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FES Nepal in the Press 2015

The Constitution is not a magic stick <Top>

National News Agency

Kathmandu, December 29. Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli said that as there is no toleration for killing, violence and arson in democracy, the government will take action as per law. Inaugurating a program on the democratization of political parties organized by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung on Tuesday said that political parties through their unity foiled an effort to subvert the achievements of democracy in the past. "We have become successful to bring the constitution in a strategic game of subverting the achievements of democracy. The need is to implement and comply it," he said. "But the constitution is not a magic wand, it does not give whatever it demanded, people's wish can be fulfilled once the economic journey of the country begins." Democracy requires conscious, self-restrained and enlightened-based supreme system, therefore, the government and political parties should engage in protecting it.

Source: The Gorkhapatra Daily (30 December 2015)


Economic blockade incompatible with globalization <Top>

Arvind Rimal

A seminar on the question of Nepalese nationalism in the context of globalization was organized by the Tanka Prasad Acharya Memorial Foundation in cooperation with the F.E.S. Nepal on December 7, 2015 on the occasion of the 104th birth anniversary of the father of the democratic movement of Nepal late Tanka Prasad Acharya.

Presenting his working paper Dr. Swarnim Wagle, former member of the National Planning Commission, among other things, stressed on the need to evolve a new economic-political formulation whose foundation can and must be only political liberalism and welfare democracy. Nepal should strive to gain economic strength which will ultimately provide it with an adequate leverage to achieve those objectives.

Earlier, in his welcome speech Mr. Arvind Rimal, chairperson of the TPAMF said that love of the nation, representative democracy, well being of the Nepalese people and safeguard of country's sovereignty were the hallmarks of late Acharya's political cause. Paramount as these ideas were to him they had been clearly elucidated in his letters to Prime Minister of India Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Socialist leader Mr. Jaya Prakash Narayan and the leader of the Nepali Congress Mr. Bishweshowr Prasad Koirala written from inside the Bhadragol prison in early 1950. Acharya remained firmly committed to these ideals throughout his life. Late Acharya put the question of love for nation above any "ism" and "zation". Also as a good friend of the Indian people he obliged the then Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi in 1969 writing a letter to the then Chinese Prime Minister Chouen Lai in order to bring about normalization of India-China relations. He regarded this issue as beneficial to the Nepalese cause as well. He went to the Indian city of Vanaras to meet Mr. Koirala and urged him to come back home to reorganize and galvanize the movement for the restoration of multi-party democracy in Nepal.

In his address as the chief guest Mr. C.P. Mainali ,Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare, called for maintenance of national unity on geographical basis with the guarantee of rights of every nationality. This can only be achieved by honoring our historical and cultural heritages. Describing the economic blockade imposed by the Government of India against Nepal as incompatible with the globalization movement, former Minister Mr. Nilamber Acharya demanded the respect of inviolable rights of a landlocked country in regard to trade and transit. He condemned the assault on the security establishments of Nepal by the socalled Nepali agitators from Nepal-India international border as anti-national acts. Former ambassador Dr. Bishnu Hari Nepal, Dr. Devraj Dahal, Head of the F.E.S. Nepal, Mr. Deependra Chhetri, former Vice-chairman, National Planning Commission, Mr. Ganesh Shah, former Minister and the President of the Communist Party of Nepal (United), Mrs. Shanta Laxmi Shrestha, President of the Beyond Beijing Committee highlighted the need for developing a political system based on law, order and social justice, on transparency, accountability, integrity as well as on respect of human dignity irrespective of caste and creed of the population. The indivisibility of the Nepalese nation was the common call of all the participants.

Source: The Weekly Mirror (18 December 2015)


Building resilient societies through civic education <Top>

By Dev Raj Dahal

Introduction

Community resilience is an inclusive concept. It covers the recovery of important aspects such as food, shelter, education, health, production, business and security from disruptions. In order to bring the Nepali societies back to normal life from the havoc of April and May earthquakes, the concept is anchored in robust good governance because it drives planning, management and revitalization measures that are urgently needed to deal the stressful life of affected citizens. The Nepali communities had organized collective action at the level of individuals, neighborhoods, hamlets, villages, watersheds, etc in the aftermath of quake when the nation was just recovering from a decade-long Peoples' War. The unintended effects of elite capture of the state and decoupling of national politics from everyday life, had made ordinary villagers and urban residents acutely aware of how critically dependent they are of one another in times of crisis. The communities' help for the victims came instantly. Shared pain provided an emotional moment for the unity and solidarity of Nepalese citizens of all shades and across geographic divides. Moreover, a strong feeling of civic duty to support the needy had triumphed self-interest. Social media communicated this ordeal to global community for the humanitarian support. Communities of all hues acted like members of a single national community - the Nepali state which had persistently been weakened by politics of parochialism, factional power struggle and elongated political transition. The lack of leadership thinking in dynamic terms and organizes disaster preparedness, in the beginning, it had difficulty in providing instant rescue, relief and rehabilitation support.

Even after eight-month of quake there are challenges to the implementation of a long-term rebuilding program through multi-level efforts of National Reconstruction Authority, implement the recently promulgated Constitution of Nepal 2015 and diversify of production and distribution of essential goods to avert the looming "humanitarian crisis" arising out of the Indian restriction on the supply of fuel, medicine and construction materials on the pretext of agitation of Madhesis and Tharus demanding equitable constitution. The human conditions of society are largely determined by labor, work and emancipation. While the labor and work are connected to personal and national survival and progress, emancipation of citizens from constraining condition of institutions and practices is the greatest gift of civic education. As knowledge based on reflection, social virtues, trust and cooperation, civic education and spirits lubricates the civility of society to cooperate across diverse strata of population and creates a radius of trust for coordinated action. It is important to maintain a balance between internal and external demands of society and facilitate preservative adaptation.

Four factors provided structural context for policy intervention in Nepal-landlocked and least developed status of the nation and inequality across social classes and regions; post-conflict phase demanding transitional justice, reconciliation and durable peace; post-earth quake imperative of rebuilding; and post-constitutional need for the stabilization of authority and legitimacy for the mediation of state-citizen ties. To overcome the compound risks of this structural context requires Nepalese leaders to seek the unity of the diverse voices of Nepali citizens. Judith Rodin says that the resilience of individuals, societies and nation-states require five elements: "awareness, adaptation, diversity, integration and self-regulation." Nepal's ancient history of enlightenment, syncretic culture, heritage of tolerance of diversity, overlapping values, cosmopolitan outlook to outsiders and history of national independence infused the virtue of resilience to Nepali society. The diversity of Nepali society with 125 caste and ethnic groups, 123 languages and over 7 religions means relationships among them are non-linear. The earthquake that badly hit 14 districts, killed over 9,000 persons and destroyed precious infrastructures and heritage sites, therefore, galvanized even the minority communities of non-affected areas such as Kamlaris, Shikhs, Telis, Tharus, Muslims, Buddhists, etc who extended immediate relief support to the people of affected areas. Civic spirit, known as altruistic consciousness, thus linked each component of society to the other, expressed instinctive empathy and provided opportunity for adaptation to even unfavorable environment.

Civic education is essentially teleological (purposive). It provides systemic thinking about the elements of resilience and contributes to "inner vigilance" which is essential for character building of Nepali citizens and "educational praxis" for linking critical knowledge to resolve the problems of everyday life of society. The practice of civic education increases human longing to innovate, broadens perspectives, transforms pre-national identities of Nepali people into national identity of citizens, enables them to exercise constitutional rights and duties and learn skill and disposition to peacefully participate in opinion formation, public policy and public affairs. It liberates citizens from self-tutelage, promotes political acculturation, fosters trusts and volunteerism and opens the possibility for cooperative action across the nation's heterogeneous population. Better societal cohesion means there is less possibility of manipulation by ethnic, class, caste or communal elements or historical prejudice. Self-transcendence of societal groups, however, requires continuous tending, resolution of social contradictions and evolving a just society so that pre-modern politics of divide and rule cannot undermine societal integrity and resilience.

