The people of Nepal deserve the highest praise for the heroic deeds earlier this year in their mass upheaval against the tyranny of the absolute powers of King Gyanendra. In the events that surrounded the climbdown of the King and surrendering his powers to the suspended Parliament and a nominated Prime Minister, tens of Nepalis were martyred. It was pointed out that despite the climbdown the arrogant King did not extend his condolences to the families of the bereaved. This does not come as a surprise as his hands have been bloodied by the blood of the thousands massacred by his erstwhile Royal Nepal Army under the pretext of crushing a ‘Maoist’ insurrection, for which no apology has been tendered to the Nepali people.
While matters stand at this pass, it must be noted that this Parliament in Nepal has come to the centre stage due to the mass upsurge as a temporary measure. In the long term, the movement in Nepal is towards the establishing of the sovereignty of the people first through the election of a Constituent Assembly to draft a modern Constitution. The Parliament in the recent past has arrogated to itself the power beyond this brief. It has now abolished the ‘Hindu Monarchy’ and has declared Nepal to be ‘secular’, has renamed ‘His Majesty’s Government’ as ‘Nepal Government’, replaced the Royal Nepal Army by ‘Nepal Army’, and the latter is to receive orders not from the King but from the Prime Minister. These events must be viewed with utmost caution as they do not embody any modern principles of political life and in fact mirror the principles of statecraft of present day India .
The above steps have received cautious welcome in the Indian ruling circles and media, and in the international media as well. While the interest of India in the affairs of Nepal is natural as a neighbour, less natural is the interest of the world’s big powers, which are normally not concerned with happenings in what they consider as third world countries and even less so with the popular will in those countries, unless the country happens to be of great strategic importance as is the case with Nepal. It is well known that the King was backed to the hilt by the USA and his climb-down was accepted glumly as inevitable, while frantic realignment with the Parliamentary forces also became inevitable. By welcoming the steps of the Parliament which in effect will serve as a roadblock to the realization of the sovereignty of the people, the ruling circles in the USA and in India are hopeful that the game will go on as before. They would not like achievements of the people of Nepal to be an example to the billions world over who are aspiring for a world that is free of injustice and tyranny.
The progressive forces in India must closely watch the events in Nepal and learn from their experience, indeed as the people of Nepal learn from the experience of the Indian people who allowed the fruits of their mass Nationalist struggle to pass into the hands of the rich, the privileged and the few, whose practice of statecraft denied the mass of the Indian people their rights to a dignified and human existence.
by Prof. B Ananthanarayan