Struggle for Democracy in Nepal
3 November 2005
Lunch Seminar on Struggle for Democracy in Nepal
by professor Manik Lal Shrestha
On February 1, 2005, Nepal's King Gyanendra announced on state television that he was taking over direct power. This announcement has plunged Nepal into uncertainty about its stability, but also into certainty with regard to the failure of democracy. We are pleased to invite you for a presentation by Professor Manik Lal Shrestha about the struggle for democracy in this Asian country (see attachment for more information) since the 1950s.
Place/ Room: Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden, fifth floor, room 5A37
Time: November 3rd. 12 PM till 1.30 PM
Could you please let me know whether you are participating (by e-mail, before October 31st, 5 PM)?
Short Curriculum Vitae of Manik Lal Shrestha (1932)
Manik Lal Shrestha is professor at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu (Nepal). Moreover, he was an active participant in the anti-Rana democratic movement of 1950, a renowned figure of resistance against the Royal Coup of 1960, and he played an important role in the 1990 popular movement for restoration of multiparty democracy.
Topic of Presentation by Manik Lal Shrestha
Manik Lal Shrestha would like to review the democratic struggle of the Nepalese people, from the Praja Parishad movement of 1936-37 to the present-day struggle for restoration of democratic rights of the citizens. In the review, emphasis will be laid on the irony that the vast masses of Nepalese people participate in the struggle struggle for democracy and make exemplary sacrifices, but every time they have no hand in the conclusion of the movement, they are not entitled to make decisions. In other words, the change which comes as a result of the movement is decided by actors other than the representatives of the common people.
In the speech, he will refer to events relating to the Praja Parishad movement and its suppression by the Rana regime, the continuation of Praja Parishad movement under a new organization `Nepal Prajatantra Sangh ' in 1941, the Massive People`s Uprising of 1950 ( called 2007 revolution ), the civil disobedience movement of 1957, the resistance movement against Royal Coup of 1960 December, the `Students' movement' resulting in the announcement of referendum of 1980, the people's movement of 1990 for the end of Monarchial Panchayat dictatorship and the present resistance of the people against regression towards absolute monarchial autocracy.
The review will show how in 1950 movement the entire masses of Nepalese people, responding to the call of Nepali Congress, actively participated in the fight to end the Rana family oligarchy. The Rana regime collapsed, but the outcome of the insurgency was decided not by the Nepalese people, not even by the Nepali Congress Party which `led ' the movement, but by the roadmap of the then Indian prime-minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. The so- called `Tripartite Delhi Compromise among King, Rana and Congress Party ' was not actually a compromise among the alleged three forces, but an agreement between the Indian Government and the Rana rulers of Nepal in accordance with the provisions of the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty. The Nepali Congress leaders did not even know of the compromise until it was announced. Events and published statements and utterances of concerned persons will be closely analyzed to prove this reality.
In the same way it will be analyzed how the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1957 and anti-Panchayat resistance of 1961-2 was aborted and which forces decided their end. Likewise events in the course of 1990 people's movement will be closely studied, the glorious role played by Ganesh Man Singh and also the stand and role of the three political forces which participated in the uprising (responding to the call of Ganesh Man), namely
(1) Nepali Congress Party
(2) United Left Front and
(3) National United People's Movement.
It is noteworthy that right at the time when Ganesh Man urged other parties to join the movement going to be launched by Nepali Congress Party, he made it clear that the movement may come to an end through compromise, but that he will not accept any compromise which is short of restoration of multi-party parliamentary democracy.
These are certain references only. As already stated, the following irony of the Nepalese Democratic movement will be shown: `The people are actors in pushing forward the movement, but have no role in bringing out the result'. The present crisis in Nepalese politics is a result of this continuing irony.