विज्ञान रिपोर्टरहरुलाई केहि सुझाव


नेपालका पत्रिकामा काम गर्ने, विज्ञान सम्बन्धि लेख र समाचार लेख्ने पत्रकार साथीहरुलाई मित्रवत सुझाव स्वरुप यो लेख्दैछु। यस किसिमको नमागिएको सुझाव मैले पहिले पनि दिने गरेको छु, टुइट र यहि ब्लग मार्फत। मोन्सान्टोको सन्दर्भमा होस् वा “बाबुरामले धेरै कर उठाएकोले सबैभन्दा राम्रो अर्थमन्त्री” भनेको सन्दर्भमा होस्। एउटा उदाहरण यहाँ छ

विज्ञान मात्रै हैन, अर्थतन्त्र वा अन्य प्रविधि र विषयगत ज्ञान चाहिने फाँटका धेरै रिपोर्टहरुमा समस्या देखिराख्छु। म पनि यि विषयको विज्ञ हैन, तर केहि उपयोगी सुझाव तैपनि दिनसक्छु भन्ने लागेर यो लेख्दैछु। नेपाली पत्रकारीतामा विज्ञानको बारे सबैभन्दा बढि दख्खल र चासो राख्ने व्यक्ति शायद कुन्द दिक्षित हुनुहुन्छ। वहाँसँग यस बारे थप सुझावको अपेक्षा गरिन्छ। कुन्द दिक्षित यस विषयमा नेपाल मात्रै होइन, दक्षिण एसियाकै अग्रणी र विश्वकै कम पत्रकारहरुमध्ये पर्नुहुन्छ। नेपाली पत्रकार र सम्पादकहरुलाई उडाउनेहरुले अरुको दक्षता र विज्ञताको सम्मान गर्नु पनि जरुरी छ।

  • आविष्कार, खोज, अन्वेषण, प्रयोग आदि फरक फरक कुराहरु हुन्। कसैले हेलिकप्टर बनायो भने त्यो अाविष्कार हुँदैन। हेलिकप्टरलाई चाहिने प्रविधि निकै पहिले विकास भैसकेको छ। फेरी हेलिकप्टर बनाउनु “उत्पादन” गर्नु हो, जुन बढि औद्योगीक काम हो, वैज्ञानिक हैन। त्यसो गर्ने मानिसहरुको पक्कै सम्मान गर्नुस्, तर उचित रुपमा। त्यस किसिमको उत्पादन गर्दा उनिहरुले केहि सानो नयाँ कुरा सिकेका हुनसक्छन्, कुनै घरेलु प्रविधी प्रयोग गरेका हुनसक्छन्, इन्धन जोगाउने तरीका अपनाएका हुनसक्छन्, वा पहिले प्रयोग नभएका सामग्री प्रयोग गरेका हुनसक्छन्। बुझ्नुहोस्, र तीबारे लेख्नुहोस्। केहि नभएपनि कुनै प्रविधीको नक्कल गर्दा पनि धेरै कुरा सिकिएको हुन्छ, त्यसको निम्ति चाहिने ज्ञान आर्जन गरिएको हुन्छ ,त्यसलाई सोहि रुपमा लेख्नुहोस्, तर हेलिकप्टर पहिलोपटक बनेजस्तो समाचार नबनाउनुहोस्।
  • आइन्स्टाइनको फर्मूला गलत सावित भएको लेख्दा होसियार हुनुहोस्। यस किसिमका समाचार धेरै पढ्न पाइन्छ। आइन्स्टाइनका काम गलत सावित हुनैनसक्ने पक्कै होइनन्। तर कसैले भन्दैमा त्यो गलत हुने हैन। कोहि प्रोफेसरलाई सोध्नुहोस्, वा अरु कुनै विज्ञलाई सोध्नुहोस्। कहिलेकाहिँ सावित हुनुभन्दा पहिले प्रश्न मात्रै सोधिन्छ। प्रश्नबारे खोज गरेपछि मात्र त्यो सहि वा गलत भन्ने थाहा हुन्छ। दावी गरिरहेको मानिसको प्रश्न राम्रो हुनसक्छ, तर त्यसको अर्थ उसले आइन्स्टाइनलाई गलत प्रमाणित गरिसक्यो भन्न मिल्दैन। धेरै मेहेनतपछि बाकिँ वैज्ञानिक समुदायले स्वीकार गरेपछि मात्रै त्यस्तो दावी गर्न मिल्छ।
  • अनुसन्धान एक्लै गरिँदैन। “नेपालीले क्यान्सरको औषधी पत्ता लगाए” लेख्न पक्कै मजा आउँछ। भारतीय मिडियाको यस्तै समाचारको प्रभावले हामीलाई पनि काउकुती लगाउँदो हो। तर प्राय विज्ञान एक्लै हुँदैन भन्छन्। नेपाली सामेल टोलीमा कतिजना थिए। उसको भुमिका के थियो। यस्ता प्रश्न सोध्नुहोस्। तपाईँलाई समाचार दिने व्यक्तिले बढाईँचढाईँ गरेको हुनसक्छ। सिधै वैज्ञानिकलाई लेखेर “तपाईँले यो क्यान्सरको औषधी पत्ता लगाउने कामको फलानो फलानो कामको नेतृत्व गर्नुभएको हो?” भनेर सोध्नुहोस्। प्राय वैज्ञानिकले आफुले नगरेको काम वा त्यसरी दावी गर्न नसकिने कामलाई हो भनेर भन्दैन रे। उसले “हैन, त्यसो भन्न अलि मिल्दैन, यसो भन्नुस्” भनेर जवाफ देला। समाचारको श्रोतको मात्रै भर नपरेर माथि भनेजस्तै कोहि विज्ञलाई पनि सोध्नुहोस्। उनको पनि राय समाचारमा राख्नुहोस्।
  • धेरै नेपाली वैज्ञानिकहरु छन्। आजकल नेपाली वैज्ञानिकको पहिलेजस्तो कमी छैन। विश्वभरका नामी अनुसन्धान शालाहरुमा नेपालीहरुले विश्वकै कठीन वैज्ञानिक प्रश्नहरुको हल खोजिरहेका छन्। विद्यावारीधि गर्ने नेपालीको पनि कमी छैन। त्यसकारण कसैले विद्यावारीधि गरेको विषयलाई नै दुनिँया बदल्ने आविष्कार जस्तो गरी समाचार लेख्नु अघि विचार पुर्याउनुहोस्। कसैको विद्यार्थी कालको काम त्यति चमत्कारिक हुने संभावना निकै कम हुन्छ। केहि वर्षमा नेपाली मूलका एकजना अर्थशास्त्रीले नोबेल पुरस्कार नै पाउने संभावना रहेको छ। त्यसकारण सबै वैज्ञानिक कामहरुलाई नोबेल पुरस्कार नै जितेजस्तो गरी प्रस्तुत गर्नुअघि सोच्नुहोस्। अरुसँग बुझ्नुहोस्। अनि बल्ल लेख्नुहोस।
  • अरु धेरै स-साना तथ्याङ्क, शब्द-चयन आदिमा ख्याल गर्नुपर्ने कुरा होलान्, तर माथि भनेजस्तै म विषय विज्ञ नभएकोले अरुले त्यस्ता कुरा कमेण्टमा लेख्लान् भन्ने आशा गरौँ। तर माथिका केहि कुरा ख्याल गरे धेरै गल्तिहरु आफैँ कम हुनेछन् भन्ने लाग्छ। तपाईँको कामको निम्ति धन्यवाद र शुभकामना।

सभामुखको निर्णय र लोकतन्त्रको आगामी बाटो


बिशेष सम्पादकीय

– नेपाली कवि (Nepali Poet)

बारम्बार सोधिने दुई प्रश्नको उत्तर दिनु जरुरी छ । पहिलो: के पेलेरै संबिधान बनाउनु ठिक हो की, सहमतीमा बनाउ भन्ने गलत हुन्? अर्को: समाबेशी र गणतन्त्रात्मक संबिधान चाहिएको की केवल एक थान?

