Nepali Times Asian Paints
Royal republics


Sorry but I couldn't think of any other way to attract your attention. So much analysis has been done and so many opinions thrown around on everything that I am afraid people will skip this article if I had named it 'Assessment of the Existing National Quagmire and Future Prospects of Nepal in Light of the Existing Constitutional Loopholes, Regression, and Reactionary Forces Amassed At the Border'. I don't want to be the last person to weigh in on this great debate.

The Maoists think a republic is the only way out. I can't compete with people that have a JNU gold medalist on their team. Hell, I can't even compete with first year Nepali college students for whom debate is a full-contact sport. The only medal I won was in elementary school in a sack race after the other three contestants tripped.

But I am told by well-placed sources on the Kathmandu streets (Mohammad Mohsin and subversive moles at Martin Chautari) that the coffee at JNU has been known to give people delusions of grandeur, unmitigated nihilistic tendencies and abominably bad shaving habits. Other sources (florists in Kathmandu) tell me the coffee at the FNCCI mess hall makes people want to impulsively put garlands on anything that moves. If Hitler showed up in Kathmandu today, they would put a garland on him. Key observation from this: those Nepali models from are really, really hot.

So mentally challenged, disrespectful, non-conspiracy-theory-believing, tequila-loving, medal-challenged people like myself are giving this a lot of thought as we take a sip of fine cactus arrack: What kind of a Republic are we talking about here?

Is it something along the lines of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (yes, that Korea)? Or is it more along the lines of the French Republic? Or perhaps like the Republics of Mexico or Congo? I won't even bring up the United States: the coffee there has about 47 percent of the people believing that the country is now officially a dictatorship. So I guess they don't qualify as a republic or a democracy anymore.

Let's start with the DPRK, which is neither a republic (at least as the Greeks envisioned it) nor a democracy (not even as the Koirala dynasty envisions it). If names could deliver us economic prosperity, justice, transparency, opportunity and equality then we wouldn't need to be so uptight and replace words like Kingdom and Royal with Democratic and Republic and move on. I'll even change my last name, if that helps. And if the whole Vishnu Avatar thing makes you cringe, how about the cults of personalities and the mythology that have emerged from countries that have 'republic' and 'democracy' attached to their names.

And France? They are only on their fifth republic since getting rid of those cake-eating-and-serving feudals. Their first republic lasted two years. Our politicians can beat that record while balancing their mistresses on both hands. The two years of the first republic is known as (uh-oh) The Reign of Terror. Am I the only one that gets queasy when I hear 'republic'? And between the first and fifth republics, we see emperors, dictators and strongmen, each wanting to establish their own dynasty.

We can barely put up with our own monarchy, how are we going to deal with a, ahem, Nepalian executive president? I'm not necessarily against republics and am definitely not for feudals. Having lived in the US for so long, I have no idea what a feudal looks like even though my wife tells me its easy: just look in the mirror.

I want to go to clubs in Kathmandu just as much as the next guy without getting beaten to a pulp. Walk (stumble in my case) home after a night in Thamel without getting run over. And please, all that decorum makes me dizzy because feigning diffidence is harder than it looks. And, yes, I must warn you that I could write at least two sentences on the pros and cons of relying on genetics to sustain governance. But I'm already on my fourth tequila.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)