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Machhapuchre Bank

Emerging Dilemma

Over a half century of an independence movement in the neighborhood as a result of which the British were sent home was bound to impact on Nepal too. Indian centers of learning that emerged in course of British rule and the independence movement spawned Nepali intellectuals recruited by the independence movement there. The Ranas of Nepal who, lover the century saw their rule linked to the British ultimately found that the emerging India could not be sustained by switched allegiance since a Nepali democratic movement could very well also flirt with similar allegiance. Calcutta, Banaras, Allahabad, Lucknow and Patna were all hotbeds of Indian agitation politics from which grew a class of secondary Nepali elites with links with Indian leaders who by the 1950s were redefining the limits of Indian unification. By time King Tribhuvan sojourned to Delhi, democracy was asked to mean a redefinition of Nepali independence from which King Tribhuvan and a select few chose to calculatedly wean the country away from Indian gravitational pulls as a result of which King Mahendra could successfully launch his nationalist Panchayat movement. The seminal organization drawn from cadre of the Fifties carried over to the Birendra period was lost in the memory bank of participation and the displaced leadership of disgraced organizations reemerged with considerable prompting from down South to assert itself by 1990. By time King Gyanendra found himself on the throne the Panchayat elite asppears to have been so depoliticized as to have been unable sto wean an already non-functional party system away from its incompetent leadership. Despite representation and participation from all political parties in king Gyanendra’s cabinet, party leadership would refuse to recognize Gyanendra’s constitutional leadership but instead, with foreign prompting, sabotage the much deferred elections that the monarch willed. Ultimately it was party leaders that ganged up to dethrone and scrap the monarchy altogether. In so doing they very much obliged a foreign community for whom the Nepali monarchy had for centuries been a permanent stumbling block to their designs.

The past decade of soul searching in Nepali egghead circles of the non-performance of two decades of multiparty-ism in the country and yet another decade of republicanism invariably was to draw attention to the remaining permanent fixture, that of political parties. The Nepali Congress is finally a weak opposition and the ‘democrats’ must question why and communists have an unassailable number in parliamentary government and the communists must question how. In doing so, both parties now must turn inwards and focus on the nun performance of their leadership.  They have discovered one fixture in both parties, the veritable permanence of their leadership. In layman’s language, political parties have a section elected to the leadership and another appointed by the elected leader with the leader being the deciding vote. Dislodging the leader for non-performance becomes a near impossibility thus. The impudence starts here. The leader need not be accountable to the party charter just as the parties no longer can be reined in by the constitution. Given that dilution in ideology is universal and is so in Nepal’s case as well, policy is what the leader says it is and the leader has the power of the whip to discipline the ranks. Rank and file politicians are stifling under the yoke of non-performing political leaders of parties with long histories of cadre mobilization and persecution and heaps of personal sacrifice. Our modernism inhibits us from locating the sources of leadership alternatives as previously. Unless the aware and effected mass locates it for them, they will remain prisoners of their own myths and propaganda.

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