Skip to content

আমি পণ্য দিয়ে পণ্যই বিচার করি

স্কুলে থাকতে বছরে ২/৩ বার তো বাড়ি যেতামই কখনো কখনো বছরে ৪/৫ বারও গেছি, ক্লাস সিক্স সেভেন থেকে ক্লাস নাইন টেন পর্যন্ত যখনি গ্রামের বাড়ি যেতাম এদিক ওদিক আপন মনে ঘুরতাম, তার আগে বাড়িতে দাপাদাপি কারো সাথে আত্মীয় বাড়ি এই করেই সময় কাটত। তো এই ৩/৪ বছর আপন মনে ঘোরাঘুরি করতে গিয়ে গ্রামের প্রকৃতিটাকে যেমন আপন করে পেয়েছি তেমনি কিছু ব্যতিক্রমী লোকের সাথেও পরিচয় কথাবার্তা হয়েছে যা আমার মনের উপর বড় প্রভাব ফেলেছে। দুঃখজনক হল গ্রামের বাড়িতে যাওয়া বন্ধ হয়ে যাওয়ার পর আত্মীয় নয় এমন যেসব মানুষের সাথে আমার সখ্যতা গড়ে উঠেছিল এদের কারো সাথেই আর আমার যোগাযোগ থাকেনি এবং পরবর্তীতে কে কোথায় আছে গেছে তারও কোনো খবর রাখা সম্ভব হয়নি।

তাদের মধ্যে আজ এক জনের কথা খুব মনে পড়ছে, পণ্য বর্জনের কথায় তার কথা মনে পড়ে গেল, জীবনে তার সাথেই প্রথম আমার পণ্য বর্জন নিয়ে কথা হয়, তার কাছেই প্রথম শুনি আমরা পণ্য বর্জন করতে পারি, তার একটা মুদ্রা দোষ ছিল কথায় কথায় একটা গল্প বলি বলা, ব্লগপোস্টটার শিরোনামটা তার মুদ্রাদোষ দিয়েই।

তিনি বলছিলেন পড়াশোনার অনেক গল্প তিনি শুনেছেন কিন্তু নিজে তেমন একটা পড়াশোনা করতে পারেননি, তবে স্কুল কলেজ বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের ছেলেদের দেখা পেলেই তিনি তাদের সাথে কথা বলেন, প্রথমত একটা উপদেশ দেয়ার জন্য – কোনো কিছু মুখস্থ করবেন না, মুখস্থ করলে পড়ার স্বাদ চলে যায়, ওই যে সাত আট ক্লাস পাস দিয়েও আজো যে তিনি যেকোনো কিছু নিয়ে বসে পড়তে শুরু করতে পারেন তার পেছনের শক্তিটা হল তিনি ক্লাসের পড়া কখনো মুখস্থ করতেন না ভাবতেন বুঝতেন তাই তার পড়ার রুচি কোনো দিন মরে যায়নি, দ্বিতীয়ত দুইটা কথা মনে রাখার অনুরোধ জানানোর জন্য – বাঙালির শত্রুকে ঘৃণা করতে হবে আর জবরদখলকারি আর উচ্ছেদকারীকে সারাজীবন ঘৃণা করতে হবে, তৃতীয়ত একজন মানুষের ঋণ শোধ কোনো দিন করা যাবে না এটা মনে করিয়ে দেয়ার জন্য – শেখ মুজিবুর রহমান। আমাকে তিনি বলেছিলেন এপর্যন্ত একথাগুলো তিনি যত লোককে বলেছিলেন আমাকেই তার মনে হয়েছে আমি তার কথা শুধু মনোযোগ দিয়ে শুনিনিই মনেও রাখব।

কিন্তু আজ তাকে মনে পড়েছে আমার অন্য কারণে, প্রথমবারের ওই সেশনের পর দ্বিতীয় বার যখন তার সাথে দেখা হয় ২/১ বছর পর, তিনি আমাকে একটা ওয়াদা করানোর চেষ্টা করলেন কিন্তু আমি ওয়াদাটা করতে পারলাম না, তিনি আমার মনোযোগ সহকারে তার কথা শোনাকে তার প্রতি আমার অকুণ্ঠ সমর্থন ভেবে আমাকে বলেছিলেন, ওয়াদা করুন কোনোদিন পাকিস্তানি পণ্য ও ইহুদিদের পণ্য ব্যবহার করবেন না, আমি সেই বয়সে তাকে বলেছিলাম ওই ওয়াদা আমি করতে পারব না কারণ আমি পণ্য দিয়ে পণ্যই বিচার করি রাষ্ট্র ও ধর্ম বিচার করি না, আজো আমার মনে পড়লে আমার খুব আশ্চর্য লাগে তখনই ওই বয়সে এত যথাযথ স্বতঃস্ফূর্ত সংলাপ আমার আসত।

হ্যাঁ, এখনো আমি, পাকিস্তানি পণ্য বর্জনের পক্ষে নই, ইসরাইলি পণ্য বর্জনের পক্ষে নই, বার্মিজ পণ্য বর্জনের পক্ষে নই, ভারতীয় পণ্য বর্জনের পক্ষে নই, সৌদি পণ্য বর্জনের পক্ষে নই, ইরানি পণ্য বর্জনের পক্ষে নই – পণ্য নিয়ে আমার কথা একটাই পণ্যের মান নিম্নমানের হলেই তা বর্জনীয়, এবার সেপণ্য দেশি হোক বা বিদেশি হোক। তবে পণ্য বর্জনের আরো একটা নীতি আমি অবলম্বন করছি ইদানিং, একই মানের পণ্য যদি বাংলাদেশের ও বিদেশের পাওয়া যায় আমি বাংলাদেশেরটাই কিনব এবং বাংলাদেশের বানানো কোনো পণ্যের যেমান তার চেয়ে নিম্নমানের ওই পণ্য পৃথিবীর যেদেশেরই হোক আমি বর্জন করব। পণ্য পণ্যবর্জন নিয়ে এটাই আমার শেষ কথা, একথা আপনার পছন্দ হোক আর না হোক।

কমিউনিটি ব্লগে, একটা গল্প বলি

Advertisements

Leonard Bernstein invented how we do modern classical music

Whether he was conducting, composing or communicating, Bernstein was a stylish innovator

Alexandra Coghlan

Between 1958 and 1972, Leonard Bernstein presented 53 episodes of his pioneering Young People’s Concerts on US television. In over 50 hours of broadcasting one moment stands out. It’s in the episode entitled, unpromisingly, “What is a Mode?” Faced with the task of explaining the “tongue-twisting” Mixolydian mode to his Sunday-afternoon audience, Bernstein sits down at the piano. Dressed in a suit and tie, with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra ranked behind him on stage, he begins to play and sing: “Girl, you really got me goin’. You got me so I can’t sleep at night…”

That delicious friction between high and low, the incongruous spectacle of a world-famous conductor and composer singing the Kinks on national television—and the wonderful ease with which Bernstein then transitions into Debussy—says everything you need to know about this singular figure.

Bernstein was an overwhelmingly gifted, era-defining musician, the composer of scores including West Side Story, Candide, Mass and the three genre-defying symphonies, conductor of the New York Philharmonic, a skilled solo pianist, educator, author and activist. But he was also a showman who relished his personal celebrity as much as his professional career. He was a classical musician who composed for Broadway, closer in some ways to Stephen Sondheim than Igor Stravinsky: the grip of his signature baton was fashioned from (what else?) a champagne cork. Bernstein was the artist the public loved and the critics loved to hate.

Such was his notoriety and the scope of his personal influence, it is only now, in what would have been his 100th year, that we have enough distance from Lenny the man to take a clear-eyed look at Lenny the musician. Bernstein protégés still play important roles in musical life—most notably, perhaps, the conductor Marin Alsop, who recently conducted Mass at a Bernstein celebration weekend at the Southbank Centre—and there are few American musicians of a certain generation without a Bernstein story to tell. But both the hero-worship and personal animus towards this divisive figure are fading.

Reaktion’s Critical Lives series has become a useful barometer for an artist’s reputation. Experts, rather than journalists or jobbing biographers, take the temperature of some of culture’s leading figures in concise, un-sensationalist studies. Paul Laird’s Leonard Bernstein may not have the stylistic ease and flair of the best of this series (notably Jonathan Cross’s elegant volume on Stravinsky), written as it is in the ponderous tones of American academia, but it still offers a neatly filleted account of Bernstein’s life and works. It is a calm if not entirely neutral supplement to the unwieldy and often controversial bibliography that now surrounds the composer.

Both book and anniversary invite us to consider not just a life but a legacy. What’s striking is the shuffling of the deck of Bernstein’s many achievements. Ask anyone 30 years ago what he would be remembered for, and the answer would have been his work as a conductor—the vast catalogue both on disc and film made through his long association with Columbia Records and then Deutsche Grammophon. West Side Story aside, his work as a composer probably wouldn’t have merited much discussion (Bernstein himself, interestingly, believed none of his works would outlive him), let alone his pioneering role in music education.

