Sangram Basnyat: Democratic Hypocrisy In Nepal
Democratic Hypocrisy In Nepal
By Sangram Singh Basnyat
While the atrocities of the Maoists have clearly been justified and even rewarded with eighty three seats in the interim parliament, the Monarchy has been compelled to absorb all the flak.
The SPAMers, their student wings and even the human rights activists have thrown tantrums over King Gyanendra's democracy day statement. Labeling the King's statement as ill-intentioned, unconstitutional and inappropriate, the SPAMers and affiliates have organised protest rallies to denounce his statement. The civil society leaders have gone a step ahead by demanding a censure on all King's actions, statements and even called for an imposition of a travel ban. This hypocritical outcry over the King's statement exhibits the illiberal and despotic demeanour of the self proclaimed democrats and civil society leaders. While SPAMers continue to put on a fictitious display of liberality by propounding democratic fustian, underneath the veneer of emancipatory disposition lies their true self drenched in hypocritical bigotry.
Since the collapse of the royal regime, Nepal has been declared a democratic state. In accordance with the declaration, every Nepali citizen regardless of age, race, religion, sex or status has been bestowed with a right to voice his/her opinion under the rule of law. That is the essence of liberal democracy. It is the notion of equality, liberty and freedom of all human beings that differentiates democracy from all other forms of governance. In congruence, any citizen has an inherent right to exercise those fundamental rights under the rule of law. Unless the King is considered non-living or a foreigner (which he is not), he too is bestowed with the same individual rights as any other Nepali. Maybe not as a head of state, since the constitution has mothballed monarchy for the time being, but as an individual, he possesses every right to voice his tale.
The SPAMers have pointed to the unconstitutionality of the King's speech but they remain at fault. Regardless of which constitution they are referring to, there is no such clause or mention in any constitution that proscribes the King from making statements. Even if the King is regarded as an ordinary citizen, there is no such mention in any post 1990 constitution that forbids any Nepali from expressing an opinion under the rule of law. Also, unless Nepal is taken as a dictatorial nation, it would be quite improbable to have a law that would prevent any accused from an exonerating attempt.
The right to defend oneself from potential harm is irrefutably a universal human right and the King has every right to defend himself from the incriminating charges brought against him. As the SPAMers have charged the King with numerous accounts of human rights violations, like any other individual, the King has a right to explain himself. Even the dictum of "human rights declaration" grants every individual an inviolable right to defend oneself against any penal offence. Again, unless Nepal is an absolute dictatorship like North Korea, the law still allows for an individual to express oneself and defend oneself as long as it does not contradict or violate it. And from the King's statement, there is nothing to indicate that he has broken any law of Nepal.
Two obvious conclusions can be drawn from this ruckus. Either Nepal is not a democratic nation like proclaimed, or the SPAMers and their affiliates have exhibited a blatantly hypocritical stance. While the SPAMers wailed clamouring for free speech during the royal regime, they themselves are clearly unwilling to allow the same. They seem to be hell bent on preferential treatment. From what has become apparent, anything unpalatable to the SPAMers will be abominated as undemocratic, un-constitutional and illegitimate. Such partisan attitude exhibited by the SPAMers only negates any semblance of democratic accreditation.
Even after having eviscerated the King, the SPAMers still pound on him a little more at every opportunity they get. While the atrocities of the Maoists have clearly been justified and even rewarded with eighty three seats in the interim parliament, the Monarchy has been compelled to absorb all the flak. Given such onslaught, the Monarchy has been left with no accommodating alternative. With such narrow options for sustenance, it should come as no surprise if it opted for militancy.
Nepal has just recently witnessed a small disgruntled group inflict an irreparable damage to foundation of the nation. The Maoist insurgency should have taught our leadership unforgettable lessons; it only requires a handful of resolute individuals to destabilise a nation and exclusion is not the answer to enduring peace. And even the recent Madhesh uprising stands testament to that fact.
For those who remain oblivious to this assertion, it might be a little too late when another spark engulfs the nation. Hence, if Nepal seeks to avoid any more calamities, the only available alternative for sustainable peace lies in the trinity of People, Parties and Palace. Unless all the elements comprehend and acknowledge a symbiotic relationship, the future of a peaceful Nepal will remain a pipedream.