Friday, August 30, 2013

Democracy but which one?

Yuba Nath Lamsal
Democracy has become a global lingua franca in the present 21st century. The democratic upsurge has swept all over the world either forcing the dictators of various kinds to bow down before the power of people or has simply toppled the regime and replaced it with the government of people’s representatives. Many countries in the world have now democratic dispensations, while in some countries this process is intensifying. But there is one stark reality the world has witnessed at present that is despite such a marvelous global popular upsurge in the march for democracy, the genuine democratization process has yet to take place in many of the countries in the developing world.
The people in various countries have overthrown the authoritarian regimes and installed a new one that claim to be democratic and vow to work for the greater interest of the people. Democracy is still in fragile state in the newly emerged democracies especially in the developing countries. The democratic institutions are so weak and the parties and persons in power are hardly interested to institutionalize and strengthen democracy, democratization process and democratic institutions.
Once gone to power, one often tries to remain power for ever and personalize politics. As a result, institutional development takes a back seat even when the so-called democratic system is in place. The problem begins with the fear of losing power because once in power no one wants to be out of power. To remain in power, the party and person resort to all kinds of tactics and method to retain power. This is the real culprit that has hindered the process of democratization and institutionalization of democracy in the world.
The other issue is the definition of democracy. The western countries often tend to have the authority to certify whether or not a particular political system is democracy. The western capitalist countries recognize only the political system and regimes that follow the capitalist model of liberal democracy. Any other political model that does not reconcile with the values and principles of western capitalist system is dubbed as authoritarian and undemocratic system. So this ideological divide has also cost heavily on democracy and political systems in the world.
As the world is diverse with different countries having their own unique history, culture, traditions and value systems, they also have different perception on political model and governance. They have their homegrown and time-tested system that is more suitable to their country. In these countries, imposition of alien system and values in the name of democracy has often boomeranged.
In fact democracy is collective self-rule which implies that people oversee their affairs on the basis of collective consent. This is more possible in direct democracy which used to be practiced in ancient Athens. During the early days of democracy, Athenians would gather in the city center where they would collectively take decision on each and every issue of national significance. These decisions used to be binding for authorities and they had to implement without any question. In this self-functioning type of system or democracy, each electorate directly participated in the decision-making process and governance. This was called a direct democracy, which is the mother of democracy in the world.
With the march of time, the social fabric, demographic pattern and society itself underwent phenomenal change and transformation. With the demographic pressure, social structure and relations got complicated. The old systems that had been in practice for years, decades and centuries were replaced by the new and improvised ones to cope with the new changes in the social, political and cultural spheres and challenges as direct democracy is not possible in the present complicated world. This was later replaced by representative democracy in which people would choose their representatives through periodic election and the elected representatives would rule and decide on behalf of the people. This is the democracy we are practicing in the world at present.
The liberal democracy is being portrayed as the only legitimate political system of the people. The system of governance or liberal democracy was born and nurtured in the Western capitalist countries and was later put in test in other countries of the world, as well. Since it is their brain child, the Western countries champion, advocate and defend liberal democracy and try to establish and institutionalize it in the world as the best democratic system of governance. To them, any other form of political system challenging liberal democracy is tantamount to authoritarian system devoid of popular legitimacy. However, all other forms of system are not authoritarian and all political system based on Western political values alone may not necessarily signify genuine democracy.
Given the great debate going on in the global level, it seems that the dispute is focused not on the form and fashion of the political system but on values it champions. It is the clash between two value systems— the oriental and western values. In other words, the row is between individualism and collectivism and between the person and the community or society. The countries in the Western World are the advocate of individual rights and they have based quality and class of democracy on the level and extent of individual rights and freedom. However, the oriental countries focus more on community rights and interests than personal pursuit. This is the fundamental difference on the model and definition of democracy in the world.
On the definition as well as priority of rights, too, there is a marked difference. Western and Eastern societies are far apart on what should be the priorities of individual rights. Should the civil and political rights or right to life be the priority for an individual and government? The Eastern and the Western worlds are divided on this issue. The Western countries are of the view that individual freedom and rights make one free and ensure freedom and democracy. However, in the definition of Eastern countries, right to life, which includes access to and availability of food, housing, and clothes, are more important for individuals than the civil and political rights. One has first to remain alive and grow healthy to enjoy other rights including the civil and political rights. In the absence of right to life, other rights become meaningless. This is what the socialist and communist countries and people also tend to believe. This divisive definition on democracy has led accusation and counter accusation between the supporters of Western liberal democracy and socialist/communist followers. The advocates of liberal democracy call the communists and socialist as tyrants because they deny civil and political rights in the name of guaranteeing right to life or economic and social rights. However, the socialists and communists deny the charges and instead dub the Western democracies as the mockery of democracy. They call the Western liberal democracy an exploitative system under which a handful of elites rule over the large majority of the people under the fa├žade of democracy because the majority of people are deprived of basic necessities.