Bernstein became enough of a phenomenon to merit a Time cover story in 1957. Yet the magazine felt able to declare loftily that: “At 38, Bernstein must tell himself that his talents have so far produced great excitement but no great works.” (This the year of West Side Story.) Today, as Laird demonstrates, attitudes have shifted significantly. The suspicion and snobbery that dogged Bernstein throughout his career, reaching a head in the 1960s in the writing of New York Times critic Harold C Schonberg, who branded him a lightweight and a dilettante, have now faded. Critical frustration remains with an artist spread too thin, battling a “lifelong wrestling match” with his own diverse talents and inclinations; but his struggles are now viewed with new sympathy.

Laird takes this sympathy still further. He argues that Bernstein’s many creative outlets and activities—his television series, his Norton Lectures at Harvard, his mentoring of conductors at Tanglewood and even certain of his compositions—were not the rival distractions they’ve traditionally been viewed as, but rather constituent parts of a single coherent urge to educate.

Early on Bernstein identified his own “quasi-rabbinical instinct for teaching and explaining things,” and later declared that, “the public is… an intelligent organism, more often than not longing for insight and knowledge.” He placed immense value on sharing musical understanding in all its forms. Laird reframes classical music’s most glamorous butterfly as the pioneer of the kind of holistic music-making more common in today’s artists.

When Simon Rattle addresses his Proms audience and explains the relationship between a 12-tone Webern miniature and a Mahler symphony, when Antonio Pappano presents a BBC series on classical voices, when Marin Alsop devotes her time to nurturing young female conductors, they all are following a model set by Bernstein.

Today the classical concert is a format under (re)construction. Recent developments have given us Gerard McBurney’s award-winning Beyond the Score series, which opens up a classical work for an audience, pulls it apart, then puts it back together again in a complete performance. There is also Glyndebourne’s Behind the Curtain and the Aurora Orchestra’s collaborations with Radio 3’s Tom Service. All take inspiration from Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts, which argued so presciently that classical music really could speak to everyone, proving their point on primetime television. Even today’s major digital innovations—the Berlin Philharmonic’s streaming service, opera broadcasts in cinemas—were anticipated by Bernstein, who was one of the first conductors to harness technology to increase classical music’s reach, ensuring that high-profile concerts were filmed live for later broadcast in cinemas.

But the skill that gave Bernstein this platform was conducting. From the moment the 25-year-old Bernstein stepped in at the last-minute for an ailing Bruno Walter at Carnegie Hall in a broadcast concert, he seized the power of the position, translating it into not only musical but educational, and even political, influence. The significance of his rise through the ranks to become Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in 1957 cannot be overstated. He was not only the first ever American-born conductor to hold such a position with so prominent an orchestra, but also the first American-born, American-trained conductor to have an international career at all.

But if Bernstein’s music made a powerful statement about American national identity, his career and professional success was no less clear in its message. Classical music in the US was once a milieu dominated by Europeans, used to dismissing home-grown talent as second-best. Anti-Semitism was still so rife that Bernstein’s mentor Serge Koussevitzky suggested that his protégé change his name to help smooth his career. But this stuffy, hidebound culture was turned on its head by this charismatic young conductor whose confidence and ambition overrode all objections.

Bernstein’s highly physical approach—nakedly emotive, muscular—couldn’t have been a greater contrast to his rivals. Even the more demonstrative—Herbert von Karajan, Georg Solti—were restrained compared to Bernstein, whose visual style translated into interpretations whose heart-on-its-sleeve emotionalism and generosity were also new. At their best, Bernstein’s performances are electrifying, shattering the glass case around great works. At their worst, like the infamous 1990 recording of Mozart’s Requiem with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, with its bafflingly slow, unmusical tempi and capricious, unidiomatic stylistic choices, they are unlistenable.

Today we can trace Bernstein’s influence in the rhythmically energised, flamboyant conducting style of Kristjan Järvi and the darling of the LA Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel. But we can also see it in a critical shift in attitude towards conductors such as John Wilson, who has conducted MGM musical scores at the Proms. It was Bernstein who first forced the classical establishment to take Broadway seriously. He split his time between these two worlds and maintained that one did not diminish the other. In Wilson’s career championing musicals and film scores alongside symphonies we see this acceptance at work.

Only in his choice of repertoire does Bernstein’s legacy look dated. At first, he was keen on new work, increasing the amount of American music performed by the New York Philharmonic until it represented a third of all the music he conducted with the ensemble. But later in life he increasingly retreated to the European classics. True, it is thanks to Bernstein that Mahler, previously a fringe figure in concert halls, occupies so central a position today; but in turning his attention to the 19th century, Bernstein all but abandoned his commitment towards contemporary works—aside from his own, of course.

And what of his music—the catalogue of works contemporary critics claimed would never endure? Many have not. It has been interesting during this anniversary year to hear pieces rarely heard restored to the concert hall. The three awkward, exploratory symphonies—each a highly personal re-imagining of the form—feel like experiments without an obvious outcome. The value we place on Bernstein as a composer now rests on just a handful of works: the vivacious violin concerto, Candide, the Chichester Psalms and, towering over them all, West Side Story—the piece that, had Bernstein composed nothing else, would still ensure his place in the repertoire.

While West Side Story remains one of the great works of music-theatre, it is perhaps most important as a symbol of the Bernstein conundrum: a Broadway musical of symphonic scope that gleefully collides jazz and popular dance styles with highly sophisticated, chromatic language to create something at once absolutely classical and undeniably contemporary. The musical broke down barriers without its creator wishing to. The composer who yearned to create “one important piece” who, throughout his life, “always bristled when people wanted to talk about West Side Story,” accidentally prepared the ground for a new détente between highbrow classical music and more popular styles.

In a world of 12-tone avant-gardism, Bernstein dared to emancipate tonality—to give it a voice that wasn’t nostalgic, but instead imagined an alternative musical future. It’s a voice without which the minimalism of Steve Reich and Philip Glass, the operas of Jake Heggie, John Corigliano and Nico Muhly wouldn’t be possible. Even Sondheim’s brand of thinking-man’s-music-theatre, perhaps even Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, would be unimaginable without the fundamental reassessment of the genre that West Side Story provoked.

It’s often said that Bernstein has no musical heirs. Perhaps this is true in terms of strict stylistic genealogy, but not in terms of spirit. Today’s philosophy of a genuinely plural, democratic classical music is one rooted in Bernstein’s eclecticism and lack of cynicism. Throughout this anniversary year, I urge you to look closely at every new initiative or innovation proposed for the concert hall. Chances are, whatever it is, this musical maverick got there first.

Fighting for justice after genocide in Rwanda: An interview with Charles Adeogun-Phillips

After the Rwandan genocide saw the murder of up to one million people, prosecutor Charles Adeogun-Phillips was tasked with delivering justice to the victims. Here he talks about his 12 years leading genocide prosecutions at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, how he coped with the crimes he tried and what he learnt about humanity.

Sanjeeb Hossain

CAP-in-UN-court-500x375

In 2001, at the age of 35, you were appointed senior trial attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Entrusted with the weighty responsibility of ensuring justice for the victims and dealing with deeply disturbing evidence, were you ever so overwhelmed that you felt like giving up?

Yes, but I made a conscious effort as a prosecutor to interact with the victims and witnesses and many a time I found myself championing the cause of those who had lost virtually all the members of their family. Every time I went back to the beautiful Rwandan countryside, I would see my witnesses and people who would help us prove our cases before the courts. That encouraged me. You see, one of the drawbacks of the ICTR was that the trials were taking place so far away from where the crimes occurred. Many of our witnesses would be flown to Tanzania to come and testify, and they would be returned to Rwanda, and they were never able to follow up. So when they saw me, they’d ask: ‘Whatever happened to that defendant? Oh he was convicted! How many years did he get?! Twenty five years? Oh good!’ Just seeing them respond like that was very uplifting and that really energised me to forge ahead.

What do the abhorrent stories of the Rwandan genocide tell us about the nature of humanity? And, having been immersed in these stories, how have you managed to come out the other side unscathed?

I’m not so sure I’ve come out of it unscathed. Clearly the events in Rwanda were the worst examples of man’s inhumanity to man. I did 12 trials in 12 years and for each one I had to give an opening speech. I remember a particular opening speech that I gave at the commencement of the Ntakirutimana joint trial in 2001, when I said:I just wonder, what is it that sustains such frenzy in a human being? Is it hatred? Is it incitement? What is it?’ And the answer we got from many of those who in later years pleaded guilty and came back to testify for us as insider witnesses was that, they were so convinced that they were doing the right thing at the time, based on the propaganda. How can you kill your neighbour you’ve lived with for so many years and believe you’re doing the right thing? Such was the nature of the direct and public incitement on the citizens of Rwanda.

