Polarization of power centers that began during King Mahendra’s reign has gradually dividing the country into various political pockets. Throughout our history, various political centers have collaborated with the other to fight a common political enemy. Later, the same collaborators have become arch rivals. Why? Because, there was never a culture of unity, collaboration and team work in Nepal. It was all about obtaining and protecting power. No power center represented the country as a whole, but small pockets of society. Given the already diverse nature of our nation, the politics of oligarchy tore the country. We all know that democracy of the 90′s only resulted in benefiting political parties, their cadres and others assimilated in their reign of control. Security units, police force, human rights group, association of professionals, civil society are all part of this equation. Institutions were derailed and the Maoists rose to fight for those most hurt by the political drama. But, feudalism and control are still ingrained in our psyche. The Maoists became overwhelmed with power. The insurgency served not only as a fight for rights, but also as a parallel government with military, economic activity, employment opportunity and organized crime. 10 years are enough to forge an inescapable culture. The Maoists force naturally assimilated criminals, gang lords and mafia lords, mercenaries and job seekers. Very few are ideologues. The insurgency was wholly based on attaining power through armed revolution and attained power through number and arms.
Changing to democratic principles and international norms weren’t easy. The Maoists leadership may have understood politics, but its machine doesn’t. Most of them were promised lands, jobs, houses, etc. Their politics was similar to the political parties’ politics, which replaced previous madales with their own mandales. The Maoists’ YCL, various labor unions and student wings are new mandales. Furthermore, the Maoists inherited the Nepali culture of feudalism and absolute control when they came into power. They felt that they’re the new kings of Nepal, since they defeated the existing one – consider this mentality (Nepal is still living in the Prithvi Narayan Shah model of strength for power). Naturally, they lost all attachments to their presumed constituents. The Terai then broke. As I mentioned earlier, once an insurgency institutionalizes parallel administration of organized crime, smuggling, extortion and the culture of mafia lords and warlords, it is hard to change those. Most of the Maoists forces controlling various regions in Nepal are already kings. Why would they leave their paradise for the cantonments? Naturally, some would take up new excuses to retain control. Some of the armed outfits emerging are these people. Besides, once the slightest hint of political indoctrination is made part of any illegal activities, it becomes justified. Consider how the political parties, with their supreme right to call strikes and bands, road pyrotechnics and brickbats, have justified their illegal acts. Naturally, people took up more violent means acknowledging the success of the Maoists model.
The Maoists cause was reduced to enjoying their reign over society. To further enunciate this case, the Maoists have recently bowed to their cadres and put up a precondition to CA. It isn’t artificial intelligence to figure out that the Maoists cause revolves around its cadres now. Interestingly, to prove my point, the Madhesi Forum also broke into Janatantric Terai Mukti Morcha and Madhesi Janashakti Forum. This has nothing to do with representation, but control over a part of Terai under an oligarchic model.
Conclusion: Our leaders, both kings and political parties created a culture of ideological divide that gradually developed into political divide, and later polarization of society. The lack of scientific models of governance, power politics, centralized power, corruption and politicization of every sector were reasons for Nepal breaking apart. The feudalistic culture of antiquity served to favor the landlords. Later, early monarchy favored close entourage, and subsequently, believers in Monarchial model, religious people, high society of Kathmandu and other major cities. The political parties favored their cadres, patrons of political campaign, businesses, hierarchal government positions, etc. This resulted in a large section of society that was left unanswered. The Maoists rose to check this, but got lost in its own whirlpool of party politics centered on cadres, various sister organizations, the YCL and their overall force. The Terai broke and further broke into splinter factions to check the Maoists expansion, but itself got lost in party politics. This trend is on the rise now with multiple factions rising. Lack of law and order and political intervention in every problem has worsened the situation. The country is heading to anarchy under the failed state category. One important historical assessment of this situation is that Prithvi Narayan Shah’s unification of Nepal is now being reversed.
Consider the diversification of Nepalis. There are some who go to rocks, thamel, loval restaurants and bhattis to drink. Do they talk about the same thing? There are those who watch Hollywood movies, while others watch bollywood, while still others watch kollywood. Will they strike a conversation if they come together? Some go abroad to study and work, while others get top positions in the private sector, while still others work in the government sector and others in agriculture and various other positions. Do they have anything in common? Do people in Terai, the Hills and the Mountains have a common economy, way of life, professions and inter social networks? Consider countries like India that is united by recent experience of Independence, large middle class, bollywood, etc. My point is, Nepali leaders never worked out a common model to unite all Nepalis. It was left to a cultural scripture of char jaat chattis warna with King serving as a divine messiah of hope and unity. Unless, new Nepal develops a similar working socio-economic and political model, this country is doomed. Did the EPA, with its party politics, create a working sense of national unity? Naturally, the country broke.
5. Foreign Intervention & the Royal Massacre
With the Maoists’ force rising in both Nepal and India, coupled with China’s economic explosion created a big threat to the United States. In ten years, China will be in a position to compete with the US in oil imports. China is India’s 2nd largest trading partner; its military budgets are rising every year; it covers a significant domestic market in the US. Naturally, the Americans were concerned about Maoists expansion and the possibility of China adjusting to overwhelm that equation. The threat of communism and/or a competitive model opposed to the US was rising. King Birendra had very close ties with China. Nepali monarchs have been known to be insensitive to Indian interests. Before the royal massacre, King Birendra had visited China 4 times. The rest is history, as they say.
King Gyanendra left most Nepalis amused. What was this guy’s game plan? When I earlier mentioned that Nepal would have benefited from a wise one leaving the royal wombs, I meant for such a situation. Gyane turned out to be the last among those ignorant fools. There is no point in going further with this topic. American involvement in Nepal grew and military was used against the Maoists for the first time. No doubt, Moriarty was vocal against the 12-point agreement. When the Americans removed their support amidst rising pressures from the European Union and India, King Gyanendra flew out of Nepali politics like a cricket ball smashed for a six in disdain.
6. Broken Nepal - Implications:
The country is already divided. The prospects of unity, law and order, constituent elections and peace are heavily dependent on whether the EPA stays unified. Furthermore, law and order has to be maintained scientifically. Various political factions should be invited for dialogue, but if they push for separatist agenda, military should be deployed to check the threat of disintegration. The EPA alliance was, in effect, a political ploy to play down the king. It wasn’t intended for a new Nepal, but as a collaborative power sharing ploy by the SPA. American influence is still active. The SPA has betrayed Nepali people. At the other end, a new cold war may emerge between the Chinese and the Indians with southern Nepal under Indian control and northern Nepal under Chinese control.
- EPA unity, dialogue, law and order, Constituent Assembly Election and a strong setup
- Or, if it is too damn late and society has been polarized beyond repair:
- UN peace keeping force to control anarchy and terrorism
- Nepal developed in the Hong Kong model by foreign investment.
This whole work is based on interpretation of facts known to me. I would suggest that this be taken as one side to a story, a mere perspective, and not an authoritative analysis of Nepal’s history, problems and solutions. I am not a political scholar. Thank you for reading. Do rate this work.