बिगत चार बर्ष भन्दा पनि बढी समय देखि संबिधान बनाउने नाममा रुमल्लिरहेको संविधानसभाले अब आफुलाई सुम्पेको कामलाई अघि बढाउन गति लिदै गरेको देखिन्छ । हिजोको सभामुख सुवास नेम्वाङ्गको साहसी निर्णयले अब संबिधान बनाउने प्रयास सही दिशा तरफ जाने नै छ. यसका लागि सुवास नेम्वाङ्ग धन्यबादका पात्र हुन् जसले लोकतान्त्रिक बिधीलाई “कनटीन्युटी” दिने साहस देखाएका छन् ।

सुवास नेम्वाङ्गलाइ थाहा नभएको थिएन- उनको यो कदमबाट अजासु पत्रकार र आफुलाई स्वतन्त्र भन्न रुचाउने उपग्रहरुलाइ थप मसाला मिल्नेछ – नेम्बाङ्ग लाइ एमालेको कार्यकर्ता बनेको आरोप लाग्नेछ । तर नेम्बांगले आफ्नो व्यक्तिगत फाइदा हुने, र आफ्नो “इमेज” लाई उपग्रहहरुको “स्ट्याण्डर्ड” अनुसार “क्लिन” राख्नु भन्दा देश र जनताले सुम्पेको ऐतीहासिक अभिभारालाई पुरा गर्ने तर्फ कदम चलेका छन् । यसले जनतामा संबिधान नबन्ने पो हो की भन्ने आसंका का बिचमा संविधान बन्न सभाले बामे सर्न सुरु गरेको आभास दिनेछ ।

यो कुरा हामीले बुझ्नु जरुरि छ की संबिधान बन्ने यो प्रक्रिया सबैभन्दा उत्तम ता होइन, तर बिल्कुलै आवस्यक हो. सबैभन्दा राम्रो र गतिलो संबिधान त सहमती मै लेखिने हो । तर प्रमुख पार्टिहरु बीच सहमती नहुदा अपनाइनुपर्ने अर्को लोकतान्त्रिक उत्तम बाटो प्रक्रियाद्वारा संबिधान बनाउनु नै हो । सबै पक्षले यो बुझ्नु जरुरी थियो र छ कि २००७ साल बाट नेपाली कांग्रेस पार्टीले उठाएको “संबिधान सभा” मार्फत संबिधान लेख्ने माग र पछि गएर माओबादीद्वारा स्थापित गरेको एजेन्डाका लागि धेरै जनताले आफुलाई समय समय मा आन्दोलन मा उतारेका हुन् । र अब पनि संबिधान बन्न नसकेको खण्डमा जनताको लोकतन्त्र प्रतिको बिश्वास नै धमिलो हुने सम्भावना प्रसस्त थियो । यो घडिमा सभामुख नेम्बांगको कदमले लोकतन्त्र नै उत्तम ब्यबस्था र लोकतान्त्रिक बिधी बाटै जनताको चाहना बमोजिमको साशन ब्यबस्था स्थापित गराउन सकिन्छ भन्ने संदेश गएको छ । तसर्थ सभामुखको कदम अहिलेको परस्थितिमा “डक्ट्रिन अफ निसेसिटी”बाट अघि बढेको देखिन्छ ।

यो पनि स्पस्ट गरिनु जरुरी छ की सभामुखको कदम एकदमै विषम परिस्थितिमा बिपक्षिहरुको असहयोगको कारणले गर्दा उब्जिएको हो । जनताले बिर्सिएका छैनन् सबै पार्टीहरु संबिधान बनाउन दुइ तिहाइ माग्दै संबिधान सभा – २ को चुनाब मा होमिएका थिए । उनीहरुको जनतासामू माग प्रस्ट थियो की संबिधान सभा -१ मा दुइ तिहाइ नहुदा संबिधान बन्न सकेन र दुइ तिहाइ पुगेमा बहुमतिय प्रक्रिया का आधारमा संबिधान बनाइनेछ । संबिधान सभा – २ को चुनाब लगत्तै पार्टीहरु द्वारा जनतासामु गरिएका बाचाहरुमा पनि यो कुरो प्रस्ट थियो की सकेसम्म सहमतीबाटै र सहमती असम्भब भएमा प्रक्रियाद्वारा बहुमतीय/दुइ तिहाइ प्रक्रियाबाट समयमा नै संबिधानको निर्माण गरिनेछ । यस्ता बाचाका बाबजुद बिपक्षीहरुद्वारा सदनमा तोडफोड हुनु, सदनलाई चल्न नदिनु, सभासद चिनकाजी श्रेष्ठलाई प्रक्रियामा जाने प्रस्ताब पेश गर्न नदिएकोले नै सभामुखले हिजोको कदम उठाउनुपरेको हो । यसमा यदि कोइ जिम्मेवार छन् भने मुलत बिपक्षी पार्टीहरु नै जिम्मेवार छन् जो जनताको अभिमत लाइ चट्टक्कै बिर्सिएर नया सीराबाट आफ्नो “मनपसंद” संबिधान लेख्ने मुडमा छन् । लोकतन्त्रमा बाहुबली भएकै आधारमा जनताको जानदेश लत्याउन मिल्दैन भन्ने संदेश माओबादी लगाएतका पार्टीहरुले ढिलो चाडो बुझ्नै पर्दछ ।

हामीले यो पनि बुझ्नु जरुरी छ की प्रक्रियामा जाने निर्णयले सहमती र बार्ताका ढोकाहरु सदाका लागि बन्द गरिनु हुदैन । संबिधान जस्तो ऐतिहासिक र राजनीतिक दस्तावेज – सकेसम्म सहमतीकै आधारमा लेख्नुपर्छ । सकेसम्म सबै बुदा र दफामा र यो सम्भब नभएमा धेरै भन्दा धेरै दफा र बुदा सहमतीकै आधारमा लेख्नु राम्रो हुनेछ । यो कुरा सत्तापक्षले राम्रोसग बुझ्नुपर्छ र बार्ता र सहमतीको ढोका सदैब खुल्ला हुनुपर्दछ । नेकपा माओबादी र अन्य दलहरुले पनि सहमति भै सकेका र हुन सक्ने बिसयमा नया बखेडा झिक्नु सही हुनसक्दैन । तसर्थ माओबादी र अन्य मोर्चाको बार्ता नै नगर्ने हठले नेपाल र नेपाली जनतालाई कनै फाइदा गर्ने छैन । यदी यस प्रकारको असहमती र संक्रमणकाल बढ्ने हो भने बिदेशी शक्तीहरुले फेरी खेल्ने मौका पाउनेछन ।