And how did that affect you personally?

Anyone who visited the churches in Rwanda where some of these massacres took place and saw the corpses of men, women and children, twisted in pain, and lying in their hundreds beside the altars, will never forget those sights. Indeed there was so much in the human catastrophe that occurred in Rwanda that defied belief – parents betraying their children, doctors murdering patients and bishops and pastors taking part in the slaughter of their parishioners and members of their congregation.

It is no surprise that more Rwandans died in churches than anywhere else. The Church has always exalted the virtue of obedience, and many of the survivors who testified in some of my trials testified that many of the massacres happened because they blindly obeyed the authorities, regardless of who they were or how evil they were. A disturbingly large number of priests and pastors assisted the killers. They betrayed the hideouts of their Tutsi colleagues and refugees to the killers. They refused to provide a sanctuary for those who were hunted. Many of those responsible for the killings and desecration of churches were members of the congregation. The victims and survivors of these attacks testified as to their shock and bewilderment at the behaviour of people in whom they had trusted and thought of as ‘good Christians’.

I think many years later I realised that maybe I may have been damaged mentally or emotionally. But at the time, I really didn’t have time to think about it. I just plodded on with the work, and it was one trial after another trial, after another. But what was frightening was the resolve of some of the Hutus in exile, several years later, to come back to Rwanda. They were almost boasting that, ‘If I don’t go back, my children will go back and take over the country’. That worried me because I thought, several years later, where is the reconciliation in all this? Why are nerves still so frayed? When the first thing they say is that they can’t wait for the day when they go back and take revenge… Yeah, that worried me.

You had to speak with victims, and hear their stories. How did you maintain a professional distance?

Well, I had a challenge with one woman who had provided a statement to the effect that she wasa witness to the rape of six other women who were hiding with her during the genocide. Overcoming what was widely regarded as a ‘culture of silence’ amongst victims of rape or other forms of sexual violence was one of my major challenges as a genocide prosecutor. Culturally, African women are often reluctant to discuss matters pertaining to rape and other forms of sexual assault. Being a victim of rape or sexual assault and being part of a society that refuses to recognise you as such must be extremely hard. In this regard, I often found that many survivors of acts of rape were reluctant to testify about their experiences as victims of violence as they feel degraded and ashamed or fear they will suffer social ostracism from their husband and/or family if they disclose what has happened to them.

In the landmark trial of serial rapist, Mikaeli Muhimana, which I led before the UN genocide court in 2004, the woman had provided an extensive witness statement chronicling, in great detail, how she witnessed several Tutsi women who sought refuge along with her inside a hospital ward, being raped, before being killed with machetes. She only survived because she lay soaked in blood among several bodies, pretending to be dead. I wanted to meet with her in person and question her about some grey areas I had identified, prior to shortlisting her as a potential prosecution witness.

Speaking through my Tutsi female legal assistant who also doubled as my Kinyarwanda interpreter, I asked: ‘I can understand how you faked your death, but how were you able to survive not being raped by the defendant and his men?” In response, she said that she, too, had been raped but had left that out of her statement, firstly because she had been interviewed by a team of mostly male investigators, but, more importantly, because she had not mentioned the rape to the man she had later married, having lost her entire family during the genocide.

The woman offered to amend her witness statement to indicate the fact that she had been raped on the condition I guarantee that her husband would never become aware of the rape before, during or after her testimony. As much as I needed her testimony this was one undertaking I refused to give. To give it would have meant placing the future of an African woman who had avoided the stigmatisation of rape and managed to re-build her life in complete jeopardy. I wasn’t willing to shoulder such responsibility and I guess that’s a very clear example of when your humanity really overrides your status or standing as a prosecutor.

How does an ICTR prosecutor maintain a healthy balance between personal life and professional life?

With a lot of difficulty especially when you have a young family. It is however very important to learn to take time to switch off and focus on other things which you enjoy doing. The challenge is knowing when the time has come to do just that. This is because, international criminal trials can be very protracted as they can go on for several years.

The witnesses are numerous (the average case has 20 to 25). At the higher end, there are probably 90. You are also dealing with a maze of evidence and documentation. So even when you don’t hear it, you read it. You view it in pictures.

You’re not only hearing a story, but you’re actually seeing the injuries. And sometimes you just have to shut down at the end of the day.

I became an international prosecutor at 31, I had been married for just over 18 months and my family was very young and my children literally grew up on the job. My first, my eldest son, was six months old when I started doing this work, and his two sisters were born on the job. You need to be able to shut down when you leave the office and remind yourself that you have loving children at home to go back to. But on the other hand, you almost feel guilty that they are so well clothed and that they have security around them because you’ve just been talking to a woman who was unable to protect her own children, through no fault of her own. You transcend those emotions. There’s guilt, anger sometimes, but you know you have to stay focused and get the job done.

After the trials ended, you later had the opportunity to find out more about the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). What do you think about a report by Human Rights Watch that claims the unwillingness to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the RPF is one of the ICTR’s main weaknesses?

Yes, there are allegations of atrocities committed by the RPF. I was appointed as Head of Special Investigations and I was looking at what the other side had done. It is clearly a failing of that institution.

We could see this in Liberia and we’ve seen it in other jurisdictions. I guess the sense of the international community is that you can’t pursue both at the same time. Rwanda has taken great strides in economic and social development and I don’t think anyone is interested in ruffling feathers. I personally was disappointed that we weren’t able to do it ourselves in the face of the evidence that we clearly had. I thought maybe we should have done one or two sample cases to be fair because there were allegations on both sides.

Criminal justice demands a balance of the rights of the accused, the rights of the prosecution, and the rights of the victim. How can international criminal law maintain this balance?

That is actually a huge challenge. Unlike ad hoc tribunals, where the victims didn’t have a role, at the ICC victims actually have a voice, and that is important. But I think the jurisprudence of the ad hoc tribunals have gone to great lengths in upholding fair trial rights of defendants. Some of the defendants in these ad hoc tribunals get away with murder in the sense that they have a right to representation even when they cannot afford it. I think the international criminal tribunals are clearly the best examples of the guarantee of fair trial rights of accused persons. The trials are slow because they are complex, and people have argued that the length of time, and the length of pre-trial detention in some cases, have affected the fair trial rights of the defendants. But if you understand the complexities of international criminal trials being conducted far away from the original crime scene you then realise that a length of pre-trial detention of a year or a year-and-a-half is not actually unreasonable in the context of those cases. They are very complex trials.

Alleged war criminals facing trial are often very rich people, able to pay large sums of money to lobbyists who campaign in their favour. Due to the influence of these lobbyists, such alleged perpetrators are sometimes presented to the world as victims of miscarriages of justice. How do you feel about the role played by lobbyists?

It’s true that the perpetrators are drawn from higher echelons of society with access to a lot of resources. But the other point is that the crimes themselves are not seen by the perpetrators as crimes but as the result of political squabbles and differences. We saw that from many of our defendants at the ICTR who put up all sorts defences to genocide. They never saw it as genocide in that sense, it was ‘us against them’, a political difference that got out of hand.

As long as the main actors in this sort of crime are drawn from the higher echelons of society lobbyists will always have some role to play. We saw it in South Africa with the Gupta family and one of the biggest PR firms in London being hired to put a spin on things. That can only work in borderline cases. In other cases the crimes are so heinous that no amount of lobbying is going to absolve them. But political indifference is just as influential as lobbying. Look at Sudan, where the international community has paid only lip service to justice and accountability for heinous crimes. Nothing really comes of referrals to the Security Council. The usual phrase is: ‘Member States are encouraged to co-operate with the International Criminal Court’. That’s where it ends. The major drawback of these tribunals is their lack of law enforcement powers and the fact that they depend almost exclusively on the co-operation of the international community to be able to get anything done, even just to get access to a territory. I think that really is what must be addressed and that’s another reason I would opt for domesticated trials.

For societies that are victims to the most egregious crimes what is the solution? Prosecution? Or amnesties leading to reconciliation? And also, do you think state representatives like presidents and prime ministers possess the moral right to grant amnesties in the first place?

The Gacaca system of justice that was introduced in Rwanda in response to the sheer number of perpetrators involved in the genocide is still one of the most impactful experiments in terms of domestic answers to widespread international crimes. I don’t think it has been replicated anywhere. That’s one positive story out of Africa. Another is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa where Madiba Mandela had decided that he wasn’t going to take the prosecution route but rather have a truth and reconciliation commission, which worked in those circumstances and was tremendously successful. There have been so many experiments that have been deployed from full international ad hoc tribunals to hybrid tribunals in Sierra Leone where there has been a mixture of local and national jurisdictions, in East Timor as well and in Cambodia to a permanent international court. The future of international criminal law lies in strengthening domestic jurisdictions to be able to take on these cases, for the simple reason that you can build local capacity. The problem with doing it ‘internationally’ is that you go out and you build the capacity in the Hague, or in London, but you don’t build the capacity in the country where the crimes occurred, which is really where it’s needed. You need to build the capacity of judges, prosecutors, defence counsel, victim support, etc. So I am all for domestication of cases involving international crimes with the sole view of actually aiding reconciliation, because justice is not only done but it’s seen to be done. That was the drawback in Rwanda. We were sitting so many miles away from Rwanda, the average victim didn’t actually know what was going on. So domesticating trials ensures that justice is done and is seen to be done, aiding reconciliation but more importantly building local capacity and building the local jurisprudence. That should be the future of international criminal justice.