Civic Duties

The Constitution of Nepal 2015 has spelled 32 rights including the sovereignty of people and four duties. Citizenship is the membership of state loyalty to which overrides allegiances to subsidiary identities. Hope of lasting peace can return in Nepal if "group privileges" institutionalized in various sectoral inclusive commissions do no constrain the implementation these constitutional and human rights and Nepali citizens begin to strategize for the future again through productive enterprises, justice, reconciliation and rebuilding the communities, society and the state. Group rights are exclusive in nature where non-members are excluded. This re-tribalizes Nepali society as it is averse to modernity expressed in terms of individual and human rights. In the aftermath of quake, the public-spirited citizens demanded a welfare-oriented stronger state presence in the rescue and relief operations with the ability to reshape politics and law, and contribute to sustainable development. Only stability-driven social investment in economy can tame violence, address scarcity and avert the impending humanitarian crisis. Particularly the majority of youth, stifled by poverty and high unemployment rate, is driven out of the country in order to earn their family's livelihood and bring in remittances to shore up the ailing national economy. Rural Nepali society is left with orphan, children, women and disabled who are filling the vacuum in labor market. Unless reasonable economic incentives are provided to youths to stay at home and new skills are upgraded to them, rebuilding will be both time-consuming and costly. This means not just the expansion of labor market but also the recognition to the dignity of work, social security and organization of informal sector worker to engage them in livelihood production, economic recovery and social development. Egalitarian society is more resilient than the hierarchic one although communication is effective in hierarchic society. Civic education fosters quite a few strategies to overcome dissembled life created by poor human condition, violent conflict, natural disasters and external penetration:

Building awareness about the pattern of risks: Fundamental consciousness about system condition, both natural and human-made, informs about the historical experience of disasters, formulation of rational choice and exercise of human action within the limits of natural universe. Civic education can serve as a conduit for altruistic responsibility and emotionally synchronize large group of volunteers' action. Climate change, earth quake, landslides, economic decline, poverty, joblessness, migration and social divisions are exposing Nepali society to fragility, vulnerability, uncertainty, trouble and transformation. Self-awareness of each Nepalese citizens about their condition and constitutional and institutional means to improve it can enable them to achieve collective wellbeing what they cannot achieve on their own. Knowledge about the connection of family to community, society and nation-state enables to obey the rules, structures and dynamic relationships, interactions and exchanges. There is, however, a dire need to revitalize the upper rungs of the political leadership, including holding of election for local government bodies and prepare the top-down national polity for creating an effective self-governing body consisting of an informed, conscious and active citizenry with the knack to foster relational ability-being able to collaborate, persevere and navigate even in the midst of adverse circumstances.

Mapping the scale of devastation: Mapping helps one to know about the linkages and connections with various arteries of society and allows motivate policy makers to stress on societal embeddedness by enriching and enlarging the scope of better collective societal recovery, regeneration and renewal. National Planning Commission in cooperation with donors, experts and stakeholders has prepared Post-Disaster Needs Assessment. This assessment has estimated the scale of damage worth $7billion, the resources required for removing the rubbles, rebuilding and prioritization, enabling various individuals, institutions and the government to understand the dynamic condition of nature and society, pattern of disruptions and future tasks in the local context both to prevent future uncertainty and mitigate the impacts. Mapping also helps to know the "connecting elements" of society which is essential to foster system integration.

Engaging citizens in rebuilding: The increase in the participation of all stakeholders in reconstruction can lower the cost of rebuilding, overcome alienation, mobilize local skill, resources and persons, create decent jobs for them and provide them ownership. The government has already provided $1,500 to the victim's family, material support from NGOs, INGOs and business community, Nepalese citizens have constructed their temporary shelters to protect themselves from monsoon and now winter seasons, built their schools, health posts, repaired bridges, farm lands and communication and electricity grids. Now they are waiting for resources, equipment and support for building back better. Nepali citizens have demonstrated their greatest civic virtues to support each other, link the periphery to the center, live together in cooperative relations, evolve overlapping norms and regulate the life of society for reasonable stability.

Giving greater voices to the affected: Violence, conflict and natural disaster had badly affected women, poor, children and elderly citizens of Nepal as they had less means to defend themselves. Giving greater voice to the conflict, earthquake and scarcity-affected Nepali citizens is essential as it offers them emotional satisfaction and hope for recovery from basic needs deficits, medicine, gender concern and a feeling of community and trust. It is important to cultivate social and contextual learning by governing elites and build back better in the future. The role of culture is important in producing good and civilized citizens as particular form of identity is a barrier to social cohesion and "organic solidarity" based on impersonal norms, role differentiation and division of labor. Social closure or intolerance to other groups undermines learning from others and sharing collective responsibility. Inflexibility weakens the resilience of society gained through a process of natural selection, adaptation and change.

Mobilizing critical resources: In the International Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction on June 15 donors pledged $4.4 billion, half grant and half loan while trade union, NGOs, charity-based organizations, cultural associations and individuals, both native and international, lent humanitarian and rehabilitation and rebuilding support to the quake-victim families. International community, NGOs and civil society since five years had provided the early warning of quake and suggested safety measures. This provided an opportunity to minimize human causalities. Societal wellbeing and economic efficiency rest on building human, social and cultural capital as well as low trust society lags behind in fostering sustainable development.

Strengthening institutional quality: Endemic poverty, civic conflict and vulnerability of Nepali citizens to risks are attributed to the failure of the implementation of good public policies by various Nepali governments. Responsiveness of political leaders and institutions can bridge the chasm between elites and the masses, contribute to economic development and social cohesion. Cohesive society is less prone to latent and manifest tensions. Societal resilience springs from the capacity of different groups to work together under the rule of law and foster society's overall prosperity and welfare.

Monitoring the engineering code and activities: The democratization of decision-making structures, active surveillance of the rebuilding processes as well as a vigorous response to the democratic deficit are essential elements for civic renewal in Nepal. Only transformational leaders at every level of government, business and civil society can inspire citizens to follow laws and shepherd a solution to Nepal's constitutional problems, boost public confidence in rebuilding resilient infrastructures, deepen democracy and achieve durable peace. Engineering code for infrastructural development must be applied in the cities and villages and civil society and media disseminate knowledge and information about it.

Rebuilding the past and future

Civic education detribalizes society and helps to promote constitutional behavior of leaders and citizens. It helps Nepali citizens and leaders to know their ties with community, society and the state and their responsibilities within them. Without civic virtues, they will be confined to self-interest, families, lineage groups, friends and client-oriented interest groups. It cannot combat fatalism, prejudice and superstition. The new civil society groups of Nepal with the feeling of "we" are providing hope for citizens and spurring the need for institutional efficiency and reforms. They can provide a new public sphere for the people and the international community to know as to who trustworthy collaborators are and who are not. Emerging from diverse social and economic backgrounds - the youth, workers, ordinary citizens, local entrepreneurs, cooperatives, NGOs, INGOs and the Nepali diaspora -they are less elitist and more oriented to serve the needy. As lifeblood of democracy, these democratic innovators have the potential to change the Nepalese politics, economy, society, education and international relations in the future.

However, for this potential to be unleashed, they need to play a constructive role in strengthening a democratic social contract on how to live together as equal citizens and rebuild a quake-resistant infrastructure. The international community can help by contributing financial resources and certain technical skills and engineering standards. Such international assistance alongside the efforts of the Nepali communities and state, can foster a responsible political system and local society in which antiquated infrastructure is updated, and practical standards ensure that scarce public resources are transparently utilized to contribute to a resilient and democratic communities, society and nation. In this dire hour of national crisis, relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and rebuilding are the primary responsibilities, followed by the restoration of the nation's precious historical, cultural and religious heritage sites. They are the sources of Nepal beauty and tourist attraction and provide spiritual and symbolic meaning for the Nepali people and a national Nepalese identity. Rebuilding better future of the nation is strongly connected to reconstructing the past.

(The author is the head of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Nepal office.)

Source: People's Review Weekly (18 November 2015)


Internationalise unofficial blockade, govt suggested <Top>

The Nepalese society that has been reeling under a severe crisis of essential supplies including the petroleum products, cooking gas and medicines following the undeclared blockade by India has been in dire need of resiliency to tackle the situation that the country is facing.

The country that was rattled by the devastating earthquake of April 25 and series of landslides in the monsoon has been bearing brunt of blockade along the Nepal-India borders is at the crossroads, said economists, sociologists and stakeholders. This blockade is a gross violation of any international laws and treaties that Nepal should not delay in internationalizing the issue and put pressure on India, they reiterated.

Dwelling upon various facets of current crisis triggered by the blockade, they underlined the need for immediate measures to tackle the problem, they said adding "change in policy" to provide relief to the common people is a must without delay. Speaking at a seminar on "Building a Resilient Society through Civic education" organized by the Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS), they spoke about building resiliency through social harmony, cooperation and creativity. This is the time crisis. We were hit hard by the earthquake and mudslides and furthermore we are being gagged by the blockade. This is the time that we have to work in tandem to prevent our society from the effect of blockade. We have to learn from Japan and Korea to develop a kind of resiliency and move towards the path of development, they said adding that kind of resistivity, strength could be developed only through civic education.

Prof. Ananda P Shrestha, executive chairman of the NEFAS highlighting the objectives of the seminar said that the views expressed by the intellectuals, researchers and stakeholders would definitely help in policy formation. This is the most difficult time in the country's history. We have to appeal to international communities for help, he said adding "and simultaneously the problems with India should be ironed out." Prof. Shrestha while speaking at the programme also questioned about the existence of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and said that the institution can no longer function properly amidst turbidity and differences between the members.

