Shrish S. Rana, Political Analyst, Kathmandu
Mr. Shrish Rana began his career as a journalist in the early 1980s and continued serving in this sector for well over a decade . He continues to be a freelance journalist.
He is a political analyst of international standing. His articles on contemporary national and international events create ripples in the country that forces the academicians to ponder over his ideas and views.
His friends love to listen to the political comments he provides at various seminars held in
Mr. Rana has appeared in these columns many a time in the past and thus he perhaps needs no further introduction to the regular readers of this newspaper. He writes for several Nepali newspapers on a regular basis. His competence and fluency in both the English and the Nepali language is excellent.
Mr. Rana was State Minister for Communications and Information during the King’s rule.
Last week, we approached this renowned political brain for an exclusive interview to which he agreed. Below the results: chief editor.
TGQ1: As a matured political analyst, how you Mr. Rana assess the unfolding events in the country more so after the entrance of the Maoists into the government structure? Do you consider politics to go as per the wishes of the SPA-M leaders? Or, you see yet another reversal in the making? Your comments please!
Mr. Rana: I am not surprised at the way things are unfolding. Please question what you say is my maturity since I don’t quite see myself making predictions on this basis I wonder if the current monopoly holders of Nepali politics can. But I must put things in their proper perspective for analysis to come close to the truths.
The truth is that on
Somehow the predominant partisan media failed to inform the public of the constitutional compulsions of a constitutional monarch but instead chose to deride this as unconstitutional intervention echoing the various standpoints of parliamentary leaders who all staked their separate public claims to government. The compromises made in the prime ministerial appointments of, first, Lokendra Bahadur Chand and, then, Surya Bahadur Thapa found little efficacy when the larger political parties took to the streets even as the governments were talking to the Maoists who were the prime source of the constitutional crisis. Ultimately, Sher Bahadur Deuba conjured up the next best thing to a national government, a majority government from the dissolved parliament, which evidently even failed to initiate talks with the Maoists given the separate road maps of the constituents of government while the Maoists continued to score in their efforts against the constitution.
The major political parties opposed the move as unconstitutional. And, later, held their talks separately with the Maoists in
As we are aware, the reinstituted parliament citing the mass movement and the
In an interview after my release from a detention that the Honorable Supreme Court judged illegal, I had said that the post-aandolan period was dominated by republican evirons. To prove my point I need only cite the genesis and growth of the Maoist organization and the manner of its adjustment with mainstream parliamentary parties and the manner of participation in the movement against the king's measure. Monopoly in government, parliament and the streets hardly sees deterrence and, since we have lost constitutional sense and sacrificed it to partisan gains to the point of shunting public participation in the choice of a constitution through elections to a constituent assembly, we are currently held ransom at the whims of organizational gains among competing parties that constitute government. The records of political behavior by these same leaders and political parties will not hide the fact that it was this very partisan behavior that succeeded in maligning the constitutional monarchy and threatening constitutionalism in the very first place.
With no constitutional checks to government and the nominated and, strangely prefixed 'executive' parliament, and with all the muscle of political organization with international and national resources, what other prediction but a plea for common sense and patriotism can one make to avert a foreseeable disaster?
TGQ2: What went wrong with King’s policies primarily that he had to yield to the SPA-M led agitation April last year? Where the fault lay?
What contributions were there from the ministers for the King’s failure during his direct rule? Some even say that the 12 point
Mr. Rana: In perhaps what was my last press conference as minister, a western journalist questioned: "Where did the king go wrong?". My answer was that my king does not do wrong. By saying so I was reaffirming that essential ingredient of constitutional monarchism that says that the king is not an inch above or below the constitution, it is his task under that constitution to do the needful as the symbol of national unity and the guardian of the constitution. What is clear is that his failure lies in the lack of cooperation he received from the principal organized political forces that constituted the parliamentary mainstream who held virtual monopoly of political organizations under the system. Why they did so is perhaps best explained from the events ever since. As all failures, I am not surprised at the volumes of discussions around who did the failing. I am not surprised that partisanship should prevent us from locating its actual sources. It is this that is more than likely to contribute to more failures at the cost of the state and its people.
As for the monarch's relations, since he is above politics, it is the task of the representatives of the people to conduct foreign policy to the good of the state and its people. Foreign policy has national interests guiding it. It is for us to understand that foreign governments pursue their national interest in the conduct of their foreign policy. It is for us to judge what national interest we have served and are serving.
TGQ3: It is said that the King had to yield because of excessive Indian pressures and the countries comprising the
Mr. Rana: I shall leave this to you and your readers to answer. I keep asking myself and am hoping against hope that we Nepalis have retained our centre of decision-making for ourselves and for the good of the state and the people.
TGQ4: As a journalist, how you rate your own performances while heading the Ministry of Communications and Information? What lacunae you could notice for yourself that demanded government’s immediate intervention or for that matter regulation to regulate the Media sector in the country? Did you succeed in your mission or you had to quit the job unaccomplished? Your comments please!
Mr. Rana: The only rating I can give myself is a big F. The fact is I failed. A media bent on functioning as an extension of partisan politics with no modern laws to hold it accountable while at the same time exercising its freedom with constitutional guarantees can contribute negatively to the people's rights to be informed. I failed in my effort to contribute to the independence of the media. I failed in my effort to provide legal compulsions for the growth of professionalism. Which is why I failed in my effort to inform.
TGQ5: Media reports had it that you as a minister distributed arbitrarily hefty amounts to a few media houses-who were supposedly closer to you. Are the allegations leveled against you are correct or an exaggeration of the facts that you know better. How would you defend yourself? Your comments please!
Mr. Rana: I have been consistent in my effort at reminding the honorable fourth estate that the matter is sub judis and that the sanctity of the court must be respected by both the media and me for reasons that a miscarriage of justice may not occur on account of public discussion. I have maintained this stance as a citizen and sought recourse to court on the charges while I am still being questioned by the anti-corruption authorities. Please go through media coverage since the restoration of parliament and you will find that a section of the media have already pronounced me guilty. This thorough lack of professional conduct goes to the ridiculous extent that they had stipulated my guilt even before the Raimajhi Commission was composed or questioned me or even prior to my grandstand grilling in front of a select media by the parliamentary committee for public accounts. Again, they cite the Raimajhi commission report as their source while they, at the same time, clamor for the public release of the report. Please also go through reports on my detention and compare it with the paper government served me for the detention as well as refer to the government's defense of my detention at court when I had to move it for my release. Why is it that I am not surprised that such unprofessional media conduct neither draws attention nor, much less, rebuke from international professional organizations championing media freedom and professionalism?