Having studied at Warwick University and then SOAS, how did you train yourself for the ICTR?

The most fascinating aspect of this work was that there was no precedent to go by. None whatsoever. So we literally built the body of law known today as ‘international criminal law’.

The last war crimes tribunals were the Nuremberg trials and we initially tried to replicate Nuremberg by having 28 accused persons charged in one indictment. We very quickly realised that it was impracticable. Where do you put 28 people in the courtroom, let alone their own counsel and co-counsel? The elements of the crimes and the participation were not like the Nuremberg cases where the elements were the same and the perpetrators acted in concert.

We had to build this area of law, both substantive and procedural. The issue of sexual consent, for example, was rendered immaterial where women were seeking refuge because when the circumstances are so coercive you can’t talk about a woman consenting. She’s seeking refuge from her captor and she’s being raped every day by the man who provides her with refuge. Things like witness protection measures and the use of pseudonyms were all novel to this area and are still in existence to this day. So being part of building that whole body of law was very fascinating and a great privilege.

Can you describe a time when emotions were running high and the atmosphere in the courtroom became heated? How did you handle situations like that?

I was leading a rape victim through her evidence before the tribunal in the Mika Muhimana case. And there was a panel of three judges: Judge Rachid Khan from Pakistan, Judge Lee Muthoga from Kenya, and, I think, Judge Emile Short from Ghana. And whilst I was leading this witness she was explaining how she had been raped and the circumstances and trying to describe the room and how things happened. The suspect, the accused, was sitting in the courtroom and the victim was being confronted by this man. So I had to be very gentle in leading her through it. And one of the judges, one of the male judges,became impatient. He turned on his microphone and said: “Look witness, what the prosecutor is trying to find out from you is, where did the action take place?!”

I stood very quietly and let him finish and turn off his microphone. I then said: ‘I accept, My Lord Your Honour that you’re trying to be helpful but I certainly see nothing ‘actionable’ about a rape and I really would not like to describe what happened to this witness as the ‘action’. So if you’ll just be patient and allow me,I will guide this witness through her testimony, difficult as it may be asshe’s being confronted right here by the man who raped her. I am deliberately going slowly and easing her into the conversationbut please be patient.’ Of course, in his own mind, he was being helpful to me in trying to help the witness get through her testimony as quickly as she could. But his choice of words was most unfortunate for a woman who had been through such a heinous crime.

So when a woman is sitting in a courtroom with a man who raped her serially, the last thing you want is to be insensitive to her plight.

After the ICTR, you moved on to commercial litigation – two polar legal environments. How did you make that transition and how should a lawyer prepare to make a similar jump?

War crimes areso unique that you couldn’t make a living out of being a war crimes prosecutor -and for good reason. They are the worst crimes known to mankind. My interest in commercial litigation came purely by accident. I was retained by the government to help recover assets from failed banks and chronic debtors. But interestingly, there was a criminal law aspect to it, because right from the time those loans were given there was never any intention to pay them back. So we advised the government to move from looking at these matters as ‘bank-customer relationships’ that had gone sour to actually building criminal cases out of them. And because of my background in international criminal law, I was able to build white-collar criminal cases from what would otherwise have been normal banking commercial transactions. My experience at the international court has enabled me to do a lot of things and dealing with lawyers from all over the world has enabled me to use those connections to trace and recover assets for my government.

চট্টগ্রাম কলেজের গ্রন্থাগারের সংগ্রহে চট্টগ্রাম কলেজের পুরনো বার্ষিকীগুলো নেই

এই অমূল্য লেখাটি আমাকে পড়তে দিয়েছেন গোলাম মুস্তাফা এবং লেখাটি লিখেছেন উম্মে হাবিবা হক।

নেপালনিধি

২২ december ২০০৯, tuesday সময়: ৬:৪১ অপরাহ্ন

নেপালে মাওবাদীরা জানুয়ারির ২৪ তারিখ পর্যন্ত সরকারের পক্ষ থেকে ফলপ্রসূ আলোচনার সময় বেঁধে দিয়েছে, এর মধ্যে কোনো সমধান না আসলে ২৪ জানুয়ারি থেকে লাগাতার সাধারণ ধর্মঘটের মাধ্যমে পুরো দেশ অচল করে দেয়ার ঘোষণা দিয়েছে। তারা বর্তমান সরকারকে ভারতের পাপেট সরকার বলেছে এবং প্রয়োজনে সরকারের ‘মালিক’-এর সাথে, মানে ভারতের সাথে, আলোচনায় বসার ইঙ্গিত দিয়েছে। এখানে পড়ুন ‘দি হিমালায়ান’ এর খবর এবং এখানে পড়ুন ভারতীয় এক বেসরকারি সংবাদ সংস্থার খবর।

২১ মার্চ ২০১০, sunday সময়: ১০:০৫ পূর্বাহ্ন

মহানায়কের প্রস্থান। গিরিজা প্রসাদ কৈরালা গত শনিবার ৮৬ বছর বয়সে মারা গেলেন। নেপালের সাম্প্রতিক রাজনীতিতে এই মৃত্যু যেন মরার পরেও কাজ করে। তার মৃত্যু যেন নেপালে সংবিধান রচনা সম্পন্ন করার জন্য প্রয়োজনীয় মেকানিজমে আসতে পারে, এই আশা রাখি। এবং মাওবাদী, নেপালি কংগ্রেস ও মার্কসিস্ট-ল্যালিনিস্টরা যেন তাদের HLPM(High Level Political Mechanism) সফল করতে পারেন সেই শুভ কামনা জ্ঞাপন করছি।

Girija Prasad Koirala dead

Girija Prasad Koirala, Nepal’s freedom fighter and political hero, who played a major role in ending the Maoists’ decade-long People’s War and restoring peace in the country, is no more.

The Nepali Congress president, who served as Prime Minister four times and as head of state once, died on Saturday at the age of 86. He had been suffering from chronic asthma and Common Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. His health deteriorated recently and he had to be hospitalised. He had been unconscious since morning and breathed his last at the house of his only child, daughter Sujata Koirala. Thousands of party cadres, leaders of different parties, and diplomats gathered there to pay their last respects.

His body will be kept at the Dasharath Stadium on Sunday morning for the public to pay their homage. The funeral will take place in the evening and his daughter will perform the last rites.

The government has announced a national holiday; the national flag will fly at half-mast for three days. Realising his contribution made for national reconciliation, the government had a few months ago decided to recommend his name for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Koirala’s death robs Nepali politics of its centre

Girija Prasad Koirala’s death on Saturday afternoon marks the end of an era in not only Nepali but also sub-continental politics. As a warrior for democracy over six decades, a five-time Prime Minister and architect of the ongoing peace process with the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Koirala was an integral part of Nepal’s modern political history. But he has passed away at a time when the task of institutionalising the democracy he fought for remains incomplete.

G.P. Koirala, or GPK, was born in Bihar in 1925, where his father, Krishna Prasad Koirala, was in exile for defying the autocratic clan-based Rana regime. His father believed that Nepal could not be free of despotic Rana rule as long as their patrons, the British, ruled India. G.P. Koirala’s elder brother, B.P. Koirala (also known as BP), was imprisoned in the Quit India Movement. In early 1947, Nepali exiles in India and Kathmandu-based dissenters formed the Nepali National Congress.

G.P. Koirala joined politics in this broader setting. In March 1947, he led Nepal’s first workers strike at Biratnagar Jute Mills. Though firmly opposed to the use of violence, he accepted the party’s decision to launch an insurrection against the Ranas in 1950. He served as the political commissar on the far-eastern front in the country’s first democratic revolution.

But the tenuous democracy did not last. B.P. Koirala was sworn in as Nepal’s first democratically elected Prime Minister in 1959 but King Mahendra engineered a royal coup soon after. Both BP and GPK were arrested and spent seven years in prison. They subsequently went back to live in exile in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and struggle for democracy from there.

In the early 1970s, the party decided to use violence against the autocratic regime. Under G.P. Koirala’s leadership, NC hijacked a Nepali state-owned aircraft which was ferrying cash. Koirala also printed fake Indian currency, and procured weapons. But this phase did not last long. After emergency was declared in India in 1975, the Koiralas returned to Nepal and continued their movement in a non-violent manner.