Dev Raj Dahal, Head of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) spoke about various facets of the Nepalese society and pointed out where the gaps have occurred. Dahal who has been advocating for building a strong civic society for many years pointed out the need for civic education so as to strengthen social fabrics in the changed political context. He however blamed the political actors for creating fissures in the society. Community resilience is an inclusive concept which deals with the supply of food, shelter, education, health, production, business and security. The society which is diverse has a greater degree of resiliency. People help each other and come with diverse views to tackle the problem. Hence, we should be cautious about preserving our value based society.

Former vice chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Prof. Gunanidhi Sharma said that unbridled liberalization and privatization in the aftermath of reinstatement democracy in 1990 have made our economy more dependent on India. Prof. Sharma said that there were severe flaws in policy level. The role of the state was gradually weakened by deregulation, denationalization, demonetarization and downsizing the role of the state.

He said that the crisis that the country was facing is the consequence of our policy and interfering attitude of the South. He also underlined the need to build resiliency through civic education. However, he said that the youths who have been source of remittance should be provided with better opportunity within the country. Youths are the future. They should not be encouraged to go abroad to earn remittance. We have to create job ourselves so that the economy becomes sustainable, he said.

Sociologist Pranav Kharel and peace and conflict expert Santosh Pariyar presented their papers. Over 72 people from various institutions participated in the program. Economists, sociologist, policy makers and intellectuals expressed their views on the papers. The program was organised with the cooperation of FES.

Source: The Rising Nepal (8 November 2015)


Make society more resilient to overcome crisis: Experts <Top>

By A Staff Reporter

The Nepalese society that has been reeling under a severe crisis of essential supplies including the petroleum products, cooking gas and medicines following the undeclared blockade by India has felt a dire need of resiliency to tackle the dire situation that the country has been facing for the last one and half months. The country that was rattled by the devastating earthquake of April 25 and series of landslides in the monsoon has been bearing brunt of blockade along the Nepal-India borders is at the crossroads, said economists, sociologists and stakeholders. This blockade is a gross violation of any international laws and treaties that Nepal should not delay in internationalizing the issue and put pressure on India, they reiterated.

Dwelling upon various facets of current crisis triggered by the blockade, they underlined the need for immediate measures to tackle the problem, they said adding "change in policy" to provide relief to the common people is a must without delay. Speaking at a seminar on "Building a Resilient Society through Civic education" organized by the Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS), they spoke about building resiliency through social harmony, cooperation and creativity. This is the time crisis. We were hit hard by the earthquake and mudslides and furthermore we are being gagged by the blockade. This is the time that we have to work in tandem to prevent our society from the effect of blockade. We have to learn from Japan and Korea to develop a kind of resiliency and move towards the path of development, they said adding that kind of resistivity, strength could be developed only through civic education.

Prof. Ananda P Shrestha, executive chairman of the NEFAS highlighting the objectives of the seminar said that the views expressed by the intellectuals, researchers and stakeholders would definitely help in policy formation. This is the most difficult time in the country's history. We have to appeal to international communities for help, he said adding "and simultaneously the problems with India should be ironed out." Prof. Shrestha while speaking at the programme also questioned about the existence of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and said that the institution can no longer function properly amidst turbidity and differences between the members.

Dev Raj Dahal, Head of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) spoke about various facets of the Nepalese society and pointed out where the gaps have occurred. Dahal who has been advocating for building a strong civic society for many years pointed out the need for civic education so as to strengthen social fabrics in the changed political context. He however blamed the political actors for creating fissures in the society. Community resilience is an inclusive concept which deals with the supply of food, shelter, education, health, production, business and security. The society which is diverse has a greater degree of resiliency. People help each other and come with diverse views to tackle the problem. Hence, we should be cautious about preserving our value based society.

CIVIC EDUCATION FOR RESILIENT SOCIETY

Former vice chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Prof. Gunanidhi Sharma said that unbridled liberalization and privatization in the aftermath of reinstatement democracy in 1990 have made our economy more dependent on India. Prof. Sharma said that there were severe flaws in policy level. The role of the state was gradually weakened by deregulation, denationalization, demonetarization and downsizing the role of the state. He said that the crisis that the country was facing is the consequence of our policy and interfering attitude of the South. He also underlined the need to build resiliency through civic education. However, he said that the youths who have been source of remittance should be provided with better opportunity within the country. Youths are the future. They should not be encouraged to go abroad to earn remittance. We have to create job ourselves so that the economy becomes sustainable, he said.

Sociologist Pranav Kharel and peace and conflict expert Santosh Pariyar presented their papers. Over 72 people from various institutions participated in the programme. Economists, sociologist, policy makers and intellectuals expressed their views on the papers. The programme was organized with the cooperation of FES.

Source: The Rising Nepal (07 November 2015)


Experts hail media's role <Top>

By A Staff Reporter
Gokarna, (Kathmandu), Aug 31: Experts have hailed the role of Nepali media in handling the post-quake challenges, stating that it had shifted its role from a conventional watchdog to a vibrant dialogue forun between the system and citizens.
Speaking at a two-day seminar on 'Media's Role in Rebuilding Post-eartquake Nepal' they said that it was acting as 'a converter of citizens' demands into polity, supplier of popular feedback to the system for its stability, legitimacy and adaptability and helping to break the political statis by alternative ideas, which are creating barriers to drafting a new constituion'.
Organised by the Friedrick Ebert Stiftung (FES), a German political foundation, the seminar, attended by over 45 journalists, concluded Monday.

Puting forth his views on 'Constitution Making Process and Government's Role in Disaster Management', constitution analyst Kashi Raj Dahal said that the statute writing process faced hinderances as the political parties did not settle political problems at the outset. "Experts have to be consulted to prepare the draft statute because it involves technical and legal issues. Then, the Constituent Assembly (CA) members should formally endorse it followed by the acceptance of the people," he said.

Dahal said that the media should keep a vigil on the reconstruction works to be undertaken by the powerful Reconstruction Auhtority.

He, however, warned that crisis of vision on part of the political leadership and declining public morality could complicate both tasks - statute writing and post-quake reconstruction drive.

Dev Raj Dahal, head, FES Nepal office, said that the evolution of autonomous and professional media had become a carrier of public opinion, an expression of the inward domain of consciousness of citizens.

Dahal noted that in post-conflict and post-quake context, Nepali media should impartially communicate the legitimate issues of statehood to the public and people should be transfrmed into ciizens with equal rights and duties to retain their loyalties. "It helps to improve the health of democracy and assit the society and the state to bounce back to better condition capable of establishing a balance between public order and freedom."

Senior journalist Yuva Raj Ghimire said that informed citizens put pressure on the politicians and decision-makers to make right decisions.

"The media should bring all concerned stakeholders into a framework of dialogue so as to cope with the challenges posed by the April 12 earthquake," he said.

Journalist Aarati Chataut called for giving emphasis to gender sensitivity while dealing with disaster-relateed issues.

"Of total quake victims, about 72 per cent are women and children. This figure should have shaken us," she said, adding that handling female victims of the quake required a different approach and skill and the media should focus on it.

Source: The Rising Nepal (1 September 2015)


Kailali Incident is against Humanity <Top>

Gorkhapatra Correspondent,
Kathmandu, August 28: Former Prime Minister and senior leader of Nepali Congress said that those disrupting social harmony existing in Nepal since long are the opponent of national interest and federalism. Former Prime Minister reminded that he also stood for the rights of Tharus. How one can say that he is anti-Tharu? Those indulged in politics by spreading hate politics and disrupting social harmony are against national interest and humanity. They should be brought into strong legal action and international humanitarian laws should also be invoked for this.

Speaking in a workshop organized by Nepal Press Union on "Role of Media in Post-Earth Quake National Reconstruction," he said that some media falsely reported about what he has not spoken. He said "He and his party are always in favor of free press. Write news on the basis of facts."

Senior leader Deuba said that Tharus and Hill people were living together since centuries. Some individuals visited from here sought to stoke communal violence. Where were the journalists when so disasters anti-human acts happened? He asked whether journalists are safe in violence? Likewise, he also said that violence weakens federalism. Pointing his role in the abolition of bonded labor and their upliftment has added that he was always engaged in Tharu movement. How can he become anti-Tharu?

He said those outsiders who were indulged in Kailali carnage by the use of violent means, burned people can be Nepali?

In the program Minister for Information and Communication Dr. Minendra Rijal said that media played a positive role in national reconstruction. Their roles are satisfactory but there is still some prospects for reform. No one can curtail media freedom in Nepal. If we consider all those published are papers others are online media then we cannot protect freedom of expression. In the program senior Journalists Dr. Suresh Acharya and Hari

Bahadur Thapa presented papers on post-quake disaster management and nation rebuilding.

