Pralhad KC: Peace A Chance And Nepal
Peace A Chance And Nepal
By Pralhad KC
For thirty years, I have been in the USA as a fully engaged Nepali. I am not a Diaspora Nepali, someone from a fine family who returns to the Kingdom occasionally, and speaks only to relatives. As a businessperson, importing Nepali goods to the US, I must visit Nepal multiple times each year. My travels allow me access to a broad spectrum of Nepali voices, city and village, rich and poor. After canvassing and interviewing hundreds of hard working business leaders and common people within Nepal, as well as those living in the USA and abroad, and also reading articles and taking views of various personalities, I have presented this paper. Hence I feel it holds the view of large spectrum of Nepali people and friends of Nepal regarding the present situation of Nepal.
King Gyanendra , dismissed the Deuba-led coalition government on February 1, 2005, and formed a ten-member government under his own chairmanship. He has proclaimed that this step was taken in accordance to the Article 115, Clause 1 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1990, and he asserts that it will serve the interests of the Nepali people, end the Maoist insurgency, and bring on the reinstatement the democratic system within 3 years.
Was this a bad move? I don't know. Was this good move? I don't know that either yet. Only time will tell. But I am sure that if the King can bring peace back to the people of Nepal, and clean up the corrupt leaders, Nepal could become heaven on this earth once again and King will be remembered as one of the greatest monarchs in world history.
Many of you may not agree with me. You might say that the present move of the king can only backpedal the process of development and democracy in the country. But friends, let us wake up and face reality, The Maoists have cast Nepal backwards by decades by their destruction of infrastructure, roads, schools, health posts, bridges, etc. What did our so called democratically elected leaders do to protect the innocent population from the Maoist terrorization that has been going on for the last ten plus years by brutally murdering dissenters, kidnapping students, perpetrating atrocities against teachers, and destroying basic infrastructure and development projects? Aren't these crimes against country and people? Isn't this something to think about?
Let us examine the performance and activities of the past democratically elected governments over the last 15 years. Whether we reside in Nepal or abroad, the widespread corruption and abuse of authority by the power hungry politicians, (not by a single party but by all the parties in the government), is evident. Political leaders forget the basic norms of democracy and put themselves and their families' welfare above the law. They began to view our country as a Babu ko Birta/ Ama ko pewa, as a result of (God gifts) their past sacrifices they made for the cause of democracy. Honesty and Respect, time-honored basic norms of Nepali society were eroded by widespread corruption. And with no discipline enforced, government offices became the karyakarta bharti kendra (Job center for party members). The social fabric and communal harmony historically prevalent in Nepali society collapsed, allowing the situation to deteriorate further.
When well wishers and supporters of various political parties of the people's movement of B.S. 2046, began to compare the pre and post people's movement era unfavorably, It became clear to me that the situation was untenable. Through my interactions over the last 25 years of doing business throughout Nepal, I began to hear a refrain: many saying in the past, "There were few leeches, but now, there are leeches everywhere." I have heard hundreds of stories of potential political leaders—general genuine qualified people—who were deprived from employment because of their different political party affiliation or because they had no direct way to approach the political leaders in power. Foreign donors became confused as to whom to deal with to finalize the development project/programs, fearful of getting on the wrong side of various, vested powerhouses in the country. Given the constant jockeying for political advantage, many common citizens did anticipate some sort of political maneuvering. While the present move by the King is not surprising to many, it is astonishing to others.
It is said, "Democracy and progress complement each other." But do our bitter experiences of the past few years show this to be true? It can be argued that in Nepal, the concept of multiparty democracy became a joke, as instances after instance of obstruction and corruption were catalogued in Parliament. Consider this: Not a single House of Representatives member was allowed to complete his tenure. I blame this short-circuiting of the democratic process on our power-hungry, greedy elected leaders.
The King asked the parties to come forward with a consensus government. He met with all the political leaders and requested that they put the nation and the people first, hoping that the leaders would come to him with a government that included all major parties. But apparently, resolving Nepal's political crisis wasn't in their agenda, and they refused to cooperate.
