For die-hard monarchists, the dawn of the Republic of Nepal is a death-knell of biblical proportions. But for people who are tired of being painted with the Royalist brush (that comes from their principled opposition to Maoist tyranny, blackmail and unmitigated violence), the birth of a Nepali republic offers limitless possibilities.
Catalogued below are some of the immediate benefits that Maoist opponents will have, in a Republic of Nepal.
Focused Frustration Where it Belongs
The Nepali population has remained hostage to peace on the Maoists’ terms and excess Royal baggage since April 2006. Whether King Gyanendra had benevolent intentions or not is largely a moot point at this juncture. However, closed-door admission from some of the King’s harshest critics, that Maoist rule is likely to be one hundred times worse than the option that King Gyanendra offered, speaks volumes about the current mindset of Nepal’s disillusioned liberal democrats.
No matter how representative and progressive the Maoist delegation to Nepal’s constituent assembly may be, no matter how hard the Maoists’ (and their allies) try to paint their violent rise to power as a necessary evil, the scars of Maoist-perpetrated atrocities remain deeply embedded in Nepali society. Nepalis may be forgiving people but to assume that those who have suffered grueling physical and mental abuse will forget the actions of their tormentors overnight, is wishful thinking. With the distraction of the Monarchy soon to be gone, collective frustration is more likely to find its true source – the Maoists.
End of the Maoist-Monarchy Nexus
Throughout the course of Nepal’s insurgency, the Maoists have remained the Monarchy’s prime beneficiaries. Maoist leaders are known to have been protected on direct orders from the now defunct office of the Principal Military Secretariat. Evidence of such protection is available not only from former Royal Military Aides (who are soon to join the Maoist ranks), but also from army helicopter pilots and mission commanders who received contradictory orders from the Royal Palace and the Army Headquarters, on numerous occasions.
Also to their benefit, the Maoists have successfully leveraged the falsehood of equating their opponents with the rank and file of hardcore Royalists. By propagating such fabrication, the Maoists succeeded in keeping national and international opposition at bay – why would anyone in the 21st century want to be perceived as protecting a system of monarchy over the Maoist option of democracy?
With the declaration of Nepal as a republic state, the Maoists’ will have gained the temporary illusion of a moral victory but will also suffer the consequences of their lost “ally” and universal “punching bag.”
Liberal Democrats Smell the Coffee
The Maoists have repeatedly informed their supporters and critics alike that their version of democracy is different from the Western version (whatever this may be). The Maoists are on record saying that their economic revolution will be a mixture of proletariat and bourgeoisie economics (one being the antithesis of the other). Despite the vocabulary the Maoists deliberately invent to keep their critics hoping, the rational interpretation of Maoist rhetoric couldn’t be further from liberal, multi-party democracy.
Unfortunately, for a minority, ultra-liberal, “peace at any cost” crowd, the song the Maoists’ have been singing has been music to their ears because King Gyanendra has been around as the common punching bag to hate on. For the Maoists’ the Monarchy has been a perfect focal point to keep the minds of a large, uninformed decision-makers, fixated upon; and the liberal, educated crowd, even while they preach reconciliation and peace, remain to this day, blinded by personal vendetta and revenge against a monarch who temporarily denied them mobile phone and internet services.
Long gone are the days when liberal democrats would court arrest only to pick up their satellite phones (from their supposed cells) to dial Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and tell the world about the “autocrat” Gyanendra. These fools know better than to try such games with the Maoists – they have recent examples to remind them of the potential repercussions from the YCL.
On May 28 2008, Nepal’s liberal democrats will celebrate the birth of a republic; a few months’ down the road, they are equally likely to be yearning for a second shot at the elections that King Gyanendra offered.
India’s Long Term Interest
A lot of people are worried about India’s excessive leaning towards the Maoists. The same people also express dissatisfaction at the Americans’ coddling of the Maoists. Not coincidentally, these are the same idiots who were all too happy to be Indian servants at one time and closed-door sycophant of the former American Ambassador James F. Moriarty.
But these people need to develop ulcers, unnecessarily. The Indian government will pursue its interests in Nepal, relentlessly and in lieu of a single power center that rose to the occasion when Moriarty was offering cover, the Americans are right to be pushing soft power tactics upon the Maoists.
The Indians and the Maoists share a common cause – both want King Gyanendra and Nepal’s Monarchy gone. But after this feat is accomplished, all bets are off. There is a reason why Indian Ambassador Rakesh Sood is fervently opposed to any constitutional amendments that could prolong the Monarchy’s lifeline. The Indians are in as much a hurry to sideline the Monarchy as they are to begin containing the Maoists’ power play.
There is not a moment in living memory when the Indians have placed all of their backing behind a single horse in Nepal and they are not about to start now; specially with a radical left-wing outfit, which by ideological doctrine, is incapable of serving long-term Indian interests. Once Nepal becomes a republic, the Maoists’ utility to Indian interests is as good as yesterday’s paper.
So what does all this mean? It means that with the elimination of the Monarchy, a one-party system in Nepal, is more likely than ever. The exact nature of such a system will become clearer over the coming weeks. Needless to say however, Nepal is likely to surprise the international community yet again, for what is expected, is most likely not going to be delivered.
For once, Prachanda’s communist sixth sense is serving him well. His Stalinist vocabulary is out of touch with the times, but Prachanda’s expectation of a “counter-revolution” is right on the money. Far too much has changed in Nepal, far too quickly and if history is any indication, radical changes are radically unstable.
The Monarchy as a logical counter-weight to the Maoists’ is a theory that has been tried and has failed. Rather than serving as a formidable challenge to the Maoists’, King Gyanendra’s disorganized campaign was perhaps the biggest power boost the Maoists’ could have wished for.
However, with the political liability of the Monarchy gone, the door to much needed, democratic (and if necessary, forceful) opposition to the Maoists, opens on Mary 28, 2008. With a convergence of national and international power centers, an unjustly humiliated military, disillusioned liberal democrats, and a civil society that is all too eager to please whoever can threaten them most subtly, Nepal is ripe ground for a real revolution.
All hail the Republic of Nepal!
All the Right Agendas
Riding the Republican Bandwagon
All Attention on the Army