अहिलेको समयको माग भनेको देशको राजनीतीबाट आजित भएका जनतालाई सबै वर्ग, क्षेत्र, जात, बर्ण र लिङ्गको अधिकार सुनिचित गर्ने राजनीतिक दस्तावेज – संबिधान – समयमा नै निर्माण गर्नु हो । यस दायित्वलाइ प्रजातन्त्र, लोकतन्त्र र जनतन्त्र मा बिस्वास गर्ने कुनै पनि पार्टिले पन्छाउन मिल्ने कुरै होइन । जनताले दिएको अभिमतलाई सम्मान गर्दै प्राजातान्त्रिक पद्धतिद्वारा संबिधान निमार्णले नै आजसम्म प्राप्त सबै खाले सफलतालाई सस्थागत गर्न सक्छ । प्रक्रियाबाट बटारिएर जोरी खोज्नेहरुलाई भने अर्को चुनाबमा जनताले हिसाब बुझाउने नै छन्. यस कुराको हेक्का राख्दा नै राम्रो हुनेछ ।

यो बिशेष सम्पादकीय टुङ्ग्याउनु अघि भन्नैपर्ने अझै दुइटा कुरा के हो भने सामजिक संजालमा जानी नजानी उपग्रहको स्वरुप लिन खोज्नेहरुबाट बारम्बार सोधिने दुइ प्रश्नको उत्तर अविचलित भएर भन्नु जरुरि छ । पहिलो प्रश्न हुन्छ: के पेलेरै संबिधान बनाउनु ठिक हो की, सहमतीमा बनाउ भन्ने गलत हुन्? फर्स्ट थिङ्ग फर्स्ट: पेलेर संबिधान? असम्भब, बिल्कुल गलत । तर लोकतान्त्रिक प्रक्रिया द्वारा संबिधान बनाउनुलाई पेलेर संबिधान बनाउनु भनेर बुझ्ने राजनीतिक चेत अझै धेरै गलत । अनी सहमतीको नाममा हलो अड्क्यायेर संबिधान सभा लाइ “निकम्माहरुको क्लब” बनाउने प्रयास झन् धेरै गलत । राजनीतिक सचेतता भएकाहरुलाई त यो कुरा बुझ्न गाह्रो नहुनु पर्ने हो ।

अर्को बारम्बार सोधिने प्रश्न यो हुन्छ: समाबेशी र गणतन्त्रात्मक संबिधान चाहिएको की केवल एक थान? अहिलेलाई उनीहरुको उत्तर प्रतिप्रश्नले दिदा नै ठिक होला: केवल एकथान संबिधान चाहिएको हो भने त २०४७ को छदै थियो नी, हैन र? गिरिजाबाबुको नेतृत्वमा २०६२-६३ मा गरिएको शान्तिपूर्ण आन्दोलन र त्यसपछिको मधेश आन्दोलन केवल एकथान संबिधानका लागी मात्रै गरिएको थिएन । र यो कुरो अहिलेको संबिधान सभामा प्रतिनिधित्व गर्ने पार्टीहरुले बुझेका पक्कै छन । तब न  उनीहरु दोस्रो संविधानसभालाई असफल हुन् नदिन लोकतान्त्रिक बिधी अपनाउदैछन ।

Ushaft explains: Nepal’s Political Crisis (2015)


We don’t believe that the controversy is about federalism or providing more rights to the people. We’d be happy if it were so.

Here is an important distinction for people who view Nepal from eyes trained elsewhere, where it’s easy to draw lines in country as a “Muslim North” and “Christian South”.

Vandalism inside CA by Maoist lawmakers (picture:dainiknepal.com)

Vandalism inside CA by Maoist lawmakers (picture:dainiknepal.com)

During the elections last year, we published updates that aimed to reach people who are ill-informed about Nepal’s situation because of relying too much on the English language commentary coming out of Nepal and from Nepal’s English-language experts. A similar situation has ensued from the controversies surrounding Nepal’s constitution writing efforts. Like last time, here are the updates you need to save yourself from embarrassment that will result from relying on the aforementioned sources. These are not just our views, but a distillation of news, and different opinions in Nepal right now.

Seven questions to understand Nepal’s latest crisis with Constituent Assembly

1. What is the Constituent Assembly (CA)?
The second Constituent Assembly (CA II) was elected through popular mandate last year. The first one (CA I) failed at its job after its 4-year tenure ran out. The first CA was elected following popular street protests of 2006 that forced the King out of power. It also paved way for the warring Maoist rebels to join mainstream politics. They had been waging a bloody war against the state and their main demand was a CA election. The Maoists and political parties from the parliament jointly started street protests after the King had dissolved parliament and taken power a few years earlier. The parliament was a result of street protests further back in time- 1990, which ended almost 30 years of King’s direct-rule that banned political parties and several democratic rights.

2. What is the position of Maoist party today?
We have written previously about CA I elections, which under dubious circumstances enabled the Maoists to emerge as the single largest party. They were in power for most of the time after the CA I elections. Because of several misadventures while in power, and the failure to lead the constitution writing process, they were reduced to the 3rd largest party in the CA II elections. Not only did they try to attack religious institutions, influence the army, foment inter-cultural discord, muzzle state funds in the name of peace process, backtrack democratic rights, they also tried to introduce provisions in the constitution that would help their long-stated goal of state-capture through the use of violence and force. Disrespect for basic rights like freedom of expression was in display, judicial process against grave war crimes were haughtily challenged and senior Maoist leaders always carried an expression that seemed to say “I can do anything to you- don’t dare challenge me.” The video footage of Baburam Bhattarai while he was announcing elections can be seen today to understand what we mean here. Some of their demands were: the creation of federal provinces on the basis of what is called the “single-ethnic identity” (more on that later), a legal preference to people of certain ethnicities over others inside such provinces, a directly elected president, a ban on parties that disagreed the above views, limit on property rights, a judiciary under the control of parliament, and so on. While declaring elections, the ruling coalition categorically said that “we could not include these provisions in the constitution because we didn’t have a two-thirds majority in the current assembly- please vote us this time so we get the required number in the next assembly.”

3. Who are the Madheshi Morcha (coalition)?
The political partners of Maoists partners were/are the regional parties from Southern plains of the east and central Nepal (their presence in Western plains is minimal)- called Madheshi Morcha (MM). This Morcha (coalition) emerged from the Madhesh uprising immediately after the peace process began. The uprising began as a violent opposition against the Maoists, but soon took the form of a political alliance demanding greater political autonomy for the Madheshi people (which is not a homogenous group of single peoples, but a very diverse group- ranging from Nepal’s most privileged group to the poorest- more on that later- living in Southern Nepal, who are ethnically and culturally different from the people of the hills and mountains). The demand of that uprising was a “single Madhesh province” in the South, stretching from the east to the west of the country. The prime minister of the time, Girija Koirala remarked that India was behind the uprising, suggesting that India wanted to check the growing influence of Maoists in Madhesh by cobbling together a political force there. While it could have been partially true, the grievances of Madheshi people against an exclusive state-apparatus that had been in Kathmandu for many years was also real. Many prominent Madheshi leaders from Koirala’s and other big parties defected to join the Madheshi coalition. Amidst a lot of opposition and pressed by the security situation in the South as well as the urgency to hold elections for CA I, the government agreed with the coalition to “federal states including Madhesh province.” The government has made such agreements with several other groups who were rioting and demanding provinces of their own. The situation was very volatile, as the Maoists had just joined mainstream politics, the monarchy was under suspension and the state’s capacity was in an all-time-low situation.