Everyone talks about the impasse between the "triangles" of the Maoists, the political parties, and the palace. But Nepal is not a triangle. Who speaks for innocent people? The elected political parties do not, nor do the Maoists. But someone must. Shouldn't the King speak for his people?
I wish our elected political leadership had understood the real situation of the country is and suffering and spoke out more often about the people rather than irrelevant issues, which only concern their own betterment. Whether you like it or not, much of the ill we have suffered is a result of corrupt leadership.
No serious efforts have been made by any party leaders to stop the real threat posed against democracy by terrorism. If we continue on this vicious path, how long can we last as a country? The issue before the King, as leader of the country, is how best to bring peace, so that Nepal could continue to exist as a country inhabited by our children and grand children. Therefore, it is the duty of any King, "To preserve our nationalism, national unity and sovereignty, as well as to maintain peace and security in the country, and ensure that the state of the nation did not deteriorate further."
let's not forget last 15 years we had democracy and king was only a constitutional monarchy…….Even in the first time in Oct 4, 2004 we all know that the king didn't dismiss the government out of his own free will. He was given a written request by the Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was acting on the advice of all the parties to invoke the last clause of the constitution. We can go on debating forever whether it was the king's idea or party's idea, bottom line is was it within the constitutional boundaries? Yes, it was since he is the constitution's custodian it was his constitutional obligation, otherwise the constitution was as good as dead.
At this time of crisis, as a true Nepali, well wishers and friends of Nepal, we must give our support, cooperation and help to King, as he endeavors to bring peace to Nepal. LET'S GIVE PEACE A CHANCE.
The King has made a thorny choice. He has said, "we have no interest other than the restoration of sustainable peace and exercise in meaningful democracy for the welfare of the Nepal and Nepalese people." The king has expressed his firm commitment to multiparty democracy and constitutional monarchy repeatedly—even in the latest proclamation—should put to rest any doubts about his motives.
The King has taken a bold step to resolve the crisis. It is natural that cynicism and uncertainty follow a political step of this magnitude, but I caution you to consider this: the King has risked his throne to bring peace, and he has pledged human security and dignity to Nepali people suffering from the on going violence.
It's temptingly easy to blame the King. But do you really believe he had other options? My dear friends, it is very easy to be Monday morning quarterback and run politics from abroad. But try to think like an average Nepali. If we were to ask any average Nepali in Nepal today, "Do you want democracy or Peace?" I predict that 99% of the people would ask for peace and food on their plate. (Excluding the less than 1% represented by the so-called party karya karta ( party members & spin doctors) ). Democracy cannot be imposed on. Democracy has to be a demand of the majority. In today's Nepal the priorities are thus: First, give us peace, security and food on our plates, and then give us democracy.
My expression in many ways is the representation of hundreds of thousands of frustrated Nepali and friends of Nepal living in and outside the country.
While many say that little has changed since Feb. 1 in the countryside, where fear of the rebels' still rules, the King's move has received wide approval due to the universal unpopularity of corrupt politicians. Here are some of the spectrum views of general publics and professionals.
Angur Baba Joshi, 74, a pioneer in child and women's rights said. "The whole of Nepal was burning, as it were. We never had it so bad.
Somebody had to do something," The King was compelled to do it. He
was obliged to do it." I believe him. I trust him,"
Yogendra Sakya, one of the Nepal's leading hotel and travel executive said " I am very much a democrat. I love my freedom. But right now, we want security and peace.
"The politicians are thieves. The King is like a police Inspector. We need him" said a taxi driver Lakhgan Bahadur Ghale.
"I just want to work on the farm and make a living. I just want to do that without being afraid. If the King can help me do it, it's good. If the politician can do it that's good too," said farmar Bir Bahadur Nainabasti from the village of Charaundi.
Dr. Upendra Devkota, an internationally renowned neurosurgeon said "We are merely surviving. What we first want is oxygen. When we are well, we will go to the pub and the disco. We will enjoy freedom, democracy, and all the good things of life,".
Dilli Bahadur Chaudhari, International Reebok Human Right Award recipient. President of BASE, Leader of Tharu community, an Internationally renowned human Right Activist. said," more than any thing right now we need peace in the country, then democracy".