Mar 30, 2011

Revisiting Civil Society

By Dev Raj Dahal

Civil society has to take up the policy agenda of progress, climate change and post-conflict peace-building as they affect the citizens most and are important for building a viable future for Nepal.

'Without civil society, democracy remains an empty shell; without civil society, the market becomes a jungle.' - Michael Ignatieff

The progressive life of general society is rooted in sabhya samaj (civil society) or the Homo cogitans (home of knowledge). It provides democratic impulse within societies to survive, and abide by the laws of their own existence. The spirit of civil society has, therefore, inflamed the spark of enlightenment values of freedom, equality, solidarity, ecological justice, and peace within citizens. These values stoke the free will of jagrat manushya (awakened human beings). As an agent of social change, the dharma of civil society is to de-traditionalise the general society and work for its continuous reforms and renewal. This helps to mediate the system and the life-world and removes the evils that divide them. The terrain of civil society is different from the general society as it espouses political character, rationalised and cosmopolitan. It seeks to eliminate all forms of privileges from public life and public policy and opens up possibilities for citizens to become cultured and creative human beings liberated from noble savage (an idealised concept of uncivilised person).

People are not only place-bound individuals but also citizens and human beings entitled with constitutional and human rights. Their orientation to gyan marg (knowledge), karma marg (work), and bhakti marga (devotion and feeling) other than self-interest defines their virtue and higher will. Constant engagement of civil society in educating people about knowledge, life-skills, and resources helps them realise those rights and perform public duties. In Nepal, where the tradition of civility is ancient and embodies in the diversity of national life, modern civil society has to shore up the heritage of multiple nirwan (enlightenment) derived from Janak, Vedas and Gautam Buddha and internalise the utility of the rationalist and scientific tradition of modernity inspired by Immanuel Kant, who brought philosophy to serve human beings. The project of emancipation formulated in terms of a future egalitarian society in response to the critique of current conditions of Nepal requires civil society's creative roles in building this post-conflict nation. The society's claim of state sovereignty and citizens' awareness about global enlightenment help contextualise policies and generate a common ground for the resolution of identity, ideological and interest-based conflicts. Civil society in such a context needs to cultivate the following strategies:

First, a way forward for social transformation requires Nepali civil society to free itself from the nation's cycle of decadal political change. George Santayana has rightly said, "Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it? Historical and cultural ignorance leads one to the blindness of contextual knowledge. This means firstly, civil society as an embodiment of reason and capable of achieving self-consciousness, must instill historical awareness of the need to respond to the changing aspirations of Nepali citizens, not just the interests of the present generation but also to inter-generational justice. Secondly, civil society should broaden the binary code of politics steered by friend and foe and aim for a new social contract, a workable constitution owned by all citizens. The binary code of politics based on single unit determinism such as class, ethnic, gender, territorial, and ideological division is destabilizing as it does not establish democracy's optimal values of the inclusion of the Other, but maximises one at the cost of other.

The transformation of working people into multi-classes - white, blue, and green collar workers, professionals, and self-employed citizens and unfolding of multiple identities offers the possibility to transcend the binary political mode. But emancipation of workers requires the production of the necessities of life. This helps to overcome alienation, necessity and dependence. Third, the historical crisis in Nepal's reformist politics reflects the weakness of civil society to uphold the golden mean of politics defined by Gautam Buddha -- and the capacity of mediating agencies of society to open up reforms in each generation of citizens and the rational articulation of political life. Buddha rightly advocated the liberation of human beings through knowledge, not through faith only. Fourth, the organic formation of civil society in Nepal is essential to free itself from barrowed existence and open a debate in the public sphere about the democratisation of state power, economy, and international system and exhort the leaders to execute the people's mandate for a new constitution, remove gaps in governance between security and development and promote citizens' welfare to consolidate democratic gains. The democratic outcome presumes a qualitative transformation in the patterns of orientation, attitudes, values, and beliefs of citizens to inspire the hope and enthusiasm of the poor in the polity. A positive outcome of civil society's works can constructively contribute to the creation of a civic culture. Overall transformation of the political culture of the day, however, will demand habit-breaking, innovative and visionary policies rooted in the changing spirit of the yug dharma, the zeitgeist.

