Nepali Times
Happy new ears


So Nepal is now a quasi-republic, a pseudo-monarchy and an ersatz democracy all rolled into one. We still have a king, but we don't have a president. In fact we are a kingdom masquerading as a republic. A counterfeit realm, just like the adulterated diesel we get at the pumps when our turn comes in the line.


Foreigners often wonder about how all this is possible. How, for example, can you pass off a 23-point agreement as new when it is just a rehash of the nine-point covenant and the 22-point accord and entire chunks of the Interim Constitution? But for us Nepalis this is all normal and natural. We are the ultimate fudgemasters, leaving sensitive issues to get resolved by themselves. When confronted with form or content, we always choose form. That is the Nepali way. It takes more time, but thanks to Lord Pashupatinath, our problems all get sorted out by themselves in the end.

Just as well these dramatic developments happened right before Christmas and New Year when most of Nepal's donor and diplomatic community was on holiday in Krabi. Otherwise we'd have had more unsolicited advice from sundry dips than we did. Shitall Nibas should exchange notes with the Afghans and see how they managed to expel EU and UN observers for clandestinely meeting with the Taliban. Anyone here also want to be declared persona non grata? It can be arranged, and it'll look really good in your cv.

To give credit where it is due, one notable exception to the mass outbound Christmas exodus this week was Comrade Martin who was actually at his desk on Chirstmas Day. Much appreciated, Ian.


So Comrade Yummy, Comrade God, Comrade Krishna and Comrade Scimitar are back at their ministerial berths next week. Bravo. The odd man out is Matrikababu, whom the High Command wanted to replace with Prabhu Sah but the chap is so unpopular the Maoists may have to put a surrogate in the Bun Mantralaya. This is a very critical ministry as we all know, and has to be led by a madhesi since the remaining hardwood forests are all in the tarai and they need to be logged to raise $$$$$ for election financing.

The other critical one is the Ministry of Propaganda and Disinformation in which Maharabau did such a grand job in his last tenure turning Gorkhe Patra into a red rag. Comrade Awesome reportedly wanted to appease the hardliners by offering Matrika's slot to a member of the extreme left of Nepal's most extreme left party. But Comrade Cloud, smart fellow that he is, refused and so did Messrs Baidya, Gajurel & Chand. We all know the man is biding his time to be President Badal.


But if you thought the baddie ministers were bad, just look at what the Minister of Resupply did last week: instead of resolving the petrol shortage, he made his army bodyguard and hired goons kidnap fellow madhesi politico Anil Jha. We are seeing some unprecedented drama in this New Nepali Loktantra, a sitting minister taking someone hostage at gunpoint.

Here in a simplified format is the state of the play in the madhesi movement: Jha is from the Anandadebi faction of the Sad Bhabana, which is where Hridyesh Tripathi defected to after leaving the NC, but all are now in the Rajendra Mahato faction of the MJF which saw the induction of Jayparakash Gupta this week.

Meanwhile, Kishor Biswas, vice president of the (MJF-Gupta) has called the 23-point agreement a sham a move that can only benefit the endangered monarchy. The MJF-Upendra Yadab has said he will contest elections while at the same time agitating against it. We'll keep you posted on latest developments.


All companies that are currently paralysed by Maoist trade union strikes should take a tip or two from the 26-or-so Chinese-owned restaurants in Kathmandu which are doing booming business and have no labour problems at all. Maybe taking a Chinese business partner is the best antidote to Maoist stoppages.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)