Nepal is in search of a new starting point. The interim constitution submitted by the drafting committee hasn't helped this search. The leaders of the seven parties and the Maoists should accept equal responsibility for Nepal's present confusing and difficult situation.
The prime minister has vowed not to accept the CPN (M) as a legitimate party unless they give up their weapons. As PM, Koirala must have been compelled to say that. War-weary Nepalis also want the Maoists to disarm. The seven parties are still wary of the Maoists and world opinion does not favour them either.
When the Maoists started their \'People's War', socialism was on its way out. Their military victory need not have come as a surprise because they had the support of the people who were tired of the state's indifference. Their success was easy. But the real test begins now. In a guerrilla war, you hit the weakest point. In a people's war, you hit the strongest point to gain victory.
Nepal's strengths are our culture, thinking, class and ethnic structure. From now on, the war will not be fought in some district or at some fort, because it calls for original thinking and strategy. Arms can be managed when the Maoists are ready, but when are we going to address the issue of property, citizenship, language, caste and ethnicity?
The Maoists and the seven parties are yet to agree on the role of the monarchy. On the surface it looks like the conflict over monarchy is the most important. We are so caught up in this king thing that we can't see a future conflict over caste and ethnicity simmering away underneath. The discussion should not be limited to monarchy vs republic. If we are really serious about a republic, we have to start working on a framework now.
Those in power want the king to leave the throne and the Maoists to give up arms. But what about them? What will they give up? The future of the monarchy is but a small issue in the interim constitution, which was solved when everyone agreed to a referendum. To achieve peace all of us have to give up something. We can start by giving up our traditional mindsets.
Chasing the king out of the palace or snatching guns away from the Maoists are not the only ways to peace. An all-inclusive interim constitution is not possible until we realise our share in the conflict.