By P. Kharel
Founding monarch of the Shah dynasty in Gorkha in the mid-16th century, Drabya Shah’s statue was installed at Paslang Chautara in Gorkha district the othefr week amidst an impressively attended function. Drabya Shah was coronated in September 1559.
Ironically, instead of Dr. Baburam Bhattarai who won a seat in the national legislature thrice from the district, outgoing vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission, Dr. Swarnim Wagle, did the task of unveiling it. Wagle was appointed by the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led Maoist Centre-Nepali Congress cabinet.
This came some months after a statue of Prithvi Narayan Shah was installed in the very area which saw the barbaric destruction of the existing statue of the founder of the nation following the 2006 political changes. In fact, the American War of Indpendence was declared several years after the Great King Prithvi laid down the solid foundation of unified Nepal.
CORRECTIVE COURSE: After 12 years of persistent public pressure, the government declared Prithvi Jayanti a public holiday this year in celebration of the contributions to the nation’s unfication.
Step by step the gross errors committed in the past decade and more might be remedied. Although the pace is painfully slow, available indicators are that public opinion is reviewing many of the core changes the intimidating political environment thrust upon the vast masses in 2006 and after.
Anomalies are strewn all over the existing dispensation’s working style. The parties that rudely stopped marking Prithvi Jayanti for so many years have neither issued a public apology for the interruption of the celebrations nor have they explained why the occasion has now been recognised again as an official state event.
Even after trumpeting the cause of federal structure of the state, its proponents in the government were found doing nothing in preparations of the post-elections scenario, including the task of finding locations for the seven provincial assembly venues.
Baburam Bhattarai is a prominent political jaywalker, who became a devoted Maoist during the decade-long so-called People’s War, and got elected prime minister as a Maoist. He was one of the signatories to the 2015 Constitution, only to resign from the national legislature shortly after. No wonder, Manish Nepal, in an online comment, noted: “How can we ever forget one very famous Nepali social science prodigy of JNU [Jawaharlal Nehru University] who senselessly helped inspire massacre of 17,000 innocent Nepalis, cost hundreds of billions of economic and infrastructure damage and pushed Nepal on the precipice of disintegration?”
That re-emphasises that Ganga Maya Adhikari is fasting for the nth year, demanding that Masoists who shot dead her son Krishna Prasad at Chitwan’s Ratna Nagar be borught to justice. Adhikari’s husband Nanda Prasad died three years ago while on fast. The Chitwan court deferred the case for the 20th time in January.
Strange political practices do not desert us Nepalis. The 28 years of mutliparty system since 1990 have witnessed considerably more martyrs than during the entire 29 years of partyless panchayat. The current Sher Bahadur Deuba-headed government, during its eight months, declared 266 martyrs, as if it were a mega industry in a poverty-stricken, basically agrarian economy.
Legacy is the force of progress and identity. The past is the identity of the present. Sovereignty of ignorance and tyranny of the majority (organised minority with loud voices and intimidating power) both contribute to chaos and confusion. In Nepal, therefore, who’ll walk the democratic talk?
Memories of laudable contributions and prominent personages have been agonisingly sought to be erased by the present crop of politial groups, only to be revived by some of these very people after a decade as if the dastardly dark days of malignment never happened. Their cowardice prevents them from issuing due apology. Lamentable silence on key issues, including principles and procedures, goes down in history with unflattering testimony. As far as the spirit of constitutionalism is concerned, it is getting to be an excruciating undertaking for quite a few political groups.
VISIONlESS: Drifting with the tide of issues and agendas sponsored and pushed by foreign forces in different guises, the first decade of bust is over and the second decade is already a year. There has been neither restoration of normalcy nor revolution of great import but continued corruption and chaos, aggravated by gross impunity.
State-funded appointments to important and not-so-important positions should be made on the basis of experience and enterprising energy rather than on the criterion of proximity to poltitical leaders or crony connections. Politial leaders, wth repulsive combination or corrupt practices, incompetence, cronyism and reckless direction, are not going to steer the nation’s course of stability and economic prosperity.
We folks with a ringside view of the goings-on will watch and critically chronicle its future course of action. It is up to party leaders whether they want to give up and hibernate or resurge as a force to reckon with. Or should sense and sensibility desert them for good, proving them to be empty loud-mouthed imbeciles? The option is entirely theirs, failing which new forces will have to emerge and intervene.
History Records, Doesn’t Forget
By P. Kharel