Long seen as BP’s ‘havaldar’, Girija Koirala finally came into his own after his brother’s death in the early 1980s. Along with Ganesh Man Singh and Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, he became a part of the troika that constituted the Nepali Congress leadership. As general secretary, he tirelessly expanded the party organisation. Koirala accepted Ganesh Man’s lead in forging an alliance with left groups against autocracy. With mass people’s participation, and support of Indian politicians like Chandra Shekhar, democracy was restored in 1990. A new constitution was drafted instituting constitutional monarchy and multi-party democracy.

The Nepali Congress won a majority in the 1991 elections. But senior leader and interim Prime Minister Bhattarai lost his seat. Koirala was the next natural candidate to lead the government. From fighting against the state, Koirala was now in charge of governance.

As Prime Minister, Koirala is credited with creating a democratic environment which enabled media and civil society to take roots. He opened up the economy, and expanded services outside Kathmandu. But he did little to ensure independence of public institutions and dumped the party’s socialist commitment for a neo-liberal trajectory. He was blind to the nascent, but growing, assertion of marginalised ethnic communities. Koirala practised ‘coterie’ politics; relatives and associates indulged in large-scale corruption; and he marginalised senior party leaders. He finally had to resign after an intra-party rebellion three years into his tenure.

This failure to institute democratic norms and political instability would cost Nepal dearly. The Maoist insurgency had picked up. Royalist forces became active. Koirala took over as Prime Minister twice again in 1998 and 2000. His stewardship of the country after the royal massacre in 2001, and willingness to stand up to the Royal Nepal Army’s allegiance to the palace instead of the democratic government deserve appreciation. But his working style remained authoritarian and he paid little attention to key governance and policy issues.

The weaknesses and infighting of the democratic forces and growing Maoist violence allowed the new and ambitious monarch, Gyanendra, to assume an active role. He dismissed a democratic government in 2002 and appointed hand-picked nominees. To his credit, Koirala saw it as a ‘regressive’ step and firmly opposed it. When Gyanendra assumed executive power through a coup in 2005, Koirala’s instincts were proven right.

GPK was now back to doing what he knew best — fighting for democracy. Since 2002, he had also been talking to the Maoist chairman, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, to convince him to give up violence and concentrate on democratic politics. The royal regime created a context for the parliamentary parties to join hands with the Maoists. With Indian help, they signed the 12-point agreement in Delhi in November 2005. Older parties agreed to dump the monarchy and support the formation of a Constituent Assembly while the Maoists committed themselves to multiparty democracy.

This paved the way for the April 2006 People’s Movement. The king was forced to concede that sovereignty rested with the people, and Girija Koirala became the Prime Minister one more time. This was truly Koirala’s defining moment. All his sins of the 1990s seemed to be forgiven for his bold leadership in restoring peace and democracy in Nepal. He had stood firm against the right wing dictatorship, and had also helped a violent, ultra-left group accept the necessity of democracy. In November 2006, Koirala signed the peace agreement with Prachanda formally announcing the end of the civil war.

Though the Maoists unexpectedly won the Constituent Assembly elections, GPK expected to become Nepal’s first president for his role in ensuring a smooth transition to a republic. But the Maoists did not support him, triggering a rupture that would later widen. His decision to foist his unpopular daughter, Sujata, as the NC’s leader in the present government in 2009 eroded his credibility significantly. His party today is facing a deep existential and leadership crisis.

More crucially, the Maoist-non Maoist polarisation has increased. The peace process (which involves integrating and rehabilitating former Maoist combatants and addressing conflict crimes and justice) and constitution writing (for which the deadline is May 28, 2010) are in limbo. Realising the gravity of the situation, Koirala had recently taken a lead in setting up a High Level Political Mechanism which included the Maoists, who are otherwise in opposition, to address these issues.

Girija Prasad Koirala has left at a time when his centrist politics would have been a moderating influence on all sides. Only he could stand up to the spoilers — the right wing within his party, Nepal Army hawks, Maoist dogmatists and even Indian security hawks. The greatest tribute to him, and his six-decade-long political life, would be for Nepal to institutionalise peace and write a democratic constitution.

২ মে ২০১০, sunday সময়: ৭:০৫ অপরাহ্ন

কমিউনিস্ট পার্টি অফ নেপাল(মাওবাদী)-এর ডাকা সাধারণ ধর্মঘটে সারা নেপাল অচল হয়ে গেছে। নেপালের সংবিধান প্রণয়নের কাজ অনেক দিন ধরে বাধাগ্রস্ত। প্রথমে প্রচন্ডের পদত্যাগ পরে কৈরালার মৃত্যু, সব মিলে সিদ্ধান্তহীনতা নেপালের মানুষের ভবিষ্যতকে বিরাট প্রশ্নের সম্মুখীন করে রেখেছে। ২৮ মে ২০১০, সংবিধান পাসের শেষ সময়, কিন্তু এর মধ্যে আর সংবিধান সংসদে পাস হওয়ার কোনো লক্ষণ নেই। এখানে পড়ুন সংবিধান কমিটির চেয়ারম্যান নীলাম্বর আচার্য্যের সাক্ষাৎকার। মাধব কুমার নেপালের পদত্যাগের দাবী জোরালো হলেও, তিনি এই ক্রান্তিলগ্নে পদত্যাগ করতে নারাজ। অন্যদিকে মাওবাদী ভাইস চেয়ারম্যান বাবুরাম ভট্টরাই বলছেন, পুতুল সরকার (মাধব কুমার নেপালের সরকার) পদত্যাগ করতে বাধ্য। এ সপ্তাহের মধ্যে কোনো সমাধান হয়তো আসবে। আমাদের আশা নেপাল যেন রাজনৈতিক স্থিতিশীলতা পায়। এবং এর দায় চীন-ভারত দুই বৃহৎ প্রতিবেশীর ওপরই বর্তায়। নেপালের অশান্তি উপমহাদেশের জন্য মোটেই ভাল হবে না।

৮ জুন ২০১০, tuesday সময়: ১:২৭ অপরাহ্ন

নেপালে সাম্প্রতিককালে শান্তিপ্রক্রিয়ায় যে অচলাবস্থার সৃষ্টি হয়েছিল, ২৮ মে ২০১০-এর সময়সীমা উত্তরণে — সংবিধান প্রণয়নের লক্ষ্যে আরো এক বছরের জন্য যে সরকারের মেয়াদ বাড়ল — সেই ‘তিন দফা সমঝোতা চুক্তি’র অন্যতম প্রধান কারিগর ছিলেন এমালে নেতা কে.পি.ওলি। কান্তিপুর পত্রিকার সাথে তার সোমবারের সাক্ষাৎকারে তিনি বলছেন

It now appears that the prime minister will not be stepping down in the near future. But won’t that delay the formation of a new national unity government?
For the formation of a national unity government all provisions of the three-point will have to be followed. Why should only the provision for the prime minister’s resignation be followed without progress on the other two provisions (related to the completion of the peace process)? If the prime minister resigns, it would be in order to make way for a government of national unity, which would help move the peace process forward. Otherwise why should a government that enjoys majority support step down when it has not committed any mistake? Resignation of a majority government would only make sense if concrete steps are taken to move the peace process forward and commitments of the past adhered to.

The prime minister has already said he will resign if the other provisions are honoured. They (the Maoists) have said that the agreement was for the prime minister to resign within five days of the agreement. But does anyone need five days to resign? Those days were meant for discussions on other provisions of the agreement. But it seems that they (the Maoists) only want the prime minister to resign without honouring their side of the bargain. Did the ‘confidential agreement’ they like to talk about only deal with the prime minister’s resignation without the other side adhering to its commitments?

৯ আগস্ট ২০১০, monday সময়: ১:৩১ অপরাহ্ন

কী হবে নেপালে? পরপর ৪বার সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠ সরকার নির্বাচনে ব্যর্থ নেপাল। কথা হচ্ছে জাতীয় সরকারের। আর সেই জাতীয় সরকারের প্রধানমন্ত্রী হতে পারেন সংসদে সবচেয়ে আসনের অধিকারী নেপালী মাওবাদী নেতা বাবুরাম ভট্টরাই। কান্তিপুরের সোমবারের সাক্ষাৎকারে পড়ুন বাবুরাম ভট্টরাইয়ের সাক্ষাৎকার। বাবুরাম পারবেন প্রধানমন্তী হতে? যদি পারেন, বাবুরাম পারবেন ‘চীন-ভারত’কে সামলে এক সমৃদ্ধ স্বাধীন নেপাল গড়তে এগিয়ে যেতে? পারবেন বাবুরাম আন্তর্জাতিক অঙ্গনে আমেরিকার কাছে নেপালের দক্ষিণএশীয় নায়ক হয়ে উঠতে? বাংলাদেশের সাথে ও ভুটানের সাথে মিলে এক চতুর্ভুজ সম্পর্কের সম্ভাবনার সূচনা করতে পারবেন? এক প্রাথমিক অর্থনৈতিক অঞ্চল ভারত-বাংলাদেশ-নেপাল-ভূটান, যা সফল হলে দক্ষিণএশিয়ার সফলতাও আসতে পারে। বাবুরাম ভট্টরাইকে সেদিক বিবেচনায় দ্রুত নেপালের প্রধানমন্ত্রী হিসেবে দেখতে চাই।

