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Rudra Pandey


Nepal Bandh: A Failed Strategy

I was in Kathmandu from Jan 25th to Feb 13th and situation there was very disappointing. God bless the patience we Nepalese have!

Things remained closed for seven days and we did not do much. Rather, we took these things as a part of life. It was difficult for me, maybe because I have grown used to the way of life in the United States over the last 10 years. The people here would not put up with these kinds of things for even one second. We can’t think of a single political entity in a western country where they would call for a nation-wide “Bandh” and survive politically after that!

The seven day long Bandh was over, and soon the people got back to their lives without giving another thought to the Nepal Bandh. They started rushing back to the shops and reading the newspapers to find out when the next Bandh was. Some of them even wondered why the Bandh couldn’t last for another week. They thought it was nicer – streets were cleaner, less traffic and less work.

The Bandh tactic has become old and stale. It has no impact on the people anymore. A new strategy is needed to open their eyes. The people do not respect those bringing more suffering in their lives. The Maoists and the parties have to think of some other way of protesting – enough of this cowardly act.

The fight the Maoists and the seven parties have is against the King, not the people of the nation. So, they should try to win the hearts of the people rather than making their life miserable. They should understand that the Bandhs affect the public and have no effect whatsoever on the one their fight is against. Security forces even take this as a time to relax.

The Maoists have called an indefinite Bandh soon. I guarantee that people will take this business as usual and Maoist will get tired after a while and will call off the indefinite Bandh with an excuse that they have listened to the requests from the general public. Give me a break! They never listen to the general public. The King will be laughing, if he has any “laugh” left, that is. He has totally miscalculated the Nepalese people too, as the Maoists and the seven parties have. His February 1st takeover would have bankrupted the nation by now, had it not been for the patience and patriotism the Nepalese people have. If the King had his way, Nepal would turn to a failed state. This we have seen in Africa during the last decade or so. They were called failed states after Banks stopped functioning, people did not pay taxes, looting prevailed, personal property did not remain personal, the state machinery participated in ethnic cleansing, and different ethnic groups started killing each other. Nepalese people have saved this nation – not the King, not the Maoists and not the seven parties.

There is a great lesson to be learnt from the Nepalese people. Maoists, the seven party leaders, and the King have to understand the public. The Nepalese people are patient and they cannot be easily ignited or fooled any more. They have seen all the lying and making false promises to them. Perhaps a quote from Abraham Lincoln is relevant here – “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. Yes, the King fooled us all for a while. He thought he could do it forever. He was wrong. And the seven party leaders definitely fooled all of us for some time. They continue to succeed in fooling some of us. Some of us still gather to listen to them knowing very well what they have done in the past. Some of us continue to worship Girija and Madhav Kumar, and even Sher Bahadur. These guys have crossed the limits of incompetence. Nepalese people defeated the monarchy and gave them power. These leaders thought that the King gave them power, not the Nepalese people and continued to worship the King and fell into the trap. Gradually, they lost support of the general public and they had no clue. The king knew it and he tried to make a fool of us again. He failed. The Maoists thought they could fool all of us forever. They killed hundreds of innocent teachers, students, farmers and party cadres. They were thinking that they could do that in the name of the so called revolution. The have recently realized they were wrong and have come to join hands with the seven parties thinking what they have done would be forgotten. No. Never. Not before they apologize publicly and individually to those who suffered from their cruel killings. The King, the Seven Parties and the Maoists should know now that they cannot fool us anymore. Their time has gone unless they change and put their act together. Someone else will arise. Even if one of these three temporarily succeed to persist or evolve, they cannot last unless they change.

Fifteen years of democracy was a blessing for Nepal. It has made the Nepalese people more mature to the political process, more educated and more cautious. The 15 years has exposed leaders like Girija, Sher Bahadur and Madhav Kumar. The Nepalese people have seen what happens when communists get a chance to rule a nation. The King has got the lesson that he cannot dream of absolute monarchy any more. We all should be proud of what we did in 2046 B.S. We now know how to discredit leaders like Giri and Bista in a second. Remember – they used to rule us for years and we used to cheer them. Not any more. We have grown up and we now know who deserves a cheer and who deserves a curse.

45 thoughts on “Nepal Bandh: A Failed Strategy

  1. I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

  2. Thank you for noticing Himal, but indeed Nepali people do have a lot of patience. Or, perhaps it is in fact indifference in disguise – towards ourselves that is.

    At least, some really young people are running out of patience, for why would they be taking the beating out of recent Curfew/Bandh? And then, is it just me or is it really a joke that Bandh and Curfew should happen simultaneously? Doesn’t both sides mean the same thing when they do that? – That, most fundamental rights people are born with gets snatched away during those hours? – Not that we have our rights even when there are no Bandhs and Curfews. It just seems like the leaders from seemingly one, two and three god know how many single sided options we have, have agreed to consider the people their enemy. I do not understand how Nepali people could be so patient. Isn’t there a fourth option – one perhaps that considers and treats the people their friends?

    I second every one of aadarsha’s comments btw- very thoughtful and perceptive indeed.

  3. I think the basic strategy of the Bandh is to stir up people’s anger against the status quo. To a certain extent, bandhs do succeed in doing that. People become angry with the system that perpetuates bandhs.

    Let’s acknowledge bandh for what it is. It is a display of power that seeks to lay its claim in the state power. For example, if the Maoists or the parties can successfully shut down the country if they want to, then the powers that be will have to acknowledge that they can not rule while marginalizing the disrupters indefinitely.

    So the anger is NOT unidirectional. It goes both ways, to the ones who call the bandh and to the ones that the band is called against.

    Surely, from an economic perspective, bandhs are a disaster. It takes away employment from the very few that are employed. However, the portion of Nepali population formally employed (or dependent indirectly on those formally employed) is tiny. For the vast majority, the farmers and the like outside the periphery of markets, bandhs neither help nor harm (at least in the short run.) For forces representing THESE, Nepal bandh is a tool that works.

    To say that Americans, or other citizen-products of western economies would not tolerate bandhs, therefore, is irrelevant in our context. Nepal is not a market driven country. At least not yet. What happens to the city centers, the market places, does not concern greatly the majority of Nepali population in terms of economic welfare as it does in terms of political well being. We must look at those two facets of the market centers separately, because, in Nepal, the political power and the market power resides exactly where the bandhs are mostly despised (give or take a few exception 🙂

  4. I do not agree on demonstrating power by harming politically unbiased citizens. As Himal mentioned the time has changed and no one will blame the ruling party for not addressing the demanding parties’ requests when they force Nepal Bandh shamelessly. To your attention, when one of the Seven Parties was ruling the country, they have banned Nepal Bandh which now they are violating themselves.

    Time has come to invent new ways of protesting. A protest that is high in moral, a protest that doesn’t prevent citizens from earning their food. If Maoists really need to draw attention, they have to come up with a lethal strategy that is laser guided to the ruling party, but not scattered mines.

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