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Manisha Koirala: Give the King and Nepal a chance

Give the King and Nepal a chance

By Manisha Koirala

Nepal's conditions have been going from bad to worse, there is no law and order, no peace and no security. The economic conditions too have deteriorated.

I grew up in the country, and though a child's memories are always beautiful, I do remember that there were many different opinions that co-existed peacefully.

I remember my grandfather, BP Koirala, and his Nepali Congress Party struggling to achieve democracy in the country. We would meet great leaders who would talk about right and wrong, about values and other things, but still the whole atmosphere was very positive.

However, this time when I went to Nepal, there was an andolan , but it was so different from the past — the people now were abusive and angry.

Though, during my grandfather's time, there was no democracy in the country, the attitude and even the dissent was far more positive. After him, there was democracy and then again it was lost, but it has all become so negative.

In such a situation, the King had repeatedly asked various political leaders to join hands, even if it was in minimum agreement. But somehow that was never achieved — blame it on strong differences between them or whatever.

Democracy in Nepal can only prevail if there are free and fair elections. And elections can happen only when there is law and order. Now all that the King is promising is that in the next three years he will restore peace and there would be an election, there would be democracy.

The only Nepali leader I know and follow is my late grandfather; and it is my conviction that if he was alive today, democracy would not have given birth to Maoists. Or at least Maoists would not have dared to say that!

Bottomline is that any one working to achieve security and peace should be given a chance.

Declaring anyone guilty before any crime is proven is wrong, especially if it's not a single case and there are many layers and many subcontexts (to the situation).

Three years is not a long time King Gyanendra is asking for. He has been under a lot of pressure for the last four years since he took over the reign after King Birendra's demise. It has not been easy for him.

So if all he is asking for is three years, he should definitely be given a chance.

The people are happy about his decision too. In fact the Nepalese people had been waiting for someone to take some action, to take a decisive step and their King has done that.

I understand that on the face of it his move does seem dictatorial. But let us not forget that Nepal does not enjoy the kind of freedom and democracy that India does and perhaps such a step was needed. The people would not have accepted it otherwise.

Personally, I see this as a positive step and I hope and I pray that Nepal will move towards peace, towards democracy.

(As told to Jhoomur Bose Malik)


Hindi film actress Manisha Koirala hails from Nepal's respected Koirala family. Her grandfather Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala, founder of Nepali Congress Party, was the first democratically-elected Prime Minister of Nepal, later removed by the monarchy. An alumna of The Army Public School, Delhi, Manisha made her Hindi film debut with Saudagar in 1991.

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