Both the views and thoughts have their own logics, which may or may not be true in real sense. But what is true is that an individual first needs to survive, grow and develop to enjoy other rights. An individual would be able to enjoy his or her democratic rights only when he or she is alive. In this sense, the right to life should be the paramount concern for every individual. The conditions that ensure one’s survival includes food, housing and cloths, which are the most fundamental human rights of every individual. Once the basic necessities for survival are guaranteed, one needs the right to access to health care facilities and education for his or her growth and development. These rights are required to be guaranteed in order to enable a person to exercise and enjoy one’s own freedom and civil and political rights. In contrast, however, those who champion individual freedom and rights are of the view that one is born free and must remain free irrespective of his or her economic background. According to them, freedom is an essence of humanity and one can prosper and progress only when one enjoys his or her free status and right. This debate has given rise to a struggle between the two different sets of ideologies which can be categorized into two groups: pro-right group and pro-life camp. Capitalists are pro-rights and socialists or communists are generally known as pro-life groups.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Realization of consensus-based foreign policy

Yuba Nath Lamsal
In an anniversary function of Nepal Council of World Affairs, Chairman of the Interim Election Government Khil Raj Regmi has raised one very pertinent issue that is related to formulation and conduct of Nepal’s foreign policy. He said foreign policy should be consensus-based. The remark itself is nothing new. What is new is the realization by the people in power about the long felt need of consensus on some vital national issues including foreign policy.
Foreign policy watchers and experts have long been demanding that the key political actors reach a broader consensus on what should be Nepal’s foreign policy, its goals and priorities and tools to be used to achieve foreign policy objectives. However, consensus-based foreign policy has been elusive in Nepal especially after the 1990 political change that ushered in a multi-party political era. As a result, there have been marked inconsistencies and discrepancies in the conduct of foreign policy.
This is also a reason why Nepal’s conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy has been weak after 1990. Until 1990, there was, to a large extent, consistency on foreign policy issues as the goal of the Panchayat was to protect and preserve the monarchy and its active role in politics. Since the regime lacked democratic legitimacy at home, Panchayat and the monarchy tried to boost their image and obtain legitimacy in the international arena through proactive diplomacy. During the Panchayat regime, the monarchy used to directly handle some of the vital issues including foreign policy. Thus, there was inconsistency in the conduct of diplomacy.
The political parties and their activities had been banned during the Panchayat regime. Although parties could not properly and openly spell out their foreign policy priorities, they used to criticize the policies of the King’s absolute regime including the conduct of foreign policy. But the parties could not bring about change and new direction in Nepal’s foreign policy even after the 1990 political change. The dispensation after the 1990 political change continued with the same basis and priorities of foreign policy even after change in political system. This is a testimony that Nepal’s foreign policy has been marked more by continuity than change.
Foreign policy is the issue that has some priorities and goals which normally do not change. The national interests that include mainly the protection of sovereignty, national independence and territorial integrity remain as permanent components of foreign policy of any country in the world. Different approaches can be adopted to safeguard these interests. Such approaches may change depending upon the situation and context at home, in the neighborhood and in the international arena. The approaches applied by Panchayat regime in the conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy have remained unchanged even now. But Nepal, soon after the 1990 political change, abruptly from the idea of‘ Peace Zone Proposal’ that had been endorsed by 116 countries in the world. The Peace Zone Proposal had nothing to do with the regime but concerned with the idea that sought to declare Nepal as a zone of peace. The recognition and approval of Nepal’s idea by 116 countries was definitely a significant diplomatic achievement, which could be used to advance Nepal’s image and interest further in the international arena. But the government that came to power after 1990 political change took a U-turn in this issue, which can be dubbed as a serious diplomatic blunder on the part of Nepal. This diplomatic debacle under aegis of our southern neighbor marked a downhill slide in Nepal’s credibility in the international arena. This also marked a point of departure from conducting independent foreign policy and weakened our position in asserting our rights and interest in the international forums and also gave rise to subservient diplomacy.
