Some years rush past so fast that before you know it, it's gone. Events this year unfolded in agonising slow motion. Militant YCL cadre made their debut in open politics with a spate of extortions, abductions, ransom demands and other strong-arm methods of intimidation.
Politicians added fuel to the fire of the Madhes Uprising. Their intention may have been to weaken the Maoists in the tarai before polls. But it was misguided and counter-productive. The tarai tornado blew away not just the Maoists, but also the mainstream parties.
The resulting confusion caused the cancellation of constituent assembly elections twice within 2007. The 6+1 parties have finally committed themselves to elections by April next year.
Despite widespread clamour for his crown, Gyanendra continued his search for a cultural role. Girija Prasad Koirala tried his best to establish the idea of ceremonial monarchy and ended up becoming a ritual premier in the process. The credibility of Pushpa Kamal Dahal has eroded to such a degree that Maoist apparatchiks have begun to openly discuss an alternative leadership. On every crucial issue-federalism, republicanism and electoral system-the UML has flip-flopped so often that no one takes Madhab Nepal seriously anymore.
Then there are the wild cards. Mohan Baidya and CP Gajurel talk like promoters of a CPN (Monarchist). Chitra Bahadur KC of the People's Front opposes not just republicanism but federalism as well. The NC's own Chiranjibi Wagley, Gobinda Raj Joshi, Khum Bahadur Khadka and Taranath Rana Bhat came out openly to support a \'constitutional monarchy'. Everyone, even monarchists, are entitled to their views in a democracy. With supporters like these, the Shah Dynasty doesn't need enemies. But if there is one figure who deserves Person of the Year, it must be Sujata Koirala for advocating the resurrection of the 1990 constitution.
In 2007, the country would have got record remittances from abroad had it not been for the dollar fall. But no one counted capital flight in 2008. No one is counting but more money probably went out of the country than came in. Tourism boomed, but the airport remained as decrepit and corrupt as ever. Nepal Airlines was grounded by corruption and mismanagement.
Highway travel in Nepal was so uncertain that a businessman from Biratnagar flew to Kathmandu to travel to Janakapur for his cousin's marriage because Lahan was closed for weeks.
There were happy moments when Mahabir Pun won the Magasaysay Award or when Indian Idol Prashant Tamang of Darjeeling emerged as the icon for alienated urban youths. But overall, it was a lousy year and glad it's over. The year fits in the pattern of 1960, 1972, 1984 and 1996, periods of extreme ambiguity and volatility, when political parasites ruled the country by proxy. Let's hope 2008 will be different.