4 February, 1996
Right Honourable Prime Minister
Prime Minister’s Office,
Singha Darbar, Kathmandu
It has been six years since the autocratic monarchical partyless Panchayat system was ended by the 1990 People’s Movement and a constitutional monarchical multiparty parliamentary system established. During this period, state control has been exercised by a tripartite interim government, a single-party government of the Nepali Congress, a minority government of UML and a present Nepali Congress-RPP-Sadbhavana coalition. That, instead of making progress, the situation of the country and the people is going downhill is evident from the fact that Nepal has slid to being the second poorest country in the world; people living below the absolute poverty line has gone up to 71 per cent; the number of unemployed has reached more than 10 per cent while the number of people who are semi-employed or in disguised employment has crossed 60 per cent; the country is on the verge of bankruptcy due to rising foreign loans and deficit trade; economic and cultural encroachment within the country by foreign, and especially Indian, expansionists is increasing by the day; the gap between the rich and the poor and between towns and villages is growing wider. On the other hand, parliamentary parties that have formed the government by various means have shown that they are more interested in remaining in power with the blessings of foreign imperialist and expansionist masters than in the welfare of the country and the people. This is clear from their blindly adopting so-called privatization and liberalization to fulfill the interests of all imperialists and from the recent ‘national consensus’ reached in handing over the rights over Nepal’s water resources to Indian expansionists. Since 6 April, 1992, the United People’s Front has been involved in various struggles to fulfill relevant demands related to nationalism, democracy and livelihood, either by itself or with others. But rather than fulfilling those demands, the governments formed at different times have violently suppressed the agitators and taken the lives of hundreds; the most recent example of this is the armed police operation in Rolpa a few months back. In this context, we would like to once again present to the current coalition government demands related to nationalism, democracy and livelihood, which have been raised in the past and many of which have become relevant in the present context.
- All discriminatory treaties, including the 1950 Nepal-India Treaty, should be abrogated.
- The so-called Integrated Mahakali Treaty concluded on 29 January, 1996 should be repealed immediately, as it is designed to conceal the disastrous Tanakpur Treaty and allows Indian imperialist monopoly over Nepal’s water resources.
- The open border between Nepal and India should be regulated, controlled and systematized. All vehicles with Indian licence plates should be banned from Nepal.
- The Gurkha/Gorkha Recruitment Centres should be closed. Nepali citizens should be provided dignified employment in the country.
- Nepali workers should be given priority in different sectors. A ‘work permit’ system should be strictly implemented if foreign workers are required in the country.
- The domination of foreign capital in Nepali industries, business and finance should be stopped.
- An appropriate customs policy should be devised and implemented so that economic development helps the nation become self-reliant.
- The invasion of imperialist and colonial culture should be banned. Vulgar Hindi films, videos and magazines should be immediately outlawed.
- The invasion of colonial and imperial elements in the name of NGOs and INGOs should be stopped.Concerning people’s democracy
- A new constitution should be drafted by representatives elected for the establishment of a people’s democratic system.
- All special privileges of the king and the royal family should be abolished.
- The army, the police and the bureaucracy should be completely under people’s control.
- All repressive acts, including the Security Act, should be repealed.
- Everyone arrested extra-judicially for political reasons or revenge in Rukum, Rolpa, Jajarkot, Gorkha, Kabhrc, Sindhupalchowk. Sindhuli, Dhanusa, Ramechhap, and so on, should be immediately released. All false cases should be immediately withdrawn.
- The operation of armed police, repression and state-sponsored terror should be immediately stopped.
- The whereabouts of citizens who disappeared in police custody at different times, namely Dilip Chaudhary, Bhuwan Thapa Magar, Prabhakar Subedi and others, should be investigated and those responsible brought to justice. The families of victims should be duly compensated.
- All those killed during the People’s Movement should be declared martyrs. The families of the martyrs and those injured and deformed should be duly compensated, and the murderers brought to justice.
- Nepal should be declared a secular nation.
- Patriarchal exploitation and discrimination against women should be stopped. Daughters should be allowed access to paternal property.
- All racial exploitation and suppression should be stopped. Where ethnic communities are in the majority, they should be allowed to form their own autonomous governments.
- Discrimination against downtrodden and backward people should be stopped. The system of untouchability should be eliminated.
- All languages and dialects should be given equal opportunities to prosper. The right to education in the mother tongue up to higher levels should be guaranteed.
- The right to expression and freedom of press and publication should be guaranteed. The government mass media should be completely autonomous.
- Academic and professional freedom of scholars, writers, artists and cultural workers should be guaranteed.
