Indo Nepal Relation: Too Early to Judge!!
New Delhi played a vital perceptible role to bring back normalcy in the tiny Himalayan country Nepal, which was appreciated not only by many people but also by different countries including archrivals China and Pakistan. Not to mention of the Nepalese political parties or the people, they were so fed up with the violence and disorder in the country, they felt obliged for Delhi’s intervention for bringing the Maoists rebels and all other political key players to a conscientious exit for leaving weapons. The supreme commander of the Maoist revolt Chairman Prachanda in his Delhi sojourn did not refuse the important Delhi’s role.
However, Delhi has the fame or defame of brokering a 'Peace Pact' between the Nepali Congress, the Rana Rulers, and the King of Nepal in 1951. This tripartite compromise known as the ‘Delhi Treaty’ is still infamous in Nepali Politics. The leftist politicians, especially the Communists of Nepal, have become champions in denouncing the Delhi Treaty. They are of view that the treaty led New Delhi to intervene in every internal matter of Nepal. Their eyes always see Nepali Congress as mere stooges of Indian hegemony because Nepali Congress was one of the three political forces.
What do we make out of this time communist’s acceptance regarding Delhi’s role? Since 1951, a lot of water has flown in the Ganges and in Mechi - Mahakali. Traditionally anti-Indian vocalists in Nepal are the Communists and the Royalists. But ironically, after causing the death of so many thousands of innocent fellow citizens, the Communists are now in a transformed ideological concept from one party dictatorial rule to a competitive multi-party political system. As many communists in Nepal believe that Nepali Congress Party is a pro India there are many people who believe that the Maoists of Nepal have been under the sponsorship of Indian intelligence agency. For those people, Prachanda’s press note regarding ISI of Pakistan and his acceptance of a guest speaker in Hindustan Times program can be a further proof for their belief. They argue in politics nothing will be documented with the signatures.
There are many people who believe both arguments are political blaming game to win votes in Nepal. The communists have been always using the same blame to Nepali congress ever since 1951. The Maoists are yet to contest for an election. During election campaign there are possibilities all short of political blaming comes out from different contenders regarding the Maoist’s rhetoric of fighting against Indian expansionism and in practice actually praising India in facilitating them to reach in peaceful negotiations. Let’s wait till election. Everyone knows Nepali Congress Party lost majority in the house after Tanakpur issue.
However, it is true that Delhi hosted the leaders of the communist parties of Nepal, the Maoists and the UML, as well as their archrival, the Nepali Congress, the oldest and largest Democratic Party, which they label as pro Indian for deep consultation for finding out a formula for the poor and ignorant people of Nepal. They formulated 12 point understanding and the road map for peace and democracy. On the basis of the same road map, peace initiatives in Nepal have moved forward positively till today.
Is this the sign of realization from the Maoists importance of neighboring country in order to restore peace and normalcy and development? Can it be possible without India’s cooperation a government in Nepal will be stable and her economical progress can excel? What do then people make out of the Maoists rhetoric of fight with Indian expansionism?
However, people in Nepal want Indian cooperation at the same time do not want the government of Nepal to lose its independency while dealing with India. At the time of King Birendra, “The Citizenship Bill” passed by the Parliament was returned back for revision.
Now in the change context, once parliament passes the bill there will be no rethinking unless the government brings another bill for correction or change. The Citizen Bill has been approved by the parliament. The people of Nepal are polarized regarding the bill. It’s time to watch how the Maoists take this issue? Lightly or vigorously. They are the party waiting to ride “Government Train”.
In Nepal we find many Nepalese people skeptical of India’s cooperation. They just criticize India for each and every event in Nepal. Among those dubious people the number of communists leaders surpass others. There is no question that many political pundits in Nepal who are Indo phobic will bring out this citizen bill as the hegemonic role of India towards Nepal.