Similarly, member of National Information Commission, Kiran Kumar Pokhrel, senior Journalist Harihar Birahi, Chairman of NPU Badri Sigdel, Chief of FES Dev Raj Dahal, Vice-Chairmen of NPU Dipak Acharya and Ishworki Ojha spoke about the role of media in post-disaster nation-building.

Source: Gorkhapatra (29 August 2015)


Conspiracy to Disrupt Goodwill <Top>

Kathmandu: Senior leader of Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba said that deliberate and planned conspiracy has been hatched to create rift between the Hill and Madhesi people. Considering the event of Kailali, Tanakpur its outcome he asked the media persons to expose it.

"This process is disrupting the social harmony between Hill and Madhesi people and Bahun, Chhetris and Janajatis. The first day Tharu and Hill people entered into consensus in Kailali and the next day began attack with spear, dragger and wood-cutter. This is planned conspiracy" he said.

In the program organized by Press Union and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Deuba said, "Media should write fearlessly against those spreading hate politics and undermining social harmony." He expressed anger against the facebook and twitter for projecting him anti-Tharu.

He said that the activities and events in Tarai are anti-human rights. Saying that media cannot survive in the absence of human rights in a seminar on "Role of Media in Post-Quake Nation-Building" he added "the survival of media rests on the indispensability of human rights. There is corrosion of human rights in a situation where Hill people cannot settle in plain lands and Janajatis, Bahuns and Chhetris cannot live together. The event in Kailali is a serious crime. In such event no Nepali people can indulge.

In the program Minister for Information and Communication Minendra Rijal said all those published materials cannot be put into journalist category. Media persons should spell clearly what media are and what they are not. In the program former President of Nepal Federation of Journalists Suresh Acharya and news editor of Kantipur Daily Hari Bahadur Thapa presented papers on good governance and media.

Source: The Kantipur Daily (29 August 2015)


Hate Politics has been stoked <Top>

Rajdhani Correspondent, Kathmandu

Senior leader of Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba asserted that some forces are stoking hate politics among those people traditionally living together in peace and harmony. He claimed that Tikapur incident instead of becoming a Tharu movement is a conspiracy where they were used. In a seminar organized by Nepal Press Union and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung here in Kathmandu on Friday on the "Role of Media in Post-Earth Quake Nation-Building," Deuba said that he was projected anti-Tharu by twisting his speech which he has never spoken.

When I was prime minister I provided Tharu bonded labor 10 Katha land each, used to attend their festival and now how I am projected anti-Tharu? He added that in an issue which he never spoke he is projected as anti-Tharu. The Facebook and media all twisted the news. Dueba said that "I have said that the districts should not split. But I was advertised that I am against providing rights to them." The lesion of Baglung and Rukkum clearly tell the pain the splitting districts. Now the ploy is to create rift between Tharus and Hill people. Should Hill be separated from Madhesh and create a condition that they cannot live together? Should similar situation be created where Tharu and Hill people cannot live together? And a condition is created where Janajatis and Hill people cannot live together?

Stating that he is in favor of free press asked: "Should journalists be responsible or not? Even if it is not mentioned from Bardiya to Nawalparasi, it addressed the Tharu's demand for Tharuhat. "Kailali incident is crime against humanity, in such crime international law should be invoked," he said. He added organization of procession with dragger, spear, woodcutter and sword, killing of innocent people, rasie slogan to evict hill people, etc cannot be committed by Tharus. They are just caught in this planned conspiracy. It does not help the nation. Where there is no human rights the media freedom cannot exist there.

Minister for Communication and Information Minendra Rijal said that no one can control media but media should also be responsible. "Now the society cannot tolerate control, violence breeds violence. So long as the source of violence is not eliminated, media freedom cannot be functional. Political dissatisfaction can be resolved through non-violent means.

Source: Rajdhani Daily (29 August 2015)


I am always in favour of Tharu struggle <Top>

Kathmandu, Aug. 28: Nepali Congress senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba has expressed concern saying that some media outlets have disseminated 'fake' news reports about his recent statements regarding Tharu community and urged the media to disseminate only credible news.

"Disseminate news based on credibility and truth," he said indicating to the media, adding that he and his party is always in favour of free press.
Deuba was speaking at a programme organised by the Nepal Press Union in the capital today.

Clarifying that he always stands in favour of Tharu community, the former prime minister said that he himself freed Kamaiya (bonded labourers) for the upliftment of the Tharu community.

"I am always in favour of Tharu struggle. How can I go against the community," asked the former Prime Minister. He also said that there was an infiltration in the August 24 Tikapur incident that had left nine people including police personnel dead.

On the occasion, Minister for Information and Communications, Dr Minendra Rijal said that the media has played a constructive role in the development of the state, calling for correction of 'some weakness' in the media sector. No ruling party could bar the media from working freely, he said.

Source: The Rising Nepal (28 August 2015)


Deuba Lambasts Media for Disseminating 'Fake News' <Top>

- RSS, Kathmandu

Aug 28, 2015- Nepali Congress senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba has expressed concern saying that some media outlets have disseminated 'fake' news reports about his recent statements regarding Tharu community and urged the media to disseminate only credible news.

"Disseminate news based on credibility and truth," he said indicating to the media, adding that he and his party is always in favour of free press.
Deuba was speaking at a programme organised by the Nepal Press Union in the Capital on Friday.

Clarifying that he always stands in favour of Tharu community, the former prime minister said that he himself freed Kamaiya (bonded labourers) for the upliftment of the Tharu community.

"I am always in favour of Tharu struggle. How can I go against the community," asked the former Prime Minister. He also said that there was an infiltration in the August 24 Tikapur incident that had left nine people including police personnel dead.

On the occasion, Minister for Information and Communications, Minendra Rijal, said that the media has played a constructive role in the development of the state, calling for correction of 'some weakness' in the media sector. No ruling party could bar the media from working freely, he said.

Source: The Kathmandu Post (28 August 2015)


Stress on the Institutionalization of Participatory Representativeness <Top>

Rajdhani Correspondant,
Kathmandu August 14

Political leaders have accepted that they have not been able to institutionalize Nepal's as an example of participatory democracy. From the ministers to party parliamentarians they said that they could not institutionalize democratic achievements owing to non-following of rules and processes. The speakers admitted it in a program jointly organized by National Union of Journalists and People's Review Weekly here in Kathmandu. Minister for Information and Communication Dr. Minendra Rijal said that Nepal has better practice of participatory democracy than those who had practiced democracy for long.

"We have not been able to institutionalize it owing to difficulty in translating it into processes and rule," he said adding that "local government election should take place immediately to foster participatory process in the state organs." Minister Rijal said that the USA which has been practicing democracy since long time has only 20 percent women's representation in the Senate while we have guarantee 33 percent representation of women.

Chairman of Rastriya Janamorch Party and parliamentarian Chitra Bahadur KC speaking on the interrelationship between media and participatory democracy said that democracy is facing problem because only a few persons are benefitting from the governance. He also said that on the question of federalism his stand was right as parties which have accepted six federal provinces has ignited tension in the country.

CPN-UML legislator Lalbabu Yadav stressed on the importance of nationality above ethnicity and regionalism. He said that those who were opposing my argument that Tarai and hills should be linked have now realized it and came to the same point.

Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Nepal Office Dev Raj Dahal said that state should be representative of the nation's social diversity. Tej Prakash Pandit, Chairman of National Union of Journalist, added that media played an important role to promote the participation of people in governance. Associate Professor Ganesh Raj Bhatta and journalist Dr. Mukti Rijal presented separate papers on the theme.

Source: Rajdhani Daily (14 August 2015)


Nepal best model for participatory democracy: Info Minister <Top>

News Updated By- Radha Rokaha | Posted From- Washington DC | 13 August 2015

Kathmandu, Aug 13: Minister for Information and Communications Dr Minendra Rijal has said that Nepal is the best model for participatory democracy.

Speaking at an interaction programme organized here today by the National Union of Journalists and Peoples Review Weekly, Minister Rijal stated that the local bodies' election was essential to ensure the inclusiveness in the governance.

Minister Rijal, also the spokesperson of the government, said, "The President, Vice-President, Chief Justice and Constituent Assembly Chairperson and heads of the constitutional bodies in Nepal belong to non -Pahade and non-Brahman and non-Chettri communities, this is the best example of participation and inclusiveness."

"But, more inclusiveness is required in the central governance structures," added Dr Rijal.

Comparing the state of women's representation in the political leadership in Nepal with that of the USA, Minister Rijal argued that Nepal sets an example in terms of women's participation in politics from the lower level to the upper one adding that there was only 20 per cent of women's representation in the US Senate in the 200 years of the nation's political history.

Stating that the role of the community FM radios was important to bring together the public for discussions and arguments under the participatory democracy, Minister Rijal stressed for making such radios more effective and result-oriented.