৭ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১০, tuesday সময়: ৩:২৭ অপরাহ্ন

চীন-ভারত দুই বড় প্রতিবেশীর চাপে নেপাল এক ভয়ংকর রাজনৈতিক সংকট অতিক্রম করছে, প্রধানমন্ত্রীর ‘মিউজিক্যাল চেয়ার’এ কে বসবে তার দোলাচাল অসহ্য হয়ে উঠছে। আসলে বৃহৎ ব্যবসা, সেনাবাহিনী, রাজচক্র এসবের ক্ষমতার অধিকারীদের নেপালের কোনো রাজনৈতিক দলই আয়ত্তে আনতে পারছে না। এই তিন কেন্দ্রের চাবি নিয়ে লড়াই চলছে চীন-ভারতের মধ্যে। সেনাবাহিনী ও রাজচক্রে ভারত কিছুটা এগিয়ে থাকলেও বৃহৎ ব্যবসায় চীন অনেক এগিয়ে। আর এই প্রবল প্রতিবেশীদের তাড়নায় নেপালের রাজনীতি ও গণমানুষের অবস্থান আজ খুবই নাজুক।

Nepal is currently in an even more perilous condition than it was in the 1990s. The polarisation between parties is much more intense, the magnitude of the tasks—integration and rehabilitation of Maoist ex-combatants, constitution drafting—is greater, and the power vacuum is of a size perhaps never before seen in Nepal’s history as a single, independent nation. In their attempts to cultivate the support of the two powerful neighbours against their rivals within the country, the parties are drawing them into our internal politics and exacerbating their mutual hostility at a rapid pace. Equally worrying is the external dimension in this new dynamic, perhaps not under Nepal’s control entirely; as a result, Nepal could be a new front in the big-power rivalry between the giant neigbhours. The consequences—to institutions, to democracy, to the peace and constitution drafting processes, to the nation’s ability to remain autonomous and pursue a coherent policy line—are likely to be devastating.

৮ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১০, wednesday সময়: ৪:১৭ অপরাহ্ন

নেপালের সাম্প্রতিক পরিস্থিতি নিয়ে প্রমোদ মিশ্রের কলাম।

it’s time that the Madhesis and the UML broke their neutrality to vote for the Maoist-led coalition government. This government will either deliver or destroy the Maoists’ credibility as doers rather than just another group of fiery speech makers. This will also, thankfully for many, be the end of Prachanda’s aura.

There is another reason why the Maoists ought to be given a chance to lead the government. India’s wish that Nepali politics ought to run to serve its interests is all right. When the US had its Presidential election in 2008, American citizens voted but the entire world participated in their hopes, sighs, and wishes. When Obama won, the entire world breathed better and celebrated because the American presidential election directly or indirectly affect the lives of people everywhere. It would also be understandable if India influenced Nepali elections subtly because the nature of the government in Kathmandu has direct bearing on India (as India’s election has on Nepal) because of the open border and regional geopolitics. But the crude interventionist approach that the Indian embassy officials have shown—threats, explicit manipulation, persuasion to vote against the Maoists—not only makes India disliked among more and more Nepalis but is humiliating Nepalis, including the Madhesis who ought to be India’s supporters for reasons of culture, geography, history and politics.

One wonders who has begun to shape India’s Nepal policy in New Delhi these days. To be sure, many Nepalis hate the Maoists but they don’t hate them enough to allow India to come and intervene in the prime ministerial election—unless the Maoists capture power by force with outside help. So, India is another reason why Nepal’s political parties should support the Maoists to form the next government.

This will serve two goals: it will finish off the Maoists if they fail to deliver and it will also restore Nepal’s self-respect that has been severely hurt in the past months’ political developments.

১৮ অক্টোবর ২০১০, monday সময়: ৬:৫৮ অপরাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/5977#comment-4738

নেপালের সাম্প্রতিক রাজনীতি নিয়ে যাদেরই উৎসাহ আছে তাদের নেপালের বামধারার বুদ্ধিজীবি শ্যাম শ্রেষ্ঠের এই সাক্ষাৎকারটি অবশ্যই পাঠ করা উচিত। সাক্ষাৎকারে তিনি বলছেন

Maoists must put priority on building a wider united front. This is a must for both the Maoists and for the people. People are frustrated now. The conservative forces and India can use the rightist parties in this situation. Instead, the frustration must be used, not against the Maoists, but to build a united front directed against the right that are responsible for the frustrating situation. The Maoists must correct their way. They are quite confused now. They are unsure whether they should prepare for a new insurrection, make the CA successful, or adjust to the present status quo. Right now, they should concentrate on making the CA successful. But they are “looking at eight birds in the tree and losing four birds from the hand”. There should be a big united front that can create a movement for peoples’ rights. The ground is prepared for change and people want change very much.

The Maoists have great organisational strength. In May, they mobilised a demonstration that could surround the whole capital. The ring road is 27 kilometers long, and their demonstration covered the whole of it! It was a great asset. But still they failed to achieve their end. Why? They should review themselves and find the answer to this ‘why’? But right now, in my view, they are lacking a favourable public opinion among the people, a wide united front and a continuous struggle in favour of a progressive constitution and being the voice of the voiceless downtrodden people.

সাক্ষাৎকারের শেষে বলছেন

Prachanda was too late in dismissing the army chief, (Rookmangud) Katawal. He should have dismissed Katawal as soon as he made his first mistake. When Prachanda dismissed him, the timing was wrong. Katawal was to retire in 3 months. And Prachanda did not secure his decision in the coalition government. So it ended up with instead of Katawal being dismissed, Prachanda was dismissed! I don’t think Prachanda should have resigned. He should have tested his majority in the parliament. And we told him so. This mistake became very expensive for him.

Prachanda has in the total process, had a leading role and people have attached great hopes in him, but he did not fulfil their hopes. He did not work well as a prime minister. He even kept advisors that were advisors to the king. On the other hand, the budget was very good. It was pro-poor people. In the nine months of the government, its content was not realised and could not be realised. But if Prachanda had the correct priorities it could have been realised. So Prachanda is a very good leader and strategist, but was not a good prime minister. And alas, his relatives were not all clean. Prachanda’s popularity sunk while he was the prime minister. He could even have used the provisions of the interim constitution concerning land reform to push forward, and could have taken away many other concrete steps. But he had a commissioner who knew nothing about land reform.

Still we are hopeful that the revolution will be successful. I have pointed out many negative things but basically the situation is not totally negative in Nepal. The political awareness level of the people is very high. The majority of the cadres of the political parties are in favour of progressive change. Civil society and the media is still very popular and vibrant here. With all these positive elements put together, briefly you can say that either we will get a new constitution through the ongoing process or there will be a new revolution in Nepal. And we are definitely not pessimistic, we have not lost hope.

১৫ জানুয়ারী ২০১১, saturday সময়: ৯:৪২ পূর্বাহ্ন

গত জুন ২০১০ থেকে এ পর্যন্ত সরকার প্রধান নির্বাচনের ১৬টি রাউন্ডের পরও নেপাল পার্লামেন্ট আজো কোনো সিদ্ধান্তে আসতে পারেনি। সেখানে চলছে পদত্যাগী প্রধানমন্ত্রী মাধবকুমার নেপালের তত্ত্বাবধায়ক সরকার। এর মধ্যেই আজ ১৫ জানুয়ারি ২০১০ চলে যাবে নেপালে মাওবাদী ও নেপাল আর্মির মধ্যে শান্তি প্রক্রিয়ার জাতিসংঘ শান্তি মিশন ( UNMIN), ২০০৭এ যেমিশনের প্রতিষ্ঠা হয়েছিল এক বছরের মেন্ডেট নিয়ে, আজ তিন বছর পার করেও নেপাল আর্মি ও মাওবাদী পিপলস্ আর্মির সমস্যার কোনো সমাধান শান্তি মিশন করতে পারেনি। এর দায় অবশ্য পুরোপুরি নেপালের প্রধান তিন রাজনৈতিক দলের। আজ নেপালি মাওবাদী দল ও নেপাল সরকারের মধ্যে তিন দফা চুক্তির প্রেক্ষিতে বিদায় নেবে শান্তি মিশন।

As a part of a three-point agreement, the two sides decided to form a special mechanism, consisting of three members of the all-party Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoist combatants and three members from the committee’s secretariat, to monitor the arms and armies of both the government and the Maoists, meaning the Nepal Army and the People’s Liberation Army respectively. The Special Committee itself would now play the lead role in management of arms and armies, and dispute resolution. Both sides also reaffirmed their commitment to abide by all past agreements related to the peace process. They thanked UNMIN for its work, and consensually requested the mission to handover the equipment being used for monitoring of arms and armies to the government.

