February 25, 2013 4:10 pm
Nepal’s political gridlock has crossed all limits. The recent proposition to appoint Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi as prime minister with a team of technocrats has been met with mixed reactions. While the major political parties have ultimately dragged themselves to the point of agreement, another Maoist faction led by Vaidya has severely criticized the move.
This is not the first time that Nepalese political parties have disagreed. Over the years, disagreement had become a major trope used by the leaders of various parties. Political hullabaloo for a prolonged duration has incubated a deep-seated mistrust against one another. Lack of political altruism within parties has choked the overall development of the country.
Nepal is a unique country. Squeezed between two Asian giants, China and India, it has been generously blessed by nature. Nepal has many mountains whose height are over 8,000 meters (26,247 feet). According to the World Bank estimate, the mountain torrents of Nepal have the potential of generating more than 83,000 megawatts of electricity.
Despite the natural abundance, it has been severely criticized for her political volatility. The political snowballing in Nepal has sabotaged the spirit of the country. After the Ranas and the Panchas; the rapidly developing parties have bickered against one another. The country has not been able to recuperate from the scars of a decade long Maoist insurgency.
Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction official Dipendranath Sharma said that they have recorded cases of 17,831 deaths, 7,444 women widowed, 1,505 disappeared, 8,191 disabled and 79,552 displaced. In reality, this figure is likely to increase.
During the conflict, extreme cases of violence perpetrated by both Maoists and the army have surfaced. For example, the journalist Dekendra Thapa was buried alive by the Maoists. In another instance, a 15-year-old girl named Maina Sunwar was brutally raped and killed by the army. There are many incidents of such nature that have clandestinely plagued Nepalese society.
Amidst a list of negatives, there are some positive changes that the war has brought. It has lent a voice to the people from the underprivileged background. Suppressed ethnic communities have been liberated from the centuries-old spell of isolation and intimidation.
It is not the political parties alone who are responsible for this stand-off. There are foreign elements directly interfering in the political space with their own vested interests. Due to its sensitive geographic location, the United States, China and India have maintained strong diplomatic ties with Nepal.
The frail judicial order has become a fertile ground for the warring parties to inject pugnacious agendas into the lifeblood of the nation. In the last five years, various issues have been raised by the parties and most of them have disappeared without being solved. The role of the parties have been focused in organizing Bands, brewing hostile issues and promoting inter-party animosity.
Although Nepal’s political sphere may be muddled, there are stories of hope and courage which have inspired the people to look towards a brighter future. The jail sentence of some corrupt ministers and senior officials within the last three years has created hope. Integration of Maoist fighters into the National Army was another historic achievement.
The proceedings in the trail of Dekendra Thapa’s murder case, despite the wish of the prime minister are minor yet significant acts of judicial awakenings. On the philanthropic front, names like Pushpa Basnet, Anuradha Koirala, Sanduk Ruit and Dilshova Shrestha have made a positive difference. Proactive participation of human rights groups and other similar organizations have discouraged the political parties from catering to their totalitarian wishes.
Nepal needs change but not the “radical change” as proposed by some fundamentalists. The term “radical change” has become a cliché often used by political pundits to gain undue leverage. The country needs transformation based on values, traditions and cultures. The parties have long been prone to indecision and misunderstandings. In this mega political transaction that resulted in the last ten years, the junta have been severely victimized.
Tens of thousands of homes have been affected by war. People who have been widowed, who have been blinded, who have lost their sons, brothers and sisters have been waiting for justice. The never-ending sequel of the blame-game played by the leaders has grossly neglected the general welfare of the country and the people. Nepal needs dedicated leaders who can rise above their petty differences and plan for the greater welfare of the country.
(Nabin Kumar Chhetri is a Nepalese author and a member of The Scottish Pen. His works have appeared in The International Herald Tribune, The Statesman, Eurasia Review, The Kathmandu Post, Nepal News and The Darjeeling Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)