Democratic socialism in Nepalese perspective
Organized by Martyrs' Memorial Foundation
13 - 14 June 2012
Prepared by: Bikash Dahal
Martyrs' Memorial Foundation has organized
a seminar on Democratic socialism in Nepalese Perspective on 13-14
June 2012 in Bharatpur, Chitawan in cooperation with FES. The
seminar was divided into three parts i.e. opinenig session, paper
presentation session and closing session.
Dhundi Raj Shastri, the president of MMF said
that bringing up issues of caste will lead to chaos in a country
because there are always complications when talking about caste
system. He also said that people take politics like a business
in Nepal. Socialism according to him means ongoing necessary
awareness and ongoing societal development. Chandra Dev Bhatta,
FES representative gave a brief introduction to the organization
and its activities in Nepal. He also talked about socialism
and said that Nepal needs more of social justice than democracy.
Khila Nath Dahal the General Secretary of MMF insisted that
all martyrs who were against the Panchayat system in Nepal should
be given equal importance and insisted that listing of Martyrs
by the government is necessary. Mr Dahal also said that a class
based approach rather than a caste based approach is necessary
in Nepal. Radha Kanta Deo was all praises for the organizers
and said that these types of programs are influential. Ram Narayan
Kurmi said that marginalized castes are in the same situation
since last 30 years. Ram Singh BK of the CPN UML party there
is no difference in case of socialism and people's power. Tek
Prshad Gurung was of the opinion that the political scenario
of Nepal is very critical. Sesh Nath Adhikari showed his concern
regarding the fact that anybody is considered martys these days
in Nepal. He also insisted that for democracy and socialism
more martyrs are needed. Devendra Pd. Upadhyay had praises for
the martyrs of Nepal and also focused on fulfilling their dreams.
Mr. Maheshwor Lal Shrestha raised issues on contribution of
martyrs as well as situation of democratic fighters. Ms. Uma
Regmi raised issues on gender participation for democracy and
social justice. Ms. Anjani Shrestha raised issues on martyr'
and their role on democracy. Suresh Shrestha, activist of the
Janaandolan 2063 BS shared his experiences and also showed his
affection towards the organizers for giving him a platform to
share his thought. Tarini Prasad Wagle presented poem on martyrs'
and their contribution for democracy. Babu hari acharya was
the master of ceremony for the program jointly organized by
MMF and FES. With this the opening session came to an end.
Day 1, Session 1
Mr. Kashi Raj Dahal presented a paper on 'Transitional
Politics and challenges in the Constitution making process'.
This session was chaired by Mr Baburam Puri and the commentator
was Mr Prakash Adhikari.
Mr Kashi Raj Dahal talked about the current
political situation of Nepal which has taken place due to the
failure in making constitution. His paper explains about the
importance of constitution to a country like Nepal since it
is the base for peace and development. There are various procedures
of making a constitution: constituent assembly, constitutional
conference, election, etc. Constitution making process started
during 2004 B.S and still our nation doesn't have a permanent
constitution. According to the paper, a very important reason
for the failure of constitution is it was never accepted by
the people and they weren't participative either. Due to this
the culture constitution hasn't developed yet.
He also talked about the challenges in the
constitution making process. In our case, the main reason was
that single political party did not get majority in constituent
assembly. Since each and every party wanted their constitution
and due to lack of trust among various political parties we
could not find a common ground to move ahead. This was because
all had their own political greed and thoughts. Although it
is the fundamental right of people to get the constitution we
are in a uncertain situation at present. He further indicated
that peace does not come easily because for peace to be sustainable
in society poverty, insecurity and unemployment needs to be
eradicated. The problem right now isn't related to rule of law
but to politics. Therefore, if political parties come to a common
ground many options are available for giving way out to our
country which is mentioned below:
1. Again constituent assembly election should
be organized under political consensus.
2. Parliament should be reinstate for a short period and amend
constitution related to election provision, constitute new government
and organize new election.
3. Organise multi-sectoral golmech conference including political
parties and make a draft new constitution. After that drafted
constitution should be send to people for election.
4. Constitution drafting commission should be constructed including
professionals under political consensus and draft constitution
should be approved by the new parliament.
This paper talks about positive outcomes and
incidents in brief. The focus is also on being cautious about
tilting to one side or another. Since the paper also consists
of reasons behind the failure in the making of constitution
it is well presented. According to Mr Adhikari constitution
should be long lasting however it should be flexible so as to
make changes when necessary.