- Regional discrimination between the hills and the tarai should be eliminated. Backward areas should be given regional autonomy. Rural and urban areas should be treated at par.
- Local bodies should be empowered and appropriately equipped.
- Land should be belong to ‘tenants’. Land under the control of the feudal system should be confiscated and distributed to the landless and the homeless.Concerning livelihood
- The property of middlemen and comprador capitalists should be confiscated and nationalized. Capital lying unproductive should be invested to promote industrialization.
- Employment should be guaranteed for all. Until such time as employment can be arranged, an unemployment allowance should be provided.
- A minimum wage for workers in industries, agriculture and so on should be fixed and strictly implemented.
- The homeless should be rehabilitated. No one should be ‘ relocated until alternative infrastructure is guaranteed.
- Poor farmers should be exempt from loan repayments. Loans taken by small farmers from the Agricultural Development Bank should be written off. Appropriate provisions should be made to provide loans for small farmers.
- Fertilizer and seeds should be easily available and at a cheap rate. Farmers should be provided with appropriate prices and markets for their produce.
- People in flood and drought-affected areas should be provided with appropriate relief materials.
- Free and scientific health services and education should be available to all. The commercialization of education should be stopped.
- Inflation should be checked. Wages should be increased proportionate to inflation. Essential goods should be cheaply and easily available to everyone.
- Drinking water, roads and electricity should be provided to all villagers.
- Domestic and cottage industries should be protected and promoted.
- Corruption, smuggling, black marketing, bribery, and the practices of middlemen and so on should be eliminated.
- Orphans, the disabled, the elderly and children should be duly honoured and protected.
We would like to request the present coalition government to immediately initiate steps to fulfill these demands which are inextricably linked with the Nepali nation and the life of the people. If there are no positive indications towards this from the government by 17 February, 1996, we would like to inform you that we will be forced to adopt the path of armed struggle against the existing state power.
Dr Baburam Bhattarai
Central Committee, United People’s Front, Nepal
Open Letter to Rabindra Mishra
Dear Rabindra Mishra,
I don’t know from where to start. When you first announced your dream to establish an alternative party, I was super excited. I even openly showed my support with high hope and huge expectation but then things didn’t turn as I wished, but still I had not lost hope. Somewhere deep inside, I had the feeling that you would figure out and sort out everything and shine but then after your recent party manifesto advocating for referendum on secularism and federalism, with heavy heart I am giving up on you. However, I feel like you seem to be bit confused and clueless on almost everything related to country and politics, and thus writing this open letter so that I could be of some help before we depart.
Let’s start from secularism, what is the idea behind and why it’s necessary in first place.
Secularism first appeared in the West in the classical philosophy and politics of ancient Greece, disappeared for a time after the fall of Greece, but resurfaced after a millennium and a half in the Renaissance and the Reformation. The departure from reliance on religious faith to reason and science marks the beginning of the secularization of education and society in history. Among the earliest documentations of a secular form of thought is seen in the Charvaka system of philosophy in India, which held direct perception, empiricism, and conditional inference as proper sources of knowledge, and sought to reject the prevailing religious practices of that time. Source: Wikipedia.
So secularism isn’t really “western agenda.” Though, it was later elaborated by western thinkers:
An increasing confidence in human capabilities, reason, and progress, that emerged during the Italian Renaissance, together with an increasing distrust in organized and state supported religion during the Reformation, was responsible for the ushering of modernity during the Enlightenment, which brought all facets of human life including religion under the purview of reason and thus became responsible for the freeing of education, society, and state from the domination of religion; in other words, the development of modern secularism.
Let me explain you what does that mean.
As human society evolved and progressed, people strongly started believing that a society should be guided more by reasoning and evidence-based arguments and not based on faith alone. Religion on other side is purely faith-based…said so on Bible, so it must be this way. Said so on Geeta, so must be this way, said so by Prophet, so it must be this way. People then strongly felt doctrine and religion are nothing but human made concept based on faith and lacks reasoning and evidence and a state should not fall into those faith-based arguments and rather should go with reasoning-based arguments; laws and polices to be made based on reasoning and evidence-backed ideas and concepts. Instead of based on religions sentiments and doctrines aspiration, state should be governed by intellectual thoughts and ideas and beliefs rooted to reasoning and science and facts and figures.
For such thing to happen, a country should first of all level up itself above religion. It should separate itself from any religion and function independently based on reasoning, rationality and facts.
That is what secularism is all about.