There has not been any improvement in the conduct of independent and pro-active foreign policy and diplomacy even after the 2006 systemic change that saw abolition of monarchy and establishment of a republican democracy. Despite this huge political change, Nepal’s foreign policy has remained as weak as ever and in some cases, the situation has deteriorated. Foreigners have become more influential in shaping our domestic policies and external meddling has intensified. Our political leaders seem to have increasingly become helpless in determining their own affairs. Instead they seem to have become tool of external powers.
As a result, Nepal’s strategic strength has become its weakness. Nepal is situated in a unique geo-strategic location, which has further strengthened and enlarged its strategic value and significance in the international arena in general and in the regional power politics of Asia. But Nepal has not been able to reap its benefit mainly due to lacuna in conducting proactive diplomacy for the larger interest of the country and the people. Thus, Nepal needs to reshape its foreign policy and extract maximum benefit out of this changing geo-strategic situation and newer developments in the international arena and in the neighborhood.
We are still in the old era when it comes to the conduct of foreign policy. We still continue to define Nepal’s position as a ‘yam between the two boulders’. With newer developments, such a concept holds no more significance in the present interconnected world. In the present globalized era when border are being dismantled and the world has been interconnected, the old concept of defining foreign policy and international  relations on the basis of physical size the land connectivity have become obsolete. We must now rise above the ‘yam’ concept. Nepal is not a yam but a land link or a land bridge between Asia’s two economic powers—India and China. Nepal is not only a bridge between India and China but it also serves as a link between South Asia and East Asia. Similarly, we need to rise above the concept of maintaining ‘equidistance’. The concept of ‘equidistance’ or ‘ equi-proximity’ is not foreign policy basis but a military doctrine. Nepal is not a military state but a vibrant democracy.  The ‘ equi-distance’ based foreign policy is no longer valid and relevant in the present context. ‘ Equi-distance’ means to maintain certain distance with the neighbors or keep them at distance. Today’s world is interconnected due to technological innovations and advancements. The revolution in the field of information technology has reduced the world into a small global village. In this interconnected world, countries have to intermingle with one another and share knowledge and benefits for the common good of humanity. This should also be the basis of Nepal’s foreign policy in the present context. Thus, Nepal now needs to depart from this equidistance and equiproximity but adopt the policy of engagement with our two huge neighbors in the conduct of the foreign policy.
Since Nepal is situated in the vital geo-strategic location, we must extract maximum benefits out of this position. Given this position, Nepal can be developed as a hub for trade between China and India. China is seeking to enter into South Asian market of which India occupies a lion’s share. Similarly, India is also vigorously trying to enter into Chinese market. Nepal, thus, can and should be developed as a regional commercial center between these two countries. Moreover, both the countries may be willing to invest in Nepal to have access to market across the border provided we are able to create conducive atmosphere. 
Nepal is a landlocked country.  But some tend to describe Nepal’s position as India-locked more than the landlocked one. It was definitely true in the past because great Himalayan border with China had created barrier for trade and transit with the rest of the world through northern points. India was the only opening for us to have access to the rest of the world. But situation has changed and is changing fast due to developments in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. China has invested much in Tibet for its infrastructural development. High speed rail has already linked Tibet with the rest of China and this railway link is being extended to areas close to Nepal’s border. Moreover, China has shown its willingness to extend the railway link to Kathmandu and also to Lumbini. Thus, the northern routes are also opening for Nepal’s trade with other countries.
This situation demands change in our regional outlook and accordingly change in the conduct of foreign policy. We need to get actively engaged with both of our countries and take benefit from the high-paced economic growth of both India and China. Thus, we need to rise above the old and obsolete concepts and approaches but develop a new vision and pragmatic approach in the conduct of foreign policy. The political parties, therefore, are expected to shun their partisan agenda and reach a broad consensus on foreign policy goals, priorities and approaches so that this would be our permanent feature no matter whoever person or party goes to power. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Gorkhaland rising again

Yuba Nath Lamsal
Even as India claims to be treading on a path to become a global power, it is getting internally entangled with plethora of problems and conflict that India’s position is becoming more and more vulnerable to achieve the feat in the international arena as it has been desperately trying to accomplish. Given the nature of the conflicts it is faced with currently, India appears to be unable to manage the disgruntlements and grievances of its own people. It makes New Delhi too difficult to deal with the international powers and players in a confident manner.
