The Nepalis have been a migrant race from the very early days. Because of the bare mountains, many who had been born and brought up here, felt that the land could not support them and so went south to the many fiefdoms and principalities of what was then Bharat and later India to fight in armies of different state rulers. Many went to do Left, Right, and Left in the army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore and then returned home to be called Lahures. This term though used initially for the men who went to fight wars at Lahore later became applicable to fighting men who went to other Rulers at different places in India also to fight the British too.
For all their grit and valour, for all the blood that was shed on the plains, these simple hill men soldiers of Nepal were checkmated by the British when they fought against them and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Sugauli on 2nd December 1815 just two hundred years ago. The Gurkhas were then subsequently recruited as a fighting force by the British. True Jung Bahadur by his camaraderie for the British and his wily ways got back the Naya Muluk, but that is a different story. Another tale doing the rounds is that the British had offered to return the lands taken over after the Sugauli Treaty but this shred of information cannot be confirmed.
The bidambana now is that the original treaty is claimed to have been lost -- it is said to be neither with the British, nor their successors the Indians nor with us Nepalis, the other signatory. How strange that the original of this document cannot be found in Kathmandu, New Delhi or London. What quirk of Fate is this that important documents disappear simultaneously at three different places? Or is there some underhand business going on? Of course this treaty was subsequently followed by the 1923 Anglo Nepal Treaty of Friendship during Chandra Shumsher's premiership and by the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship during his son Mohan Shumsher's tenure as PM. Surely these two do not nullify the original of 1816. The 3rd 'Big Wigs' meeting for the revision of the 1950 one, which should have been held on March 17 at Kathmandu, has been postponed.
The coming into power by Narendra Modi in 2015 by becoming PM was looked by many in the world as a marked shift to the Right. The Nov 2016 election in America which led to Donald Trump becoming President of USA was said to herald an impending shift to the Right all over the world. The British, by way of a referendum decided to chart their own course in the world and opt out from European Union. Parliament agreed and the Queen gave her consent, PM Teresa May has signed the letter to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to start the Brexit process from 29th March. The recent election in the Netherlands has maintained the hold of the right in the politics there. Elsewhere, Europeans are on tenterhooks in trying to anticipate what will happen in France and Germany in the coming months.
Elections are in the air in Nepal. A total of 744 local bodies have been set up in the country and five million rupees have been handed out to each of them to set up offices and prepare for Nepal of the future. This makes a grand, mind boggling total of Rs. 7.44 billions to be spent forthwith. The first of the three elections that must be held by 21st January 2018 is dated to be held on 14th May of 2017. Though there are disturbances in many parts of the country, a breath of fresh air has been injected in this highly polluted all round atmosphere of Nepal. By this I mean the to and fro news and messages emanating from the different political parties, groups, vested interests and lone wolf types of individual purveyors of information. As per the papers, people of various parties have started taking stock of the situation and even canvassing in different parts of the country. What is the political situation or status right now, is the burning question. The die is cast and one hopes that the rule to get a minimum of 3% cast and one seat is strictly enforced to be officially recognised as a party.
Like everywhere else, there is not just the simple left, centre and right divide in the country. Here we have the far right, right, centre right on one sided and far left, left and centre left on the other. The parties that are in the fray have to be accommodated in the political puzzle that confronts the Nepali voter. We have a hoard of political parties that subscribe to the thoughts of the Left. The Nepali Congress, an ardent member of Socialist International has now become capitalism oriented and more market based. The Communism of Karl Marx was first drastically changed in the old USSR and this transformation has now been furthered even more in present day Russia and China. The tenets of Communism as propounded by Mao Tse Tung were swept aside by Deng Shao Ping and China is on the high road to capitalism.
What we see in Nepal is a plethora of leftist thoughts and plenty of parties. If one had to put them on a scale, those on the left would tip the scales in their favour. However those on this side are of all hues and colours. There is hardly anyone in the centre and those on the right are those advocating for a return to the concept of a Hindu Rastra instead of a secular state that was surreptitiously thrust upon the Nepali people by nations of the Northern climes of the world.
The author writes fiction under the name of Mani Dixit. Website: www.hdixit.org.np. Twitter: @manidixithd.