In an interview entitled “Foreign Minister Yadav has Violated all Diplomatic Protocols,” EX-Nepali Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Murari Raj Sharma, makes an impassioned appeal to his readership by spewing all sorts of nonsensical logic on how he has been victimized. The following writing will categorically nullify each of Sharma’s allegations and will go further to demonstrate why Sharma’s false sense of entitlement, his bahunist hubris, and his familial ties to Girija Prasad Koirala, easily justify Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav’s actions.
First off all, this is the “New Nepal.” There is no space here for the type of shenanigans that sustained the feudal/nepotistic structures of the “Old Nepal.” In other words, Murari Raj Sharma’s blood relations to Girija Prasad Koirala no longer holds the type of political currency it once did. As a political appointee of the FORMER Prime Minister of Nepal, it is only befitting that Murari Raj Sharma, like his cohort of political appointees, also become a FORMER Ambassador.
As his first act as Ambassador, the FORMER appointee to the United States of America (Dr. Suresh Raj Chalise), is rumored to have replaced pictures of FORMER King Gyanendra with those of Girija Prasad Koirala. No, not in his private bedroom, or even the Ambassador’s residence, but in the Nepali Embassy in Washington DC. Chalise is on record, touring various think-tanks in the American capital, extolling the virtues of the Nepali Congress and how this party was responsible for ending Nepal’s civil war by “mainstreaming” the Maoists. As expected, Chalise did was he was sent to do - represent Nepal’s interests and in the process, uplift his political party’s international standing.
Even more could be expected of Murari Raj Sharma. This is why it made perfect sense for Nepal’s new government to rescind Sharma’s appointment because Sharma was scheduled to interact with high level British dignitaries. By doing so, Nepal’s Foreign Minister did quite the opposite of “disrespecting” British dignitaries. Instead, he made a calculated move to thwart a disinformation campaign by Murari Raj Sharma which was certain to have dwelled far less on Nepal’s national interests and much more on Sharma’s personal interests - propagating the falsehood of Nepal’s democracy as contingent on the auspices of Girija Prasad Koirala and his Nepali Congress.
Second, Murari Raj Sharma’s unfounded sense of entitlement is pasted all over his interview. Vetting process or not, Sharma was a political appointee of an era long past when the process of vetting was dominated by members of Sharma’s own political allegiance - the Nepali Congress. Sharma’s past claims of having “fought for democracy” in Nepal are preposterous distortions of the truth for his struggle centered squarely around securing his own future, then his Party’s and had little if anything to do with Nepal.
Further, one can hardly term the Sharma’s actions as those of a democrat when he is seen in open defiance of a democratically established Foreign Minister. What gives Sharma the right to question the verdict of a system that he supposedly helped create?
The other disturbing attribute of Sharma’s rant revolves around his rent-seeking behavior. For some pathetic reason, Sharma seems to think that the services he purportedly rendered in the name of restoring Nepal’s democracy, earned him the right to become an Ambassador. What chicanery! If Sharma’s logic were to hold true, there are thousands of Nepalis who deserve Ambassadorships before Sharma’s candidacy should even be considered as a back-up to a third-rate list.
In reality, Sharma’s sense of false entitlement is nothing more than a remnant of past feudal structures that once prevailed in Nepal. Aiding the process of Nepal’s transformation to a modern nation-state necessarily implies wiping the slate clean of such feudalist tendencies. Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav has done Nepali a favor by clearly signaling a departure in Nepal’s foreign affairs, from the rent-seeking characteristics of Murari Raj Sharma.
Also, Consider that Sharma used to be one of the closest confidants of Panchayati Prime Minister Marich Man Singh. After 1990, Sharma became a key figure in Nepal’s Customs Department, then a Foreign Secretary, Nepal’s Ambassador to the United Nations and finally, Nepal’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom. A product of hard work? Perhaps. A fortunate recipient of divine intervention? Could be. An offspring of the culture of sycophancy that continues to pervade the Nepali Congress’s internal “democratic” structure? Now we’re talking!
If Murari Raj Sharma had anything on his mind other than himself, if he had even a drop of diplomatic blood running through his veins, Sharma, like his cohorts, would have left his duty station in November of 2008. His excuse of personal embarrassment at having to cancel appointments with British dignitaries pales in comparison to the national embarrassment he has created for the Nepali nation-state.
Speaking of diplomatic norms and precedents, Murari Raj Sharma’s shameless public mud-slinging conveniently erases his own record of defying such norms. It was certainly not diplomatic of Sharma to continue abusing Nepali tax payers’ funds when he refused to vacate the Ambassador’s residence in New York - after he had been relieved of his duties as Nepali Ambassador to the UN. Double-dipping in the Nepali Government’s and the UN’s coffers was a brazen breach of conduct in 2003. Refusing to vacate the Nepali Embassy’s premises in London is just as egregious a crime, in 2008/2009.
If Sharma truly believes that the termination of his appointment has breached legal precedents, he, like all Nepali citizens, is welcome to challenge Upendra Yadav’s decision in a Nepali court. As a self-proclaimed democrat of democrats, Sharma of all people should demonstrate confidence in the rule of law; he should be equally prepared to face the consequences of his insubordination should he be found guilty of breaching the norms he accuses Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav of breaching.
Further, the allegations that Murari Raj Sharma has launched against B. P. Yadav (another democratically established leader in Nepali politics) are serious. Should Sharma have proof to back up his allegations, he is welcome to present his case before a Nepali court of law. Yet, such thinking appears alien to a disenfranchised sycophant who appears more concerned with creating controversy for the Nepali government (on behalf of his lord Koirala and Lady Sujata), than serving the interests of the Nepali people.
On a human level, the personal challenges Murari Sharma currently faces (his child’s education and his wife’s medical treatment), inspire sympathy. On a professional and democratic level, Sharma’s refusal to vacate the Nepali Embassy’s premises in London, and take leave to tend to his personal matters, are appalling! Is there anything democratic about Nepali tax payers subsidizing Sharma’s personal expenses?
There are reasons why the Nepali Congress is in demise and reasons why the Maoists, despite their stated objective of establishing a one-party communist republic, increasingly present the best of the worst alternatives for ordinary Nepalis. Characters like Murari Raj Sharma represent “glowing” examples of the increasing disenchantment that Nepali people feel, when it comes to the Nepali Congress. The Murari’s of our time are the epitome of why a democratic culture continues to evade Nepal. Emerging leaders in the Nepali Congress would do well to distance themselves from the likes of Murari Raj Sharma and the distasteful, double-standards his generation of politicians represent.
Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav had every right to terminate Murari Raj Sharma’s appointment. Moreover, given the ethnic dimensions to Sharma’s outburst (and the breach in protocol embodied by Sharma’s letter to a fellow bahun, Pushpa Kamal Dahal), Minister Yadav has even more reason to assert his democratically bestowed position by insisting that Sharma vacate the Nepal government’s property, immediately.