Also, speaking at the programme President of the Rastriya Janamorcha Nepal and lawmaker Chitra Bahadur KC argued that a handful of persons is holding the rein of the politics in the name of democracy in Nepal.

Lawmaker KC further underscored the need to deliver a new constitution at the earliest to institutionalize democracy in the country.

"There is no alternative to promulgating the democratic constitution even by having some reservations," said KC.

Similarly, lawmaker Lalbabu Yadav opined that media play positive role in ensuring identity, access and representation for the participatory democracy.

He argued that the country should be strengthened on the basis of nationality rather than on ethnicity and regionalism.

Also speaking at the programme, Nepal Press Union Vice-President Ishwori Ojha said that the role of media was crucial in participatory democracy. Ojha suggested the commercialization of the media for social awareness.

Likewise, Tej Prakash Pandit, senior journalist, pointed out the need for reforms at the policy level to consolidate inclusive and participatory democracy in the country.

Devraj Dahal, Chief of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Nepal, recommended to formulate inclusive law and acts to promote inclusive and participatory democracy.

On the occasion, Ganeshraj Bhatta and Mukti Rijal presented working papers on media use for participatory democracy at the programme organised in association with FES Nepal. RSS


Normative Standards of Civic Education <Top>

Dev Raj Dahal, Head, FES Nepal Office

Introduction

Teaching about civic education always entails sharing of life-experience, conversation among the educators, leaders and citizens and preparation of life for living in shared world as a good citizen and human being. This is the phase of reflection on human condition of Nepali citizens and action to transform this for better. It is a "constitutional moment" for Nepali citizens, a moment that provides opportunities to include their rights and shoulder corresponding responsibilities in the forthcoming Constitution of Nepal 2015. The order of constitution prepared by Constituent Assembly means forging a social contract, not imposition of hegemony of powerful actors or spiral it around power equation which so far failed in Nepal. In a country of diverse groups, It should embody a clear vision in capsule, civic rights and duties of all and precise ordering of democratic principles and institutions to achieve them. In this context, fostering of civic virtue-subordination of self-interest for public good-has become an imperative for sustaining and deepening democracy in Nepal. Nepal's intellectual heritage considers knowledge a public good and the purpose of enlightenment is to attain individuality, nationality and humanity.

The intellectual basis of civic education is enlightenment. Nepal's heritage of enlightenment does not require suspending one's own intellectual history to know others as is happening in Nepal but requires the synthesis of best part of both. Immanual Kant rightly said that the purpose of history is to lead human being from ignorance to freedom. With the beginning of constitutional tradition of politics and abolition of arbitrary use of authority, Nepali citizens irrespective of caste, gender, class and economic distinctions are regarded as equal. But the legal entitlement of equality demands an improvement in educational and factual condition as well. In a weak state capacity, a solely aspirational constitution with huge rights and few duties will be a recipe for the instability of polity, government and political parties. Unequal stratification of society and its institutionalization in Nepal have already provided a structural context for the distortion of freedom and efficacy of citizen's participation in private and public life. Managing the lingering political stability of the nation requires a balance between three sets of rights-individual, group-based and human rights and corresponding responsibilities.

Civic knowledge is liberating as its application helps to overcome fear of ignorance and immaturity and solve inter-personal, inter-group, inter-organizational and international conflicts. Rationalization of society is, therefore, essential for the augmentation of its competitive strength and continuous democratization and modernization. Education, the great leveler of society, should not be dichotomized where the future of children of poor families is determined by their legacy of impoverished past. J. J. Rousseau rightly said that children "should be educated together and get the same education" so that national education can bring the general will of the community and particular will of individual into a perfect harmony. In this context, the function of a good teacher is not only to explain texts, letters and spirits in a style of rote learning, but to teach them by reflective experience, that is, link the stock of knowledge to both historical and contextual world.

A new constitution in time, peaceful resolution of conflict through moving the actors to higher goals, multi-track peace engagements, implementation of common development concept and achievement of governance goals are crucial strategies to mark Nepal's transition from violence to peace and set the nation to disaster-resilient course. Building resilient Nepal requires knowing about future risks-natural and human made and rebuilding robust infrastructures capable of withstanding various types of disruptions. Civic education, in this sense, helps Nepali citizens and leaders to gain critical knowledge about the emerging paradigms of "sustainability" and "resiliency" and adaptation of rule, rights, duties and values to achieve human freedom. It is a freedom from the jailbreak of the disciplinary cocoons of total conformism, indoctrination, thought-control, consent manufacturing and false consciousness and situate citizens and leaders to civic responsibility to change the society for the better. It enables to adapt to systemic thinking about the self, communities, the nation and the international system.

Maintenance of democratic system requires modernization of five structural forces: functional education, productive and sustainable economy, adaptation to new technological developments, transformational leadership having immense potential for social learning from the experience of ordinary citizens and capable of indigenizing universal knowledge and robust organization built on merit and performance. Mediation of theoretical knowledge by the reflection on concrete human condition of life-world of Nepali citizens is essential. New building code needs the upgradation of knowledge based on long experience. Reconstruction and rebuilding requires sustained civic dialogues on the democratic experience of elites and ordinary citizens and government and opposition. Civic education can moderate the overheated waves of radicalism, sectarianism and fundamentalism as well as foster pro-democratic qualities of politics. It helps the liberation of politics from violence which remains as Siamese twins, inseparable from each other and build national affinity and law-mediated solidarity among citizens and leaders in the future. A timely constitution is necessary but what is more important is the perceived fairness on the contents and procedures and constitutional behavior of citizens and leaders of all hues.

Note: Welcome speech on Building Modern State Through Civic Education delivered at Kapurkot, Salyan District on July 24, 2015.

Source: The Telegraph Weekly (12 August 2015)


German Expert Advises Forming Constitutional Court <Top>

KATHMANDU, Aug 4: At a time when the Supreme Court (SC) has stood against formation of Constitutional Court (CC), a renowned German expert has said that an independent constitutional court is a must in countries that adopt federal model of governance.

Addressing a function organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Kathmandu on Tuesday, German Prof Matthias Hartwig said most countries that have adopted federal system of governance have the provision of Constitutional Court in their constitutions. "There must an independent court that exclusively deals with issues of constitution. This helps promote human rights," said Prof Matthias while sharing his experience.
Prof Matthias, who is an expert on comparative public law and international law, said all European Union (EU) states that have turned democratic have established Constitutional Court. He maintained that the absence of independent body to look into constitutional disputes might create problems in the country that adopts federal structures with distribution of powers to federal and provincial government.

Although the Maoists and Madhes-based parties have demanded a permanent Constitutional Court, ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have agreed to keep only for 10 years after promulgation of the new statute.

Source: The Republica (6 August 2015)


Conceive your own form of federalism, German Expert suggests <Top>

By A Staff Reporter, Lalitpur, Aug 4: Dr Matthias Hartwig, a constitution expert from Germany, Tuesday said that federalism could bring deep changes to political culture and distribution of power.

Sharing the experiences of his country on federalism at an interaction organised by Friedrick Ebert Stiftung, Nepal Office here, Dr Hartwig said that Germany had inherited federal legacy since the mediaeval period so it successfully experimented the federal governance system.

"This is a historical reason why Germany adopted federalism but Nepal lacks this experience and, therefore, it has to carve its own model of federal structure," he said.

The German expert noted that Nepal was a big country in terms of population and geography, and ensuring smooth administration and service delivery was very important as it adopted the federal system.

According to him, democracy is key to the successful functioning of federalism.

Similarly, proper distribution of resources and maintaining balance between autonomy and competition in the provinces is equally vital, he said. "But, if the provinces lack resources, it becomes difficult to sustain democracy. The rich provinces have to fund for the poor ones."

Dr Hartwig, who also served as an advisor on the draft constitution of South Sudan, noted that there must be independent organ to look after the federal disputes.

He said that federalism helped ensure the rights of minorities and manage cultural differences among the different groups.

Dev Raj Dahal, head of FES, Nepal Office, said that political culture was prerequisite to the sustenance of federal system and democracy.
"Political enlightenment and democratic conduct are required to overcome the political crisis facing the nation."

Constituent Assembly member Surendra Chaudhary said that democracy derived its strength not from constitution but from the constitutional behaviour.

A host of selected participants attended the interaction.

Source: The Rising Nepal (5 August 2015)


Civic Education for a Civilized Society <Top>

R. K. Bilas
Nayanpur July 27

Stakeholders argued that creation of a civilized society rests on the inclusion of civic education in the curriculum of schools. Organized by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in cooperation with Nayanpur High School on the role of civic education in building modern state the speakers said that civic education can trigger reforms in the nation and society. They asserted that practical education should be combined with morality and public ethics. Only then behavioral change for the creation of good society is possible.