Pushing UNMIN out is in line with India’s broader Nepal policy, the key tenet of which is to isolate the Maoists and exclude them from the formal power structure as the only way of democratising them. Indian officials believe that the Maoists have used the peace process only “tactically;” harbour authoritarian ambitions and cannot be allowed back to power until they undergo a “course correction,” which would include giving up the PLA. Otherwise, it is argued, they would consolidate power and subvert all democratic institutions, and it would be impossible to dislodge them.

To this end, India has invested enormous political capital in galvanising the anti-Maoist forces together, and ensuring that Prachanda did not get to the majority mark in the prime ministerial elections. There is a section in both New Delhi and Kathmandu which believes that like UNMIN, the Constituent Assembly, where the Maoists command 40 per cent of the seats, is another “safety blanket” for the former rebels. This school tried hard to ensure that the CA did not get an extension last May. They are now hoping for its dissolution by the May 28 constitutional deadline, in order to “isolate” the Maoists from the only formal state structure in which they have space — the legislature.

The problem with this approach is that it only strengthens the dogmatic branch within the Maoist party, and underestimates the intensity of the conflict Nepal will be engulfed in if the constitutional process fails.

It is true that the Maoists have dragged their feet on the integration and rehabilitation of the former combatants, which makes the other parties insecure about their democratic commitment. At the same time, the Maoists are insecure too for, they are being asked to surrender a major source of power, largely on the Nepal Army’s terms, while in the Opposition. The hardliners within the party are quick to point out how “bourgeoisie democracy” is a sham as the largest party cannot form a government, how “Indian expansionists and Nepali reactionaries” have ganged up on them and are conspiring to dissolve the CA, and how the party should not give up the PLA at such a time reminding the cadres of the Mao dictum, “without the army, people have nothing.”

The reluctance of the non-Maoist parties to share power, the Maoist dogma, and India’s hardline approach — all feed on one another and have contributed to mutual insecurities and belligerence on all sides, limiting the space for compromise. The Nepali Congress’ withdrawal from the prime ministerial race, and the imminent initiation of a new process to elect a Prime Minister, have opened up one final opportunity to reengineer the consensus needed to push the peace and constitutional process forward.

Instead of aiding the polarisation, India needs to play a constructive role in enabling a deal on power-sharing and the peace process, in which the Maoists will be accommodated while locking them into handing over their coercive apparatus. This is essential for Constitution-writing. Otherwise, this May could well mark the collapse of Nepal’s ambitious experiment in political transformation.

২২ জানুয়ারী ২০১১, saturday সময়: ১২:০২ অপরাহ্ন

এটা কি হল? প্রকাশ্য সভায় দলীয় প্রধানের মুখে চড় কষে দেয়া? নেপালের রাজনীতির এই হাল শঙ্কিত করে আমাদের। এভাবে চড়-থাপ্পড়ের সংস্কৃতি রাজনীতিতে ঢুকে পড়লে রাজনীতির মুখেই চুনকালি পড়া আরো বাড়বে।

It was a slap in the face, literally, for CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal. No sooner had Khanal said in Biratnagar that the government would be formed in 10 days than he confronted the insulting incident in Itahari.

A former UML supporter Devi Prasad Regmi of Bharaul-5, Sunsari, ran bang into Khanal and slapped the latter on his left cheek in Itahari.

The 52-year-old attacker justified his action, saying Khanal and political leaders like him were to blame for promising the moon to people and keeping the country hostage for long. “When I saw Khanal and other leaders, I could not help but slap him, for these are the people who are responsible for ruining the country,” said Regmi, holding his head high. He was later taken to Area Police office, Itahari.

৪ ফেব্রুয়ারী ২০১১, friday সময়: ২:২৪ অপরাহ্ন

শেষ পর্যন্ত কিছুদিন আগে প্রকাশ্য জনসভায় নিজের দলের এক প্রবীণ সদস্যের হাতে গালে চড় খাওয়া কমিউনিস্ট পার্টি অফ নেপাল ( এম-এল) সংক্ষেপে এমালের সাধারণ সম্পাদক ঝালানাথ খনালই হলেন নেপালের প্রধানমন্ত্রী। নেপালের মাওবাদী নেতা প্রচণ্ড প্রতিযোগিতা থেকে তার নাম প্রত্যাহার করে খনালকে সমর্থন করতেই খনাল সংখ্যগরিষ্ঠ সমর্থন পেয়ে প্রধানমন্ত্রী নির্বাচিত হয়েছেন। কিন্তু এই সরকার কি পারবে তার প্রধান কাজ নেপালের সংবিধান রচনার কাজ শেষ করতে? নাকি মাওবাদীদের সাথে আবারও কোনো অনৈক্যের জেরে এই সরকারও ভেঙ্গে যাবে, সেসম্ভাবনা আছে, যদিও আমরা চাই নেপালের রাজনৈতিক ভাগ্যে আবারো এরকম কিছু না ঘটুক। আসলে নেপালের পার্লামেন্টে সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠ দল নেপালি মাওবাদী দলের দুই প্রধান নেতা প্রচণ্ড ও বাবুরাম ভট্টরাইয়ের আদর্শগত কোন্দল রাজতন্ত্র উচ্ছেদের পরবর্তী নেপালের পার্লামেন্টারি রাজনীতির বড় ক্ষতি করছে।

১৩ মার্চ ২০১১, sunday সময়: ৯:৪৯ পূর্বাহ্ন

নেপালের জাতীয় কবি মাধব প্রসাদ ঘিমিরে সম্বন্ধে আমি কিছুই জানি না। কিন্তু নেপালি ইংরেজি পত্রিকায় একটি লেখায় কবির এই কথাটি খুব ভাল লাগল

The world has been brought together by technology, but arts and cultures can also bring it closer.

তিনি এখন এই ৯২ বছর বয়সে একটি মহাকাব্য লিখছেন, ১০ সর্গ লেখা এর মধ্যে শেষ করেছেন আরো ৪ সর্গ লেখার পরিকল্পনা তার আছে, যদিও কাব্যিক কাজের পরিকল্পনা একেবারে অক্ষরে অক্ষরে পালিত হয় তা তো নয়, ৪ সর্গের চেয়ে কম বা বেশিও হতে পারে। তার উপর তার বয়স এখন ৯২, মৃত্যু যে কবির মানসী — সে মৃত্যু কি তার প্রেমিককে এই মহাকাব্য শেষ করতে দেবে?

Does it scare Ghimire? His reply is measured, a deep contemplation about the life he has lived. “I am already 92. It’s not like I want to live till I am 100 or 108. Death is inevitable for me and I have accepted that, but before I die, I have to finish this epic that I am writing.” Ghimire has already finished writing 10 chapters, and according to his plan, he should write four more. “But you cannot bind a poet by plans.”

Nor can one bind a poet by any other limitation. Ghimire has come a long way since the day he read Lekhnath Paudel in Pushtun. His is a life that has been marked by tragedy, but instead of letting tragedy destroy him, he converted it into something more positive, creating a work that will live on longer than people do. “The poet within me looks at the person I am, and laughs at my pains and my troubles, because my life provides the poet with fodder,” Ghimire muses, “Whatever my life has been, I have turned it all into poetry.”

আমরা চাই কবির এই আধুনিক মহাকাব্য লেখা শেষ হোক, তার মহাকাব্য বিশ্ববীক্ষণের নতুন দিগন্ত উন্মোচন করুক।

২৯ মার্চ ২০১১, tuesday সময়: ৭:০৪ অপরাহ্ন

চীনের সেনাবাহিনী প্রধান চেন বিঙ্গডে নেপাল ঘুরে গেলেন, নেপালের সেনাবাহিনীর জন্য দিয়ে গেলেন কিছু সামরিক ও অন্যান্য সুবিধা। মায়ানমার ও শ্রী লঙ্কায় চীনের যেরকম উপস্থিতি সেরকম উপস্থিতি নেপালেও গড়ে তুলে ভারতকে পেছনে ফেলাই উদ্দেশ্য, যদিও বারবার বলা হচ্ছিল

I know there is a lot of concern in India about China-Nepal relations. But there is nothing for India to worry about. This is a normal visit by officials from a neighbouring country

ভারত-নেপাল ‘বিশেষ’ সম্পর্ক এমনিতেই কয়েক বছর ধরে আর আগের মত নেই, এখন তো মনে হচ্ছে সেই সম্পর্কের সামনে আরো চ্যালেঞ্জ নিয়ে উপস্থিত হবে চীনের পিপলস আর্মি।

২ এপ্রিল ২০১১, saturday সময়: ৯:৪১ পূর্বাহ্ন

Although the PLA has been cultivating Nepali Maoists and inviting several delegations to China, Chen chose not to meet any Maoist leader, fully sensitive to the strained relationship between the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M) and the army. He brought a message from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to his Nepal counterpart, wishing the peace and constitution-writing process success.

