Why is democracy failing to deliver?

Published On: November 28, 2021 06:30 AM NPT By: Niranjan Mani Dixit

As the government every year marks the National Democracy Day to commemorate the historic day of the 1951 Revolution, the country is yet again facing a democratic crisis, as cardinal principles of democracy: checks and balances between legislative, executive and judiciary as opposed to fusion, rule of law and code of conduct, limited government, popular sovereignty, republicanism, accountability, transparency and control of abuse of power are in violation. Only freedom of speech and media (press electronic and social) but suppressed in different forms by the oligarchic government is not democracy.

PM-select (not -elect) becoming a recipient of windfall-gain out of conflicting dirty party politics, horse trading, floor-crossing, electoral arithmetical equations, permutations and crisscross combinations of the lawmakers, tactical unconstitutional moves, are undemocratic. Becoming comfortable and lenient to external forces’ interference and micromanagement of ‘divide and rule’ to change the government to their interest is unconstitutional and undemocratic. No majority government but a coalition ever since the 1990 Constitution and more especially 2006 revolution for a FDR Nepal have not been functional and hence political instabilities continued.

Democracy, "of the people, by the people, and for the people” cannot tolerate political nexus with foreign agents, syndicate, nepotism, intolerance, oligarchy, plutocracy, kleptocracy, commissions, corruptions and lawlessness including exemption from punishment to bigwigs and politicians suspected to be liable for criminal offences, which signify mockery of Federal Democracy, and Legislative, Executive and Judiciary as becoming dysfunctional – a recipe for the next democratic revolution.

Reference to management scripture: Exchange of sizzling words of allegations, egotism, criticisms, discredits, humiliation and offences among the senior political leaders of political parties in public judgment could only grow violent, but cannot be the qualification to be entrusted for dependable leadership roles. The nature of ongoing political conflicts and hostilities getting to its climax looks almost synonymous to a kinfolk of Yadubanshis’s unethical and devilish acts in Dwapar Yug (Mahabharat epic – a management treatise) which led to their peril, eventually. Ironically, democracy in animals doesn’t belabor or dwell on politics like political parties are doing as a stunt which only earned hatred of the people across the country, which has negative impact on social structure and generation of people.

Political democracy and bureaucracy if not based on Dharmasastra, a genre of Sanskrit texts on law and conduct and righteousness referred to the treatises (sastras) on dharma would be misleading and damaging. For instance, contrary to Constitution, some of the senior elected leaders not reading out while taking Oath of Office the cardinal words - Iswor/God, Commitment/katibaddha and Faith/nisthaa as stated in the constitutional document, are offensive acts and a mockery of the Constitutional mandates of the sovereign people and democracy. In contrast, the US President taking oath of office on the Bible and the clauses in the Constitution as it is stated with high regard is admirable. “Mother and motherland are greater and more sacred than heaven” (“Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi" in Sanskrit”, Ramayana epic) as emblazoned on the red banner of Nepal’s national emblem is not legitimately translated into action, but treated only as a ‘rubber stamp’. Demonic work culture (asuri sampat) as opposed to Divine work culture (daivi sampat) is ubiquitous in the political sector and state affairs.

Political and governmental actions are in general not adhered to interconnectedness of ’Karma (dutiful action), Gyan (of knowledge) and Bhakti (devotional love of God)’ (Bhagavad Gita), and therefore the legislative, executive and judiciary are becoming chaotic and dysfunctional, and Democracy failing to deliver. Analysts comment that the Federal Democracy due to power in the wrong hands is besieged by feudlocracy, plutocracy and kleptocracy. About management and leadership as also the Bible says “A good leader seeks the Lord, commits his way to the Lord and the Lord establishes the next steps”. Healing the motherland is overdue.

External Impact: The ruling BJP government is being singled out for suppression of democracy and democratic Institutions and human rights in India. Obviously, The US President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris had to give lessons on “democracy” and Mahatma Gandhi in terms of democratic values, principles and institutions and tolerance when they met PM Modi separately in Washington DC this year. India, for its intolerance and craze for ‘Hindu and Hindutwa’, hypocrisy and imperialism, has a failing democracy. Certainly, this has an impact on Nepal. Unlike India, China is tranquil, progressive, non-provoking and non-intervening in Nepal's domestic affairs and carries potential to become a ‘reliable’ partner just as for many countries around the world including Russia (as Putin himself termed in one of his interviews as ‘reliable’ partner) and many others in South Asia.

Western democracies such as especially the UK and the US becoming ‘passive’ on the critical issue of international concern that the sovereign territories of Nepal encroached upon by India is insolence to democracy and human rights including bilateral relations. Analysts observe that BJP India, seeking to distort Nepal's federal democracy and political stability, and make Nepal a feeble nation to ease its perpetual micromanagement and political interference to meet its strategic objectives such as encroachment of sovereign territory and water resources and possibly countering China. Nepal Army General conferred with the title of honorary 'General of Indian Army', recently, is contradictory and like a ‘slow poison’ diplomacy at a situation when Nepal’s sovereign territories such as Kalapani, Limpiadhura and Lipu Lake (372 sq. kms) and Susta (145 sq. kms) are encroached upon and still commandeered by India.

In retrospect, learning from China Republic that it had experimented in the past with various political systems, including multi-party democracy where Mao Zedong cast his vote in 1950, eventually believed that copying foreign political or development models could be catastrophic because of its unique historical, cultural and social conditions. Likewise, King Mahendra probably ceased multiparty parliamentary democracy in 1960 and introduced Panchayat Democracy (a unicameral legislature) and ‘Back to Village National Campaign’, a decentralized and participative mode of development suitable for the Nepali soil. Back in those times, Nepal’s development was a foundational rock bed and at its peak, infrastructure-wise, industrially, commercially, and sovereign territorial integrity-wise, and not least diplomatically in foreign relations.

Considering political chaos and oligarchy, “Democracy is a government of the fools and by the fools..”, as George Bernard Shaw had rightly quoted. Is not a coalition government of ‘compromise and rule’ each time, manifested in different electoral permutations and combinations (CPN Maoist Center and Nepali Congress, or likewise, for instance), a dysfunctional model of democracy? The country’s politico-bureaucracy is worsening due to burgeoning oligarchic and feudalistic Khas and Aryan leaders politically, traditionally and genetically smart and scheming, and recognized for their administrative legerdemain, oratory power and hypocrisy. Like Hitler managed to erode democracy until it was just a hollow façade transformed eventually into a tyranny, Nepal and its erratic political leaders including the CPN-Maoist Center, which steered the Maoist insurgency masterminded by external forces, a hoax and terror, ultimately landing in a fiasco, hopefully should not be following suit.

To revitalize democracy in Nepal, overdue is just as President Xi Jinping of China did, leading a wide-ranging anti-corruption drive immediately after he came to power in 2013, whereby more than 1 million officials/duty-bearers including high ranking bigwigs and politicians for criminal offences have been already punished. For Nepal, there is no greater fraud than a promise not kept in stopping corruption and commissions and premeditated misuse of power and authorities. A breakthrough could be also fighting against syndicate, nexus and compromise between political leaders regardless of their political party differences particularly in criminal offences.

The deadwood and unsuccessful political leaders camouflaged in ever changing political hats are only a liability for the nation, so they should be taking the backseat and let the patriotic, visionary and capable ones take over the charges this time as leading candidates in the upcoming national parliamentary election.                                                       

(The author writes on integrated development issues.)

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