The Chairman of Nayanpur High School management Committee Jaggu Prasad Chaudhary chaired the two-day seminar. Speaking on the occasion Chairman of Administrative Court of Nepal, High Level Administrative Reform Committee and senior constitutional expert Kashi Raj Dahal remarked that recently moral standards of society is in decline which should be renewed through moral education in schools. He stressed the need to create duty-based society capable of upholding rule of law. Justice is above the law and morality is above justice. Only a duty-based society can balance rights of human beings. Nation building requires conscious citizens who can play positive role in social development.

Similarly, Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Nepal Office and Political scientist Dev Raj Dahal remarked that civic education helps to balance rights with duties of citizens. Active citizenship is the key to transform diverse people into equal citizens. He clarified that due to passive citizens leaders in Nepal are weak. In the program Inspector of District Education Office of Dang, Bishnu Panthi, former Head Master of Narayanpur High School, Madhav Prasad Panday, Teachers Sarita Devkota, Yagnya . Basnet, Social worker Rebati Raman Sharma, Chairman of Guardian Association, Lxman Sagar Shaha, Chairman of Youth Network, Janaki KC, Thakur Rokka of Rastriya Jana Mukti Party, Tharu Leaders Chandra Prasad Chaudhary, Sushila Sharma of UCPN (Maoist) , etc also expressed their views. Moderator of the program Top Bahadur KC, the Head Master of the School highlighted the importance of the program. On the program political scientist Dev Raj Dahal presented a paper on the challenges and opportunities of building a modern state. Yuba Raj Basnet highlighted the universal principles of democracy. In the program teachers of Dang, Salyan and other districts participated.

Source: Goraksha Daily (Nepali) 27 July 2015


Constitution alone cannot provide prudence and wisdom <Top>

Shankar KC

Salyan. Constitutional expert Kashi Raj Dahal said that constitution provides a roadmap and framework for political process. Consciousness must be raised at the level of each individual and society. This he said at a program organized at High School o f Dhanwang of Salyan district on the role of civic education in building modern state. Dahal said that strengthening of democracy requires strengthening its political culture. He noted that citizen can learn discipline and political culture through civic education. Institutions and values of modernity are crucial elements for building a robust state and society. Education must be skill-oriented and able to process the natural resources available in the country. Likewise, meritocratic recruitment of civil servants is equally necessary to build this nation. The draft of Constitution of Nepal 2015 requires polishing.

Head of FES Nepal Office Professor Dev Raj Dahal said that internalization of constitutional spirit in the habits of citizens and leaders is crucial to the success of constitutional path of democratic progress in Nepal. In the two-day program organized jointly by FES and High School of Kimuchowr he stressed on the need to leaders democratic habits compliance to the state and its rule and performance of volunteerism to create good society.

Source: Rapti Samachar Daily 25 July 2015


Constitution provides roadmap for the nation: Dahal <Top>

Rapti Post Correspondent
Salyan, July 25th

Senior constitutional expert Kashi Raj Dahal said that the constitution only provides a process and roadmap, not prudence and wisdom. Awakening from individual and home to national sphere is important. Organized at High School of Kimuchowr, Dhanwang of Salyan District on the role of civic education on building a modern state constitutional expert Kashi raj Dahal said that political culture of democracy is essential to make the new constitution a lively document. Dahal said, " Tradition, culture and discipline are key ingredients to make the constitution implementable. Civic education also imparts knowledge on these components." Authors of many books on constitution and constituent assembly and head of Administrative Reform Commission Dahal underlined four elements for building a robust state-education, economy, technology, organization and leadership. He also focused on the proper utilization of natural resources, income for the citizens and right persons on right place. In the seminar Head of FES Nepal office Prof. Dev Raj Dahal said that durability of constitution rests on constitutional behavior of citizens and leaders, not just the constitution alone. Such a behavior can ignite change and progress in the nation. To develop the nation political leaders must have will to service the society and the nation.

Source: Raptipost (Nepali) 25 July 2015


Democratic Struggle In Nepal: Statute to connect society, not to divide it <Top>

Ritu Raj Subedi

" In his famous book, 'People and Parliament', former speaker of Indian Loksabha Dr Balram Jakhad writes that the term 'sansad' (parliament) has been mentioned in the Rig Veda. The holy book, considered to be 5,000-year old, stipulates that the people's approval is mandatory to ensure stability and order in the society.

" Nepal, one of the oldest nations in the world, was unified in 1769. The birth of modern Nepal as the modern nation occurred seven years before the United States was declared independence (1776) and 20 years before the French Revolution swept the European continent (1789).

" French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte introduced the uniformed civil code for Europe in 1804 but the Nepalese kings Jayasthiti Malla and Ram Shah had issued similar legal code 400 and 300 years ago respectively.

" Nepal's unifier Prithvi Narayan Shah used to appoint his military chief and key government official according to the wishes and consent of the people some 240 years ago.

The afore-mentioned truth and facts debunk the claims that Europe is the pioneer in spreading the ideas of democracy, equality and the rule of law. Before Plato and Aristotle wrote their critical theories of politics, ethics and laws, our sages and seers had already offered their original ideas on how a ruler should rule the society or how the people should exercise their sovereignty though these practices were in raw form. While basking in the ancient intellectual heritage, we may face a billion dollar question: If Nepal or oriental civilization was so rich in the sphere of knowledge and enlightenment, then why and how did it lag far behind in term of economic development and democratic maturity? It is very difficult to answer this question. Some scholars note that after power began to suppress knowledge, wisdom and critical thinking, our prosperous and enlightened society took a tumble. The rulers became corrupt and began to undermine the popular sentiments and aspirations. To the contrary, the West came out of the Dark Age riding the wings of renaissance that brought unprecedented level changes to the field of art, science, commerce and technology. This laid the foundation of the industrial revolution that in turn paved the way for the rise of capitalism and subsequent democratic and socialistic revolutions there and elsewhere.

Still, our intellectual and spiritual sources were not all lost. While reeling from the tyranny of family rule of Ranas, our political precursors and freedom fighters had tapped into the ideas of social reforms expressed in the ancient's scripts such as the Veda, Mahabharat, Geeta and Purans. They called for restoring dharma (duty), nyay (justice), sudhar (reform) and samanata (equality), quoting the sacred texts and verses. Sukra Raj Sastri, one of the four great martyrs, urged the people to fight against autocratic Ranas, citing references from Geeta and Purans. He utilized this opportunity as he delivered his religious sermons in different parts of the Kathmandu city, dodging the prying eyes of the rulers. The first generation of freedom fighters made the optimal use of democratic elements found in such books. They were motivated by deep religious conviction. The ancient texts inspired them to spread social and political consciousness among the masses.

Nepal has a long tradition of democratic movement. It began with the evolution of political parties more than 70 years ago. They came into existence in course of fighting against the dispensation of Rana Oligarchy. Prachanda Gorkha, the first political party of Nepal, was set up in 1980 BS to topple the Rana rule. In 1993 BS came another party- 'Praja Parishad'. It had the sole aim of ridding the nation of the autocratic rule. Its members were free from lust for power. They had demonstrated higher level of moral grit and loyalty to the people and the nation. This is a reason why they resisted the temptation to material comfort and were ready to sacrifice their lives without a grudge. Dasharath Chanda, Ganga Lal Shrestha, Dharma Bhakta Mathema and Sukra Raj Sastri happily received their martyrdom.

On the eve of 1950 democratic revolution, two influential parties- Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) - were born. In addition to ending the Rana rule, these parties stood for long-term political, social and economic transformations. These parties saw many ups and downs in their life but they have maintained consistency when it comes to upholding the ideas of democracy, equality and social justice although they have yet to fully realize these fundamental goals. The democratic and Left forces forged their partnership to bring about two big political changes in 1990 and 2006. Based on the philosophy of the founder of CPN- Pushpa Lal Shrestha, these two forces struck a working alliance to topple the dictatorial monarchs twice.

These were contextual differences between the two revolutions though the internal forces led from the front to make them happen. The 1990 people's movement was largely propelled by the wave of democracy that swept the world with the fall of Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union. It was the culmination of people's 30 years long fight against the party-less autocratic Panchayat regime. In the anti-Panchayat movement, the NC-Left Front collaborated to convince the people to fight against the regime. But, in 2006, a new force, namely the then CPN-M came to the scene to influence the political course. It accumulated power through a decade-long armed uprising in which over 17,000 people were killed, thousands of them injured and hundreds of other disappeared. With the underground Maoist and the parliamentary forces such as NC and CPN-UML on one side, the regressive monarchy the other, the April movement was too powerful for the latter to pulverize the former. Finally bowing to the people's power, the king restored the dissolved parliament. It did not only strip many of his privileges but also suspended him from the kingship until the first meeting of first Constituent Assembly did away with his 240-year old institution in 2008.

