People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 07, 2006
developments are taking place in Nepal. The
people’s upsurge which culminated
in the process of restoration of
democracy in the country was truly
massive. South Asia has not
witnessed such a massive popular uprising since the days of Bangladesh
Following the justified rejection of the offer by the Nepali King asking seven party alliance (SPA) to form an interim government, the people’s upsurge turned more massive centering around the slogan of a constituent assembly which shall decide upon the future democratic structure in the country. The crux of this was to define the role of the King. Clearly, the overwhelming mood of the popular upsurge was in favour of a republican Nepal with the King having no role at all or, at best, a ceremonial role.
the popular movement intensified, a roadmap, based on
the historic twelve point agreement between
the seven party alliance and the Maoists, emerged. This consisted of the
of the dissolved parliament;
interim government consisting of the seven party alliance;
decision by the parliament to hold elections
for a constituent assembly; and
official invitation by the interim government to the Maoists to come for
roadmap has had the agreement of
both the seven party alliance and the Maoists as well as
the international community, including India.
some initial hiccups, this roadmap has now been finally implemented.
The Maoists on their part, have declared a three-month unilateral
ceasefire to help facilitate the implementation of this understanding.
Now that the road has been laid, the journey
has begun to reach the
destination of electing the
constituent assembly. However, as
this is the first journey on this road, there are bound to be many potholes,
many ups and downs that the interim government must,
carefully, overcome and repair on the way.
of these centres around the
modalities for the election of the constituent assembly. The SPA and the Maoists
must, at the earliest, come to an agreement on this issue and set in motion the
process of conducting elections on the basis of universal
adult suffrage. Another
connected issue concerns the participation of the Maoists in these elections.
This is crucially dependent on the connected issue of the disarming of the Maoists before the elections.
is not a simple issue confined only to discussions between the SPA and the
Maoists. The Royal Nepal Army (RNA)
still remains under the command of the King.
Any process of the disarming of the Maoists must be
matched to the inch by corresponding steps for the RNA. Therefore, the
issue of placing the RNA under civilian control assumes great importance. These
may involve the induction of a third party observer to ensure fairness, equality
and transparency in these operations. The
SPA and the Maoists in their twelve point agreement have already agreed upon
such an arrangement, the common ground
being to request the United Nations
are decisions that must be taken urgently as they brook no delay.
the interim government led by Girija Prasad Koirala will also need to
the rebuilding of Nepal’s economy.
During the last two years, Nepali people were subjected to massive
economic hardships. The international community, especially India, will have to
assist Nepal substantially on this score.
Nepali people, the SPA and the Maoists will begin to address themselves
seriously to these tasks at hand, they will have to remain
continuously vigilant of all possible manoeuvres that will be mounted to
sabotage this process and ensure that the travel on this road may not reach
the desired destination of a constituent assembly.
One must remember that twice,
once in 1951 and the later in 1990, the Nepali people were denied
after solemn promises a constituent assembly. This cannot be allowed to
year since the King abrogated democracy on February 1, 2005 has, indeed, been
tumultuous for the Nepali people. Utilising
the differences between the political parties and the Maoists and the alienation
of the people from both, the King had initially succeeded in consolidating his
efforts to reimpose an absolute monarchy in Nepal. Patient efforts by the political parties and the civil
society in Nepal brought about the historic twelve point agreement between the
SPA and the Maoists. The decision
by the Maoists to join the democratic mainstream abdicating the politics of the
gun is, indeed, historic. This
galvanised the Nepali people into the action. This was in September 2005.
the same month, a delegation of the Indian Solidarity Committee with the Nepali
people visited Nepal at the invitation of the SPA. I still remember the meeting
with the political leaders and the civil society of Nepal on September 29, 2005
on the lawns of the house of the
supreme leader, the late Ganesh Mansingh. It
was on these lawns, in 1990, the historic decision to launch the democracy
movement was taken. Within six
months, an interim government was then formed which paved the wave for the
establishment of the two pillar –
the parliament and King – democracy in Nepal.
this occasion, speaking to the Nepali leaders,
I recollected the famous
saying of Victor Hugo, “Nobody can stop an idea whose time has come”. Further, as Marx had said, “When an idea grips the minds of
the masses, it becomes a material force.”
Democracy had, indeed, gripped
the minds of the Nepali masses. It
turned into a massive material force forcing the King to withdraw and, once again, in six months an interim
government has been formed.
Nepali people have a turbulent road ahead. However, given their
confidence and the resolve, under the leadership of the SPA and the
Maoists, these challenges
should be met successfully
overcoming the obstacles.
When they do this, they shall create history by transforming this
Himalayan Hindu kingdom into a modern democratic nation State based on