Political crisis Where does the solution lie?

Madhav Shrestha

Every sensible Nepali citizen viewed with alertness the series of visits made to New Delhi by the leaders and representatives of three known political parties of Nepal. Moreover, a number of governments of democratic countries have also tended to watch the simmering situation of Nepal through New Delhi’s eyes. This has made Nepali society surmise as if the key to solve any major problem facing Nepal rests with New Delhi. The pains of security threats and pangs of political instability have greatly weakened the strength and stamina of Nepali society. The people’s concern for peace and political stability remains unheeded. Endurance may dry up and fortitude may implode.

Nepal’s open borders in the east, west and in the long-running southern belt allow free flows of people from and to various parts of India. Naturally, many important problems seem linked with the southern borders be it the ongoing insurgency or refugee question.

India is a democratic country and the Indian multiparty system has matured with the steady development of the cohesive coalition governments in succession since the early nineties of the last century. India shows all the signs of emerging as an advanced democracy. It is also rapidly forging ahead in economic development and technological progress to become a world centre of attraction for business and commercial activities. India is now poised to reach the third place in the world economic ranking only after the US and China in a few years.

With her dexterous diplomatic overtures backed by political maturity and economic achievement, India has been mending its previously strained relations with Pakistan and China. But Nepal is too small an economy with the current conflict and political uncertainty, although its geographical location is of tremendous economic

and strategic importance to India. India’s diplomacy towards Nepal seems to be considerably guided by inter-state politics and security, apart from other natural factors. These two neighbours, albeit highly unequal in might and magnitude, need true amity and close cooperation much better than before, if mutual gains are to be made for both.

Social and cultural relationship between the two is firmly glued together ensuring that not even political and economic forces would be able to break these closely knit ties developed from time immemorial. India has, quite often, expressed her desire for Nepal to be a well-functioning democracy based on the multiparty system and constitutional monarchy. Enlightened and conscious citizenry of Nepal is never averse to democracy and democratic process. However, to the chagrin of all, this has not happened in the last one and a half decades exposing the utter lack of will and ability on the part of its practitioners.

To be of any service to the people, any true democratic system must be indigenously nurtured and steadily homegrown to make it comply with socio-political awareness. Political analysts agree that democratic polity grown on western socio-cultural ambience may take a much longer time than expected to get it firmly entrenched in the newly emerging society. Everyone accepts that there is no alternative to modern democratic system so assiduously evolved by human ingenuity. Certainly no other polity is consistent with human freedom and human aspirations.

The common people wonder where the key to the solution of the crisis in Nepal lies and who are forthcoming to free the Nepalis from their untold sufferings. Overbearing attitude and sanctioned measures will never contribute to the well-meaning principles and functions of democracy. It is indeed necessary to search for incentive-based approach that strengthens civil society, people-based political institutions and infrastructure, other relevant organisations, etc.

Any act to coerce, bully and browbeat with greater power may sometimes work as a deterrent to the opponents of democracy, but not well fitted to all times and climes. Experienced observers believe the genuine gestures to attract, persuade and influence through wisdom, example and attentiveness will undoubtedly serve the objectives of establishing a democratic society oriented towards freedom and human rights.

A small country with a weak economic structure and ineffectual governance is grappling with serious challenges within and a complexity of relationships outside. This critical situation demands clairvoyance from all responsible and legitimate political forces for any lasting solution. Exemplary statesmanship with steadfast dedication will be of immense help for peace to reign and democracy to thrive in Nepal.

Approaches and attitudes shorn of all myopic views and visions but born of selfless motivation for services are the greatest need of the hour to lift Nepali society out of the morass of the present crisis and deterioration.

Shrestha is an ex-foreign ministry official