Nepali Times Asian Paints
Interview
"We cannot pretend to have a constitutional monarchy when our laws are archaic and feudal."


Harka Gurung
Academic, former minister

A tragedy of unusual magnitude has taken place. Instead of speculating how it came about, we should look forward to how the damage can be minimised. The commission of inquiry is working on it. I don't think it will be possible to satisfy everyone. I would say now there is much bigger responsibility on the part of political parties. There is no point in comparing the personalities of Birendra and Gyanendra. The king is not an individual but an institution. The main responsibility for Nepal's future actually lies with the politicians who have been entrusted with the people's confidence and votes. Will they become statesmen, or remain petty politicians? Infighting and fighting between the parties should be replaced by reconciliation so we can get on with the job of building Nepal. I'm not optimistic about political parties, but I am optimistic about the people and Nepal as a nation. The continuity of the state is shown by the spontaneous expression of the public's grief after the royal tragedy. I hope the politicians rise to the occasion.

Chaitnya Mishra
Academic, former NPC member

I have a six-point checklist. The murder has to be investigated fully and independently. If more time and skills are needed, let there be arrangements for that. If certain issues cannot be answered, they should be left open, not ended forcibly, otherwise questions on the legality of the report and the new king and queen will remain. Foreign powers may also take advantage of the confusion and extract concessions from Nepal. The new king should tell the people personally, honestly about the facts he is aware of. For the longer term, government and political parties should assess the incongruities in constitutional monarchy and implement the outcome. The Maoists should stop their killings immediately and government should fully withdraw security forces deployed to tackle them. The government should withdraw all lawsuits against the Maoists and declare a general amnesty. The government should call general elections. Whoever comes to power can change the constitution if needed. The government may not be unwilling to do that. Political parties and the people should lobby to get all the aforesaid implemented and struggle if needed.

Yankila Sherpa
Entrepreneur

This is the greatest national tragedy Nepalis have ever had to face. This terrible incident has shocked us, and left us grieving. It is taking time, more time than we imagined, for people to get over the grief. But we have to live our lives, not just for ourselves, but also for our families and our nation. It is imperative we continue the task of building Nepal and moving ahead towards a bright future. We, the business community who form the backbone of Nepal's economy, have to run our businesses as soon as we are out of mourning. Our businesses provide livelihood, jobs, food, education, and housing for many Nepalis. Successful businesses are a sign of hope. We must continue to be optimistic regarding important industries such as tourism, which is definitely more affected than others by a crisis in the country. The task now for the industry is to assure the international community that Nepalis will continue to extend gestures of welcome and hospitality to all our visitors. We tourism people will have to work harder and more closely with all sectors of Nepali society to promote and secure a continual congenial atmosphere of peace and prosperity for all in Nepal.

Mangal Siddhi Manandhar
Politician (UML)

The tragedy has occurred, but it will take time for the wounds to heal. Time does not stop, and time will heal. We cannot stop and stay, as we are now. Even before this tragedy, the country was already in crisis. Now the situation has become worse. The inquiry report should be believable. Sometimes what we don't like can be true, but the truth should be one that is acceptable. We have to take into account the international and national situation and move forward. The tragedy has lead to a national crisis, and made the country's situation even more complicated. People have to be provided full information to get past the incident, and also have to be shown the way.

CP Mainali
Politician (ML)

The people don't believe what they have been told, let us hope they will make up their minds after the commission makes its report. All this has taken place in a certain political backdrop-conspiracy or no conspiracy. The backdrop is: some people are trying to make democracy work while some are trying to change it using force. The massacre cannot be analysed in isolation of this. Even if external and internal political forces were not involved, they would try to affect our politics and developments. Our first duty is to tell the public the facts and win their trust. We face many problems as a nation-they were there before, they are there today. We now need to take steps to resolve the problems. We tried to maintain a status-quo in terms of governance after 1990. Political players turned out to be unethical and corrupt and failed to address the problems of the masses. There are issues of health, education and equitable distribution of national resources and wealth. The people were unhappy with how things were. They are still sad. This is expressed as individual grief and public anger on the streets. We need to find solutions through dialogue. There are fears about political instability, some even fear democracy could be derailed. To prevent that, political parties especially left parties, need to sit down and prepare a joint programme to address to the people's problems.

Narahari Acharya
Politician (NC)

The 1 June incident is the most devastating crisis Nepal has faced since unification. But the country cannot stop here, it has to move on, learning from what has happened. We have to discuss the implications of the tragedy for Nepal's future. We need to worry about stability. Our monarchy symbolises unity, and this incident raises many questions. Our responsibility is to work to ensure the institution regains its stature. Maybe the people's representatives should be given charge of overseeing security-we did not look into this for the past 10 years of democracy. Our king was always safe among people, whatever the size of the crowd, but was killed in the royal palace. The responsibility of saving the nation is on the shoulders of the political parties, which did play their roles to help cushion the sudden outrage and street protests. We need to strengthen our political institutions and one way to do that is to make them more democratic. We need to be responsible, democratic and people-oriented. Our strengths can come only from our ability to abide by democratic practice. We have to look into our rules and laws, which are unsuited to the present times. We have democracy and constitutional monarchy but our laws and practices, are feudal-it was evident from how the tragedy was handled. Our traditions and laws prevented us from being transparent and getting information to the people. It is clear that the sustainability of the institution of monarchy depends on the support of the people, and for that people need to have full information. Information on the habits, behaviour and character of royal successors. Parties would need to consider reviewing the laws to make royalty more transparent. We cannot pretend to have a constitutional monarchy when our laws are archaic and feudal.

Arzu Rana Deuba
Development worker

I feel we should stand behind our new king who is the constitutional head and the rightful heir to the throne. We must support him -we have nobody else. We need to take a look at where our country is headed. I think this shock is also an opportunity-every crisis is an opportunity-for all Nepalis, of all political colours to take a look at what is happening to the country. If we want to survive as a nation we should all pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and get on with building a brighter tomorrow for Nepal and Nepalis.

Shyam Bahadur Panday
Hotelier

Tourism has been directly affected. This is the first time we're at zero growth. All bookings have been cancelled. At the minimum, we need to come together and tackle the issues through the media. We need to choose between saving our country and our businesses and running after after hearsay. After all, we have to live here and the country has to go on. The tourist groups that were to come during this period have all cancelled-it has been almost 100 percent. Because the cancellations for the coming days have not come in yet, there is still time for us to take corrective action. We can still prevent cancellations by re-building our image, because the more negative news there is about us, the more it will affect us. We all can help by being more patient and responsible, otherwise there can be nothing but sadder days ahead. We must survive this and show that we can be a patient people and can get along, despite the magnitude of this unprecedented incident.

Rama Thapaliya
Film Artist

Every Nepali who believes in constitutional monarchy should respect the crown and work together to develop the country. This is a big tragedy, but now we need to think of the past as past. With all our resources, we should move on. Now it is up to every Nepali to bring about change. Change will only take place if we put in our effort and knowledge to work aggressively. There is corruption, and no assurance of a secure society. The law must be strictly enforced. There is law on paper, but not in practical terms. The new king and democratic institutions should think about improving this. I am part of the visual media and we are always trying to spread socially relevant messages. The problem here is people watch us happily, but once the movie is over, they fall back into lethargy. People are not changing their attitudes. These are the kind of people who are now gossiping wildly. I think each individual should take the responsibility of developing the nation and spreading pure thoughts. We should work together and construct a society that is hard working and disciplined.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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