Yesterday was a historic day for Nepal. Its constituent assembly abolished the 240 year old monarchy and declared the country a "Secular, federal democratic republic".
The King has been given 15 days to leave the palace, which will be turned into a historical museum. Hopefully peace will return to this beautiful country and tourists can have a tension free visit to the country.
Nepal is very close to my heart. We as college students frequently crossed the border on a bicycle and wandered in the hills and the forested lands.
But i feel sorry for the poor King, he should have been allowed to stay in his own country. what do u think?
A monarchy can only be in place as long as people will tolerate it. I think the Royal Family should have tried a bit harder . . .
The impression I got from the news over the last few years was that they were living the good life in a country ravaged by poverty and answered to no laws.
Would the king really want to stay? What's he going to do? Become a government minister? Get a job?
The King had expressed a desire to stay back in his own country as an ordinary citizen
But he has to go out and he will seek asylum in India and stay there for rest of his life
Anyway it a good beginning and lets seee how successful the people of Nepal are in upholding the democratic principles
Wow I've been following the news as well, I didn't know that he wasn't allowed to stay in the country! That's quite sad really, talk about hero to zero. I'm not sure that he did the best job either though.
But at the same time I think Nepali people have had their fair share of unreliable and corrupt leaders. I'm guessing they wanted a big change from the past and turned to the Maoists for it.
Nepal is also close to my heart - I just hope it remains stable and the people get what they want from their leaders.
(I also hope this happens so us travel addicts can enjoy what I think is one of the most beautiful countries in the world )
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 2, 2008, at 5:28 AM by Erik85 ]
I have a doubt if they carry on well from here....already they are facing problems since the Maoists are demanding key government positions.... The situation is still volatile and lets hope that it stabilizes soon
I was living and teaching in rural Nepal from January to April this year, a time of considerable social and political instability. The recently departed king was a corrupt and greedy man, and most Nepalis believe that it was he who was responsible for the murder of his brother, the previous king, and his entire family. This mass murder was blamed on the then king's son, this king's nephew, who conveniently 'turned his gun on himself' afterwards, bringing the body count to 13, and leaving the way clear for this king to seize power without contest. Since then he has proved himself to be a singularly inept ruler, unwilling or unable to devote any time, energy or resources to helping his people, the vast majority of whom live in conditions of extreme deprivation and poverty. This situation had to change, but it is highly questionable whether the change the maoists are bringing about will be good for Nepal.
The maoists 'won' the election by dint of bullying, threatening, maiming and even murdering ordinary country folk who resisted the call to arms and to vote how they were told. Teenagers were kidnapped and indoctrinated in the maoist army during the past 8 years. I know a Tamang man who removed his children and those of his extended family from their village in the mountains, securing them in Kathmandu, so that they would not be taken by the maoists. He was lucky enough to have the contacts (and enough money) to do that. Most don't. The maoists leaders are thugs, some with some education, many with little or no education. Nepal, as we know, is a geographically challenging country with no infrastructure and little in the way of communication tools - most arms of the so-called maoist army are so cut off from each other that they cannot possibly have a unified, structured agenda. This is disastrous, as the 'army' offers a small salary, which is of course seen as a better option for young men and women from poverty stricken mountainous regions for whom the alternative is to labour in the fields to barely scrape a living. Once gone, their families rarely see them again, and there have been awful stories of men setting out to try to find their sons, and finding them, only to be treated like strangers by a once loving child, changed by brainwashing and violence, living in a camp somewhere in the hills. Murder has become part of everyday life to people like these. In early April I walked from Banepa to Mate in the Kavre hill district, a hike of 3 days, with my friend and his cousin. We met maoists out on the campaign trail and my friend talked enthusiastically to the local maoist candidate, a genial looking and articulate man. Afterwards I said to him 'Nima, you talked to that man as if you would certainly vote for him. Will you vote for the maoists?' I was surprised, because he had expressed his loathing of the organization, as had many people I knew. He answered 'Of course not'. I said 'But you told him you would?'. 'Of course I did', he said. 'I am not stupid!"
Nepal's problems are many - the country is rich in minerals and other resources such as water, but the people are passive. This is what makes them so wonderful, and what touches the hearts of we westerners from our individualist societies. but sadly, this trait does not help develop Nepal in a healthy way. The country is addicted to foreign aid, handouts from organizations and other countries, and does not have the confidence to start to break away. India has long been its surrogate mother, but China's role has increased lately, and there are reports of chinese secret police posted in Kathmandu since the maoist victory on April 10th. It is heartbreaking to even imagine China attempting an extension of its Tibetan border, and an equivalent smothering of Nepal's utterly inimitable and very strong culture. The natural barrier of the Himalaya would make this an extremely daunting and probably impossible prospect for China, I think - Tibet's high plateau and small population made it easy to control.
Nepal is a country which is in a highly vulnerable situation right now. I hope with all my heart that its unique culture and the extraordinary character of its people will be able to withstand the next 20 years, which will be a critical time in its history.
Eleniki, gr8 to read ur first hand account of the prevailing condition in Nepal
i am in nepal now and i must say i agree with what eleniki has said - the Maoists had only won after a campaign of intimidation and violence in the rural areas where their influence is the strongest - i went into some of these areas and news of Maoist violence are common when they waged their "peoples war", including a massacre at Beni and ambushes of army personnel, more often than not succeeding in killing innocents in villages in the hills where they terrorised at night, demanding villages cook and wash for them in the dead of the night, and imposing taxes on the local populations. Those who defied them were sometimes killed. Come dawn they would disappear again into the hills.
the people voted Maoist because they zealously did their pre election rounds in the rural centres, threatening repercussions against those who don't vote Maoist.
Another reason they were voted into power was that the peopl had just wanted an end to the war - to them, a change, any change, is better than the fighting that has raged on for many years and destroyed many livelihoods.
and about the king, well he's called the "mafia king" in Nepal by some people - the massacre on June 1st 2001 had some very, very interesting and improbable "coincidences" . The killer had supposedly killed himself, and was found with the gun in his hands (it never happens, only in the movies, physics and all), and a close relation of the current king was the sole survivor of the massacre. Coincidence?
Ah itenerant, you are in Nepal! How I'd love to be back there. I loved my time in the village and in Kathmandu, despite the toxic brew that passed for air, and I made wonderful friends, two of whom I really want to bring to Ireland next summer. Is it the wet season? Where are you? And how are the maoists making their presence felt? Fuel still in very short supply? Electricity 'load-shedding' still a feature for one third of each day?
well 3 days late, but when your in Chitwan sleeping in the jungle, internet is pretty hard to find... just made it to Kathmandu today, and the air... well... lets not mention it
its still pouring over here - 1 o clock sharp when i was in Pokhara, but we seem to have been given a short respite these past few days. As for the fuel, we are having a strike in Nepal tomorrow, how exciting they just had one last week over it - the people here, they go, ah, its just another bandh, give them a few days and things will be ok again, and us foreigners get so worried and anxious about it....
and its not just the fuel - Kathmandu seems to be having a chronic water shortage these days (despite the monsoon???!!! ) and i cant even get a decent shower at my guesthouse... haha and the load shedding, its kind of still a fact of life... not much has changed since your last visit, i guess
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 21, 2008, at 8:07 AM by itenerant ]