Curfew has been imposed in many different parts of Nepal to suppress the demonstrations against the Royal regime of King Gyanendra. The mobile telephone network is brought down to disrupt communications but the normal people are defying curfew orders and coming out to protest. Hundreds have been arrested and 3 are known to have died from police/army bullets.
Flashback at democracy in Nepal:
In 1769 Prithivi Narayan Shah united the small principalities and created modern Nepal. I think he’s the only king in Shah dynasty who deserves real respect of Nepalese people.
Autocratic Ranas ruled Nepal for 104 years until 1951.
In 1951 Tribhuban was brought back from his exile (India) and installed as the King (sponsored by India and Nepalese political parties, specially Nepali Congress).
In 1959 first democratic elections were held and the powerful B.P Koirala of Nepali Congress became the first elected prime minister.
In 1960 King Mahendra (father of current King) led a coup, suspended the constitution, dissolved parliament, dismissed the cabinet, imprisoned B.P Koirala and his colleagues and imposed a direct autocratic rule.
In 1990 Peoples Movement forced then King Birendra (brother of current King) to accept the constitutional monarchy but the army was in Palace’s hand (I think this was the biggest mistake at that time)
From 1990 to 1996 The leaders of Nepali Congress, Nepali Communist Party Unified Marxist-Leninist and Rashtriya Prajatantra Party ruled Nepal. And yes they ruled like hell! Forgot how they came to power, forgot what the word democracy means. For normal Nepalese freedom came but with no real change in social and economic life. The ruling attitude was exactly the same as before, same corruption, same unaccountability, same irresponsibility and same inefficiency. Almost every leader’s main reason to get elected was to amass wealth ASAP, nobody cared about the country and the people.
1996 gave birth to Nepali Maoist Party and bloody rebellion which has killed more than 13000 Nepalese life till date, and not sure how many more life has to be lost. The main reason for their rise was the autocracy in Nepal starting from Rana Prime ministers to Shah Kings and latest so called democratic parties. All of them contributed equally by failing to understand the call of time and their duty to the nation and people. As for the Maoists, they have indiscriminately killed those opposing their views, tortured and raped innocent girls and women. And have forced students and children to join their army. I don’t sympathize with them at all but I think they have sparked a change in Nepalese attitude towards autocracy. If they get a chance I think they won’t hesitate to install them self as another dictatorial regime.
In 2001 Gyanendra (current king) inherited the throne after then prince Dipendra massacred his whole family (including then king Birendra) and some other relatives. Ordinary Nepalese had doubt about the massacre but at the same time hoped that this new king will do something for the country. Yes he did something in 2005! Exactly what his father had done in 1960. He led a coup, dissolved parliament, dismissed the cabinet, imprisoned political leaders and assumed executive powers. He told the move was for peace and democracy. Ordinary Nepalese fed up with politicians and Maoists hoped he’s the savior. He talks about democracy but does exactly the opposite. He’s filled with the same ambition his father and forefathers had. He wants to be an absolute monarch. I see no other reasons for him to be so stubborn, not talking to political parties and carrying out his roadmap which is taking the nation nowhere. We had one Maoist problem but he’s added himself to that and now we have two problems instead of a solution.
So, this was a brief history of democracy (may be I should say autocracy) in Nepal. Nepalese people have been victimized so many times in the history. I’m sure this time it’s different. We can see ordinary people defying threat by autocratic government to shoot, they’re coming out to protest, fighting for their freedom making a history that’ll be different. Hopefully old leaders have learned their lessons and new generation will lead this beautiful nation to 21 century with real democracy, peace and harmony.
Note: The protest picture is from BBC News Click for more