India, as it seems today, is sitting on a dormant volcano of revolts and protests, which are now becoming slowly active. Already in history’s worst crisis since independence from the British rule, India’s future cannot be ascertained once full blown volcano of popular unrests erupts. India is currently facing popular protests and revolts in various regions and areas. The protests and revolts are from the grassroots level with different and diverse demands, nature and characters. Some are seeking to overthrow the India’s parliamentary system and establish different kind of political modem in its place. Some are fighting to break away from the Indian union and want to create separate country. And some movements are being launched demanding the status of a separate state within the Indian union. 
Thus, India is a mosaic of all kinds of conflicts, struggles and revolts. All these three categories of protests and revolts are underway within India. In the category of struggle for an independent state are Kashmiris, Punjabis, Nagas, Mizos and several other groups. The other category is the Maoist insurgency that seeks to establish a communist state in place of the present parliamentary type of western liberal democracy in India that has been in place for more than six decades. The other types of movements are for the autonomous states within the Indian union.
The third type of the movement that had remained dormant for some years has come to the fore with more prominence in the recent days especially after the decision of the central government to create a new Telengana state dividing the Andhra Pradesh state. With this decision being floated by the Indian Congress I party, the demand of new states has been raised in several parts of India.
 India is our immediate neighbors and any kinds of developments have impact, positive or negative, in Nepal. So the rising movements and revolts in India demanding new states have definitely concerned the Nepalese people. But Nepalese people are more concerned about the issues concerning the demands for a separate Gorkhaland state in Darjeeling and its surrounding areas. This has concerns Nepalese people more than others simply because the issue of Gorkhaland has been demanded by the Nepali-speaking Indians with whom we have blood relationship.
It is the internal affairs of India whether or not to grant statehood and manage their problem. We Nepalese do not want to have their opinion on the internal affairs of India. Any kind of decision of the Indian government to deal with these issues is the business of Indian government and the people. And Nepalese people also seek similar kind of approach and reciprocity to Nepal on issues of our internal affairs. When Nepal is now in the process of managing its issues concerning federalism, India has been propping up some Madhesi people and interfering in Nepal’s internal politics. This has compelled Nepalese to extend moral support to our brethren in Darjeeling. Beyond moral support, Nepalese people neither have intention nor have capability to harm India by instigating Indians. But one thing India should realize that it should not do anything to its neighbors which it does not want its neighbor to do to India. Perhaps, the Darjeeling issue should be an eye opener and a lesson from India.
Nepalese have blood relations with the Nepali-speaking population in Darjeeling and elsewhere in India. But they have refrained to instigate them against the Indian state. Now India should learn lesson from these issues and refrain from meddling in Nepal’s affairs and allow Nepal to decide its own problem. If India applies double standard and continues to interfere in Nepal’s issues Nepali people would also be forced to extend moral and material support to Nepali-speaking population in India.
Gorkhaland is the issue that had been raised decades ago. But the leaders of the movement betrayed the agitating people and ended the movement in compromise with the central and provincial governments. When the movement was in its peak more than three decades ago under the banner of Gorkha National Liberation Front or GNLF, its leaders ended the movement agreeing to create a Gorkha Hill Council in Darjeeling areas with limited authority. The GNLF chief Subash Ghising signed an accord with the state government of West Bengal giving up the demand of a separate Gorkhaland state. Ghising agreed on the formation of a semi-autonomous Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) in 1988, which aborted the Gorkhalis' movement for self-rule and self-dignity.
The limited autonomy experiment for Darjeeling hill areas proved to be a failure as the DGHC and the West Bengal government locked in confrontation for various reasons. Many people in Darjeeling including even some of Ghising’s loyalists were dissatisfied with the accord and had vowed to continue agitation for a separate statehood. This disgruntlements within the rank and file of the GNLF gave rise to a new organization called Gorkha People’s Liberation Front (GPLF) led by Bimal Gurung that called for an agitation in 2008 for Gorkhaland statehood. But Gurung, too, finally entered into a conspiracy along with the central and West Bengal state government in the name of tripartite accord for the formation of Gorkhaland Territorial Authority (GTA), which many people in Darjeeling and elsewhere in India described as a betrayal to their movement.
With the Telengana issue coming to the fore, Gorkhalis of Darjeeling have once again been united to struggle for their own statehood within Indian union. Now different types and modes of movements have been launched to press for the central and state government to concede to their demands for statehood. Sensing the mood and sentiment of the  Gorkhalis in Darjeeling, Bimal Gurng himself has led the movement and vowed not to compromise with the government in less than the statehood. Thus, the people of Darjeeling are now expected to achieve something more this time.
