Nepali Times Asian Paints

Back to Main Page

Harm reduction

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

And finally, after five postponements in four years, the political parties have got together and once more bought more time by extending the CA’s term by another three months. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that everyone is a bit relieved because the country was careening to the edge. This is not the best case scenario, but it is not the worst either.

How a compromise can be found even by end-August in a state of such extreme identity-laced politics is anybody’s guess. But at least we haven’t hurriedly passed a faulty constitution that would have left everyone violently unhappy, and created long-term structural damage to the nation’s body politic.

Even so, this is going to one mad monsoon. All sides in the country’s widening multi-ethnic cleavage are going to have more time to sharpen their knives. If mindsets don’t change, extending the CA mandate will just prolong the torture for ordinary Nepalis.

No matter which side of the divide you are on, it has been clear for some time now that issues like state structure and form of governance cannot be decided at a time of volatile politics. In the past months we have witnessed politicians negotiating long-term provisions in the new constitution on the basis of immediate gain in the power dynamics of government.

After dragging the country through a needless war, prolonging the transition by repeatedly shifting goal-posts to delay the peace process, Nepal’s biggest party is reaping the whirlwind of the ethnic politics it unleashed. A lot of the blame must go to the Maoist party and its chairman for his all-consuming ambition to be Nepal’s first directly-elected president, and to craft a constitution to suit that goal. He has exploited identity politics, using the disagreements over federalism to delay any progress on the statute unless it has a provision for executive presidentship. He has manipulated the shameless greed of the discredited leaders of the democratic parties, and openly exhorted ethnicists to take to the streets. And the result is what we have today: a complete mess.

Early British residents posted by the East India Company in Kathmandu in the 19th century marveled at the inability of Nepal’s rulers to see what was in their own self-interest. Not much has changed. Both sides of the ethnic federalism debate are in a state of denial. The post 1990 neo-elite ruling class refuses to see just how ethno-centric and caste-dominated the composition of the current leadership of their parties is. Why are they surprised that even moderate Janajati leaders have united across party lines to form a caucus to protest exclusion? Any attempt to point out this lopsidedness is taken as an attempt to divide up the country. And on the other side are activists who have no qualms about using identity politics and taking the country to the brink by carrying out a dangerous experiment in slicing up the country into ethnic bantustans.

Neither side is listening to the people. Across the country, across all social strata, across ethnic and caste groups, citizens when asked have rejected federalism by identity. The silent majority wants peace and justice, and is against stoking ethnic tensions for political gain. But in this country when was it ever about what the people want? If our current crop of leaders had half the common sense that ordinary Nepalis show, we would not be in the mess we are in today.

The brinkmanship of the past month now means that the country is damned if it does, and damned if it doesn’t go through with ethnicity-based federalism. Faced with this fait accompli, the only thing we can do put some harm reduction measures in place: work towards patching up the country’s frayed social fabric, keep channels of communications open, protect open society and ethnic harmony, and use the next three months to stablise the ship of state.

Go back to previous page          Bookmark and Share         

12 Responses to “Harm reduction”

  1. Chetan on Says:

    Fingers crossed, hope everything turns up well…thats all that we can do….or probably one more extension before Dashain?

  2. Gunda Digshit on Says:

    This writer (Gunda Digshit as ASS would call) and his masters fears losing power and money in a federal Nepal thereby they keep repeating the same stuff against federalism behind the curtains of silent majority. This is an outdated and medieval writing. It is for all not to ignore the voices of loud majority and repeat the past mistakes and write some forward-looking article.

  3. Gunda Digshit on Says:

    Actually this title is a bit misleading instead of Harm reduction it should be “Aram Reduction” for the privileged classes due to federalism.

  4. Rekha Gurung on Says:

    This is the price to pay for cowardice. Dahal is one man, is there no one in Nepal that can teach this traitor a lesson ! Nepalis are fools to trust and believe the Maoist. How can Nepalis put all their eggs in one basket ( the Communist ), who believe and practice violence and kill for their petty gains. The N C leaders have no balls, they are corrupted to the bone and cannot protect democracy in Nepal. So, why is anyone surprised when Dahal and Bhattrai lie every day, we should be surprised if they start to speak the truth. Nepalis have water in their veins, for they take all the crap dished out by the commies. Nepal cannot ever prosper with Dahal and his dirty goons in power.

  5. Mahesh Basnet on Says:

    Martial Law ! There are always more than option to a problem.

  6. Kim on Says:

    Excellent, balanced analysis of the situation after the extension of the Constituent Assembly,Kundaji. However it all seems quite hopeless. I don’t see the conditions you lay out in your last paragraph being fulfilled in the next three months.

  7. Prabhat L on Says:

    “A lot of the blame must go to the Maoist party and its chairman for his all-consuming ambition to be Nepal’s first directly-elected president, and to craft a constitution to suit that goal. ”

    You have boldly called it like it is. That is the crux of the biscuit, as Frank Zappa would say.

  8. Whatever on Says:

    ‘Vices of the mind, can be corrected, when the heart is bad nothing can fix it’ – Voltaire.

    Fair enough, in this age of self-patting I do not spare Nepalese citizens with a wish of lots of smart and lots of luck, you will all need both to get rid of Maoism!?!

  9. Suresh Chalise on Says:

    At last, one man has shown some guts, ” NC lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari resigned from the CA on Wednesday”. Mr. R Adhikari, we applaud you. You must now gather others to rally behind you ! You must finish this filthy man, this shamless Dahal of the UCPN-M. This Dahal must be punished for all the killings of Nepalis and the loot of the Treasury as well the incredible loss to nation and people. This Dahal has dug his own grave, now you all must bury him. Remember to also include your partyman Sitaula in this process. Mr. Adhikari, you are my hero of the day. Thank you.

  10. Surendra P Singha on Says:

    Disolve the C A ! End of the Maoist – End of the problems for Nepal and Nepalis. Its sheer madness to trust and put faith on the killers of UCPN-M, as well as UML and othe fringe Communists. Down with Bhattarai, down with Dahal. Warning to the Indians as well, if you want to harm Nepal, you will also be harmed. So watch your steps, Mr Prasad.

  11. Tribhuvan Choudhary on Says:

    Nepals must reject the Communists ! Nepali Congress and its childish leaders without any vision, must b eblamed for the rise of the Communists. One culprit who is still alive today is Sher Bahadur Deuba ! Bhattarai and Dahal were emboldened by the incompetence of Deuba. Even X King said that in public and sacked him. So you cannot only blame the Maoist. But we can all agree that Dahal is nothing but a killer and a looter ! Dahal killed many Nepalis in the name of Communism and now this shameless man wants to be President. He belongs in a prison. Lets put him there ! This uncouth man is a disgrace to Nepal and Nepalis.

  12. Shree Shrestha on Says:

    Dr. Bhattarai must promulgate constitution and resign on May 27th. Let the current president run the government untill the election. All the unresolved issue will be resolved by the newly elected parliament.

Leave a Reply