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"Democracy didn't work in Nepal" - oh! Really?

Dr. Khagendra Thapa argues on “Why democracy didn’t work in Nepal?” “poorer countries such as Nepal and many others, which have introduced democracy, have sunk into a vicious circle of corruption, injustice, inequitable distribution of wealth and resources.” Dr. Thapa who has a degree from UK, Canda, and US and also teaches at Ferris State University, regularly (if you have been following his writings you would know what I am talking about), discharge venum against all political actors, labeling them corrupt and criminals. He further writes “Corruption, lying, stealing, looting, vandalizing, littering, etc. have become the norms of the Nepali society, even though all these vices used to be non-existent and unheard of in Nepal.

What Dr. Thapa and likes argue are:
1) Nepal became poorer since the introduction of democracy.
2) All political parties and its leaders corrupt
3) Nepal was a peaceful shangrila in pre-1990 period.

Is this true?

One really has to have lived in the Mars for last decade to sincerely believe this junk. First, he takes more than a decade old data to support his argument. For example: he writes Nepal has less than 27% literacy rate and that per capita income is less than 200. For god’s shake if you are a PHD doctor, why don’t you read new documents? In a decade of democracy per capita has jumped to over $230 from $180 in 1990. Similarly, literary rate is around 50%. Not the best in the world but the achievements in mere ten years are remarkable, compared to what 30 years of Panchyat and 200 plus odd years of palace (Shaha, Rana, Basnyat, Thapa, Pandey) gave Nepal.

Further, it is absolute insult on Nepali people to label that democracy doesn’t suit because there were corrupt. Obviously, corruption in a major vice but to label each an every political actors as corrupt and criminal without really understanding the dynamics of nepali society is plain ignorance. The best part of Nepali democracy is not Kathmandu but outside of this sunken valley. The vibrancy of peoples participation in public life and the motivation democracy brought for people to act to change their destiny is where the heart of democracy lies. The hope programs like “Afno gaun afain banaun”, the active participation of people to dig roads, to build schools, and to participate in local level planning was unprecedented in Nepal. Result is astounding by historic measures, more people almost 40 percent have access to electricity (only about 10 percent a decade ago), more girl child go to primary school, and more villages have access to telephone. Yet, people don’t hesitate to insult their own intellect by pronouncing democracy as evil for Nepal.

I don't really want to elaborate on the third-argument that there were no problems in pre-1990 period. If someone seriously belives this argument than person either hasn't lived in Nepal for long or has never venture out of luxury to see the everyday injustice, turture, and cruetly that system of autocracy brought on people of Nepal.

Finally, Dr. Thapa sees meritocracy as the solution to the Nepal’s ills. I wonder how different this meroticracy is from elitism of Shahas, Ranas, and Thapas? What these people argue again and again is Nepali people are ignorant and thus incapable of making their decisions. Thus, needing the devine guidance of King and chamchas of durbars The same attitude for the last three centuries has put this country in the current mess, not the democracy that threatened the survival of these elites.


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