The peaceful end of the monarchy is perhaps the most astonishing event in the first decade of 21st century. There is a rare case in which a discredited monarchy has gracefully deserted his palace. There is also a sharp contrast. PN Shah, the founder of modern Shah Dynasty, sought people's opinions while taking major decisions related to the affairs of the state. On the other, his descendents imposed their authoritarian rule in the name of people. The history would not have been so cruel to Gyanendra had he felt the pulse of change. He committed a blunder by bypassing the democratic parties and relied on the discarded and rotten individuals. He eventually paid the price for his arrogance and hubris.

Loktantra, attained from the April Movement, which is also known as Janaanadolan -II, has had far-reaching implications for the political and structural transformations of Nepali society. Nepal formally entered the era of inclusive democracy, and republican, secular and federal set-up. These were the biggest achievements of the April Movement. Now the country is struggling to formally institutionalize these historic gains through the new constitution to be written by the second CA. How to consolidate this political feat has sharply divided the key political actors. The voices against secularism and ethnic federalism are getting louder. They contest that the CA failed to adopt due procedure to endorse secularism and federalism. An appropriate democratic response is necessary to satisfy those disgruntled masses that demand clear legitimacy of the new system. The statute as the supreme legal document is for connecting the society, not dividing it. It should be the common document of all faiths and a lodestar to guide the nation to the durable peace, stability and prosperity.

Nepal is at the cusp of bigger political changes at the moment. The second CA is engaged in completing the overdue task of statute writing. Our Loktantra will stand on a robust footing once the CA frames a democratic constitution acceptable to all groups, communities and classes. It will pass another milestone in deepening and consolidating democracy. The basic values of Loktantra are popular sovereignty, social inclusion, principles of affected, subsidiarity, social contact and provisions of rights and duties. These democratic elements put a check on the polarization and paralysis of politics that happens on the basis of narrow personal and group interests. According to political scientist Dev Raj Dahal, there is the need for democratizing the public institutions of governance - political parties- (inner-party democracy), the media (contribution to public opinion formation), civil society (defense of public interests) and production structures so that politics becomes public good, not the means for the personalization of power. He further notes that deepening democracy demands not only the winner-takes-all game but also a respect to opposition, inclusion of minorities and unrepresented and political drop-out groups.

But, our hard-won Loktantrik system still wobbles in the absence of constitution. Almost a decade elapsed since the advent of Loktantra but the statute-making task remains incomplete owing to the sharp division among the key political actors. Finishing this overriding mission is vital to consolidate the achievements of all democratic movements of the past. Loktantra Day that falls today is a landmark event in the annals of Nepal's history. It played a pivotal role in bringing the then CPN-Maoist to the ballot box, ending its ties with the bullets' box. At the same time, it put an end to the authoritarian monarchical dispensation. The Loktantra Day is a moment to renew our commitment to completing the task of statute-making and nation building. Observing it in a ritual manner hardly helps in rekindling the people's hope for and confidence in democracy. Arousing the masses' faith in Loktantra is very necessary to make it strong, vibrant and dynamic. This is because there is no alternative to democracy. Its only alternative is a refined and better democracy.

Source: Friday Supplement, The Rising Nepal (24 April 2014)


Institutional Deficiency for Development <Top>

Gorkhapatra Correspondant

Kathmandu, April 13: Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Mahesh Acharya said that leadership development requires consistency in thinking and behavior. The wave of social inclusion has spread all over the world. In the United States only after 250 years pressure for the presidency of woman mounted. He was expressing this at a national seminar organized by BP Thought Academy on "Leadership Development for Social Democracy." He said that leadership development in Nepal requires a clear coherence in thought and action and pointed that institutional deficiency is the principle barrier to development.

In the program papers were presented onneo-liberalism as an obstacle to democracy, retrospect and prospect of Nepal's political economy, impact of globalization on Nepal's social democracy and national interest and democracy. Dr. Yagnya Adhikari, Dr. Tika Pokhrel, Dr. Ram Prasad Gnyawali and Dr. Manohar Parajuli commented on the papers respectively presented by Dr. Ganesh Adhikari, Pradip Koirala, Achyut Wagle and Santosh Pariyar.

Expressing anxiety on the commercialization of education Dr. Yagnya Adhikari said that should not there be an opportunity for the sons and daughters of poor parents to study together with the children of ministers, secretary and policy makers. Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Nepal Office Dev Raj Dahal said Nepal needs transformational leadership and education, health and culture sectors should not be commodified.

Chairman of the Academy Haribol Bhatarai, senor vice-chairman Sudist Lal Das, Secretary Suraj Kafle, treasurer Trilochan Paudel, Dr. Uttam K. Regmi discussed about democratic socialized advanced in Nepal by B. P. Koirala.

Source: The Gorkhapatra Daily (14 April 2015)


Effective institution to monitor market stressed <Top>

Kathmandu, Apr 13: Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Mahesh Acharya Monday said that Nepal's attempts to achieve economic growth through privatisation and neo-liberalisation policies could not yield the desired outcomes in the absence of effective institutions to monitor and regulate the market and private sector.

"Actually, we didn't have the institutions to monitor the market," said Acharya, who was the finance minister in the government formed after the 1990 political change.

Acharya had overseen the privatisation of many industries and neo-liberalisation policies Nepal adopted under pressure from the World Bank and IMF.

Acharya admitted the failure of his policies at a seminar organised to promote social democracy, antithetic to neo-liberalisation and market-led economy.

The seminar 'Leadership building for social democracy', was jointly organised by the BP Thought Academy and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Nepal office.

Minister Acharya said that Nepal has not been able to come out of the framework of the global financial regime, but there was sufficient scope for it to advocate its priorities and interests.

He said that economic growth was not a mechanical process and the human dimension was also linked to it. "The issues of inclusion and cultural rights need to be addressed for an equitable society."

In order to build capital and introduce new technology, we should encourage the private sector, he said. "Without sufficient production, we cannot ensure redistributive justice."

He said that the government had to create a conducive environment for the private sector to invest in areas such as industry, trade and tourism, but it should not leave the essential areas such as health and education to others and make optimal use of its resources for the development of these sectors.

BP Thought Academy chairman Haribol Bhattarai called for giving emphasis to the ethical dimension of politics to usher in an era of social democracy.

"Our eastern civilisation is rich in knowledge, wisdom and shastras. We no longer need to copy the western world. What we should do is to harness and contextualise them," he said, adding that the government must invest in areas such as education, health and roads so as to provide basic services to the citizens.

FES, Nepal office head Dev Raj Dahal said that social democracy was an open-access political order that supports specific laws pertaining to labout, women, indigenous people, Dalits, minorities and disabled, thereby, increasing their access to the institutional resources of the state.

"Social democratic leaders espouse universal and enlightened values of freedom, social justice, solidarity and peace. Social democracy prevents the commodification of nature, culture, security, law, health and education considering them public good," added Dahal.

The seminar saw four working papers presented by different experts.

Ganesh Adhikary presented his working paper 'Neo-liberalism hindering social democracy in Nepal', Pradeep Koirala and Suraj Raj Kafle jointly presented 'Retrospect and prospect of Nepalese political economy', Achyut Wagle 'Globalisation and social democracy in Nepal' and Santosh Pariyar 'National interest and democracy.'

There should be equal role of the means of production - capital, labour, technology and managerial skill.

Source: The Rising Nepal (14 April 2015)


Give Momentum To The CA <Top>

Ritu Raj Subedi

Despite experimenting six constitutions in a span of about seven decades, Nepal continues to reel under perpetual transition with no immediate end in sight. This is also partly an answer to a query as to why Nepal could not achieve her due prosperity in spite of being so rich in natural resources, history and culture. Nepal, one of the oldest nations on the globe, is not short of landmark political changes that grew the people's consciousness and perceptive power at the unprecedented level. But, the transformative political movements failed to deliver on their promises. Revolutions have fed on revolutions, turning Nepal into a laboratory to test the divergent ideologies ranging from the neo-liberal democracy to communism to ethno-centric politics. This gave to the birth to what experts call 'the controlled instability' fuelled by the dysfunctional state mechanisms, the continuous bickering among domestic actors, the cropping up and high-handedness of non-state forces and unsolicited foreign meddling. This has eroded the state's credibility and capacity required to run governance system effectively and without hindrance. This requires us to explore the plausible political devices to resolve the political and constitutional conflicts that always plunge the nation into vicious cycle of transition.

Conflict Resolution Models

Political scientist Dev Raj Dahal offers us a conceptual framework for understanding, analysing and resolving various types of socio-political conflicts that have exacerbated our transition. Based on his keen observation of Nepali politics that he filters with his sharp academic tools, he identifies four models of conflict resolution- hegemonic model, muscular model, contractual model and deliberative model.