Secularism is a path to take a country towards science, reasoning, facts, where religion becomes private affairs and everyone is free to practice what they believe in but state does not get involved protecting any specific religion or religious community. State, instead of protecting and promoting, religious ideas and sentiments, focuses more on reasoning and evidence based ideas and policies.
Take a deep breath and ask yourself, what is wrong in that? Call for a meeting and brainstorm, what is wrong in that??
Now, understand this also — Tyranny of Majority.
The tyranny of the majority (or tyranny of the masses) is an inherent weakness to majority rule in which the majority of an electorate pursues exclusively its own interests at the expense of those in the minority. John Stuart Mill, a philosopher from 18th century, while promoting democratic ideas, argued on the weakness of democracy if it follows rule of majority. You can read his book On Liberty.
Reason why the representative democracy instead of direct democracy.
Mass cannot be always right, so democracy should be a rule of representatives who through vigorous debates and dialogues will decide what is good for all without suppressing minorities and their rights and sentiments.
Going back to the secularism. Of course, majority will like the idea of Hindu State since they are deeply connected with, so obviously if referendum is done, the idea will win, but mass cannot be always right since everybody don’t know how reasoning-based society is important over faith-based society. Humans are mostly guided by sentiments and emotions and referendum on Secularism for Nepal with 80% Hindu, will lose for sure unless mass has understood the core purpose and philosophy of why secularism instead of religious state.
Think, how genius and wise would it be to go for referendum?
Now also understand this — Liberal Democracy.
Liberal democracy is a liberal political ideology and a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of classical liberalism. It is characterised by elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, a market economy with private property and the equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties and political freedoms for all people. To define the system in practice, liberal democracies often draw upon a constitution, either codified, (such as in the United States of America), or uncodified, (such as in the United Kingdom) to delineate the powers of government and enshrine the social contract. After a period of sustained expansion throughout the 20th century, liberal democracy became the predominant political system in the world. Source: Wikipedia
Liberal democracy is also called western democracy.
So tell me which part of the western democracy you don’t like?
- Elections between multiple distinct political parties.
- A separation of powers into different branches of government.
- The rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society.
- A market economy with private property.
- The equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties and political freedoms for all people.
Yes sir, the modern democratic world is pretty much influenced and blueprinted by “Westerners,” so it’s an open truth that all those ideas are borrowed and “imported.” So unless, you can come up with your own political philosophies and ideas, you are pretty much following the westerners idea of democracy and institution.
That’s where federalism got in as well. I don’t want to get there in this open letter, because I believe you are capable to self study and research on your own with the help of Internet.
Sir, you clearly lack fundamental understanding on modern politics, political philosophies. I strongly suggest you to read as many books as possible from thinkers from Enlightenment Era; go through each wikipedia articles on related topics and understand history and context. Get some mentors to teach you on these fundamentals before you even call yourself a leader. Ignorance is a choice made in modern world.
Last but not the least, don’t see world as east and west. Irrespective of geographies, we all are humans first and whatever seems promising and convincing gets spread out. That’s how humanity has been in existence for many thousands of years. Be proud of the collective wisdom and knowledge disseminating across the earth like one big family for greater good, for freedom, liberty, and individual rights and happiness, rising above faith, religion, caste and creed to science, reasoning, facts and rationality.
Ra jada jadai, say my hi to the muslim guy from your party, who is giving his time and effort to make his political career through your party. Don’t advocate for Tyranny of Majority or else you are betraying his loyalty and aspiration. At this point, I am feeling bad for him.
Your lost supporter
What’s Special Today: January 31st
What had happened on this date
American Civil War: The United States Congress passes the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery and submits it to the states for ratification.
World War I: Germany is the first to make large-scale use of poison gas in warfare in the Battle of Bolimów against Russia.
World War II: About 3,000 inmates from the Stutthof concentration camp are forcibly marched into the Baltic Sea and executed.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 90 relating to Korean War is adopted.
Both a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse occur.
The United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union will cease in accordance with Article 50.
January 31, 1981
Guido van Rossum
31 January 1956
What’s Special Today: January 30th
Events and Observances
Martyrs Day / Basanta Panchami (Nepal)
What had happened on this date
Edward Bransfield sights the Trinity Peninsula and claims the discovery of Antarctica.
The Menai Suspension Bridge, considered the world’s first modern suspension bridge, is opened.
The first Anglo-Japanese Alliance is signed in London.
Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.
Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist.
Richard Skrenta writes the first PC virus code, which is 400 lines long and disguised as an Apple boot program called “Elk Cloner”
January 30, 1974
Franklin D. Roosevelt
January 30, 1882
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