Skip to main content

"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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Nepal's Development Regions: Creating an Obstacle to national integration ?

When someone asks me where I am from in Nepal, I often get confused. Geographically speaking Tanahun, where I am from, lies in the middle of the country. Thus, I should say I am from central Nepal. But, because Nepal is divided into five development regions and Tanahun comes under Western development region, I internalized Tanahun as being in the West of Nepal.

Today, suddenly a thought emerged, the geographical nomeniculture of development regions, like almost everything in Nepa,l is Kathmandu centric and reflects what state and rulers perceived themselves as. Eventhough Kathmandu is not exactly at the center of Nepal, the development regions are named as though Kathmandu is the center of Nepal. For example, Kathmandu lies in Central Development region and anything east lies in the Eastern region and most of the Nepal is West. By this logic, Nepal has more West than east or center. There are three different variations of West - Western Development Region (Gandaki, Lumbini and Dhaulagi…

Attacks on the fourth estate.

One of the victims of Maoist insurgency and King’s terrorocracy has been the fourth estate – mass media that flourished under 12 years of democracy in Nepal. From only about two daily broadsheet, one radio station, and one television station, all owned by government, Nepal has witnessed an unprecedented level of media boom. There are several daily broadsheets, news magazines, five nepali television stations, and over 40 radio stations all over the country. The beneficiary, nepali people who have benefited from competitive views, have access to local information, can watch quality television programs, and run their own radio stations. In last several years, lok-geet (folk songs) have become a mainstay (I believe largely due to FMs). But, the plurality of view-points are antithetical to autocratic King and totalitarian Maoists.

Maoists regularly threaten, kidnap and kill journalists and reporters. For Maoists, anyone who writes against their atrocities are “enemy of people”. For King an…

A Visit to Bulaki Chaur

“What programs are we taking to villages?”“Is it classes on adult-education? Oncommunity health?” Sanitation?”Our challenge. It’s not 1958. The proliferation of NGOs that began in 1980s and caught speed in 1990s in Nepal (like many other developing countries) has been amazing. While many organizations are providing valuable services to Nepalese people, the term NGO has almost become synonymous with educated elite enrichingon poor’s name.At least a few organizations have found their way to every village that run variety of program. Mostly, during the ‘project period’.Frequently, organizations find funds and go to the villages to implement them. Thus, there is an expectations among villagers that when people from the city come (especially the one from organizations), they come with handouts.**********Sarvodaya is about identifying local needs and working to solve through community participation.“I don’t know what program, we can take,” I would say. “Let’s go and find out from villagers,…