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Learning to learn loktantra

By D.M. Thapa

Now we are living in the age of loktantra. I still don’t know the exact meaning of this word, like many other people and even leaders themselves. It must be a word coined by our leaders copying the Indians, a Nepali Congress journalist told me. I was perplexed to hear a remark coming out of his mouth because, not only is the Nepali Congress pro-India, but this journalist was also totally an ardent India supporter as well.

First there was “prajatantra”, which I really feel means democracy, then after a volatile change in Nepali politics came multi-party democracy, then after another political revolution came loktantra. Anyway, whatever word was coined it all meant democracy and the Nepali people lived in peace and harmony. And development wise too the nation was moving ahead steadily in spite of a corrupt prime minister like Girija Prasad Koirala and his daughter Sujata Koirala, but things changed when the Maoists came in the scene.

The party leaders, though underground, talked of banning Indian movies, banning Indian songs and vehicles, but later it was revealed that the top two leaders of the party Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai were groomed by the Indian intelligence and staying in Delhi with some other leaders while their cadres murdered thousands of innocent Nepalis. This turned around the country’s development and yet it has to recover, but the Maoist leaders are living in great style and give the public advice on peace and development.

The foreign powers have tried to pummel what they think is rights and enforce their own kind of democracy in a tiny country like Nepal with the help of some politicians and so-called civil society leaders, who all are working for foreign money and foreign interests. These individuals seem to have the media in control and they are praised instead of being punished. The Commission for Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had at least tried to unmask one individual, who was a mere clerk at the United Nations in New York, but none of the so-called free media were able to question what was his source of income. And this man is called a senior journalist and leader of the civil society!

Why can’t anybody here say that the oldest democracy in the world, the United States did not allow its own women citizens to vote for nearly two hundred years! The Chinese labourers who worked in harsh condition to lay down the railway network all across America were not allowed to even own land or homes. The coloured people who came along with the “Whites”, when America was just being built, were not allowed to vote even after the Second World War. The Americans who preach about freedom of speech to the entire world hardly whisper a word on their own type of autocracy. But they try to telescope all sorts of rights down the throat of others, including Nepal. Is this fair?

The Americans and some other Western countries have killed thousands of innocent Muslims, always calling then terrorists through their media, which are virtually propaganda machines and the rest of the world follows their path. Is this freedom of the media which the Western leaders always talk about?

Now to come back to Nepal and the loktantra we are enjoying, it was amazing to see the turn of events in Bharatpur municipality of Chitwan. Like reported in a major daily, the defeated candidate Devi Prasad Gyawali, who was leading in the election, accused the Election Commission and even the Supreme Court of siding with the wining candidate Renu Dahal, non less than the daughter of Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Both the Supreme Court and the Election Commission have not been able to deny such accusation of Gyawali. Is this loktantra?

Should the people who tore up the ballot papers not be punished and what were the Nepal Police, Armed Police and the Nepal Army doing when such an incident was happening? What about the officials of the Election Commission doing? Shouldn’t the Supreme Court and Election Commission be accountable for such acts and take action against the culprits instead of coming to their defense just because the other candidate was powerful Dahal’s daughter?

Probably a drastic change has to take place in the country before such things do not take place and democracy can be called by any name.

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