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Democracy Day

editLet us hope that Democracy Day Saturday succeeds in arousing in Nepal a new awareness of the state of Nepali democracy. Three decades of multi-party democracy coupled with three decades of party-less democracy added to another decade of multi party democracy should have been enough experience to make corrections in history to in order for the Nepali polity to yield results. By now there is enough concurrence in the state that it has not. No amount of assurances from our politicians and abject pontification of out knowledgeable class through the plethora of media available to the population have done little to sway an increasingly skeptical population things are better around the corner. For the lay person, increasing awareness of the fumbling of our politicians has exposed a class that in perpetuity seeks to cash in on dwindling opportunities to enable them to retain the stranglehold over the country. This negativism is dangerous.
Even the diehard advocates of democracy must admit that democracy is an expensive exercise. The expense ifs justifies, nevertheless, as investments to enable the population to identify with government. The sovereign individual participates in the choice of government as a result of which identification with the system is voluntary. The failure of this system lies in the disassociation of the populace with our political class despite the elections. The search for alternatives is on and the danger lies in the fact that that search may lead us to choices other than a democracy where peoples’ participation with basic human freedoms is curtailed. This will be mere escapism. The people must identify with any other alternative; they must claim ownership of government to participate in their system as such. For this a careful soul searching as to where went wrong must take place.
A country that does not learn from history is bound to repeat it. How our political leadership built their top to bottom organizations on imported theories of organization and how our precious national institutions and identity were made handy scapegoats for non-performance is now becoming clearer still. The 1990 impasse with India still remains beyond political discussions after the change for the multi-party system. But the merits of the Nepali standpoint at that time have been purposively swept under the carpet. Political sovereignty must also deal with economic sovereignty and that was conveniently forgotten for sake of change in polity. The results were the gradual erosion of preciously built economic institutions. The change a decade back drowned out sane voices for constitutional sovereignty and whatever pitch of nationalistic justification is being shouted from the top today is being exposed as mere political gimmick. The country should have been more thorough in the political analyses of the 1950 movement for democracy and not used the occasion for political justifications for their organizations. The country should also have judged why the constituent assembly demands were junked in 1957 in favor of a constitution granted by the monarchy. The country should have viewed the 1960 developments ushered in by the Monarchy in its nationalistic purpose and not through partisan eyes. This would have allowed the people a more realistic assessment of the limits and strengths of multi party democracy in Nepal. At this late stage of Nepali democracy we must conclude that democracy is not a weakness but the mere ornaments of democracy can hardly be democracy. For this, history provides actual clues which the population must unravel dedicatedly.

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