Second, national leadership in the various spheres of decision-making such as political leaders, citizens? representatives, planners, and policy-makers, need to open up their mind to social learning of the changing nature of citizens' rights in order to seek to institutionalise those rights, inspire civic participation, initiate socio-economic reforms and institutional transformation. Institutional transformation does not come from the system; it comes from alternative leadership and vision provided by genuine civil society and grassroots organisations. The social pressure for institutional opening is broadening the social base of political parties. Good signs are now visible on the nation's horizon as the social movements of Nepali citizens across the party lines are fostering inner-party democracy and representation of their interest in various layers of party committees and their articulation in constitution, laws, and policies. A rational collective action of civil society can restructure the nature of work and offer a favorable environment for citizens' demand for better working conditions, dignity, and standards of living. This will support the vital energy needed for broadening the public space and energy for state-building from below, constitutional stability, national security, rule of law, and supply of public goods. A genuine democratic transformation of the Nepal's parties, however, will also require arresting the social diversions underway and synergising all the centripetal forces and resources for a rational reconstruction of the future order.

Third, Nepali society has undergone a shift from Gemeinschaft (community governed by religion, custom and folk life) to Gesellschaft (society governed by rights, laws and contracts), hierarchical status to citizen equality and natural will to rational will driven by the forces of modernity. Federations of many civil society groups are struggling to moderate the hierarchal systems of production, appropriation, and control. The economy of tomorrow will be horizontal as it will remove the boundary between the worker and boss by a culture of partnership. But the key propellers of modernity, such as education, economy, technology, institutions, and leadership process are not yet sufficiently rationalised in Nepal to achieve a breakthrough. The civil society, in that context, has to play a pro-active role in familiarising itself with the vision of tomorrow's economy and the imperative of citizens to cope with it. A certain set of incentives for free collective bargaining and codetermination of public interest are preconditions needed for the equal development of multi-classes of Nepali society and solidarity of citizens of both formal and informal sectors. Social stability, moreover, requires bridging the gap between the knowledge class and the working class citizens for a shared future. Civil society in such a context can serve as a bridge between the two if it is capable of removing its own self-contradictions and enforce democratic accountability.

Fourth, confronting a cascading series of problems requires that all the systemic causes be known in their entire context for resolution. Civil society has to take up the policy agenda of progress, climate change and post-conflict peace-building as they affect the citizens most and are important for building a viable future for Nepal. The solidarity of civil society with the general society at large can bring essential inputs for policy reforms. Similarly, the promotion of a strong public sphere for opinion and will formation can rectify subversion of the general will by the private interests of power, money, and media and radiate the trust across empirical divides of the nation. It helps to bridge the gap between citizens in the informal and the formal sectors of the political economy by networking, widening, and deepening the possibility for inclusion, representation, modernisation, and collective action.

Fifth, and finally, social transformation driven by the country's competitive position in the world economy cannot be strengthened without increasing the quality and productivity of economy, education and technological application to address the unmet demands of citizens arising out of new social stratification, new social formation, gender equality and new challenges and overcome the turmoil of modernity. In the changed context, civil society must strengthen its capacity for modernisation and contribute to the modernisation of Nepal's democracy, economy and polity.

(Dahal is head of the Nepal office of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES). He can be reached at:


Political Deadlock: Reviewing the past is the only way out

By Deepak Gajurel

Current political deadlock is deepening and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Reviewing the past deeds is the only way out. Nepal's domestic political forces, along with international community must immediately start review what they have done since last five years. They must identify their past mistakes and correct them. This is the one and only solution to the present political crisis Nepal is engulfed into.

An analysis on the current political imbroglio in Nepal.

The analysis was done in a Radio Talk Show which was broadcast live by Hamro FM, 94 Mhz, Chitwan on March 29, 2011 (Chaitra 15, 2067).

Please click on the following link to listen or download the analysis in MP3 format.

Mar 22, 2011

Sino-Indian Proxy War in Nepal

By Deepak Gajurel

Radio Talk-show: An analysis of current Nepali domestic politics; Sino-Indian proxy war.

Please click on the following link to listen or download the MP3 file (7.2 MB file size; 25.05 Minute length).

Comments are welcome.

Mar 19, 2011

Carter for Nepal’s crisis

Yubaraj Ghimire
Former US President Jimmy Carter is visible once again on Nepal’s uncertain political scene. Last week, he called three major actors — Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal, Maoist chief Prachanda and Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala — asking them to do everything to have the new constitution delivered and the peace mission accomplished. The two left allies, Khanal and Prachanda, said they are doing everything in that direction, but Koirala blamed the duo of trying to impose their agenda on the rest and putting the peace process in jeopardy.