Nepalis constitute more than 90 per cent population of Darjeeling, which once used to be the territory of Nepal. British colonial rulers forcibly annexed a large area of Nepal including Darjeeling, Silghudi, Almoda, Nainital and Kangada in the west and areas as far as Tista River in the east. The Sugauli Treaty had been imposed on Nepal by the British after the Anglo-Nepal war in 1816, which not only deprived Nepal of a large area of its territory but it also reduced Nepal into economically semi-colonial status although Nepal remained an independent country politically. India should have been decolonized and the territories that British had forcibly taken over should have been returned to the respective countries after independence in 1947. Although India got liberated from British rule, it continued its colonial set up, policies and mentality. As a result, New Delhi continued to deny the right to self-rule to different ethnic, lingual and regional forces including people of Nepali origin in Darjeeling. Every time, New Delhi has applied trick and treachery to suppress the voice of self-rule. But the voice for self dignity and self-rule has resonated everywhere in Darjeeling.
India has always been raising the rights and issue of Madhesis and instigated them against Nepal. But New Delhi has to first address the concerns of the Nepalis in its own territory before it pokes nose in the affairs in other countries' affairs. India, thus, needs to shun double standard and concentrate its efforts more on addressing the disgruntlements and movements for self-rule in its own land. For this, the issues and concerns raised by Nepali speaking people in India including those from Darjeeling should be addressed. Nepalis in India deserve a separate Gorkhali state for which Nepalese all over the world must extend their moral support.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Revolutions and counter revolutions in Nepal

Yuba Nath Lamsal
Revolution is a festival and counter revolution is a funeral for radical and revolutionary people anywhere in the world. Revolution is a rupture from the old system for which all accepted rules and norms are to be violated to spearhead revolution. But counter revolutionaries dub it as a criminal act and terror and use every possible means to suppress the revolution. The history of modern political development is  thus a history of revolution and counter revolution. Nepal’s chequered history, too, is characterized by the long struggle of revolutionaries and counter revolutionaries.
Although Nepal’s history goes long back to prehistoric era, the real political history begins with the unification process initiated during the time of Shah king Prithivi Narayan Shah. In the short history of
little less than 250 year since mid 18th century, Nepal has seen and experienced many erratic political developments, tumults and turbulences at different intervals of Nepal’s rough and tumbled
history marked by internal feuds and intrigues, killings and conspiracies often between the groups and factions inside the Royal Palace and the corridor of power.
The concept of nation state had not evolved and was only in the process of germination. The power was in the hands of the monarch and used to be exercised by the king’s kin and loyalists. During those
early days after Nepal’s unification, Nepal’s power and politics were virtually under control of three families—Shah, Thapa and Pandey. Since Shahs were in the center of power as kings belonged to this
clan, the palace tried to balance these two family groups often propping one against the other in order to maintain their supremacy in power. This palace maneuvering turned nasty for the personal gains due to conflict between the royalties, which was reflected in administrative and military structure and psychology, too. This gave rise to a height of conspiracy in political corridor of Nepal that culminated in Kot Massacre  and paved the way for Jang Bahadur Rana to rise in power and Rana’s family rule in Nepal.
During the period of heightened internal feud, several noted personalities including Bhimsen  Thapa, Mathbar Singh Thapa, Damodar Pandey were killed, several jailed or sent on exile. This period
proved to be a costly for Nepal’s political development and institutionalization of political system. The internal feud and fight put a brake on the unification process of Nepal, on the one hand and
also paved a ground for external interference of Nepal, on the other. This was also reflected in the Anglo-Nepal war of 1814-16 as one group was in favor of pursing the war, while other suggested to give in to the British and live in peace even by relinquishing some of Nepal’s territories to the expansionist British imperial power. Nepal’s house was divided over the issue of war that naturally had psychological
impact on the morale of Nepal’s fighting force. Even during the time of Sugauli Treaty that ended the war, there was distinctly two sets of opinion in Nepal. One group advocated only temporary truce with the British and wanted to re-launch offensive against the British once rainy season would begin hoping that the unfavorable season would give upper hand to the Gorkha soldiers. Amidst feud and fight, the principal power in Kathmandu chose to sign a peace deal with the British by ceding a sizable chunk of Nepal’s territory to the British rulers. And this is how the Sugauli Treaty was concluded.
