A recently published fictional account by Amar Bhushan “Inside Nepal” is creating hype among many Nepalese readers. Bhushan is the former director of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) India’s premier intelligence unit. In this book, he fictionalizes accounts inspired by true political events in Nepal stating that India was involved in-depth in order to remove Monarchy from the country and reinstate a Republic. This has brought many leaders both from the ruling Communist Party and Nepali Congress Party to express concern over voicing against the current regime.
The book however fictional has come at a crucial time where various leaders and the masses are dissatisfied by the Republic and the federal structure. Why even though be it fictional of an account in the internal political structures of Nepal being released at this juncture is a question to ponder upon. Also, the system and regime change were brought about without holding a referendum from the people, Monarchy is a 200 year plus institution was dismantled without major approval from the general public. There is still an opportunity here to get a 2/3rd majority from the people and with a broader consensus reinstate Nepal back to being a Hindu nation with a ceremonial Monarch is not inconceivable.
If we look at the recent reactions, the Communist Party leaders are in a panic-stricken mode. While the voices to bring back Monarchy is inching forward, the establishment is at an offense. Recently former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda warned former King Gyanendra not to be active in public. While Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli nagged at the Monarch calling the institution a ghost from the past. While these offensive measures were taken to counteract the rising popularity of the King, it was seen as an act of despotism and disgrace by the general masses. It was likely that the image of Monarchy benefitted from this charade.
On the other hand, the people of Nepal have not been well accustomed and appreciated the newfound Republic and federal structure. They have been mercilessly hit by various taxes, and the prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed to an all-time high. Provinces, local bodies, and the central government are finding it a hassle to coordinate increasing internal work conflict. Blame game is on the rise between the newfound states and local bodies for the allocation of funds. Public and civil servants are directly involved in misusing state funds for personal use, while taxes continue to increase for the masses increasing the burden on them thus creating a frightening situation of frustrated youth.
The frustration does not stop there with the Republic, increasing problems of foreign relations and escalation of the rift between internal political structures are seen as a plausible threat. The larger masses have been dissatisfied with the style of political leadership and are outraged by the way the government has handled public cases. Rabi Lamichhane’s case, for example, created a stir among the masses where the government was unable to do much. This continued dissatisfaction whether known or unknown to the Prime Minister who is currently undergoing treatment in Singapore is a matter to ask his political advisers. It cannot definitely be said that Prachanda who is one of the main architects of the Republic will stick to his stance looking back at his political history, he can u-turn any moment.
Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba recently organized a religious ceremony at this private residence. He knows that there is an agenda of increasing sentiments to bring back Nepal as a Hindu nation and this has spread to the rank and file of his own party. Senior leaders of the Nepali Congress Dr. Shashank Koirala, and Shankar Bhandari have been vocal regarding their support for Nepal has a Hindu nation and they are vigorously invigorating their stance within the party and the general masses.
The National Democratic Party has always maintained its stance for Nepal to be a Hindu nation along with having a ceremonial Monarchy. Despite several of these supports, there needs to be more unity specially with Nepali Congress if this has to gain momentum as a national agenda. New possibilities with rising consensus can see a foreseeable change in Nepalese politics. Vote split among the people favoring the Communists will be certain because none have been able to captivate the general public. Mr. Chitra Bahadur KC a staunch communist leader has started to regret on the model of federalism. Imposing views and ideas wouldn’t last long, as rising costs for a decent living is posing one of the biggest challenges for the coming Nepalese generation, and the end result can be consequential.
Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai a rising leader of the Communist Party of Nepal made a decision to have the national anthem played on the premises of the Pashupatinath temple during the evening rituals of aarti which is sacred for all Nepalese. This was outrightly seen as government intervention and disliked by the public creating a massive controversy. While on the one hand, the ruling party has termed itself secular, by imposing the national anthem on a religious ceremony was seen with contempt and defilement of religious sanctity. Various corners of Hindu organizations vehemently protested the decision bringing infamy to the image of the government.
Religion as a phenomenon in current Nepalese politics and its agenda is constantly on the rise. It has a silent overwhelming majority, if not for Monarchy but for Nepal to be a Hindu state. The current population is reported to be over 90%. If awakened the masses that take up the Hindu cause will have an absolute majority. The game of politics cannot be trusted. It is also the one of changing possibilities, situations and circumstances. Look for instance in West Bengal of India, the Communist Party that ruled the state for over 3 decades have been entirely decimated. The current government of India which is a Hindu nationalist party undoubtedly wants to see Nepal as a Hindu nation. Senior Nepali Congress leader and the general secretary of the party Dr. Shashank Koirala is in favor of Nepal as a Hindu nation.
Internal politics can pave the way to newer outcomes and Nepalese political history has not been indifferent to making changes. Monarchy making a comeback maybe a little too far-fetched, but for Nepal be a Hindu nation the chances are clearly visible. It is being slowly thrown upon the people while being readily accepted as a national agenda. New possibilities with alternate outcomes can be seen in the future course of Nepalese politics provided the silent majority wakes up to really push this forward. Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto called the bourgeoisie the main cause for the proletariats to rise up in revolution. Federalism in Nepal similarly was imposed and can prove to be a fundamental cause for the Nepalese to rise, due to added burden on taxpayers, skyrocketing prices, unaffordable housing, and out of reach lifestyle. This change will be phenomenal for them to bring another overhaul in the entire Nepalese political system.
( Opinion wrote in Nepali by Dr. Dipesh KC translated by Birat Krishna Thapa for Nepali Reporter, the original can be found in our Nepali site)