Nepal government celebrated the 4th Republic Day at the Army Pavilion on Sunday with surprisingly no public participation and excitement at all. This empty ritual to which the government and other political forces that have labeled themselves as republicans cling has hurt the majority of people, who expect a leadership and its vision to transform Nepal strikingly so as to differentiate a genuine republican democracy from the one they have always wanted to get rid of.
As usual, the head of the state, the prime minister and political leaders attended the Army Pavilion and watched cultural ceremonies.
Security personnel were heavily deployed around the Pavilion ground in all the four directions, banning passers-by to view the ceremonies from the pavements.
At 03:00 on Sunday, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (UCPN-M), the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) painstakingly agreed to extend the Constituent Assembly (CA) term by three months after having had dozens of consultative meetings continuously from Saturday morning to Sunday early morning.
The CA would have been dissolved on Saturday, depriving the people of their own democratic right to draft a new republican constitution, had the chief peace process stakeholders not agreed to extend the term.
However, the agreement, developed into a five-point document, contains no specific details; consequently, future contradictions, misinterpretations and dialogic barriers are likely to emerge with further imperilment of the peace process that will not succeed without a new and transformative constitution.
The NC has demanded the current Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal’s immediate resignation.
Nevertheless, there is no agreement among the parties regarding whom to have as the next prime minister. Should the chief peace process stakeholders mentioned above focus again on grabbing the government leadership, no first draft of the new constitution is likely in three months.
The current phenomena in Nepal reflect clear-cut feudal trends among the exercising political parties. They have never theoretically educated people on the norms and values of the genuine republic. They, instead, have given continuity to the feudal practices seen in previous monarchs. They want to decide everything on the basis of their personal likes and dislikes, neglecting millions of people’s aspirations and sufferings.
The trends of market prices in Nepal, especially in the Kathmandu valley, clearly tell us that the speech-delivering political parties do not have any control over Nepal’s national politics. The unhindered and arbitrary price hikes ranging from 100 percent to 1,000 percent prove the absence of state and its mechanisms. State apparatuses are ritual and clearly controlled by oligarchs with nexus to smuggling and blackmarket networks.
The so-called republican government has not yet seized any illegal land, properties and money freely being mobilized by oligarchs and former royal family members. It has failed to re-orient the employees of the Central Investigation Department towards implementing the norms of the republic.
Feudal-era caste untouchability practices continue as a normal social pattern across the country, including all the 3,914 villages—completely ignored by the state. The anti-untouchability Act has, of course, banned such feudal practices. But the implementation is zero because state apparatuses cooperate with violators, with a view to further suppressing the victims. This everyday reality— unreported, unheeded or ignored—proves that there is a ceremonial republic in Nepal while there is an active monarchy for which the ruling elites work under the veil of republic at present.
The status quo to which the disguised republicans stick will generate much acuter political conflicts in the future. Radical education will become essential to guide the credulous masses towards the overall transformation of Nepal. Radicalism is something else and is not good while radical education is the most important tool to empower the people to reach the roots of problems.