4. What are the points of contention in constitution writing?
As discussed above, the Maoist-Madheshi coalition is not in power after CA II. They performed dismally in the elections. The coalition of two centrist-leftist parliamentary-democratic parties NC and UML is in power now. Both coalitions have the support of several other smaller parties. The ruling coalition of NC-UML has a two-thirds majority in the CA II. These two parties have won more seats than any other parties (or all of them combined) in the Madhesh belt too. They went to the election rejecting the “single-ethnic identity based provinces” and other points advocated by the Maoist-Madheshi coalition. They won people’s support. Right now, the bone of contention is said to be the very subject of carving out provinces for the federal-government model. The opposition coalition wants a single province in the southern plains, or two, as a compromise. The ruling coalition says that is not acceptable. It is important to understand that neither side has clearly published their stances and federal model to the public. All remains murky. From the interviews of leaders published online or in print, the ruling coalition’s proposal seems to address the demands for linguistic rights and proportional representation for different ethnic groups. But they seem reluctant to name the provinces on ethnic grounds, and want them to be named based on geography, rivers, mountains or cultural heritages. The points where the opposition disagrees over these proposals are not clear apart from their demand of naming the provinces after some large ethnic groups. They talk about “identity”, “redress for the oppressed groups” and “progressive constitution”- but we haven’t found any concrete points as to what they constitute in the new constitution. The only clearly articulated point of disagreement seems to be the nature of province in the plains, but it is unlikely that such a big rift could have grown out of this. Some people suggest a hidden power-sharing agreement to be behind the conflict (more on this later).

5. Why such a problem with a province in the plains?
There are different viewpoints to this, and it is difficult to provide a single, coherent justification that is agreeable to all, but let’s try. The southern plains of Nepal stretch for almost 800 kilometers from east to west, along the Indo-Nepal border. It is home to almost half of the country’s population, and almost all ethnic groups. The southern plains, called Terai or Madhesh is home to not just the Madheshi people (who constitute about 20-30% of Nepal’s population, and less than 50% of the plains), but also to hill people, and usually there are many areas with mixed settlements. This is an important distinction for people who view Nepal from eyes trained elsewhere, where it’s easy to draw lines in country as a “Muslim North” and “Christian South”. Such situation is absent in Nepal, not just in the plains, but also in the hills. And apart from small pockets of areas where one group dominates, almost all of Nepal’s territory has competing historical claims by multiple groups of people.

Nepal has more than 100 ethnic groups (cultural groups) with as many languages, cultures and traditions. Many of these groups have suffered discrimination because of the South-Asian caste-system, a feudal state structure that emerged in Nepalese hills as a response to European-Islamic expansion in the subcontinent, a nationalist fervor that is typical to small countries sandwiched between big, aggressive powers and a state struggling to consolidate, which is typical to ungovernable mountain terrains with their proud people. But to say that the Maoist-Madheshi coalition are the representative of this section of population is a gross generalization. The ruling NC-UML coalition has been voted in huge numbers by the same people and in areas contested as theirs by the opposition coalition. This is indication of people’s disagreement to the federal and constitutional model presented by the opposition coalition. They were often criticized for being too violent, divisory, extreme, and racist. People of Nepal, having lived in harmony, disliked such an agenda, and preferred a more conciliatory approach.

Then, there’s the question of geopolitics. It is believed that China dislikes the idea of a province running along India’s borders. India, as mentioned above, has been seen as a supporter of such a claim.

6. What’s the solution to the current impasse?
Again, it is hard to provide an unbiased opinion here. Let’s first review the current situation. The interim constitution that is in effect today mandates that the constitution can be drafted through a “consensus”, failing which, a two-thirds majority can approve it. The task of finding such a consensus and preparing questions on which the assembly would vote was given to the Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai. He’d lead a parliamentary committee to discuss and decide on these matters. Most of the time he spent in this position has been bizzare, to say the least. He invited a separatist campaigner (from the Southern plains) for discussion on the issues of federalism, but never entertained voices that have opposed federalism (in favor for more decentralization of state powers). In a bid to garner more media-attention, he was busy issuing pictures and tweets of who he was meeting and where he was traveling as the deadline of his committee kept expiring. He was even debating starting a “new-force”- in order to bargain for more powers inside his own party and to split it, if he didn’t get them. Essentially, after several extentions, his committee failed miserably at finding consensus and also preparing the list of questions for the assembly to discuss and vote. The opposition coalition is demanding that consensus still be sought. People are starting to get fed up after years of the process, and want a constitution written early. The assembly’s own deadline of January 22nd has expired. The opposition parties took to violent street protests, vandalism inside the assembly and threats of more violence if their demand of “consensus” was not met. The ruling parties want to move ahead with the process of preparing questions for discussion and engaging the CA as efforts to forge a consensus continues.

7. Could there be hidden reasons for the current crisis, apart from what meets the eyes?
It has been said that Maoist chairman Prachanda and second-in-command Bhattarai have been trying to bargain important positions in the post-constitution power-sharing agreement. They want immunity from war crimes as a condition to forge a consensus. Leaders from the ruling coalition, including KP Oli, Prime Minister Koirala, and others have also been said to eye important positions. It is hard to confirm any of this, however.

But looking at how parties almost reached consensus several times before the January 22nd deadline, and mysteriously “failed” to maintain it, this looks plausible. If federalism was the only point of disagreement, such a consensus would have been impossible. A similar situation was seen prior to the dissolution of CA I when an agreement was violated by the ruling coalition of that time.

It is also essential to remember that although the opposition coalition has been called the voice of the oppressed and marginalized people of Nepal, their own behavior, principles and attitudes seem to be miles apart from such ideals. The Maoist party’s political principle is a centralized party apparatus to dictate over the diverse group of people. Their own lifestyles, past record of doing anything to justify their power goals, and political dishonesty paints a picture that is in contrast to the one potrayed by their supporters in media and intellectual circles. Similarly, the leaders of Madhesi coalition belong to the upper-caste landlords and feudals of Madhesh. According to statistics published by the UN and Nepal’s universities, these groups are the most advanced ethnic group in Nepal in terms of social-economic and educational status. On the other hand, the poor people of Madhesh, including Dalits, are Nepal’s poorest. During a BBC interview, a Madheshi leader Rajendra Mahato used abusive words against the physically challenged people, raising questions about his displayed principle of equality and fair treatment. Madheshi leaders have often warned of “pulling off the tongues” of people who disagreed with their views.

We don’t believe that the controversy is about federalism or providing more rights to the people. We’d be happy if it were so.

नागरिक अधिकारको पक्षमा कि दमनकारी सत्ता संरचनाको पक्षमा ? [Guest Post]


हामीलाई यो लेख इमेलबाट प्राप्त भएको हो। पाहुना ब्लगको रुपमा यहाँ प्रकाशित गर्दै छौँ।
—————————————————————-

नेपालमा कसैको पक्ष लिन भन्दा विपक्ष लिन सजिलो र सुरक्षित छ। मेरो अनुभवमा सामाजिक सञ्जालमा रचनात्मक बहस गर्नभन्दा कसैलाई सत्तोसराप गाली गरे धेरै चर्चा र समर्थन पाइन्छ। यसो गर्न धेरै जानकारी वा प्रमाण पनि चाहिन्न– शंकामात्र पर्याप्त हुन्छ। सामाजिक सञ्जालका अधिकांश गाली गलौज राजनीतिक प्रतिशोधमा पनि आधारित छन्।

यो लेख सर्वसाधारण नागरिकको तर्फबाट लेख्दैछु। ट्विटरमा यसवापत मलाई आरोप लगाउनेहरुको कमी नभएको हैन। तर, त्यस्ता फाल्तु र अनर्गल आरोपको पर्वाह गर्ने भए म यो सब गरिरहेको नै हुने थिइन। यसो गर्नुको पछाडि मसँग निश्चित कारणहरु छन्।

