By Dr Ishara Mahat
Monarchy has long been a tradition in Nepal. Its demise was due during Rana regime but is overdue now. This institution has been delinquent and unpopular at best. Those who benefited enormously from the feudal structure of the past are trying to find a loophole to sneak back on the name of so called ceremonial monarchy. But if history of South Asia is any indicator, people have to be free from the old feudal power entirely if they were to be assured that their peace and prosperity will not be robbed by the feudal elements any more.
Monarchy was supposed to be a system that unites Nepal under the leadership of a king. A wishful thinking must have been that the poor and deprived people would become wealthy and powerful by entertaining corrupts and oppressors, and encounter less problem with the system. In reality, however, the opposite is true. Even a common sense should indicate that a democracy can hardly be empowered if the interest of an individual takes over the interest of the community and the state.
Monarchy during its long existence has proved to be a source of significant deficiency for Nepal. For centuries, Nepal has not only revealed a poor identity but also has devalued its importance as a state and left its people in a dilapidated state. Monarchical leadership has deconstructed Nepal towards exploitation, discrimination, and inequalities. Power was amassed at the cost of people and was exercised for suppressing human beings to entertain the pathetic interests of the rulers. Post scenario of Royal Takeover of 2005 demonstrated that people’s resistance to the king’s ambition for a supreme power is profound and the entirety of the new generation of Nepalese, which represents the future, is growing restless to throw the feudalism into the dustbin of history and build a modern Nepal that can carve its space in a modern, connected, informed and tolerant world.
For some time, the civil society and intellectuals organized in national and international fronts have visualized the role of a republic as a must for the wellbeing of the people at grassroots. Today, people struggling for hand-to-mouth by working from dawns to dusk who have hardly seen the light of education are no longer willing to be the eternal slaves of a feudal monarchy. Further, they have come to understand that states that are republics are surviving as well, and surviving proudly, in the world without dampening their human ingenuity.
Increasingly conscious people of twenty-first century unquestionably seek democratic rights in par with the best of democracies in the world. With the connection to the world, Nepalese people have seen how democracy has survived or suppressed in different parts of the world such as Middle East, and past Nepal. It is not an illusion to think that Nepalese people would like to envision their nation’s journey towards a better destiny by being able to elect a head of the state who can establish a harmony with their consciousness. Nepalese people are in search of a system that nurtures leadership that rises above self, strengthens the whole fabric of society, and establishes positive identity of the nation in the world stage. That is the rule of people; that is the identity of a republic worth striving for!
(Dr Ishara Mahat is a scholar in women and gender studies. She works as a research fellow at the University of Western Ontario and lives in London, Canada.)