From the floor
Suresh Poudel emphasized that the nation should
be and is of more importance then Politics. He also was curious
about how can democracy be importance in the Nepalese context.
Megh Nath Pokhrel shared his thoughts on the ongoing issues
on federalism in Nepal. Nilkantha Dhungana showed his frustration
because according to him the politicians cannot make the constitution.
He also said that people working with a motive of making profits
can never come to a common ground. Shyamji Athiti said the the
politicians are doing nothing except blaming each other. Devki
Gautam wanted to know what was more important for Nepal: constitution
or peace. She also emphasized that there are only two castes,
i.e. male and female. Can we assure ourselves that constitution
will be made the next time, Ram Narayan Kurmi asked the role
and responsibility of different political parties to dissolve
At the end of the Q & A session Mr Kashi
Raj Dahal said that although all the political parties had said
we will work cooperatively in writing practically all the political
parties were playing in numbers. Moreover, before the making
of constitution in South Africa 34 directives were agreed upon
and 9 directives in case of India. However in case of Nepal
there were no directives so no constitution. He also showed
us the flaws in case of our constitution making process by giving
examples of CA members going to visit Switzerland to learn about
the constitution making process instead of going to countries
like Nigeria and Ethiopia which are in some way or the other
related to ours. According to Dahal, peace can be classified
in two, i.e. positive and negative and in our country's case
we have negative peace currently. He also urged the participants
to be informed about politics since that can only help make
Day 2, Session 1
Ms Amuda Shrestha presented a paper on 'Democracy
for Gender Justice'. This session was chaired by Ms. Thakur
Kumari Poudel and the commentator was Ms. Surya Badana Hamal.
Ms Shrestha said that gender justice is achievable
when a government run under democratic values can maintain unity
between state and society and balance among various classes,
castes and genders, i.e. loktantrik system. She said that gender
justice is instrumental to do away with the discriminations
and injustices created on the basis of gender biases.
"The term 'gender justice' has come into
use after the words like 'gender mainstreaming' or 'gender equality'
failed to address the gender disparities," she said, adding
that the new wording sought to change the societal attitudes
and cultures, and link people's nature, capacity and rights
with economic and political systems in order to address the
discriminations faced by the women folks. "Gender justice
demands accountability. It enhances women access to resources,
means and mechanisms, finally enabling them with opportunity
to control over them."
Disparity between women and men is high mainly
in the field of education and unemployment. In South Asia, the
number of educated male adults stands at around 73.8 per cent
and their women counterpart around 52.1 per cent. There is uneven
participation males and females in the field of lucrative labour
force. The males stand around 82.1 per cent but the number of
women is only a meager 35.7 per cent. According to a global
survey, out of 20 billionaires, there are only two women among
them. Women make up about two thirds of total poor people in
the world. This women's plight resulted from their little access
to education and properties compared to their male counterpart.
They are deprived of equal treatment and equal opportunity.
She said that democracy for equality and strongly
upholds a moral value for safeguarding fundamentals equality
of both sexes. Stating that the Interim Constitution contained
several provisions in favour of women rights including their
heath and reproductive ones, Shrestha said that women participation
in the local bodies and national legislature grew by 20 per
cent following the advent of multiparty democracy in 1990. Currently,
the women lawmakers constitute over 32 per cent in the 601-member
historic constituent assembly. In her concluding statements,
Shrestha stood by social democracy citing that it does not deprive
women of education and properties merely on the ground that
they are women. "Its main objective is to end all types
of exploitations, and deliver freedom and justice to the citizens.
Therefore, social democracy is prerequisite to ensure women's
rights, freedom and gender justice."
This paper is presented in a clear and concise
manner according to the commentator. However Ms. Surya Bandana
was skeptic since effectiveness could have been shown by giving
options. Although Democracy does talk about equality even in
today's world men and women are not equal. She expressed her
curiosity by asking what can be done to create equality among
both gender. According to her democracy is just a means but
not end. Action without vision means stagnant rajya satta. She
showed the importance of males in fighting for the rights of
female and as her last thought said that until and unless principles
are not made into laws democracy can't be democracy.
From the floor
Suresh Poudel wanted to know what is more
important for women, conservation or education. He also stressed
on the fact that feminists and masculinity defines the gender.
