Nepali Times
Duty in distress


It is said misfortune doesn't come along with a musical procession. It has been nearly half-a-decade that the country has been sliding into anarchy. In reality, for most of the time it has been in power, the Nepali Congress has not been driving the country-there has been confusion and uncertainty in the political, economic, and social sectors. The push and pull inside the ruling party, the party's unaccountability towards the nation, the horse-trading between themselves and with other parties, have not shown them to be organised or responsible towards the country even in the recent past.

Many activities of the main opposition and other leftist parties who claim to be involved in political practices within constitutional limitations were not compatible with their political ideologies. Instead of trying to gain the people's confidence as an alternative to the state administration, there has been an erosion of the trust of the people in the mainstream left parties. This was proved by the decreasing support of the people for their agenda.

It may be too hasty to hope that the Peoples' War being waged by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) against the whole system for over half a decade would provide a new path for the nation. The insurgency has helped push the nation further into confusion and disarray. It is not possible to expect this power to steer the nation away from the current crisis, since it is difficult to gauge how organised the movement is.

Trapped between the structurally underdeveloped political groups and the political confusion and anarchy they themselves have created, the biggest tragedy in the history of the country occurred in the royal palace on the night of 1 June, 2001. This incident and the events that followed it have destabilised the palace, which was perceived to be a solid and monolithic structure for more than 250 years. This last week has pushed the nation into an unprecedented dilemma and crisis. The Nepali nation is bewlidered and alarmed.

At this moment of unstability and lawlessness, many may be tempted to fish in muddy waters. But doing so would only invite more grief to the people and the country. Events in the world and in neighbouring countries have already demonstrated that during times of such uncertainty, reactionary forces from inside as well as outside will try to push nations towards the precipice.

This dilemma of democracy, its application and definition, is common to many parts of the Third World. From Cambodia to Indonesia there is a general feeling of uncertainty about the role and practice of democracy. In order to prevent our nation from also sliding into similar anarchy, it is essential that all political groups, constitutional bodies, social organisations and civilian bodies remain patient and disciplined and work to create a sense of responsibility towards the nation. The carnage inside the palace has pushed the country into an even deeper crisis. The question now is not tied to an individual, party, or ideology, but to the existence and future of the entire nation.

At this moment of great tragedy and grim crisis any force, whether political or non-political, that pushes the nation into further anarchy should not be tolerated. To prevent the nation from being "Talibanised", to prevent racial or regional disorder, it is necessary that all the political parties come to a minimal agreement. Only such unity can save the nation from diving further into chaos and brutality. The Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML/ML, and other political parties that follow, believe and support the current constitution must come forward united even in their disagreements. There is nothing less than the continuity of the nation and the future of democracy and constitutional monarchy at stake here. It has become essential to reach this sort of understanding to even just maintain the dignity of Nepal and Nepalis. The circumstances demand that those who call themselves political powers or even responsible citizens learn from their past weaknesses and become serious if the country is to be saved. If the nation does not survive this crisis, neither will we and our various selfish ambitions.

Hari Roka is an independent leftist activist.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)