म हरेक दिन ट्विटर र फेसबुकमा रवीन्द्र मिश्र र कनकमणि दीक्षितहरूलाई मान्छेले अनेक अमर्यादित गाली गरेको देख्छु। खगेन्द्र सङ्ग्रौला, सीके लाल, हरि रोका, प्रशान्त झा, नरेन्द्रजङ् पिटर, बाबुराम भट्टराई र यस्तै अरूले यी दुईका विरोधमा व्यक्तिगत गालीगलौज सार्वजनिक रूपमा गरिरहेका हुन्छन्। उनीहरुमाथि व्यक्तिगत आक्रमण गर्दै समाचार माध्यम र चर्चित ब्लगहरूले समेत लामालामा लेख लेख्छन्। प्रतिशोधात्मक गालीगलौजको स्तर यति निम्न छ कि यसको उद्दरणसमेत अशोभनीय सुनिन्छ।

आफूविरुद्ध लक्षित निम्नस्तरका गालीगलौजका बाबजुद कसैले राम्रो प्रश्न सोधे र छलफल गर्न खोजे यी दुई र यीजस्ता अरुले जवाफ फर्काइरहेको देख्छु। बरु माथि उल्लेख गरेका विरोध गर्ने लेखकहरु सामाजिक सङ्जालमा सकेसम्म देखा पर्दैनन्। आफ्नो धारणा राख्छन् तर अन्तर्क्रिया गर्न चाहाँदैनन्। यिनिहरूका कुरा दोश्रो र तेश्रो चरणबाट प्रशोधन गरेर एकोहोरो विरोध गर्ने दोस्रो दर्जाका हुल्लडबाजसमेत कुनै छलफल र बहस गर्न तयार हुँदैनन्। तयार भए पनि सोहि व्यक्तिगत गालीगलौज र आधारहीन आरोपहरु भन्दा माथि उठ्न सक्दैनन्।

यसो भए तापनि जवाफमा मिश्र वा दीक्षितहरूले सन्तुलन गुमाएको देखेको छैन। मलाई विश्वास छ मिश्र वा दीक्षितहरुलाई आफ्नो विरुद्धमा आलोचनात्मक अभियान चलाउनेहरूका बारे प्रशस्तै यस्ता गोप्य कुरा थाहा छ जुन प्रकाशमा ल्याउँदा चर्चा बटुल्न सकिन्छ। तर यि र ती बारेको फरक नै यहि हो, र हामीले बुझ्नुपर्ने कुरा पनि।

रवीन्द्र मिश्र, कनकमणि दीक्षित र यस्तै अरु मानिसमा कमीकमजोरी होलान् तर उनिहरूले देखाएको शालिनता हाम्रो सुसंस्कृत भविष्यको परिचायक हो। यिनिहरु आलोचना सहन सक्छन्। मर्यादित बहस र तर्क गर्छन्। आ-आफ्नो भएको दक्षता र विवेक प्रयोग गरेर समाजको उत्थानको लागि लागिपरेका छन्। नागरिक अधिकारको निम्ति सके संगठित भएर, नसके एक्लै-एक्लै दमनकारीहरुसँग लडिरहेका छन्। भविष्यले हाम्रो समयका सबैभन्दा प्रेरणादायक व्यक्तिहरु को हुन् भनेर सोध्यो भने यि दुई मानिसहरुको नाम नआए पनि यिनीहरू जस्तै मानिसको नाम आउनुपर्छ। किनकी हामी समुन्नत समाज बन्ने हो भने हामीले अबलम्बन गर्नुपर्ने चरित्र यस्तै हो।

नागरिकहरुलाई जनदुश्मन र अन्य आरोप लगाएर भौतिक र सार्वजनिक आक्रमण गर्ने क्रम जारी छ। यसको विरोध गर्नुपर्छ

नागरिकहरुलाई जनदुश्मन र अन्य आरोप लगाएर भौतिक र सार्वजनिक आक्रमण गर्ने क्रम जारी छ। यसको विरोध गर्नुपर्छ

प्रष्ट पार्न चाहन्छु कि यिनीहरुबाट खराब काम हुनै सक्दैन वा भएकै नहोला भन्न खोजेको हैन। यिनले खराब वा गैह्रकानुनी काम गरेको भेटिए यिनलाई कानुन अनुसार कारवाही होस्। तर संभावनाहरुको आधारमा कसैलाई गाली नै गर्नुपर्ने वा सही चिजको समर्थन गर्न नहुने भन्ने होइन। मेरो यिनिहरूमाथिको समर्थन तबसम्म कायम रहन्छ जबसम्म सार्वजनिक जीवनमा यिनीहरु अहिलेजस्तै दागमुक्त भएर रहन्छन्। त्यसो नरहेको दिन तपाईँसँगै म पनि आलोचनामा उत्रौँला।

अर्को कुरा, यिनको बिरुद्ध देशको सबैभन्दा शक्तिशाली र धनी पार्टी र तिनले सञ्चालन गरेका संस्था, लेखक, सम्पादकहरु खुलेरै उत्रँदा पनि मैले कुनै भरपर्दो आरोप भेटेको छैन। अहिले त विपक्षी दल सँगै सत्ताधारी दल, विदेशीका एजेन्सी, तिनका बिचौलिया पनि पछि परेका छन्। यति मेहेनत गरेको विपक्षीले यिनको बारेमा के-के सम्म छानविन गरेन होला अहिलेसम्म? के निहुँ भेट्टाउँला र उछितो काँडौला भनेर बसेकाहरूले केहि गल्ति भेट्टाएको भए बाकिँ राख्थे होला अहिलेसम्म?

एकछिनलाई यि व्यक्तिको ठाउँमा आफुलाई राखौँ, आफ्ना नातेदार वा सन्तानलाई राखौँ। के नेपालमा कसैले स्वतन्त्र प्राज्ञिक काम गर्नै नपाउने हो? कसैले राज्यका दमन र गलत कदमहरु विरुद्ध आवाज उठाउनै नपाउने हो? त्यसो भए भविष्यका सन्ततीहरुको निम्ति कस्तो नेपाल बनाउँदै छौँ हामी? नेपालमा भएका अध्ययन-अनुसन्धान संस्थाहरु राजनीतिक हस्तक्षेपले भुत्ते भइसके। राज्यश्रोतमा पार्टीवालाहरुको मात्र हक लाग्नेजस्तो स्थिति छ। उद्योग धन्दा र स्वतन्त्र तवरले व्यापार-व्यसाय गर्न पाउने वातावरण छैन। यस्तो स्थिति भएको राज्य र तिनका पार्टीहरुको दास बन्नु बाहेक सुरक्षा र समर्थन पाउने अरु के तरीका छ? यिनलाई मन नपर्ने जे काम गरेपनि चौतर्फी आक्रमणको शिकार बन्नुपर्ने यो देशमा कोहि स्वतन्त्र काम गर्न सक्ने क्षमता भएको मान्छे किन बस्ने?

प्रतिष्ठित भनिएका सञ्चारमाध्यमका त कुरै छोडौँ ब्लगका नाममा समाचार र लेख प्रकाशित गरेर संसारभरका नेपालीसँग डलर र रियाल खातामा पठाउन रोइकराइगर्दै अनुरोध गर्ने माइसन्सारले समेत बौद्धिक ढंगको प्रतिष्ठित पत्रिकाका सञ्चालक र प्रकाशकविरुद्धमा दुईपैसे टिप्पणीका साथ गालीगलौजको अभियानमा उत्रनु हामी सबैका लागि लज्जाको विषय हो।

एकछिन दीक्षित र मिश्रलाई पर राखौ। हामी आफू, आफ्ना सन्तान, नातेदार वा मित्रहरुलाई सोचौँ। केहि गर्ने क्षमता भए र स्वतन्त्रसँग आफ्नो विचार राख्न चाहे यस्तो वातावरण भएको देशमा उनीहरू के आशले बस्लान्? दीक्षित र मिश्रसँग त यस्ता आलोचनासँग जुध्नसक्ने क्षमता र शक्ति होला। तर हाम्रा छोरा-छोरी वा साथीभाईमाथि यसरी सत्ता र शक्ति खनिए उनीहरूसँग के विकल्प हुन्छ? त्यस्तो डर र त्रास भएको समाजमा के प्रगती सम्भव हुन्छ?