Carter is intimately linked with Nepal’s peace process and he knows the constituent assembly’s failure to deliver the constitution will discredit him as well. In April 2008, Carter, as head of the international observers’ team, had issued a certificate that the election was free and fair. Carter’s frequent visits to Nepal were apparently not endorsed by the US government; but the Carter Centre that he heads and his image were an asset to the international donors involved in a big way in post-conflict Nepal’s development and peace process.

But as Carter appears on the scene after a long gap — at a time when the radical left alliance has assumed power — and promises his support for the timely delivery of the constitution, the election commission has come out with startling facts that may raise questions about the fairness of the election that Carter had certified in haste. The election commission, which is revising the electoral list, has now come to the conclusion that the full size of the electorate then — 17.6 million — was faulty, and the figure three years down the line would be slightly above 13 million. Apparently, those who had died or migrated continued to figure in the list and votes were cast in their names.

The election commission, packed with representatives from major political parties, and the donors’ community were unanimous in their assessment that the election was part of the peace process, and that any type of election should take place in order to institutionalise the peace process and changes of the 2006 people’s movement. Now the same logic is being advanced by the same group, albeit with much eroded moral authority, that any type of the constitution should be delivered within the stipulate time frame as it alone would be institutionalising the changes.

Carter’s appeal is not cutting much ice this time and the fairness of the election nearly three years ago has come into question now. And there is growing opposition to the move to have “any type” of constitution delivered by May 28.

Maoist leader and Deputy PM K.B. Mahara said recently that the delivery of even an incomplete constitution would be a way out to address people’s demand. But there are no takers and there are still many crucial issues to be thrashed out among political parties. The Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists

(UCPN-M), the largest party in the House and the dominant partner in government, is still busy mobilising its militant cadres, nor have its 19,000 combatants been disarmed.

Nepal’s Chief Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha came out openly against the decision of the sub-committee of the constituent assembly to have a “constitutional court headed by the CJ to make final interpretation of the constitution as something that would go against democracy”. The UCPN-M had agreed to this provision reluctantly, giving up their earlier demand that the judiciary must be accountable to the legislature and that the final right to interpret the constitution should rest with the legislature.

While these complexities continue to stall the smooth journey towards the constitution-making process that has increased the distance between the pro-democracy and radical left forces, the status of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) remains uncertain. Nepali Congress chief Koirala said the recent accord between Khanal and Prachanda, in favour of setting up a separate outfit of the Maoist combatants to be treated at par with the state security forces, was a dangerous move to let a political party retain its army at the cost of the state.

“The two must scrap the accord and be guided by the CPA” as a condition for the Congress’s cooperation with them in the peace and constitution-making process, Koirala said. The scrapping of that accord would take away the very basis of the Maoist support to Khanal. That means Khanal has to decide between the completion of the peace process and statute delivery on one hand and retaining power at the cost of the former on the other. Carter perhaps understands this predicament of the Nepali actors — and hoping for too much from the radical left, keeping at bay the democratic forces, is not going to work any longer. Appeasement of the militant left seems to have lost its magic in Nepal now as the politics is getting sharply polarised once again.
(Courtesy: Indian Express)

Mar 4, 2011

Political Process in Nepal: Review the Past

By Deepak Gajurel

There is an urgent need of review by all stakeholders, including political parties, civil societies/professionals/media and external forces, on what they did in the past.

The solutions of the current political problem in Nepal lie in the honest review, identifying the past errors and correction thereof.

I have analyzed the current political process in Nepal, in a Radio Talk Show, broadcast live by Maitri FM 99.4 Mhz, Kathmandu, on March 04, 2011 (Fagun 20, 2067).

The talk show audio file can be listened/downloaded by clicking on the following link (25:31 Minutes; 8.8 MB file size, in MP3 format)

Mar 3, 2011

मुलुक चलाउन असफल दलहरु

दीपक गजुरेल
साढे सात महिनाको घमासान तिकडमबाजी पछि प्रधानमन्त्री छान्ने हाम्रा नेताहरु सरकारलाई पूर्णता दिन झण्डै एक महिनादेखि अर्को रडाको गर्दैछन् । र आम नेपाली नागरिकहरुलाई 'हामीले सहमतिको प्रयाश जारी राखेका छौँ' भनेर ढाँट्दैछन् । २०६२–६३ को परिवर्तन पछिका झण्डै पाँच वर्षको यो अवधिमा गर्नुपर्ने महत्वपूर्ण कामहरु गरिएका छैनन् । सहकार्य गरेर नयाँ नेपाल निर्माण गर्ने दावी गरेर देशको नेतृत्व लिएका संसदवादी राजनीतिक दलहरु र माओवादीले सहमति त्याग्दै गएका छन्

