Politics of Violence: War – People vs. People

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Here, a clever trick was successfully applied, that the people’s war was being fought against the King’s rule in this peaceful Himalayan nation.

By Deepak Gajurel, Associate Professor

Deepak Gajurel, Associate Professor

Janata,’ the people are sovereign. They are the supreme who can steer the nation whatever way they wish, and they do away whoever comes their way. Nepali people have proven this capability, time and again, in the past.

Nepali people stood against the Ranas, because Ranas were not Janata, they were rulers, meaning Ranas were above the people. Spontaneously or with the support from without, Nepali Janata launched a successful armed revolt against the Ranas.

That was 68 years back.

Unfortunately, that powerful, capable and sovereign Nepali Janata could not hold on the ‘people’s rule’ for long, and the people handed over the reign of the nation to Shah King, who started party-less Panchayat system. The descendants of the Nepali Nation’s Unifier, Shah Kings ruled Nepal that lasted no less than three decades.

Apparently, any anti-Janata rule could not have survived for 30 years. That’s too long for the people of a ‘twenty-first century modern’ country, as we Nepalis claim to be.

After 30 years of experiences with Panchayat system, reigned by the King in the Narayanhiti Royal Palace, Nepali Janata once again sprung up against the ruler, the King.

The difference this time, from that of 1950 was, rulers were Shah Kings, not Rana Shree Teen Maharaj.

And lo! Nepali Janata proved their omnipotence, and the King was made to bow to introduce multi-party polity in 1990, that was in accordance with the ‘wish’ of the Janaandolan 1. Janata’s wish prevailed, because this time round again, their struggle was against a ruler, and His men at the helm.

At the same time, people’s leaders ‘agreed to disagree’ in the name of how to empower mass Nepali people. Thus, began a destructive bloody civil war, they called ‘people’s war.’ It was interesting that ‘people’s war’ was fought with bullets and bombs against the ‘people’s representatives’ regime seated in Singh Darbar.

The politicians of the Aandolan claimed that 1990 constitution was ‘the best democratic’ one in the world. It is entirely another matter that almost all the provisions of that unfortunate constitution was violated, once or more, by the same democratic leaders during its 15-year life.

Though famous British theory of ‘King can do no wrong’ was the main thrust of the 1990 constitution, the people were made to believe, by the incompetent political parties and politicians, that the King was playing villain.

At the same time, people’s leaders ‘agreed to disagree’ in the name of how to empower mass Nepali people. Thus, began a destructive bloody civil war, they called ‘people’s war.’ It was interesting that ‘people’s war’ was fought with bullets and bombs against the ‘people’s representatives’ regime seated in Singh Darbar.

Please be reminded: the control of Nepal’s fate at that unfortunate period was in the hands of the parties, duly, and of course, democratically elected, ‘people’s representatives’, and not the King.

Here, a clever trick was successfully applied, that the people’s war was being fought against the King’s rule in this peaceful Himalayan nation.

The politicians at the helm of the regime, under 1990 constitution, were playing foul which ultimately took shape of an alliance among ‘democratic’ and ‘revolutionary’ forces.

What factors were behind the formation and handling of that alliance and for what interests are another aspects altogether. The result was not unexpected. The constitutionally acting King was forced to come onto his knees before the ‘people’ and give up all his ‘state authority.’

The Janaandolan 2, 2006 was the extraordinary turning point in the history of Nepal. This not only changed the polity, overthrew Monarchy and empowered Nepali Janata with all ultimate rights, it’s most important ‘achievement’ was proclaimed to be the establishment of ‘people’s rule’ in Nepal.

The net result: for the first time in the history of his Himalayan nation, people is rising up against people. What does this mean? Where does actual problem lie: in the rulers? Or is it Nepali Janata? And who forced this nation into this quagmire? and for whose, what interest?

Currently, that is, since last one decade, Monarchy is absent in Nepali politics. No ‘ruler’ is anywhere in the scene. Everywhere, from the grassroots to Singh Darbar, people’s representatives are in the drivers’ seats.

The country is entirely, and without any doubt, de facto, ruled by the people’s representatives, Loktantra, as proudly claimed by the politicians. There is no room for any ‘ruler’(meaning a person that is above the people) in current Nepal political system.

However, Nepali Janata do not seem satisfied.

A section of people’s representatives are ruling the country ‘legitimately’ having almost two-thirds majority of votes in the parliament, both at the Center, and at the Pradesh as well as local levels.

Another ‘Janata’, led by Teria leaders, in the name of Madhes, are going notorious against the Kathmandu rulers, with not so peaceful means.

Added exertion of pressure is being built up by some fractions of erstwhile Maoists. They seem to be in the preparation of launching some kind of agitation for the unconditional fulfillment of ‘people’s wish.’ Their modus operandi does not smell ‘peaceful’ by any standard, as they are threatening to resort to arms struggle against the government, the Janata’s Loktantra!

Here lies the ‘real politik’.

‘Janata’ proven to have the support of two-thirds of the Nepali voters are in the power, and the rest of ‘Janata’ is signaling, overtly or otherwise, to ignite another devastating and bloody spell of war in the name of people’s empowerment.

The net result: for the first time in the history of his Himalayan nation, people is rising up against people. What does this mean? Where does actual problem lie: in the rulers? Or is it Nepali Janata? And who forced this nation into this quagmire? and for whose, what interest?

It would be interesting to know the logical answer, even if not satisfactory.

* Associate Professor Deepak Gajurel is a Political Scientist.