Political Analyst, Nepal
Swagat Nepal is a versatile young man. Besides being a political analyst, he is also an advocate, literary expert, poet and a journalist. A rare combination of several disciplines in one. He is the General Secretary of NGO named Freedom for All. At the same time, he is also working as a media consultant for the MIREST Nepal. He has also penned a number of books on Nepali literature. Mr. Nepal has been writing articles for several leading national dailies of Nepal as well. Sujit Mainali for the Telegraph Weekly and its online edition telegraphnepal.com talked to this energetic young man on several facets of Nepali diplomacy and politics.
Below the excerpts of this exclusive interview: Chief Editor.
Q1: Some influential cabinet ministers have been claiming that the brief sojourn of the Chinese Primer Mr. Wen Jiabao in Kathmandu is the manifestation of the sound diplomatic acumen of the incumbent government. Do you believe their saying?
Swagat Nepal: Sometime weakness too yields positive results in diplomacy and politics if we know how to make the right and appropriate use of our ‘incompetency’. The brief stay of Premier Wen indeed is the glaring manifestation of the ineptitude of the incumbent government. However, the situation has provided the government with an ample opportunity to transfer this weakness into the diplomatic strength.
One can recall as to how the former Prime Minister Mr. Krishna Prasad Bhattarai made right use of his ‘incompetence’ associated with jocular remarks during his state visit to India in June, 1990. Soon after assuming the Prime Ministerial post after the advent of democracy in 1990, he went to India. In the presence of his Indian counterpart, the Indian media persons asked him (at the airport while on way back to Kathmandu) whether his government will initiate recruiting the people from Terai belt in the Nepal Army (NA)? In a tricky manner, Mr. Bhattarai suggested the media persons to ask to their own Prime Minister as to whether the Gorkha Regiment of Indian Army will begin recruiting the people from the Terai belt of Nepal or not. The foremost weakness of Mr. Bhattarai was to take everything very lightly and respond it in a humorous manner. However, he made right use of his incompetency and made the Indians to remain tightlipped. This event can be a befitting lesson for the inept incumbent government which has succeeded in organizing a very brief visit of Primer from our neighboring country.
Q2: We had come across with the information that soon after returning from Beijing, Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Bijaya Kumar Gachhedar sneaked into the Kathmandu based Indian embassy and briefed the Indian ambassador Mr. Jayant Prasad Srivastava the inner details of his China visit. How such unfortunate practices have been institutionalized in Nepali diplomacy? What say you Mr. Nepal?
Swagat Nepal: The internal politics is well reflected in the conduct of diplomacy of any country. The political actors of Nepal from Madhesh and those who had learnt politics from Banaras (Indian city) are the subservient of New Delhi and they think that appeasing Indian Regime is the only thing they can do by remaining engaged in Nepali politics. The products of Banaras are now being summarily replaced by the product of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). However, their mindset and behavior has remained unchanged. Against this backdrop, if you see the said highly deplorable act of Mr. Gachhedar, you cannot find any point to get staggered. Got the point?
After the visit of Primer Wen, Mr. Gachhedar went to New Delhi and briefed the details of the interaction between Prime Ministers of the two countries to the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. In this way, he has even breached the essence of obiter dicta. The act of Mr. Gachhedar has also breached the declarations contained in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relation/conduct between nations, 1961, and universally accepted code of ethics of the diplomats.
Q3: Mr. Nepal, thanks you for your enlightening remarks. Now let's talk about the fresh utterances of Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai regarding Nepal's policy vis-à-vis China and Nepal. Some days ago, he publicly said that Nepal will be eventually merged or submerged either in India or China if we fail to redefine the essence of traditional popular saying 'Nepal is a yam between two boulders'. Do you think such threat is in the making and approaching nearer? Your comments please.
Swagat Nepal: Soon after I heard Dr. Bhattarai saying those, I recalled one of my published poem where I'd advocated for the urgency of deconstructing "Yam between two boulders" theory. In that poem, I have forwarded the logic that the yam (read Nepal) is gradually eroding and getting smaller where as the boulders (read India and China) are expanding and developing in a rapid manner. Since the logic of yam and boulders do not address today's existing reality, I had urged to deconstruct this saying as "Nepal is a stone between two yams".
If you want me to comment on the utterance of Dr. Bhattarai, I would like to tell that by saying so, Dr. Bhattarai has exhibited his childishness of highest order. It was height of immaturity. A person assuming key position like the stature of Prime Minister should not have uttered such frustrating and fabricated remarks. Nepal PM's "merger" statement has insulted and devalued our motherland. It is very unfortunate. A person who gives such statement does not deserve even to get the job of a sweeper/washman in any diplomatic mission the world over.
I don’t foresee any sort of threat looming as such against the existence of Nepal. In this 21st century, we cannot imagine any powerful country absorbing the territory of another nation-state by using force. I haven’t understood why Dr. Bhattarai makes such childish remarks quiet often?