बन्दूकको बलमा 'सत्ता कब्जा' गर्ने सिद्धान्त बोक्ने माओवादी र मतपत्रमा बिश्वास गर्ने संसदवादी राजनीतिक दलहरु फेरि आ–आफ्नै चरित्र अनुसारको व्यवहार तिर लागेका छन् । जनताको सार्वभौमसत्ता सम्पन्न शासन स्थापना गरी समुन्नत नेपाल बनाउने प्रतिवद्धता बिस्तारै सपनामा परिणत हुँदै गएकोमा आम नागरिक चिन्तित छन् । तर आफैँले जनताका सामू गरेको बाचालाई तिलाञ्जली दिएर दल तथा शक्तिहरु मुलुकलाई पुन: विध्वंश तर्फ धकेल्दैछन् । यसबेला मुलुकमा हालिमुहाली गरिराखेका यी राजनीतिक दल तथा शक्तिहरुले राष्ट्रलाई यो अस्तव्यस्तता, अन्यौल र अराजकतावाट मुक्त गराएर शान्ति तथा स्थिरता दिन सक्लान् भन्ने कुरामा आशंका बढ्दो छ ।

दलहरुको विगत् सुखद् छैन
एउटा निश्चित राजनीतिक प्रणाली स्थापना गरेर, राजनीतिक स्थिरता कायम गर्ने तथा बहुसंख्यक जनताको सर्वोत्तम हित गर्ने सन्दर्भमा नेपालका राजनीतिक दलहरुको विगत् सकारात्मक छैन । २००७ सालमा एकतन्त्रीय राणा शासन विरुद्ध भएको परिवर्तन पछिका वर्षहरुमा राजनीतिक दलहरुले पटक–पटक मुलुक हाँक्ने दायित्व लिएका/पाएका हुन् । तर एउटा निश्चित शासन प्रणाली स्थापना गरेर देशमा राजनीतिक स्थिरता प्रदान गर्न दलहरु सफल भएको दृष्टान्त हामीकहाँ छैन ।

जनताको साथ र विश्वास प्राप्त गरेर १०४ वर्षे राणा शासन फाल्न सफल राजनीतिक दल तथा तिनका नेताहरुले त्यसबेला घोषित संबिधान सभाको चुनाव गराएनन्/गराउन सकेनन् । राणा शासन विरोधी सफल आन्दोलनको नेतृत्व गर्ने प्रभावशाली दल नेपाली काँग्रेस सत्ता पाउनासाथ आन्तरिक कलहमा फस्यो । सत्ता प्राप्तिको लुछाचुँडीले त्यो दललाई राष्ट्र तथा जनताको हितमा सोच्ने समेत फुर्सद भएन । बामपन्थी दलहरु राजनीतिक स्थिरता पहिल्याउनुको सट्टा एकले अर्काको खुट्टा तान्ने खेलमा लागे । विरोध, भीडन्त र अविश्वास बढाइयो । विरोधका क्रममा जनता मार्ने चलन त्यसबेलाको 'शिशु प्रजातन्त्र' मा यिनै दलहरुले आरम्भ गरे, नेपाली राजनीतिमा ।

राजनीतिक दलहरुमा शासनको अनुभव छैन, त्यसैले यस्तो भएको हो, पछि राम्रो भैहाल्छ भन्ने सानो आशामा पनि तुषारापात् भयो, जव दलहरुमा वषौँ वर्ष सम्म पनि सुधारको लक्षण देखिएन । सियो देखि हवाइ जहाज सम्म स्वदेशमै निर्माणको भाषणा गर्ने नेताहरुले जनतालाई विकास दिएनन् । सत्ताको लुछाचुँडीमा लागेर २००७ सालमा जनता तथा राष्ट्रले सुम्पिएको जिम्मेवारीवाट राजनीतिक दलका नेताहरु विमूख भए । जनतामा निराशा बढ्दै गयो । त्यसबेलाका अखबार मात्र हेर्ने हो भने पनि अहिलेको पुस्ताले हाम्रा राजनीतिक दल तथा नेताहरुले त्यसबेला देखाएको चर्तिकला राम्ररी थाहा पाउन सक्छ ।