मिश्र र दिक्षितका सबै काम-कुरामा मेरो सहमति नहोला। हुन आवश्यक पनि छैन। मलाई परोपकार नै समाज परिवर्तनको आधार हो जस्तो लाग्दैन, तर विमती राख्ने, विरोध गर्ने एउटा मर्यादित तरीका हुन्छ। यिनलाई विरोध गर्नेहरुले अति अमर्यादित गाली गलौजको प्रयोग गरेको देख्छु। त्यस्तालाई किन जवाफ दिनु पर्यो जस्तो लाग्छ। तर यिनले जवाफमा गाली गर्दैनन्, राम्रो शब्दमा सकेको जवाफ दिन्छन्। यहि “मैले जे भने पनि यसले गाली गर्ने हैन क्यारे” भन्ने ढुक्ख भएर यस्तो अमर्यादित बन्ने बल आएको हो कि?

मिश्रजीले चलाउनुभएको हेल्प नेपाल नेटवर्क भन्ने संस्था र त्यसका कामहरु कमी-कमजोरी सहित पनि निकै सह्रानिय लाग्छ मलाई। राज्यका सबै अङ्ग र निकाय धराशायी भएको आजको हाम्रो परिस्थितिमा त्यत्तिको लगन, निष्ठा र इच्छाशक्तिले त्यत्रो ठूलो सञ्जाल चलाउनु चानचुने काम होइन। त्यो पनि नेपाल जस्तो खुट्टा तान्न सिपालु र गालीगलौज लाई मख्ख पर्न लायक उपलब्धि मान्ने समाजमा। त्यत्तिको काम कुनै अरु क्षेत्रमा अरुले गरेको मलाई थाहा छैन। नेपाललाई परनिर्भर नबनाउन आफ्नै सबल अर्थतन्त्र, बजार र उद्योग-उद्यमहरु चाहिन्छन्। तर साथैमा यस्ता आफैँले आफैँलाई सहयोग गर्ने कार्यक्रम र योजनाहरु पनि चाहिन्छन्। आफ्ना समाजका समस्याहरु समाधान गर्ने आफैँले यसरी पहल गर्नु हाम्रो समाज सक्षम र सभ्य बन्दै गइरहेको कुराको साक्षी हो। त्यसैले नै मैले भनेको यस्ता मानिसहरु हाम्रा सुसंस्कृत भविष्यका प्रतिनीधिहरु हुन्।

हिमाल साउथएसियन भन्ने प्रकाशन (यो पत्रिका होइन) र संस्था हामीले समर्थन गर्नुपर्ने कुरा हो। नेपालका प्राज्ञिक शोध वा अनुषन्धान लुप्त बनिसकेको आजको समयमा केहि नभएपनि दक्षिण एसियामा यो संस्थाले नेपालको तर्फबाट प्राज्ञिक प्रतिनिधित्व गरेको छ। नेपालमा मात्र नभएर समग्र दक्षिण एशियाका प्राज्ञिक वा वौद्धिक क्षेत्रमा सक्रिय मानिसले हिमाल साउथएशियन महत्त्वका साथ पढ्छन् ।

पत्रिकाका लागि आवश्यक सन्दर्भसामग्री उत्पादन गर्ने कामका लागि यस क्षेत्रमा विद्वान वा प्राज्ञिक व्यक्तिहरूलाई निम्ता गर्ने, छलफल गराउने, अरु देशमा नेपालको तर्फबाट विचार पुर्याउने निजी क्षेत्रको यो प्राज्ञिक काम त हामीले देशभित्रैबाट श्रोत जुटाएर सहयोग गर्नुपर्ने हो। तर नेपालको आर्थिक र औद्योगिक क्षेत्र धरासायि बनाइएकोले सबै क्षेत्रमा झैँ यसमा पनि विदेशीको सहयोग को भर पर्नुपर्ने स्थिति रहेछ। त्यो पनि अनुसन्धान, सोध कार्य र यस्ता प्राज्ञिक कामहरु गर्न सबैतिर यस्तो रकम लिने गरिन्छ। यो त विदेशी दुतावासले दिएको छात्रवृत्तिमा कोहि पढ्न गयो भने त्यसको विरोध गरेको जस्तो भएन र? यो सहयोग आउनुअघि नै दुई दशक देखि यस संस्थाले उच्च गुणस्तरको पत्रिका र बहस चलाइरहेको हो। नत्र कुनै पत्याउने आधार नभएको शंकास्पद प्रोजेक्टमा रकम आएको भए विरोध गर्ने एउटा आधार पनि हुन्थ्यो। तर देशी-विदेशी विज्ञहरुको टोलीले अनुगमन गर्ने र संचालन गर्ने यो काममा षडयन्त्र र दुरुपयोगको आरोप लगाउँदा हामीले केहि प्रश्न गर्नु पर्दैन?

आलोचना अस्वाभाविक होइन। तर, आलोचनाका निश्चित पद्दति हुन्छन्, तरिका हुन्छन्। आलोचनाको बहानामा बचाऊमा आक्रामक गालीगलौज गर्दैनन् भन्दैमा यिनको अपमान गर्नु, यिमाथि आक्रमण हुँदा खुच्चिङ् भनेर चुप लागेर बस्नु नालायकी हो। हामीले त्यस्तै किसिमको समाज बनाउन खोजेको भए अर्कै कुरा। नत्र हामीले यिनिहरुलाई यस्ता आक्रमण हुँदा बचाऊ गर्नुपर्छ।

आफ्ना विरोधीलाई जनदुश्मन भनेर जिउँदै घुँडा भाँचेर निर्दोष मानिसलाई मार्ने, नाबालक सन्तानका आँखाअगाडि बाबुआमाको निर्मम हत्या गर्ने, नभएका लडाकुको नाममा देशको ढुकुटी र विदेशीको सहयोगबाट प्राप्त अरबौँको रकम झ्वाम पार्ने र नेपालका सांसद् किन्न भनेर चीनियाँसँग पैसा माग्ने,अपराधीका विगतका कर्तुत बिर्सेर हामी उनीहरूले चलाएको व्यक्तिविशेषविरुद्धको अभियानमा सामेल हुनु लज्जास्पद कुरा हो।

जनदुश्मन वा विदेशीको मतियारका नाममा व्यक्तिविशेषको मनोबल घटाउने र ध्यान अन्यत्रै मोड्ने कामको विरोध गर्नुपर्छ। अहिले त झन् पुरै सत्ता-संरचना र मिडियाको तप्का समेत यिनिहरुको विरोधमा खुलेर लागेको अवस्था छ। यस्तोमा हामी आफुजस्तै यी नागरिकहरुको पक्षमा उभिने कि दमनको मतियार बनेको सत्ता र उसको सहयोगी मिडियाको पक्षमा? म र तपाईँ मात्रै होइन, यिनको पक्षमा समाजका सबै जागरुक पक्षहरू उभिनु जरुरी छ।

