Learn­ing to learn lok­tantra

People's Review - - COMMENTARY - BY D.M. THAPA

Now we are liv­ing in the age of lok­tantra. I still don't know the ex­act mean­ing of this word, like many other peo­ple and even lead­ers them­selves. It must be a word coined by our lead­ers copy­ing the In­di­ans, a Nepali Congress jour­nal­ist told me. I was per­plexed to hear a re­mark com­ing out of his mouth be­cause, not only is the Nepali Congress pro-In­dia, but this jour­nal­ist was also to­tally an ar­dent In­dia sup­porter as well. First there was “pra­jatantra”, which I really feel means democ­racy, then after a volatile change in Nepali pol­i­tics came multi-party democ­racy, then after an­other po­lit­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion came lok­tantra. Any­way, what­ever word was coined it all meant democ­racy and the Nepali peo­ple lived in peace and har­mony. And de­vel­op­ment wise too the na­tion was mov­ing ahead steadily in spite of a cor­rupt prime min­is­ter like Gir­ija Prasad Koirala and his daugh­ter Su­jata Koirala, but things changed when the Maoists came in the scene. The party lead­ers, though un­der­ground, talked of ban­ning In­dian movies, ban­ning In­dian songs and ve­hi­cles, but later it was re­vealed that the top two lead­ers of the party Pushpa Ka­mal Da­hal and Babu­ram Bhattarai were groomed by the In­dian in­tel­li­gence and stay­ing in Delhi with some other lead­ers while their cadres mur­dered thousands of in­no­cent Nepalis. This turned around the coun­try's de­vel­op­ment and yet it has to re­cover, but the Maoist lead­ers are liv­ing in great style and give the public ad­vice on peace and de­vel­op­ment. The for­eign pow­ers have tried to pum­mel what they think is rights and en­force their own kind of democ­racy in a tiny coun­try like Nepal with the help of some politi­cians and so-called civil society lead­ers, who all are work­ing for for­eign money and for­eign in­ter­ests. These in­di­vid­u­als seem to have the me­dia in con­trol and they are praised in­stead of be­ing pun­ished. The Com­mis­sion for Abuse of Author­ity (CIAA) had at least tried to un­mask one in­di­vid­ual, who was a mere clerk at the United Na­tions in New York, but none of the so­called free me­dia were able to ques­tion what was his source of in­come. And this man is called a se­nior jour­nal­ist and leader of the civil society! Why can't any­body here say that the old­est democ­racy in the world, the United States did not al­low its own women cit­i­zens to vote for nearly two hun­dred years! The Chi­nese labour­ers who worked in harsh con­di­tion to lay down the rail­way net­work all across Amer­ica were not al­lowed to even own land or homes. The coloured peo­ple who came along with the “Whites”, when Amer­ica was just be­ing built, were not al­lowed to vote even after the Sec­ond World War. The Amer­i­cans who preach about free­dom of speech to the en­tire world hardly whis­per a word on their own type of au­toc­racy. But they try to tele­scope all sorts of rights down the throat of oth­ers, in­clud­ing Nepal. Is this fair? The Amer­i­cans and some other Western coun­tries have killed thousands of in­no­cent Mus­lims, al­ways calling then ter­ror­ists through their me­dia, which are vir­tu­ally pro­pa­ganda ma­chines and the rest of the world fol­lows their path. Is this free­dom of the me­dia which the Western lead­ers al­ways talk about? Now to come back to Nepal and the lok­tantra we are en­joy­ing, it was amaz­ing to see the turn of events in Bharat­pur mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Chit­wan. Like re­ported in a ma­jor daily, the de­feated can­di­date Devi Prasad Gyawali, who was lead­ing in the elec­tion, ac­cused the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion and even the Supreme Court of sid­ing with the win­ing can­di­date Renu Da­hal, non less than the daugh­ter of Pushpa Ka­mal Da­hal. Both the Supreme Court and the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion have not been able to deny such ac­cu­sa­tion of Gyawali. Is this lok­tantra? Should the peo­ple who tore up the bal­lot pa­pers not be pun­ished and what were the Nepal Po­lice, Armed Po­lice and the Nepal Army do­ing when such an in­ci­dent was hap­pen­ing? What about the of­fi­cials of the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion do­ing? Shouldn't the Supreme Court and Elec­tion Com­mis­sion be ac­count­able for such acts and take ac­tion against the cul­prits in­stead of com­ing to their de­fense just be­cause the other can­di­date was pow­er­ful Da­hal's daugh­ter? Prob­a­bly a dras­tic change has to take place in the coun­try be­fore such things do not take place and democ­racy can be called by any name.

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