राजनीतिक स्थिरता र विकास नदिएका मात्र होइन, राजनीति दलका नेताहरुले राष्ट्र विरोधी काम समेत गरे, विगत्मा । कोशी र गण्डकी सम्झौता यी नेताहरुले गरेको राष्ट्रघाती कामहरुको नमूनाको रुपमा आज पनि हामीले भोग्नु परिराखेको छ । हजारौँ वर्ष देखि स्वाभिमानी भएर बाँचेको नेपाल राष्ट्रको स्वाभिमानमा चोट पुर्याउने काम पनि त्यसबेला दलका नेताहरुले गरे ।

नेपालको मन्त्रिपरिषदका अधिकांश मन्त्रीहरु भारतीय नेताहरुको रोहवरमा दिल्लीमा बैठक बसेर अनेकौँ निर्णय गरेको इतिहास अलिकता अध्ययन गर्ने जो कोही नेपालीलाई थाहा छ । सुशासन, स्थिरता, विकास र सुख–शान्ति पाउँछु भन्ने आशा गरेका नेपाली जनतामा दलहरु प्रति वितृष्णा बढ्दै गयो । परिणामस्वरुप राजाले २०१७ सालमा शासन सत्ता आफ्नो हातमा लिए । दलविहीन पञ्चायती शासन प्रणाली देशमा आरम्भ गरियो, जुन झण्डै तीन दशक मुलुकमा चल्यो ।

२००७ को क्रान्तिमा राजनीतिक दलहरुलाई साथ दिएका जनता, दलहरु प्रति विश्वस्त हुन्थे भने, दल र तिनका नेता जनतामा लोकप्रिय रहेका भए, दलहरुले राष्ट्र तथा जनताका हितमा थोरै मात्र पनि केही गरेका भए, त्यसबेला राजा महेन्द्रले शासन सत्ता आफ्नो हातमा लिने आँट गर्ने थिएनन् । यदि त्यस्तो आँट गरिहालेका भए पनि राजनीतिक दलहरुले जनताको प्रतिनिधिका रुपमा शासन गर्ने बहुदलीय प्रतिष्पर्धात्मक राजनीतिक प्रणाली प्रति विश्वस्त तथा आस्थावान जनताले तुरुन्तै राजावाट सत्ता खोस्ने थिए । दश वर्ष अघि ज्यान हत्केलामा राखेर दलका नेताहरुको नेतृत्वमा राणा शासन विरुद्ध सफल लडाइँ लडेका नेपाली जनताका अगाडि राजा टिक्न सक्ने थिएनन् । तर त्यसो भएन । यसको कारण, राजनीतिक दल र तिनका नेताहरु प्रति जनताको अविश्वास थियो, दलहरुको असफलता थियो, मुलुक हाँक्न नसक्ने प्रमाण थियो ।

तीन दशक पछि ...
झण्डै तीन दशकको दलविहीन पञ्चायती व्यवस्था विरुद्ध नेपाली जनता २०४६ सालमा बेस्सरी उठे । हुन त राजनीतिक दलहरुले पञ्चायतको आरम्भ देखि नै त्यो व्यवस्था विरुद्ध विभिन्न कदम चालेका हुन् । तर आम नेपाली जनतालाई विश्वासमा लिएर सशक्त रुपमा पञ्चायती व्यवस्था विरुद्ध दरोसंग जाइलाग्न दलहरुले २०४६ साल सम्मै पर्खनु पर्यो । जनताको साथ पाएर पञ्चायत ढालियो, र मुलुकमा बहुदलीय व्यवस्था आरम्भ भयो । राजनीतिक दल र तिनका नेताले चाहे जसरी नेपाल राष्ट्र सञ्चालन हुन थाल्यो । पहिले खाएको ठोकरका कारण अब त दलका नेताहरु सचेत भएका होलान् र मुलुक तथा जनताको भलो हुने काम गर्लान्, सत्ताको लुछाचुँडीमा नलागि राजनीतिक स्थिरता, विकास, सुख–शान्ति देलान् भन्ने आशा पलायो, जनतामा ।

