Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Peace and disharmony

An armed movement for a republic can never be successful. No matter how much the Maoists try, they will not be able to establish a republican state through violence. Even if it is established, there is no basis to believe that the system will be a people's democracy. As long as the Maoists continue their armed rebellion, the monarchy will remain.

No present international power will tolerate a change of guard through arms in Nepal's state power. But, if the movement advances toward republicanism through peaceful means, I see possibilities for it to succeed. People may ask how a republic can be ushered in peacefully if the king does not abdicate but history has examples of kings giving up as peaceful pressure mounts.

The Shah of Iran is a recent example. American political pundits called him a modernising monarch who commanded a strong military. Yet, when the people's demand for change became overwhelming, he abandoned his throne and fled. The main issue in Nepal is what percent of the people really back republicanism. If the people genuinely want a republic, I see no reason for bloodshed.

The army cannot be separated from the people. The lower ranks of the army, who are the actual fighters, come from poor backgrounds. This could prompt them to participate in a peaceful movement. At the very least, they will not favour suppressing such a movement if it were to gather strength.

Another important factor is the moral force of an unarmed movement, which is vital. It is natural to use force against someone who fights using arms. For instance, after the Maoists resorted to arms, the government also used violence to quell the insurgency. Nobody viewed the countermove as unnatural. Today, we hear about Maoists dying almost everyday. Except for simple human curiosity, the news doesn't arouse undue concern. This is because people believe the rebels chose to kill, and get killed themselves. But there is a great deal of concern when non-combatants and unarmed people die at the hands of both the security force and the Maoists.

When a movement is peaceful, no one will be able to justify the use of arms against it. If one side were to do that, it would add fuel to the fire. The Maoists are still far away from their goal despite those who sacrificed their lives for their armed struggle. This is why I am convinced they will never be able to attain their goal through force. If the rebels give up their arms and join the peaceful movement, it will be easy to advance the republican cause. Therefore, the Maoists are the biggest obstacle in attaining their own goal.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)