The Sugauli Treaty was Nepal’s roll back from its expansionist and unification campaign. This is perhaps the biggest national humiliation in the history of Nepal that gave further factional feud and conspiracy in
the royal court of Nepal. Out of the conspiracy and factional feud in the palace and low morale of the people, Jang Bahadur rose to power through the Kot Parva that changed the course of Nepal’s politics. The Kot Parva was, in modern political lexicon or interpretation, a counter revolution. The unification campaign and war with the imperial power were historic necessity, which, in other words, can be called
revolutionary initiatives. The Sugauli Treaty and Kot Parva marked a roll back from these historic initiatives and campaigns. Thus, Kot Parva was a kind of counter revolution that tried to turn the clock of
history backward.
Rana regime was a family oligarchy in which power was concentrated in the limited people even within the ruling clan. Ranas who were not close relatives or loyalist to the person in power were spared to enjoy the fruit of power. There was great deal of disgruntlement among general citizenry against the Ranas and even the Ranas who were not close to the Prime Ministers, were also not happy with the
system. Jang Bahadur developed a system of class in the Rana clan and only the A class Ranas were privileged to enjoy and exercise power. B and C class Ranas were denied of the ruling privileges, who later joined with the general people against the Rana system. Mahabir Sumsher and Subarana Sumsher alike belong to this rebel group of Rana members, who formed a party in exile ( India) to launch movement against the family oligarchy, which was later merged with the party of BP Koirala to create the Nepali Congress. From political point of view, Rana period was a national humiliation and a period of political repression.
Ranas were, rightly or wrongly, of the view that their hold on power would be ensured with support from the British colonial rulers in India. The British withdrawal from India in 1947 came as a shock to Rana who thought that their days were numbered unless they took some alternative approach to appease the new government in Independent India. In the meantime the democratic movement in Nepal had been slowly picking up momentum. Contrary to efforts made by the Rana rulers
to garner support of the Independent India for their despotic regime, the Indian politicians openly sided with the people of Nepal and extended their moral and material support to Nepali people in the
movement for democracy. Around that time or in 1949, China was also liberated and People’s Republic of China was established through a revolution under the banner of Communist Party of China led by Mao Zedong.
Encouraged and inspired by new political developments in both the neighbors—India and China, Nepali people rose for their rights and democracy that culminated in 1951 by overthrowing the century old
Rana’s family oligarchy and establishing multi-party democracy with people’s civil and political rights. This event marked an end of one chapter of Nepal’s political history and heralded a new era of
democratic dispensation.
The 1951 political change was definitely a revolution, perhaps, first of its kind in the history of Nepal. This political change opened new avenues and opportunities in the political arena and other sectors.
This also marked a new era in Nepal’s foreign policy. With the establishment of democratic dispensation, Nepal made a break from its India-centric foreign policy and started diversifying international relation and foreign policy.  From every point of view, the 1951 revolution was a point of departure for Nepal’s democratic development.
Despite its far-reaching impact and importance, the post-revolution developments were not encouraging and inspiring. Instead, the period of one decade after the 1951 political change was marked by heighted instability, uncertainty and political chaos due mainly to feudal intrigues and ugly political maneuvering by the kings in collusion and collaboration with the loyalists of deposed Rana rulers against the newly established dispensation and the political actors. Following a long reactionary rehearsal of propping one group against the other by the kings and their henchmen, a real drama was staged in1960 by late king Mahendra in which the king dissolved the elected government, put its prime minister behind bars and trampled democracy. This was counter revolution that shocked and saddened democracy-loving people both at home and abroad. As a result Nepal had to be under king’s absolute regime for almost three decades.
But Nepalese people continuously revolted against this counter revolution only to succeed in 1990 that restored the multi-party system once again. However, the king’s adventure did not end even then and again staged a coup in 2003 and imposed his direct rule in 2005. Despite multiple tricks and tactics applied by the monarch to maintain his authoritarian regime, people not only forced the king to bow down restoring the multi-party system but also abolished the monarchy itself because by that time people had already been convinced that democracy in Nepal would not take its root as long as monarchy remained in place. Now we have republican democracy but it is still in the process to be formally institutionalized in the absence of promulgation of a new constitution. Even now monarchists and rightist reactionaries are trying to revive their lost laurels under different ploys and pretexts. But the people are aware and cautious that republican set up is here to stay forever and people would not allow any kind of reactionary design to succeed.