तर आम नेपाली जनताको त्यो आशा लामो समय टिक्न सकेन । 'विश्वकै उत्कृष्ट' भनिएको संबिधान जारी भएको ५ वर्षमै राष्ट्रलाई बम, बन्दूक र हिँसाको चपेटामा पारियो । 'विश्वकै उत्कृष्ट' संबिधान र त्यस अन्तर्गतको 'जनतामा सार्वभौमसत्ता' रहेको शासन प्रणालीले सबैलाई मिलाएर, चित्त बुझाएर संगै हिँडाउन सकेन । जनताको हित गर्छु भनेर अनेकौँ राजनीतिक सिद्धान्तको बखान गरिए । नेपाली–नेपालीबीच माराकाट गराइयो । नेपाल आमाका दशौँ हजार सपुतहरुले अकालमा मारिनु पर्यो । बडो दु:खले आर्जन गरिएका राष्ट्रिय सम्पति ध्वस्त पारियो । राष्ट्रले यो विध्वंसवाट दशौँ अर्ब रुपिञाँको प्रत्यक्ष क्षति बेहोर्नु पर्यो । मानव ज्यानको खति, सामाजिक, साँस्कृतिक क्षतिको लेखाजोखा छैन । विकासको गति बढ्नुको साटो भएका संरचना पनि समाप्त पारियो । पहिलो जनआन्दोलन देखि दोश्रो जनआन्दोलन सम्मको अवधिमा राजनीतिक दलहरुले मुलुक र जनतालाई दु:, कष्ट र सास्ती मात्र दिए ।

जति दु:ख पाए पनि नेपाली जनताले, पुन: राजनीतिक दलहरुलाई साथ दिए, दोश्रो जनआन्दोलनमा । र जनताको त्यो विशाल भेलले राजालाई पाखा लगाइदियो । राजनीतिक दलहरुले फेरि राष्ट्र सञ्चालनको जिम्मेवारी पाए ।

... गणतन्त्रमा पनि उस्तै
नेपाल र नेपालीका लागि शासन व्यवस्थाको चयन र सञ्चालन नेपालीले आफैँ गर्नु पर्ने शास्वत् यथार्थलाई छाडेर राजनीतिक दलहरु अहिले पनि मनपरी गरिराखेका छन् । नयाँ नेपाल बनाउने नारा दिइएको छ । भारतीय शासकहरुको निर्देशनमा गरिएको १२ बुँदे सम्झौता अनुरुप देशमा स्थायित्व दिने भनिएको छ । जनताले आफ्नो संबिधान आफैँ बनाउने भनेर संबिधान सभाको चुनाव गरियो । दोश्रो जनआन्दोलनमा राजनीतिक दलहरुको नेतृत्व स्वीकार गरेर अव चाहिँ हाम्रो शासन हामी आफैँले गर्न पाउने भयौँ भन्ने जनतामा जागेको आशामा फेरि तुषारापात भएको छ ।

शान्ति र हिँसा संगै हिँड्न सक्तैनन् भन्ने यथार्थलाई गलत सावि गर्ने दूस्प्रयास स्वभाविक रुपमा असफल हुँदै गएको छ । संघीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्रको संविधान बनाउने जिम्मेवारी पछाडि पारिएको छ । 'लोकतान्त्रिक' आन्दोलनका सारथीहरु सत्ताको लुछाचुँडीमा मरिहत्ते गरेर लागेका छन् । सहमतिको राजनीति खोक्रो नारामा परिणत हुन पुगेको छ । हिँसा, अराजकता व्याप्त छ । अपराधलाई राज्यले नै संरक्षण दिइराखेको कुरा स्वयम् प्रधानमन्त्रीले 'दण्डहीनता छ' भनेर स्वीकार गरिसकेका छन् । आम नागरिक असुरक्षा, अव्यवस्था र अराजकताले त्राहीमाम् छन् । विकासको गति लगभग ठप्प छ ।

हिँसा र हिँसाको धम्कीलाई नेपाली नागरिकले भोग्नु पर्ने दैनिकी बनाइएको छ । अर्थतन्त्र धराशायी बन्दैछ भनेर विशेषज्ञहरु भन्दैछन् । असफल राष्ट्रमा हुने सबै विशेषता नेपाल राष्ट्रले हासिल गरिसकेको छ, विश्वव्यापी मान्यताका आधारमा । मुलुकको प्रतिष्ठा अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय जगत्मा ध्वस्त पारिएको छ । प्रधानमन्त्री, मन्त्री तथा जिम्मेवार हुनुपर्ने नेताहरुको बोली र व्यबहारको ठेगान छैन । राज्यले विश्वसनीयता गुमाउँदै छ, आम नागरिकका सामू मात्र होइन, विश्व समुदायका सामू पनि । यस्तो अव्यवस्थाको परिणाम के हुने हो भन्ने भयावह त्रास छ, आम नागरिकमा । हिँसाको बल दिन प्रति दिन बलियो हुँदै गएको छ ।

