From The Nepali Press
Democracy in a time of active monarchy
Madhab Kumar Nepal in Drishti, 14 March
FROM ISSUE #188 (19 MARCH 2004 - 25 MARCH 2004) | TABLE OF CONTENTS
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From the king's interview in Time Magazine and his statements in Nepalganj, we are getting to hear a new definition of democracy. The king has triggered a new debate on what kind of democracy we want: a guided democracy in which all Nepalis become slaves and compromise their democratic rights, or a democracy that protects sovereignty and ensures that the state power remains with the people's representatives? If we follow the king's definition, we will have to forget the worldwide concept of democracy. But if we do not subscribe to the king's theory, we will have to go for democracy in the real sense. It should be a democracy that does not reel under the black clouds of autocracy and does not run the risk of being hijacked. Today we face a big question of the relevance and the justification of monarchy in the country. We did try to convince the king and bring him back to the democratic system, but we were unsuccessful. Instead, a succession of political parties, leaders and people with dignity had to face humiliation while trying to persuade the king. In the meantime, the taste of power made the rulers forget and even dismiss democratic achievements.
We are hearing about elections. It is a ploy to remain in power. The nominated prime minister keeps on harping about elections which are just not possible in the present circumstances. Another trick could be to stage the drama of elections and get the supporters in the fake parliament to keep the country in the shackles of slavery. But both of these options will not end the conflict in the country. Instead, clashes will increase, and that will be the way of our life. This conflict, however, will decide that there must be no compromise on our liberty and rights.
The Maoists have become a serious hurdle in our movement. On one hand, they protest inequality, the undemocratic system and feudocracy of the king, but on the other, they spread terrorism by murdering political workers and innocent people. We have repeatedly tried to make the Maoists correct their mistakes.
We admit that political parties have made mistakes in the past and that they must realize their follies. Some people in the parties have committed crimes too. There is a need to stop such crimes and punish the culprits. But it is not correct to implicate all the parties just because few politicians did wrong in the past.
When we talk about punishment, we do not mean that the people's rights to punish the guilty ones must be transferred to the king. What we mean is that the king must remain within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. But if the king is not satisfied with the idea, it is time to ask if constitutional monarchy really suits the soil of Nepal.