding that silence on the part of Gen. Gurung was indicative of the fact that the current establishment could not speak against New Delhi “even if the silence could cost us our sovereignty”. Dahal asked: Who is that Kapoor to jeopardize Nepal’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement?”

Fourth Phase: Nationalism on Focus The fourth phase of protests, according to the Maoists, will focus on raising “national awareness” by “exposing clandestine deals” with foreign compradors. “We are approaching a situation when we have to fight not only local compradors but also their foreign masters,” said Maoist Vice-Chairman Baburam Bhattarai. The one-month protest, from Dec. 25 to Jan. 24, is scheduled to culminate in declaration of an indefinite general strike if the government fails to address the party’s demand for a House discussion on the president’s reinstatement of then Army chief Rookmangud Katawal. The Maoist leaders also took strong exception to the government decision to buy arms from India, stating that it breached the peace accord and was a part of the “plot” to derail the peace process and suppress the Maoists.

Related blogs:

1. Second Phase of Maoist Agitation Ends With a Threat

Ian Martin asks: Is Peace Process in Nepal Failing?

Ian MartinFIVE Fundamentals of Nepali Peace Process, according to Ian Martin:

The first fundamental is the commitment to power-sharing and consensus. The second fundamental is the commitment of the Maoists to the transformation of their movement, to conform to democratic multi-party norms and to respect the rule of law. The third, the commitment to transformation in the security sector: to the “integration and rehabilitation” of former Maoist combatants, and to an action plan for “democratisation” of the Nepali Army. The fourth, the commitment to political, economic and social transformation, where the Comprehensive Peace Agreement set out a radical and ambitious agenda. The fifth and last fundamental is the commitment to address the needs of victims of the conflict, and to build the rule of law by ending impunity.

By Ian Martin
[Martin is former Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal for the United Nations Mission in Nepal]

In recent days there have been calls for the revision of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, accusations and counter-accusations that it is being broken by Maoist agitation or threats of mobilisation of the Army, and calling into question even of the 12-point Understanding which was the very foundation of the peace process. It is thus timely to ask whether the peace process is failing; if so, why; and what is required to save it.

I no longer speak for the UN on Nepal, and I want to make very clear that I am speaking only for myself. I do so solely as a friend of Nepal, and as someone who deeply wants to see Nepal go forward in peace, respect for human rights, and socio-economic progress for all its diverse peoples.

I want to try to address what I regard as the larger underlying issues of the peace process in Nepal, which I believe is the way to address the question of what needs to be done to get it back on track.

Five aspects of the peace agreements have been unchanging and are fundamental, and it is the extent to which they have been respected or not respected which I want to examine this evening. Continue reading Ian Martin asks: Is Peace Process in Nepal Failing?

Maoists Enforce Kathmandu Blockade

They want to establish ‘civilian supremacy’ in Nepal but they want to do that the cost of people’s right to live peacefully. The Maoists today began second phase of their agitation aimed at bringing down the current government by enforcing blockade in the Kathmandu valley. They have picketed at the entry-exit points in the Kathmandu valley. The pre-announced “blockade” began early morning with flag-waving Maoists gathering at Thankot and Sanga, reports Republica. As a result, vehicles coming to and fro the capital have been stranded at the entry points. There is heavy presence of police at Thankot and Sanga. Continue reading Maoists Enforce Kathmandu Blockade

The Nepali Constitutional Dilemma

With the lapse of time, whether the history of ruling monarch will repeat in changed form? This fear hangs over the mind of common people, as the present Constitutional developments are not so encouraging.

suryabahadur singhBy Suryabahadur Singh

The constitutional evolutionary phases were continuously witnessed throughout the development process in Nepal.   The post second Jan-andolan,2062 (2005) period has provided ample opportunities for stabilizing and institutionalizing the institutional democracy, peace and constitutional reforms.  The formation of Constituent Assembly has raised the common man’s hope of period getting a constitutional solution forever.  The Nepalese masses have not forgotten that, the Constituent assembly was a mere declaration by the King Mahendra in 2007(1950) and the successive constitutions were formed by the related Constitution drafting committees.  At that time, the constitutional experts were hand picked, the rigidity, abstract law, limited constitutional resources, least judicial developments and impact of ruling monarch were major hurdles in the way of making appropriate Nepali constitution.   Along with this,  soaring socio-economic problems has obstructed a lot for experimenting with past six constitutions having colors, flavor and  impact of  then existing time. Continue reading The Nepali Constitutional Dilemma