Nilkantha Dhungana insisted that programs like this should be
organized in rural areas where these kinds of issues are sensitive.
Dhungana also said that women are fighting for opportunities
rather than conservation. Male and female have their own special
qualities so they are two sides of a coin. Debaki Gautam said
that equality between men and women is essential in family too.
Sabiri Bogati raised issues on women representation in each
sector. Radhakanta Deo raised issues on working women.
Ms Shrestha was overwhelmed by the presence
of youth during the program. She focused on capacity building
and learning necessary for women since conservation and education
cannot be compared. She also insisted that there is a huge difference
between Prabhutwa and power.
Day 2, Session 2
Mr Keshab Pd. Bhattarai presented a paper
on 'Modernization and Nepali Society and management of Youth
energy, anger and dissatisfaction'. This session was chaired
by Mr. Radha Kanta Deo and the commentator was Mr Bharat Dawadi.
According to Bhattarai, politicians do not have a sense of self
"The majority of Nepalese are youths.
Half of the population is between the age group 16 - 40 years.
This population is the back bone of our society. Moreover, investing
on this group of population means our country can develop. The
achievements of developed countries are because of the hard
working and educated youths. Even the role of youths is very
important in all the political transitions that have taken place
all over the world" Mr. Shrestha said.
The youths of Nepal are frustrated. Due to
unemployment, destructive thoughts and violence the youths have
not been able to show their creative side. Even the political
parties demand youth participation during conflict situation
only. However when a creative discussion is necessary youths
are looked down upon. Until and unless dissatisfied youths are
not managed properly peace cannot prevail in society. This can
also be the major reason for war and conflict.
Change is not hard to come by; the hardest
part is self determination. If only we start analyzing various
activities and differentiated right with wrong truthfully majority
will start supporting the good side. Due to this good people
will be motivated since they will have a strong foothold in
the society. The most important thing for youths is education
and employment. This means if youths have various opportunities
they will be responsible and confident in themselves. This will
further increase patriotism for their country. To begin with
positive thinking is necessary.
Mr Bharat Dawadi stressed on the fact that
when youth's energy is not satisfied it turns into destructive
activities. He also said that the currents youths of Nepal do
not want to stay in villages are impatient and their wants and
demands have not been fulfilled. He also was curious whether
the process of learning was not effective in case of our country.
According to him change in attitude, skills and knowledge is
necessary. In the end doing SWOT analysis of Nepalese youths
is important according to him.
From the floor
Suresh Poudel was concerned as to developing
positive attitude in today's context and also said that youth
are angry because they are not being given opportunities. Rajesh
Bushal wanted to know the options for youths in our country
and if the country is taking youths towards crisis situation
or creative thinking. Prakash Adhikari said that thought revolution
comes first in other countries before political revolution.
However in case of Nepal revolutions are taking place without
any thoughts. He also said that political parties discard youths
when thoughtful conversation is necessary. Since many youths
are unemployed in our country the energy of youths is being
used for destruction. Devendra Prasad Upadhyay wanted to know
how to manage youths. He also motivated youths to bring out
their power by themselves. Ms Sabitri Bogati wanted to know
the way to manage educated unemployed youths of Nepal. According
to her people in our country are more patriotic to political
parties rather than the country itself. Ramnarayan kurmi raised
issues on youth and employment. Ms. Devaki Gautam raised issues
on women youth and improves their capacity.
Mr. Bhattarai said that youth's policy means
education policy. He also said that constitutionalism is of
more priority then constitution itself. That means the culture
of following law and order. In the current scenario it is the
responsibility of youths and intellectuals to analyze and pressure
the political parties to act accordingly. He also emphasized
on providing saleable education and skills for development.
At the end he said that political parties can never be bigger
and powerful then nation, democracy and people.
With this the program came to end with a formal
closing ceremony. Ananta Dhungana and Shobha Rijal expressed
their views on behalf of the participants. They were very happy
to be a part of the program and thanked the organizers. Biswo
Banstola also expressed his views on behalf of the local organizers.
At the very end, Khila Nath Dahal, general secretary of MMF
thanked all the paper presenters, commentators, chairpersons
of various sessions, participants and local organizers. He also
took this opportunity to thank FES Nepal who has supported MMF
in organizing such kinds of programs since a long time.