Hegemonic and muscular models look two facets of the same coin. So is the case with the contractual and deliberative model. Dahal defines the hegemonic model as a top-down process of conflict resolution that is based on the formula of winners of peace. "It mistakenly treats democratic politics as a zero-sum game, subordinates the defeated one and negates the minorities. Monopoly or oligopoly of a few political actors, which marks an element of hegemonic domination, no collaboration of all sectors society, does not make stable equilibrium of power to guarantee durable constitution and peace," he notes. According to him, the hegemonic formula led to the failure of Nepal's six constitutions in the past as the political parties failed to embrace the spirit of inclusiveness and constitutionalism. The elements of negation, exclusion and isolation characterise this way of dealing with the people. This theory helps us comprehend why Nepal always become a fertile ground for the frequent political movements and unrest.

The 1990 constitution was supposed to be the best one but it could not restore stability because the then political forces that produced this national charter resorted to hegemonic approach and undermined the potential and marginalised actors. The failure of Nepali Congress to grasp the rising communist sentiments in mid 90s and its policy of suppression against them led to the start of ruthless Maoist insurgency. The NC continuously ignored the calls to amend the constitution to accommodate the aspirations of the new socio-political and ethnic voices. CPN-UML's late leader Madan Bhandari had registered over two dozen points in his notes of dissent while promulgating the 1990 statute. Many of his points made their way to the Interim Constitution framed in 2007 following the April Movement in 2006. When the door of constitutional reforms is shut, it is natural for the emerging forces to adopt the extra-constitutional measures to make their voices heard. The actors that tend to rule the nation with the means of hegemonic strategies often exhibit their lack of vision and fail to see a straw in the wind.

Akin to the hegemonic model, the muscular model does not give space to opposition as happened during the Rana and Panchayat rules. They resorted to the means of threat and coercion to stifle the democratic voices. "A muscular and exclusively power-sharing hegemonic model among the powerful actors can easily replace the scope of democratic values and inclusive policies and succumb to the authoritarian political culture," notes Dahal. There is no dearth of the interpretations of muscular model according to one's own interests and viewpoint. UCPN-Maoist and its Madhesi and Janajati allies may argue that the ruling parties NC and UML are using the muscular tactics to sideline them and write the new statute on the basis of the latter's numerical strength in the CA. But, this is like the pot calling the kettle black. In fact, the UCPN-Maoist and Madhesi forces are emasculating the popular mandate and imposing their tyranny on the elected majority through the threat of agitation and violence. Contrary to the muscular model, the contractual model demands the comprehensive representation of social, political and economic forces in the debate and negotiated interests representation so that each of them holds the constitution in high esteem abides by the rules of game. This model involves all groups, including the silent opinions of the people to work out a win-win social contract. Unlike the hegemonic model, the deliberative model is based on 'the positive-sum game'. It stands for broader public consultation and deliberation on the issues and agenda that impact the life of the people. There is urgency to vigorously pursue the deliberative model to thrash out the disputed contents of the new constitution. It is an irony that a handful of leaders have hijacked the sovereignty of CA, depriving most of the CA members of constructive engagement in sorting out the disputes. The contested contents must be first widely debated among the lawmakers before taking them to the informed public and concerned stakeholders for the comments and feedbacks. The inclusion of all politically significant sectors of society in the public deliberation on the statute issues evokes inner vigilance and helps harmonise their conflicting perceptions.

Inclusive Participation

The need of the hour is to adopt the contractual and deliberative models of conflict resolution. This requires that the CA should resume its suspended meetings immediately to discuss and decide the incompatible agenda of the parties on the basis of people's mandate. It must be made a locus and coalface to settle all the thorny matters. The tendency to solve constitutional issues in a smoke-filled room or through the street stirs must be discouraged to ensure the democratic and inclusive participation of all in preparing a vital charter that sets a new course for the destiny of people and nation.

Source: The Rising Nepal (29 March 2015)


National Women's Seminar in Girl's College <Top>

Kathmandu: Modern Kanya Multiple College of Baneshwor, Bhimsengola affiliated with Tribhuvan University has conducted a national seminar on "Democracy: Civic Education and Women's Rights," on the occasion of 105h International Women's Day. The seminar was attended by 200 college girls of 40 districts of the country. Inaugurated by Minister for Energy Ms. Radha Gyawali, the program was divided into two sessions-inaugural and business. Speaking on the occasion Minister Gyawali said that to address the challenges of women all sectors of society should mobilize collective energy providing women predominant position in the domain of decision making. This will empower them. She said that she is working along this line. Ms. Om Devi Malla, Nepali Congress MP, argued that through political parties are working to empower women but they have not been able to secure gender party in the party committees.

Prof. Dr. Harinder Thapiliya, chairperson of University Grant Commission of Tribhuvan University, added that women's access to education is essential to enable them realize their rights and duties. Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Nepal Office dev raj Dahal argued that empowerment of citizens, both women and men, is essential to make democracy strong. Civic education helps to equalize the citizens, provides them knowledge about democracy and bear responsibility accordingly. Secretary of Nepali government Ms. Jeevan Prabha Lama narrating her struggle viewed that women should be promoted in all spheres of public life and institutional and take leadership position. Vice-President of Nepal Federation of Journalists Ms. Anita Bindu favored the equal development of men and women and those women left out in backwaters should be promoted. The Principal of the College Sabin Pokhrel and student representative Anita Acharya explained the activities and contribution of the college, status of women in the country while Ms. Sabita Sapkota moderated the first session. Chairman of the inaugural session Prof. Ram P. Dahal concluded the session saying that civic education is the lynchpin of social construction. He stressed on access of women in health, education and employment. Only then they can be elevated from the status of subject to equal citizens and achieve desired future. Positive thinking, civic spirit, social discipline and responsibilities are the virtues of good citizen.

In the second session women journalist Ms. Neha Sharma presented paper on Democracy and Women's Rights and said that even educated women and in the educated circle of people women feel discrimination and gender violence what to talk of uneducated and poor. Another paper presenter Kashi Raj Dahal explained the importance of democratic education for women empowerment. Lecturer Ms. Sharmila Koirala made comments on the paper. Sociologist Chandra Dev Bhatta favored a realistic approach, dignity of work and capacity building of women as essential conditions for their empowerment. The seminar prepared 7-point declaration which, inter alia, stressed on mutual respect, transparency, accountability, rule of law, capacity building of women and social reform programs. The second session was moderated by Yadav Bhattarai while Prof. Anju Kari chaired the session.

Source: The Hindu Weekly (12 March 2015)


Civic education a must to foster consensus <Top>

By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Mar 7:
Minister for Energy Radha Gyawali said that the present government had taken historic initiatives to develop the energy sector.

"The Power Development Agreement and Power Trade Agreement with the Indian companies are major gains of the present government. These have opened the door for the development of energy sector in Nepal," said Minister Gyawali.

She made this remark while addressing a seminar 'Loktantra: Civic Education and Women Rights' jointly organised by the Modern Kanya Multiple College and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Nepal office on the occasion of the International Working Women Day.

Gyawali said that a section of media had disseminated fabricated news about her decisions and works at the ministry.

Touching on the women's rights, she said that existing social structures were responsible for the plight of women. "They instill a feeling from the very beginning that women are weak creature. We should end a situation in which the males give and female receive. The women should work hard to be bona fide citizen of the nation."

Chairman of Administrative Court Kashi Raj Dahal said that it was only through the civic education that democratic values and norms were translated into practice.

"By merely incorporating the rights of people in the constitution is not sufficient. They should be fully realized in the daily life and this is possible through the civic education. Even the women have to rise above their gender boundary and try to become the citizens," he added.

FES, Nepal office head Dev Raj Dahal said that civic education helped acquire maturity, make critical judgment; promote democracy and active citizenship; build national identity and close gender and intergenerational gaps.

"Civic education is important for a society like Nepal for reconciliation of various identities. It seeks to foster normative consensus on democratic values across the political parties of various hues and repair state-citizenship ties," said Dahal.


Programme officer at the FES Office CD Bhatta said that the male-dominated structures needed to be changed to ensure women empowerment.

"There is the need for balancing between right and duty. Something is amiss in our education system. It is essential to link it with culture and tradition," added Bhatta.

Chairman of the management committee of Multiple Kannya College Ram Prasad Dahal said that education was the key to the women empowerment and the women must reach decision-making and implementing levels to realize the various rights of women.

Journalist Neha Sharma had presented her working paper on the theme of the seminar where a host of speakers put forth their views on the women rights and civic education.

The one-day seminar also endorsed a seven-point commitment declaration that include respecting male and female as equal being, playing a role by all from their respective places to respect and instill faith in Loktantra, forging unity among women to ensure women rights in the constitution and laws and working to be good citizen of the nation through the civic education.

Other points are- the students and teachers of Multiple Kannya College Multiple Kannya College should contribute to keep it clean, its students should try to be role model in the society, the teachers have to teach the civic education lesson to the students once in a month or two months and show the commitment and loyalty to the nation, culture and senior citizens.

Source: The Rising Nepal (8 March 2015)

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