But it seems this bill can be positive as well as negative for Nepal. In the Terai area, there are many people who are left from getting citizenship of Nepal simply because of their ignorance and not having access to the authority. From the Human Rights point of view this move to incorporate all Nepalese people is welcome. But at the same time, there is a danger. The bill can be an instrument for shifting citizenship of many people for some political purpose. The question may arise can we just stop the legitimate rights of the people being phobic? However, there are many instances, each and every regime or political upheavals in Nepal have fetched vital concessions to India compromising Nepalese interest.
We Nepalese are proud of our independence for which we have sacrificed a lot. Never to surrender to unjust is the traditional bloodline of a Nepali person. Whoever he is in cast, class and creed every Nepali is an independent by nature and very honest ready to sacrifice every thing for a cause. Democracy, Human Rights and National Independence are the dearest entity of Nepalese people. However, constant vigilant for our existence is equally necessary.
We in Nepal know the longing for freedom, democracy, and human rights will never die in spite of great suppressions, phobia and conspiracies. Brutal regimes try hard to undermine democracy and freedom, in the name of nationalism and so forth but never endure in the end. In modern history, we can find many horrifying examples of genocide and crime against humanity.
However, the commonalities of these genocides are that people never bowed to the suppressive regimes. Their precious lives were sacrificed for freedom but they never surrendered to the terror and brutal cynical atrocities of their notorious dictators and the foreigners.
We know in Nepal before the word 'democracy' ever emerged, people stood boldly in front of tyrants for their freedom. Desiring freedom of movement and the right to choose one’s way of life is not under a particular government’s whim to give or deny, it is the right of all innocent humanity.
Almost all the ancient stories give account of the struggle of people for survival and freedom. In other words, the stories of the Prophets and Gurus are the shown pathways for greater freedom. Because of rebellious and modern thought of that particular period, many people lost their lives. People stood upright for their beliefs, willingly selecting death over the domination of tyrants. Their stories are examples of how people in ancient times paid the price for democracy too.
The price for democracy is so high that people of Nepal in this 21st century are still paying for it. It seems people must go on paying the price eternally. No matter where it is, democracy remains the costliest entity on earth.
Naturally, the struggle for freedom takes on different shapes and forms depending on people’s needs in different regions of our country. In Nepal, people are working hard restlessly for the re-establishment of representative government conducting Constitution Assembly for deciding their own faith. But at the same time people do have many concerns as per their daily needs and modalities. Women of Nepal are fighting for more rights in their daily business for instances property rights. They are equally concern about the number of their representatives in the government. Our ethnic minorities are in struggle for more rights for accessibility not only in the government but also in economic front. They are very active in preserving their cultural traditions.
It seems Nepal is facing problems with so many issues. But a vibrant democracy will always have issues. One finishes another comes up. As a new thought arises, people need more and more liberty to address it. What people have not thought today people tomorrow may think and fight for that? For instance, same sex marriage is unreal and unnatural demand in Nepal for now but in the USA it is the main streaming democratic issue in every election. As time passes the issues will be changing too. However, the need for help and cooperation in constant manner for more democratic rights will not diminish.
Therefore, it not surprising to see Americans and other nationals are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the past, did not French people lose lives for American freedom? Nepali, British, and Americans for India’s freedom? In fact, many Nepalese lost their lives not only for India’s freedom and security, but also for the security of many other peoples around the world. Should there be any boundary in promoting freedom, democracy, and human rights for anyone? Should not Indian cooperation in settling Nepal’s conflict into peace and democracy be welcome? Does this mean elimination of identity and freedom of Nepal? So, what can we say regarding Kathmandu’s unique relationship with New Delhi? In all political struggles of Nepal, has not India always played a perceptible hegemonic role communicating with all the forces including the insurgents? The leadership must have answers to all these questions.
It is too early to judge right at this juncture.
Bhupal Lamichhaney is former vice president of Human Rights Organization of Nepal (HURON) one of the oldest HR organizations in the country. He is associated with ‘Breath of Peace International’