King Mahendra’s Nationalism & BP’s Democratic Socialism: A Retrospect
By Dirgha Raj Prasai special to www.nepal24hours.com:
King Mahendra and BP Koirala both are memorial personality in Nepalese political arena. King Mahendra contributed to unite the modern Nepal. Before 1960, foreigners were free to purchase land in Nepal. After 1961, king Mahendra banned foreigners from purchasing Nepalese land. People were compelled to walk through Indian roads to move from one Nepali district to other. In 1961, King Mahendra laid the foundation for East-West Highway at Gailakot to free the people of Indian torment. Nepali language was continued as national language across the nation. Before 1960, 90% of Indian currency notes were in use which was removed and use of Nepali currency was made compulsory. Our pride was restored. King Mahendra without any condition asked the Indian force deployed for security of Nepal to leave.
A Swiss geologist and scholar, Toni Hagen first came in 1950 as a member of the Swiss Mission for Development Aid. His first job was to conduct Nepal’s first geological survey. About the reality of the Nepalese politics and the intention of King Mahendra he said- ‘I call back December 1960 when King Mahendra staged the royal coup. I never agreed with King Mahendra this step. On the other hand, I would say looking back into the history that King Mahendra was a very great personality. It is mainly for his merit that Nepal survived as an independent country between two big neighbors. He was very clever and handled the delicate issues.’ -25 Nov.1992- Weekly newspaper- The Independent’ So, I have been proposing that King Mahendra’s nationalism and BP Koirala’s democratic socialism should be coordinated to develop the country.
Congress leaders among BP Koirala and Ganeshman Singh living in exile in India returned on 16 Poush (31 December 1976) in condition of working hand-in-hand with the monarchy with the slogan of national reconciliation. BP Koirala acknowledging danger upon Nepal’s nationality after Sikkim was annexed by India returned to Nepal. Since then he has been alive in Nepal’s democracy. All sides may agree with BP’s ideologies that came after 1976. There is no alternative to move ahead in unison between King Mahendra’s nationalism and BP’s democratic socialism. But, Nepali Congress could not keep in mind the ideology of BP, KP and Ganeshman Singh. The NC party has given up its political ideology of the founder of NC BP Koirala, Ganeshman Singha and KP Bhattarai and then after 2006, NC is fallen in the Maoists ambush.
At the time when King Mahendra passed away in 11 February 1972 Nepali Congress leader and former minister Dinbandhu Aryal was with BP Koirala at Banaras. He has written that BP Koirala was very concerned when the news of the demise of the King came. He writes- ‘BP could not sleep the whole night after receiving the news of the demise of His Majesty Mahendra. When BP said that King Mahendra was a great nationalist king he must have forgotten the injustice he was forced to face. BP understood the difference between the royal institution and the King as an individual. BP used to tell us of the answer Prithvinarayan gave his brothers, who had sought to divide the kingdom, that the nation was not a thing to be divided among brothers. He expressed his belief in December 1976 that the road to democracy should be had with reconciliation with the monarch on the belief that the Nepal’s kings can contribute to modernization, and in consideration of the contribution of His Majesty Tribhuvan in the revolution of 1950. In 1976 he had that belief and was effortful in bringing the King to tread the path of democracy and this was the essence of national unity and reconciliation’– (Punarjagaran). His statement shows the amity that existed between King Mahendra and BP Koirala.
King Mahendra’s nationalism and BP Koirala’s democratic socialism should be blended in Nepalese politics to give the permanent solution. The founder leaders of NC BP Koirala and KP Bhattarai believed that Nepal cannot remain safe and protected by sidelining monarchy that has remained the protector of the people and the main stem of Nepalese sovereignty. Former Prime Minister B.P Koirala, after his return from exile in 1977 had said-‘Monarchy was needed, not just to the Nepali Congress but to all, those who want this country safe and protected. He did not mean the ruler should be cruel. Everyone should be united and this was his policy of reconciliation.’ In the context of ethnical issues, B.P. used to say that it was anti-national and treachery to incite and instigate the ethnic groups, Madhesis, Pahadis, Limbus, Rais and others to weaken the country. But Girija, former PM BP’s sibling joined the hands with Maoist by advocating republic, secularism and federalism. Due to the misunderstanding of Congress leadership, since 2006, the country has fallen into dangerous position.
Of course, Muslims had been residing here from the past 250 years, although, the Christians mercenaries were not allowed by King Prithivi Narayan Shah the Great, as he saw a threat from the Christians. On the other hand, he brought Muslims from Vanarasi, to manufacture guns and other explosives in his great mission of establishing a modern Nepal. Muslims were given land and also given safe shelter as King Prithivi Narayan, through the support of Muslims, founded the present modern Nepal. History records that Christian mercenaries had tried to enter into Nepal as well, but the kings during that time never allowed them to enter Nepal. In his Wisdom of Words, King Prithivi Narayan Shah has clearly stated, “Firangi (Christians) should not be allowed to enter Nepal as they will destroy our culture and identity”.
If this analysis may be old for the present progressive party leaders, but the truth-‘old is gold’ can’t be forgotten. King Mahaendra’s and BP Koirala’s political fighting were the cause of political instability. After 1977, the founder of NC BP also convinced and used to say- ‘The state of Nepal cannot remain without monarchy and even socialism can co-exist with monarchy in Nepal.’ Similarly, after the declaration of republic, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai said, ‘The country has been facing a series of problems due to the mistake of abolishing the royal institution.’ He always supported the democracy with constitutional monarchy. So, if Nepali Congress wants to be established as a strong political party there should be implemented the political ideology of BP Koirala & Krishna Prasad Bhattarai. In the context of Nepal, King Mahendra used to say– the irresponsible leaders of party divide not only the people but also the nation. Former prime minister (1959-60) B.P Koirala, had said-‘Monarchy was needed, not just to the Nepali Congress but to all, those who want this country safe and protected. He did not mean the ruler should be cruel. Everyone should be united and this was his policy of reconciliation.’ So both personality are the remember factor in Nepalese political history.
King Mahendra saved Nepal (1961) from the clutches of India. King Mahendra and Congress leader B.P. Koirala become history and we should be able to evaluate history without prejudices and biases. Now, King Mahendra’s party less system and BP’s India-leaning policy have become obsolete. However, it is not mandatory we should be able to blend King Mahendra’s nationalism and BP’s democratic socialism to strengthen parliamentary democracy. Only this option will open the doors for political resolution in Nepal.
Published Date: Thursday, April 18th, 2013 | 10:45 PM