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Why Constitutionalism

editLudwig Stiller’s ‘The Silent Cry’ was right when it pointed out that the House of Gurkha lost grounds when the expansionism was restricted by the British and politics turned inwards among its ‘bharadari’ (nobility). The author unfortunately minimized the impact of petticoat politics in the constitutional process that furthered Bhimsen Thapa’s interests for a while prior to constitutionalism reassertion under Jung Bahadur Rana who, not unlike, Bhapa, used the petticoat politics to rise to power only to assert the constitutional process to scuttle this patronage ultimately. Indeed, in many respects, Jung emulated his family’s patron Thapa in building his family’s political organization but differed when he asserted the laws of the land in matters regarding accession to the throne and, moreover, made the nobility subservient to the state’s interest by venturing to cement familial ties with a royalty previously held beyond reach. This domestic phenomenon is ignored in Nepali politics as much as is Chandra Shumshere’s consensus to British in the Younghusband expedition to Tibet. Chandra must have scored a point for the country by insisting on a separate status for his representation at the Delhi Durbar for himself from that of other Indian princely states and, in doing so, gained points for himself at home (and family wise too). However, the entry of the British in Tibet did lose for Nepal its role in that northern country which ultimately allowed the British to assume the role of arbitrator in the inevitable Nepal-Tibet squabbles that ensued. This, too, is lost in history.
The family as the embryo of political organizations is common to most development politics. More recently the ongoing happenings in Saudi Arabia exemplifies that the sharing of political power among the sons of the many tribes represented in founder king Saud’s harem has proved on wieldy enough to demand gradual tampering to facilitate brothers and not half brothers in its role of succession. Something Chandra through Perceval Landon successfully seeded. But that the tampering should ultimately result in his (Chandra’s) sons’ downfall at the peak of their power not only may serve a look-see for the House of Saud. Not that the Saudi’s are at all aware of this though. In the Nepali case, familial interests and that of political or national interest must at all costs be aware that it is the laws of the land that must ultimately triumph. It is the supremacy of the sovereign constitution that must be made sure keeps other interests subservient. This applies as much to family interests as to individual ones. The other party, the non-national interest, is to be kept at bay and allowed to play in the country only to serve national interests, ours and not theirs. Nepali politics errs here at the moment. Those whe have willingly brought international interests in this country to serve foreign interests at the cost of Nepali constitutionalism are now finding that this largesse on their part has contributed to the virtual absence of trust in their dealings with their foreign masters. It is trust on the basis of which diplomacy is conducted. Our politicians have eroded trust both at home and abroad simply because they have transcended the limits of constitutionalism.

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