Nepalis are celebrating yet another Vijaya Dashami. But there is a perceptible difference to this year’s festivities. This is the first Dashain after the Constituent Assembly election and formation of the country’s first republican government. A Madhesi president has taken over from former royals. An ex-guerrilla leader heads the government. More than anything else, there is a huge sense of relief that of all the things that could have gone wrong this past year, Nepalis were spared the worst. The optimists have been vindicated. So far so good.
Yet the challenges that await Nepalis are still daunting. Nearly half the country has been hit by monsoon floods. In many mountainous districts, people don’t have enough to eat. Uncertainties abound about drafting a new constitution. Small scale insurgencies still continue in parts of the
country. Divisive forces are still at play. And yet...Nepalis have so much to hope this Dashain. For the first time in the country’s long history, people are truly sovereign, the proud citizens of a country that beat what seemed insurmountable odds and brought the autocratic forces to their knees. This Dashain is a time to take stock of all that Nepalis have achieved in the past year and to keep their spirits up to face the future.