Nepali Times


Prime Minister GP Koirala witnessing the Bhoto Jatra paradoxically annuls his much-loved anti-republican position-his support for a 'ceremonial monarchy,' if the term largely carries religio-cultural responsibilities as Sudhindra Sharma construes ('Unceremonial monarchy, 'Guest column', #357).

However, Sharma's remark that 'the presence of the head of the state in a Hindu-Buddhist religious festival is a setback to the idea of a secular state.' is feeble. The basis of his argument is what he calls 'one of the pillars of secularism-the separation of state and religion'. While theoretically secularism postulates the separation of state and religion, it seems impossible pragmatically. Secularism is an antonym of hierocracy. In a hierocracy, religion dictates the affairs of the state, whereas in a secular state it is the contrary.

The key issue between secularism and hierocracy is not of separation of state and religion rather of subordination of religion to state or vice versa. Thus, the head of the state attending the Hindu-Buddhist religious ceremonies does not impede the spirit of secularism as long as it is done indiscriminately (eg, solemnising Christmas or Id), and does not use the state's coffers improperly.

Nima Ghising,

. Sudhindra Sharma incorrectly assumes that there is a contradiction between upholding tradition and pursuing development. It is precisely the lack of traditional values-a sense of duty, sacrifice, honesty, self-control, etc-in much of our government (whether the monarchy, politicians, the judiciary) that has most adversely affected the development of the country.

The role of traditional institutions in the so-called Naya Nepal is completely ignored by our so-called progressive elites. If our Naya Nepalis would take a break from making sweeping ideological statements and condemnations from their newspaper columns and instead engage in dialogue with traditional institutions, we could perhaps understand how modern and traditional forces can work together for everyone's welfare.

The Bhoto Jatra issue is an example of how traditional institutions have been bewilderingly sidelined in what is a very traditional affair. What right do Sudhindra Sharma, Girija Koriala, or Gyanendra have to decide the chief guest? This is not a political issue, it is a religious and ritual issue, and the sole authority should be the local priesthood.

Rishi R Sharma,

. I agree with Sudhindra Sharma that Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is on the one end seeming to break from a tradition that was rooted in hero worship, and on the other, seeming to restore it. This double standard is incongruous in a person in whom people have vested their faith. When Girija Ji formalised the ritual, he inhabited the ghost of the king.

Haribol Acharya,

. I have no problem with Girija Koirala going to Bhoto Jatra. But they should have got him to actually climb on the chariot and show the bhoto.

Gyan Subba,

. Nine of the 20 top-ranked countries in the world for HDI are monarchies ('2007 to 2007', Guest column, #356). This could indicate that a constitutional monarchical system is beneficial to a country. One part of the agreement between rulers and citizens is tradition. Long traditions usually indicate stability. Adhering to tradition also gives governments a certain legitimacy. King Gyanendra has been severely castigated and his powers decisively restricted. Declaring a republic now could give the impression of the other parties caving in to pressure from the Maoists, while alienating a large part of the people of Nepal who still support the institution of the monarchy. It might be important for the constituent assembly to distinguish between the unpopularity of the actions of king Gyanendra and the institution of monarchy.

Lars G,

. I am happy that the king is not getting money from the government. But now the Maoists are. Why do the Nepali people and the Nepal government always have to pay money to families or anyone's personal army?



The interview with Pushpa Kamal Dahal after his visit to Switzerland is hilarious ('Fitting reply to those who call us terrorists', From the Nepali Press, #357). Even though politicians are not known to be truthful at all times, Prachanda's forked tongue befits a snake in words, deeds, and character. He lies about his commitment to the constituent assembly election when the Maoists do not heed the current interim constitution-which they helped formulate-and when the Maoist atrocities and extortion against the Nepali people continue unabated and in violation of the peace treaty they signed.

One true friend of the Nepali people has been the outspoken US ambassador here. He has seen through the Maoist farce and calls them what they are: terrorists ("No royal revival", #357). That's why Prachanda wants to get the support of liberal European nations with leftist leanings for his plan which will destroy all traces of democracy and freedom in Nepal. On a personal note, Prachanda, your terrorists have killed an innocent relative of mine, beheading him with a khukuri. His wife and children live in agony to this day. We will never forgive you. You can fool some people some time but you can't fool all the Nepalis all the time.


. Outgoing US Ambassador Moriarty was right. I strongly believe that the Maoists are trying to establish a totalitarian communist state. All along they have been saying that their moves to join the mainstream and the seven-party deal are compromises they've made to fulfil their party's ideology. Their commitment to 'competitive democracy' is a front and a farce to grab power after which they want to initiate a structural reform based on class and other Maoist ideologies. Here, the media (who might be out of business if the Maoists succeed), civil society and especially the middle class need to unite and keep up the pressure so this dangerous dream of taking Nepal to the stone age is not fulfilled. We might need a new movement to protest against everything the Maoists are doing now.

Sunil Sharma,

. Who among the Nepali people trusts Prachanda? Girija Babu is one of the most honest and reliable people to run Nepal. Oops! Forgot we have foreign ambassadors running the country.


. James Moriarty has trampled on all diplomatic norms and etiquette. Where in the world do we see an ambassador conducting himself like an elected politician? Now he can go back and ask Prez Bush to step down or 'abdicate' the presidency for failing in Iraq.

R Rana,


'Communist Quicksand' (State of the State, #356) was a rare disappointing article from CK Lal. It was confusing and full of rhetoric, and the message got lost somewhere. He addresses both sides of the argument, but does justice to neither. Seems like dictatorial control is catching up with our handful of good writers.

Name withheld,

. I think 'Under My Hat' was much more real and funnier than your new satire under 'Backside'. I don't know whether it is a coincidence, but it looks like the current factional and messy politics of Nepal, not really putting out a clear message. Using the term Ass doesn't make it any better.

B Raj Giri,

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)