आफुले चिनेका नेताहरुलाई पनि भन्नुहोस्, यिनलाई तारो बनाउने कामको विरोध होस्। कोहि नेताले यो पढ्दै हुनुहुन्छ भने तपाँई पनि केहि गर्नुहोस्, चुप नलाग्नुहोस्। नत्र भविष्यले हाम्रो समयको उपलब्धि के हो भनेर सोध्यो भने उत्तर शून्य होला, र त्यसको जिम्मेवार तपाईँ- हामी नै हौँला।

व्यक्तिविशेषले गर्ने गलत कामको कानुनअनुसार छानविन हुनुपर्छ। प्रचलित कानुनविरोधी काम कसैबाट भएमा उनीहरूमाथि कारवाही हुनुपर्छ। तर, शंका र प्रतिशोधका आधारमा व्यक्तिविशेषका विरुद्ध राज्य वा राजनीतिक दल खनिएको आजको अवस्था नागरिक अधिकार सङ्कटमा परेको सङ्केत हो। विगतको द्वन्द्वका क्रममा मानवअधिकार उल्लङ्घनका जघन्य अपराधमा संलग्नलाई उन्मुक्ति दिलाउने अभिप्रायले माओवादीले चलाएको यो सुनियोजित अभियानलाई साथ दिनु भनेको निरङ्कुशताको मतियार बन्नु हो।

——————-

हरेक दुखद् परिस्थितिमा केही सुखद् सङ्केत हुन्छन्। माओवादी र सत्ताधारीहरुको यो निर्लज्ज अभियानलाई सबैले औँठाछाप लगाएर समर्थन गरेका छैनन्। यसको उदाहरण सेतोपाटीले आज लेखेको सम्पादकीय हो । सेतोपाटीलाई धन्यवाद सहित यस विषयमा मैले प्रकाशीत गरेको टिप्पणी यसप्रकार छ:

नेपाली समाजमा अझै पनि आशा गर्ने प्रशस्त ठाउँहरु छन् भन्ने एउटा प्रमाण हो यो सम्पादकीय ।

नेपाली समाज अतिवाद र निर्लज्जताको सामु लम्पसार परेर कहिल्यै झुक्ने छैन भन्ने सम्भावना जिवितै रहेको देख्दा निकै खुशी लाग्छ । यस्ता सम्पादकीय लेख्ने सक्ने पत्रकार-सम्पादक, संचार माध्यम र तिनलाई साथ दिएर सघैँ उभिन सक्ने जागरुक समाज जिवित रहेसम्म नेपाली जनता र हाम्रो प्रगतीको आशालाई केहि सीमित अतिवादीहरु र तिनको असभ्य हर्कतले हराउन सक्ने छैन।

Guest Blog: The purity of CK Lal


Note: I received this article by email. Here’s the note that was included in the email:

“I posted this as a comment on republica website. But like many times before I think they will not publish it this time too. It would be nice if you could publish it in your blog. Many people should read this.”


by Gopinath Chaudhary


This is concerning CK Lal‘s op-ed in Republica “The Restoration of Plutarchy” (http://myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=70405)

Supposedly, this is one of Nepal’s finest writers. Look at the language, the tone and the level of arguments. His racist slurs against Nepal’s hill communities seem to have subdued in this article, but in his Nepali articles, he continues to abuse the hill communities with racist slurs like “chari-chuchhe” (meaning sharp nosed cunning Bahun), “thug pandit”, “clever puret” and so on. Apparently, words like “thyapche” (flat-nosed) are racist, but not if Lal uses similar words against others. Only that in the English pundit and Nepali “pandit” don’t exactly sound the same. CK Lal is a racist.

The level of argument is even more shameful. Where is the pulse of the society or the greater sense of direction of our polity and so on? Only personal grudges against a few politicians, parties and ethnic communities. For example, why have none of the previous governments (even those headed by Lal’s “pure” and “truthful” parties and ethnic communities, like Maoist and Madheshi parties) not been more inclusive?

And what is with someone asking for restroom in the morning? Is that political analysis? Give me a break now.

Finally, the most important issue. Lal, like always, is trying to fabricate truth. Yes, auspicious hours are consulted, prayers are offered. Read NASA rocket launch records or Indian space missions for that purpose. They’re seen calling the names of their respective deities. Nepal, a society where people still have no surety of life (thanks to Lal’s “pure” people), such superstitions are bound to be even more common, because there’s no law or predictability to depend on, but only impunity and chaos.

Furthermore, Sushil Koirala ignored the auspicious hours and took oath in a supposedly unauspicious hour. For those who can read Nepali, here is the news that mentions that Wednesday, 29th of Magh was determined as the auspicious day for the oath-taking ceremony (http://www.onlinechautari.com/2014/02/13769). In reality, Koirala took oath one day ahead of that day, on the 28th (http://nagariknews.com/main-story/story/13494).

More to this: In 2009, a member of Lal’s “pure race,” a minister from the supposedly revolutionary and progressive Madheshi party had postponed his oath-taking ceremony because the day was not auspicious according to the priests: (http://archives.nagariknews.com/2010/archive/2223-2009-06-23-08-59-11.html).

So much for your progressiveness Lal.

Citizens’ Statement – Rejection of UCPN-Maoist’s walk-out from vote-counting


We’re never short of drama in Nepal. As the votes are being counted, it seems that the Maoist party is in for a huge loss. And guess what happens? As Ushaft has been repeating in these blogs many times, they’d not allow any election to happen if they don’t win. For them, it is not about democracy, or about elections. It is just about “utilizing” this process, this generosity and magnanimity offered by the people of Nepal, and destroying the very foundations of democracy and institutions of Nepal in favor for a authoritarian rule of their own. We’ve already talked about how the self-obsessed Baburam Bhattarai and Prachanda tried all possible means to intimidate opposition, manipulate voters and make the results in their favor, by hook or crook. After what has been a largely fair and peaceful elections, now they are threatening that they’ll boycott the whole process until the counting is not done according to their terms and conditions.

Let’s not forget that the Maoist party is a big part of all this. But the echo-chamber has no lesser share of the blame. We should unequivocally condemn this echo chamber in what is transpiring right now in Nepal.

A citizens’ statement, released today, is included below.


Citizens’ Statement – Rejection of UCPN-Maoist’s walk-out from vote-counting

21 November 2013, Thursday

We hereby express our strong objection to the overnight move by the UPCN (Maoist) to walk out of the Constituent Assembly ballot-counting process, a full dozen hours after the exercise began. We welcome the commitment of the Election Commission and the Government of Nepal to continue with the process of ballot-counting and declaring winning candidates. We reject any and all demands being employed by the UCPN (Maoist) to obstruct the vote tallying process, including the call for ‘negotiations’, and ask for uninterrupted continuation of the electoral procedures.

We are all aware of the intense involvement of the committed Nepali electorate in the Constituent Assembly elections of 19 November. The UCPN (Maoist) leaders, including Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice-Chairman Baburam Bhattarai, have themselves publicly praised management of the elections and security arrangements.

We also note that the UCPN (Maoist) had taken the political lead in all developments related to these polls, from the establishment of the interim election government to defining the electoral regulations and process, up to the conclusion of the balloting-casting. We find the midnight statement released by the UCPN (Maoist) spokesperson as well as the views expressed by Chairman Dahal in the morning of 21 November to be wholly contradictory to the involvements of the party listed above.

At this critical hour, as a party which is supposed to have abandoned the use of violence in favour of peaceful politics, we demand that the UCPN (Maoist) accept the democratic process. We call on it to accept the people’s verdict, take care that its actions not be an embarrassment before the world, return to participate in the ballot-counting process, and prove its commitment to democracy through its deeds.