Q4: Let's change the topic of our conversation. It is widely believed that power equation inside the Unified Maoist party is gradually changing after recent Central Committee meeting which, as we have been told, has bridged the escalating gap between Maoist Supremo Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and Senior Vice Chairman Mr. Mohan Baidya 'Kiran'. What is your observation on this issue?
Swagat Nepal: The troika of the Unified Maoist, Chairman Dahal and Vice Chairman duo Mohan Vaidya and Baburam Bhattarai have three completely distinct political personality and such differences are needed to make the party a lively one and vibrant. After joining the mainstream politics, the Unified Maoist has made howling gains in comparison with the other fatuous parties of Nepal. The Maoists have, in a crafty manner, capitalized the differences (?) existing in between the upper echelon leadership and is befooling their opponents in a splendid manner.
Up to the Chunwang meeting of the Maoist party, the party's moves were guided by the policy of Mohan Baidya. After the Chunwang meeting, Maoist joined mainstream politics and its activities begun to be guided by Dr. Bhattarai’s thought. Whenever sharp contrasts cropped up between Baidya and Bhattarai camp, Chairman Prachanda managed the situation and kept the party intact.
The Maoist leadership is exaggerating the political differences existing between them and creating brouhaha inside the party for duping their political opponents. And they have largely succeeded in this regard. The so-called changing power equation is another drama staged by upper echelon leadership in a calculated manner for hoodwinking the public and the opponents. Let us not get confused on this issue.
However, some sort of proxy-confrontation is gradually developing inside the Maoist party and this difference, I believe, will become intense in the coming days. The Indian lobby represented by the faction led by JNU product(s) is in direct confrontation with another strong panel backed by Communist Parties of Europe and Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM).
Q5: Thank you Mr. Nepal for your interesting remarks. Can you please guess what would be the probable future course of actions of the Unified Maoist Party?
Swagat Nepal: After 1990, the Unified Marxist-Leninists (UML) came to the fore as a radical communist force. This party used to say that it will exploit the parliamentarian system for introducing communist regime. However, the UML got exploited and absorbed by the system itself.
After joining mainstreaming politics, Maoists are also exhibiting their abhorrence towards the parliamentarian system. However, they have excelled other parties in dirty parliamentarian practices. They are even receiving financial support from alien forces for horse trading purposes. No matter how much they hate the democratic system, the Maoists will be transformed into democratic force sooner than later. Take it for granted.
Q6: How powerful the Maoist will be in the days ahead?
Swagat Nepal: Machine readable identity card (MRI) is going to be introduced in the upcoming election. This will limit the use of fake votes, vehicle with Indian number plates, pistols and etc. Now onwards, hoodlums cannot be a useful tool to influence the result of the election. This will make election process more genuine. Such situation, however, will benefit the Unified Maoist party. Based on this hypothesis, I can say that the Maoist will remain as the dominant political force in coming days as well.
Q7: The government has recently attempted to limit the 'Right to Information' of its citizen. What you would like to say on this issue?
Swagat Nepal: This is a government led by a communist leader. Therefore we should not get surprised if it attempted to limit the 'Right to Information' and 'Right to Expression' of the citizenry.
However, the above said rights have been ensured by the Interim Constitution of Nepal and therefore any statement or move of the government cannot deprive the citizens from their rights. The move of the government has yet to be ratified by the parliament.
However, the information related to the sensitive military issues, national security, new policy which is to be announced soon by the government, etc, are restricted even in the liberal countries like Denmark and others. But unfortunately, the information related to such sensitive issues is being made public in Nepal through the media outlet. This malpractice must be stopped immediately.
Q8: You have gained experiences in media sector also. Can you please shed some more light on some malpractices of Nepali media?
Swagat Nepal: Nepali media is not sincere towards the national interests. I think that foreign maneuvering in Nepal has increased because of Nepal media.
Nepali media follow the Kathmandu based Ambassador(s) and make news about their speech. Instead of approaching the alien diplomats for news making purposes, Nepali media should move toward the Nepali officials for preparing news about the diplomatic issues. If a diplomat from other country has easy access to the Media, she/he may try to manipulate the power of media in the interest of his/her own country. Same thing is happening in Nepal. If Nepali media blackout the news of minor speeches and activities of the alien diplomats, foreign maneuvering will be reduced by about 90 percent. I am pretty sure on this.
Q9: How, in your view, the Nepali diplomacy is being conducted? Are you satisfied by its current state?
Swagat Nepal: Nepali political actors are being enslaved by their alien masters. We can see its obvious impact in the diplomatic activities as well.
The parliamentarians in Nepal went to the parliament building made with the Chinese assistance riding India gifted bus (with national flag of India). There is a famous saying, "Sitting determines a man's thinking". The other countries are making the Nepali leaders psychologically enslaved with the help of different forms of assistances. In this prevailing circumstance, how we can expect our conduct of diplomacy to become better?
Exclusive for telegraphnepal.com