Monday, April 17, 2006

The Problems of Nepal

I came across these views by Dr. Thomas A Marks.

Some of you may recall that Dr. Marks is a world renowned expert on Maoist movements. While one finds such characters amusing, the ability of some so-called experts to use their established credentials in one area to randomly gas off about things they have no clue of is always quite stunning.

Nepal today is terrible mess.

In part this mess has been brought about by years of economic and political stagnation. The much revered monarchy today is but a shadow of its former self, gone is the assertive presence that served to guide the aspirations of the Nepali people, what stands in its place is a beleagured and tired institution, an anachronism.

A democratic order that took hold in the 1990s is has also run aground. The much promised reformation never materialized, all swallowed in the rush of caste based politics. The late King Birendra ceded power to a parliament but there was little per se that the Parliament could bring itself to do to improve the lot of the Nepali people. Unlike India, the upper castes of Nepal kept tossing power between themselves, sharing little with the underpriviledged citizenry.

All through the 90s the economy of Nepal stagnated and migrant labourers poured into India where they fell prey to criminal exploitation. Prostitution rackets and drug running cartels found a home in Nepal as the chronically ill polity sought out quick cash infusions to prevent collapse. It was here that the Pakistanis based their most brutal attacks on Indian currency. Nepal also legalized gambling and gave organized crime a permanent refuge from India's law enforcement agencies.

Having sown the seeds of suffering, Nepal today harvests pure sorrow. A culture of callousness dictates national policy. Expediency without any sense of social responsibility guides the formulation of national aims. In a nation where the King was worshipped as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the population is picking up arms against the Royal Nepalese Army. In broad daylight traffic policemen are now declared as class enemies and slaughtered.

The only way to end this without further bloodshed is for all Nepalis to sit down at a table and talk to each. The so called political elite have to listen to the not-so-elite and every attempt has to be made to identify the root causes of the Maoist insurgency and to address them.

The factors driving Maoist insurgency in Nepal are not very different from the factors driving Maoist insurgency in India. The difference is that India is a reformist state and the government is populated by competent people who seek to redress social imbalances. The result is that per capita the Maoist violence levels in India are far lower. The same cannot be said of Nepal.

All this talk of an IPKF-Nepal is fine but the circumstances were very different in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was an Island on most major sea lanes of communication - Nepal is a landlocked country. There was a huge uproar in India due to Sinhala rioting against Tamils in Sri Lanka in 1983 - the word Nepal doesn't command the same response. Unlike the last IPKF mission to Sri Lanka, a mission to Nepal should it materialize will proceed very differently. After all - the boys have been peacekeeping in Kashmir and the North East for the last 15 years. This isn't going to be like 1987 at all...

You know... while Thomas is so keen to point fingers at India, note how he is totally silent about all the offices of that the Nepali and other Maoist groups maintain in US client states in South East Asia, in those wonderful terrorist havens of Europe... the so-called "low countries"... and yes... you guessed it Canada.

3 Comments:

At 2:26 AM, Blogger Rashmi Bansal said...

hi
Could u pls email me on rashmi_b@yahoo.com. This is re: the Buddhi case

 
At 10:54 AM, Blogger cynical nerd said...

Maverick:

Out of topic. This article might interest you.
http://www.nwc.navy.mil/press/Review/2006/spring/art3-sp06.htm

best,

 
At 8:33 PM, Blogger DKPatel said...

Hi Maverick,

Perhaps the economic recovery package India is offering to Nepal will be more effective than any IPKF one the ground. Infusing some money into rural development schemes will help prop up the new government and *could* reverse Maoist support in the countryside.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1508199.cms

Regards,
Dev

 

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