Signatories:

Amuda Shrestha, Chandrakishore, Charan Prasai, Kanak Mani Dixit and Subodh Raj Pyakurel

Contact: 9851029859, 9855025917, 9851042681, 9851053209, 9851026841


This is the seventh post in my election-update series. The first one is here, the second one is here, the third one is here, the fourth one is here, the fifth one is here, and the sixth one is here. The first post contains the definition of the Nepalese “echo chamber,” a theme which will be referred to throughout this series. The third one describes how a lot of money and violence is being used right now to manipulate results. The fourth one describes the general mood in Nepal right now, and the fifth one explains why a result contrary to the general mood is more likely. The sixth one summarizes the events from the polling day.

 

Nepal Election Update: How was the polling day?


This is the sixth post in my election-update series. The first one is here, the second one is here, the third one is here, the fourth one is here, and the fifth one is here. The first post contains the definition of the Nepalese “echo chamber,” a theme which will be referred to throughout this series. The third one describes how a lot of money and violence is being used right now to manipulate results. The fourth one describes the general mood in Nepal right now, and the fifth one explains why a result contrary to the general mood is more likely.


Polling in Nepal, mountains in the background (picture: Dhruba Dangal)

Polling in Nepal, mountains in the background (picture: Dhruba Dangal)

Let me start this blog on a positive note. Although we have to wait until all reports are in, news so far indicate that polling day was full of better things that I first expected. Than everybody first expected. There were explosions and bombs yesterday too (the polling day), but a record-breaking turnout has been estimated. Extreme cases of violence have been reported from relatively few places and polling was peaceful at other places. Again, I’ll stress that we should wait for all reports before giving a final verdict. Several polling stations in Nepal are in very remote places and accurate reports can take time to come in also because of fear and intimidation.

Altogether, it was an encouraging scene on the polling day. Like I wrote on the fourth post, the general mood of the people was indeed to defy the threats and intimidation, and make it to the polling stations to cast vote.

Baburam and Prachanda accused of capturing booths

Let’s be clear first that Gorkha is Baburam Bhattarai’s (Maoist’s 2nd man and former Prime Minister) home turf and he’s very strong there. I think he would have won there comfortably even without capturing polling stations. But there are multiple reports of several polling centers being captured by his people. Gorkha is so favorable place for Baburam that he could have set it up all from before- the police and polling offers favorable to him are likely to have been posted there. As a result, the irregularities that he has been accused of may never be investigated. Prachanda, the Maoist Chairman has also been accused of capturing polling stations in his constituency in Eastern Terai. Similarly, two Nepali Congress candidates (one Amresh Kumar Singh, is believed by many to be Indian intelligence agency’s man inside Nepali Congress) from Eastern Terai and one UML candidate from Okhaldhunga have been accused of capturing booths (none of the UML and NC candidates are the top-rung leaders like Baburam and Prachanda- it is important to remember that at local levels, many parties use dirty tricks, but my point is that only the Maoist party has the nationwide network, resources and a willpower from the very top leadership to use such tactics as their main strategy).

Why did Baburam resort to such tactics at his home turf? In 2008 elections, Gorkha was a scene of violent activities by the Maoists. The opposition were treated very harshly and their activities were obstructed by the Maoists. This time was not very different either. Baburam is not known for believing in democratic values or for being a kind and understanding man. He is one of the strictest ideologues in his party, and he would rule the country with an iron fist, if he could (well, he tried, while he was the Prime Minister). He won the 2008 elections by securing the most number of votes by any candidate in Nepal. In fact, it is said that he got more votes than there were voters in that area. The total number of voters in a revised voters-list of in his area is less than the total votes he got last time. That was a record victory, and being the self-obsessed megalomaniac that he is, he’d not want to be seen as less popular this time around. That explains why polling centers at his constituency have been captured. Prachanda, his main competitor in the party, would not want to be left behind.

What would the results be like?

Given that the polling has been encouraging (if after all reports are in, we get a different picture, then its a separate story), my prediction of a clear majority for the Maoist party needs to be revised. Please remember that a peaceful polling day does not guarantee a free and fair election. With the amount of irregularities, reports of vote buying, explosions, intimidation, and violations of code conduct, most of the election can be decided much ahead of polling day. That’s what I discussed in my previous post. This post assumes that despite all such threats, and intimidation, the voters made it to the polling station because they are desperate to make their make choices that can reflect the mood of the nation in results.

What was observed regarding the general mood of the people remains true, and was evident in the large numbers that thronged the polling centers. There were casualties and bombs hurled at kids in the streets of Kathmandu. But people seemed to be very keen on casting their votes.

However, just before the polling day, we got reports of several irregularities. Two days before polling, the official campaigning period ended and every candidate was supposed to remain silent. However, Baburam Bhattarai was seen campaigning villages in Rupandehi (this is the second place he’s contesting from). We even got reports from Rupandehi itself that his team was offering cash (ranging from NRs 2,000 at some places to NRs 10,000 at some places, per vote) to people in some villages there. Such activities by the Maoists in some areas of Kathmandu and outside have already been mentioned in the previous post. There were also reports that the Maoists were offering cash to anyone who would produce picture-proofs from inside the polling stations. The Election Commission was quick to announce that it would not allow cell phones or similar devices inside the stations. A national television station (ABC TV) which is reportedly owned by some Maoist leaders, was ordered to shut down by the Election Commission because of its blatant and excessive violation of the election code of conduct. The TV did not oblige and kept broadcasting Maoist propaganda material.

Expecting brighter days ahead: It was a clear polling day in Kathmandu (picture: Rajesh KC @phalano

Expecting brighter days ahead: It was a clear polling day in Kathmandu (picture: Rajesh KC @phalano

Guesses

I’m not using any scientific method here, just trying to guess. It is just a gut feeling, and is very likely to fail. But just because the echo-chamber would later reprimand us for doing so, we should not feel deterred to publish our guesses.

I think that it will be difficult for any party to gain majority, especially because of the proportional voting system in Nepal. Given the general mood, I’d think the Maoists would get less seats in the FPTP (first past the post) voting system compared to their seats from 2008 elections. I’m just making a wild guess here, but I’m inclined to think they’ll have less than 100 seats, maybe even 80. Maoists may perform better in the proportional system though and make up for the lost FPTP seats. It has been assumed that the proportional voting will yield many surprises this time.

During last election, RPP-N, a pro-monarchy party that got enough proportional votes for only a couple of seats is said to have performed well in this election. The politics of ethnicity that was escalated by the coalition of Maoist and Madheshi parties is said to have angered many voters and they could register their protest votes by voting for RPP-N, a party that has been against republicanism. It’d be interesting to see whose voter base they have benefited the most from. The echo-chamber is saying that they’ll hurt the NC and UML, because, well they’re “rightist” parties. It could be possible (but not for the same reason), but Ushaft would make a proposition of the nature everyone fears making because the echo-chamber quickly gangs up and personally abuses anyone making it. I’d say that it is also likely for RPP-N to benefit from the Maoist voters in the proportional system. The Maoists, although they seem to be in the opposite end of the spectrum from RPP-N, have many times in the past tried to cozy up to the Royalists because, in their own words, “they are more nationalistic.” Given an opportunity, the Maoist party is the most likely candidate to team up with RPP-N, because their enemies have been common in the past (the democratic parties not close to the monarchy). I’d like to believe that the RPP-N, at present has more democratic credentials than the Maoists have, but they’d not mind getting a few extra votes from their secret admirers.