यो समग्र स्थितिका लागि हाम्रा राजनीतिक नेताहरु नै जिम्मेवार हुन् । र मुलुकलाई सही दिशा दिन हाम्रा राजनीतिक दल र तिनका नेता फेरि एक पटक असफल साबित हुन लागेको प्रमाण वर्तमानले दिइराखेको छ ।

Back to the old ways?

By: Yubaraj Ghimire

The fate of Nepal’s ongoing peace process and the promised new constitution depends on how sincerely Prachanda and his party, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M), cooperate in the process. He is focused more on retaining the party leadership and all the clout associated with it; supporting the peace process and the drafting of the constitution appears secondary, even tactical.

A clear division at the party’s top level as well as in its various wings has resulted in a visible erosion in Prachanda’s loyalty base. His main concern is to not allow a party convention to take place in the near future, although his rivals — party vice presidents Mohan Baidhya Kiran and Baburam Bhattarai — are lobbying hard for it. If that happens, Prachanda will face a challenge to his leadership for the first time in the quarter century since he began his underground politics.

The trade union wing of the party suffered a split recently and Prachanda acolyte Shaligram Jammarkatel had to face a parallel body led by Badri Majgain, a Baidhya loyalist. Jammarkatel’s sole control over the union so far and its sway over all kinds of trade and industries added to Prachanda’s might. But the birth of the parallel faction forced the party standing committee to dissolve the trade union itself and convert it into a preparatory committee to hold its national convention as well as elections. The control over the trade union — supposed to be the richest unit of the richest party in the country — is crucial to Prachanda.

The erosion in his clout has come at a time when he stands discredited in India, his home for eight out of 10 of his insurgency years as per his own admission, and the country that mediated his entry into the democratic fold, paving the way for his elevation to the PM’s chair through an electoral process in August 2008.

By 2005, India had recognised Maoists as the true representatives of the people and given up its twin-pillar theory, on assessment that aspiration for change in Nepal no longer favoured the continuation of the monarchy, even in a constitutional form. Near-nil chances of the constitution being delivered now show that India’s declared intent and outcome do not match. Increasingly, the Indian architects of Nepal’s policy from 2005 are seen here as actors without accountability. That image comes in handy for Prachanda.

He knows his political future depends on his retaining the leadership of the party. For that, he has to speak like a “revolutionary” and champion the party’s worldview that Maoists are against “US hegemony and Indian expansionism”, and that the party must launch a revolt to assert Nepali nationalism and control state power. Assuring the Indian Maoists that “we have not at all compromised on our principles and values of our revolution” is a tactical necessity for him under the circumstances.

That Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal, who is also the chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), could not implement the secret deal he had recently signed with Prachanda to run a coalition government, following opposition from all sides, has given a fresh excuse to the Maoist supremo to discard democratic forces as “untrustworthy” and go his own way.

Although the PM’s refusal to give the home portfolio to the Maoists as promised has been officially projected as the reason for the Maoists not joining the cabinet, it is not so simple. Those who would have been left out of a total of 11 berths promised — especially from the guerrilla wing, dominant ethnic groups and the party trade union — would have deserted Prachanda. He would also have been a target of much vilification within his party since families of the cadres who had lost their lives during 10 years of insurgency had warned Prachanda and other top leaders of “action for their disrespect to the blood that martyrs shed”.

Having burnt all his boats, beginning with India that created the ground for his safe landing in democratic polity, Prachanda perhaps faces his toughest journey in politics. His call for a return to radical politics is more for tactical reasons, but whether it will have the kind of impact it had in the past is doubtful.

Prachanda’s dilemma is not a good sign for peace and stability in the country that does not have an effective government nor state institutions based on constitutional principles which became the first casualty of the success of the mass movement of April 2006. Retrospectively, the demolition of the old order from within was perhaps the biggest success of Maoists, something their allies and other political parties are shy to admit.

Maoists can revolt, show indifference or sabotage the system from within — hoping it will help them in the long run — but other pro-democratic forces seem incapable of responding to the situation that emerges.

(Courtesy: Indian Express)