In contrast to India’s oft-repeated stance that it is always ready to extend any kind of help that Nepal wanted to complete these processes, China’s message was meaningful: “China wants Nepal to complete the peace and constitution-making process on its own, and we believe it is capable of doing it.” Analysts say China wants to be seen as favouring an assertion of Nepali sovereignty.

China, like India, is aware of a situation in which a constitution might not be delivered and also understands the role the army would then play. It has been able to convey that China will continue to be a player in its south, and would not like too much meddling from other countries, including India. All at a time when India is not only getting unpopular in Nepal but is largely blamed for the prevailing uncertainty and chaos — as the one that brought various political parties, including the Maoists, together.

There is a fear that the current political dispensation may not be able to hold the country together as a demand for federalisation on ethnic and caste lines has created divisive trends. More political parties at home, except the Maoists, are turning towards the army, calling it the only hope to address the emerging crisis. And President Yadav has come out in open confrontation with the government dominated by Maoists, often criticising them for their laxity in completing the peace and constitution-making process on time. He obviously hopes that the army will at least support him should the executive responsibility fall on his shoulders when the constituent assembly misses yet another deadline (May 28).

কাজেই নেপাল ও নেপালের সেনাবাহিনীর উপর কতৃত্ব নিতে ভারত-চীন দ্বৈরথের আশঙ্কা আছে, আশঙ্কা আছে নেপালের সংবিধানের কাজ ঠিক সময়ে সম্পন্ন হবে কিনা।

২৫ মে ২০১১, wednesday সময়: ১:৫৯ অপরাহ্ন

নেপালের শান্তি প্রক্রিয়ার মধ্য দিয়ে সংবিধান প্রণয়ন আজো হল না, আর আগামী ২৮ মে আবার এই সংবিধান সংসদের মেয়াদ শেষ হচ্ছে।

With the term of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) expiring on May 28, and the Constitution nowhere in sight, Nepali politicians are engaged in hectic negotiations. The big question is whether the CA’s term will be extended again and, if so, on what terms.

The Jhalanath Khanal-led government, supported by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Upendra Yadav-led Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (Nepal), has proposed an amendment to the interim Constitution, extending the CA’s term by a year. The government’s logic is straightforward — there is no alternative to drafting the statute through the CA.

The opposition Nepali Congress (NC) and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) — comprising three Madhesi parties — have said they will not support the extension in the present situation. They are backed by a splinter of Mr. Yadav’s MJF, which broke ranks with the original party on Monday. A re-energised NC has claimed that a Constitution cannot be written ‘even in 10 years’ if Maoists do not deliver on the peace process. It has asked the Maoists to detach the party from the combatants and hand over their weapons to the government, and demanded the government’s resignation as pre-conditions for supporting an extension of the CA.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) is divided — Prime Minister Khanal is with the Maoists, while his rivals, the former Prime Minister, Madhav Nepal, and senior leader K.P. Oli have backed the NC in its demand for the government’s resignation.

২৭ মে ২০১১, friday সময়: ৫:১৫ অপরাহ্ন

The Himalayan Timesএর আজকের সম্পাদকীয়তে নেপালের সংবিধান সংসদের সময়সীমা বাড়ানোর সুপারিশ করা হয়েছে।

A good option is to extend the CA in two installments. During the first extension, the Maoists will be required to fulfil all their commitments to the peace process. If the Maoists deliver on their peace process commitments and the parties make a considerable improvement in the constitution writing process, then the CA term can be extended for an additional three months by the end of which a new constitution can be promulgated.

However, there has to be a qualitative change even before the CA extension is considered. There should be a change of government with a consensual regime in place before May 28. There should also be a final agreement about the numbers to be absorbed in the security forces, handing over of weapons to the government or the special committee and placing of PLA combatants away from Maoist command and control. A third important condition for extension is clear identification of the areas of differences in the Constitution writing so that everyone is aware of what needs to be done.

Although the original term of the CA is two years, the doctrine of necessity would allow yet another extension for a maximum of six months. If the major political parties make a reasonable and sincere effort both the peace process and the constitution drafting task could be concluded during that time.

Giving the Maoists three months during which to prove their commitment to the peace process and democracy is a reasonable option. If they fail to fulfil their commitments, then the people will hold them responsible for failing to live up to the people’s expectations.

২৯ মে ২০১১, sunday সময়: ১০:০৩ পূর্বাহ্ন

After hectic parleys late into Saturday night and wee hours of Sunday, the political parties struck a five-point deal, paving the way for a three-month extension of the Constituent Assembly.

According to the pact signed by top three leaders of the three major parties the Constituent Assembly term will be extended by three months; fundamentals of the peace process will be readied within three months; the first draft of the new constitution will be prepared within three months; the Prime Minister will quit to pave the way for formation of a national consensus government; and the Nepal Army will be developed as an inclusive institution by implementing the past agreements signed with Madhesi Morcha. However, it wasn’t clear when the Prime Minister’s resignation would come.

৩১ জুলাই ২০১১, sunday সময়: ১:০৩ অপরাহ্ন

নেপাল আবারও যাচ্ছে অচলাবস্থার দিকে? মাওবাদী প্রধান প্রচণ্ড হুমকি দিয়েছেন – মন্ত্রীসভায় তাদের দলের আরো সদস্যকে অন্তর্ভুক্ত না করলে তারা ঝালানাথ খনালের সরকার ফেলে দেবেন। ২০০৮ থেকে এরমধ্যেই ৪ বার সরকারের পরিবর্তন হয়েছে নেপালে এবং এর ফলে বহুপ্রতীক্ষিত ‘সংবিধান’ এখনো অধরাই রয়ে গেছে গণতন্ত্রে উত্তরণে পথে আশার আলো দেখা ছাড়া আর কোনো উন্নতি দেখা যাচ্ছে না।

The troubles of beleaguered Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal deepened further today with the UCPN-Maoist standing committee making it clear that it will recall the rest of its ministers if Khanal fails to induct by Sunday morning a fresh team in place of six ministers, who recently tendered their resignation in line with the party central committee’s decision to send a more inclusive team.

After today’s standing committee meeting, Maoist Spokesperson Dinanath Sharma said the party decided to recall rest of its ministers if PM Khanal fails to administer the oath of office to the new team by Sunday morning.

Asked if the party would withdraw its support to the government, Sharma said the party may even take such an ‘unpleasant decision’. The Maoist central committee had decided to send a new team to the government under the leadership of Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha, following which six ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Information and Communications Minister Agni Sapkota, Peace and Reconstruction Minister Biswonath Sah, had tendered their resignation.

The Maoist brass has been pressing Khanal for the inclusion of its new team in the government, claiming that it will not affect the peace process, constitution-making and the May 28 five-point deal, which gave the Constituent Assembly a three-month extension, in any way. In an interview with this daily, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said his party had decided to reshuffle the party’s team in the government to make its representation more inclusive. He had said that the new team should be brought on board even if the government falls in a day or two.

২ আগস্ট ২০১১, tuesday সময়: ৩:৫৪ অপরাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/6534#comment-9688

নেপালের বর্তমান প্রধানমন্ত্রী বর্তমান অচলাবস্থা কাটাতে ১৩ আগস্ট পর্যন্ত সময় নিয়েছেন, এর মধ্যে কিছু করতে না পারলে তিনি তার পদ ছেড়ে দেবেন

Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal today said he was ready to step down on August 13 if he failed to ensure that major tasks of peace process would be completed by August 31.

At a press conference organised at his official residence in Baluwatar about an hour after he administered oath of office and secrecy to new ministers, Khanal said his government’s significance would end if the parties failed to conclude major tasks of peace process and forge consensus by August 13. “It will be my political and moral duty to step down if we fail to conclude the major tasks of peace process by August 13,” said Khanal.

Khanal urged his coalition partner the Unified CPN-Maoist and the main opposition Nepali Congress to take his appeal seriously and start working to conclude the remaining tasks related to peace process. The prime minister conceded that there had been no tangible progress on peace front and that the parties had failed to implement a number of agreements signed in the last four years.

He said the tasks of determining modality, number, rank harmonisation, standard norms and rehabilitation package for Maoist combatants should be completed at the earliest.

On today’s Cabinet reshuffle, Khanal said it was the prerogative of the prime minister to induct new members into the government whenever he wanted and added that it was also the right of the coalition partners to demand change of ministers.

Khanal, however, tried to come clean today saying he had been attacked from within his party and by others. The prime minister did not miss the opportunity to lash out at NC for obstructing House proceedings. “I don’t think NC can justify its move to obstruct the House when the five-point deal is under the purview of the parliamentary monitoring committee,” said Khanal.

He added that going for yet another majority government would do no good to country and that the parties must think over the issue seriously.

The prime minister earlier today had administered oath of office to 10 ministers at Shital Niwas in the presence of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav. UML leaders had boycotted the ceremony to protest Khanal’s move.

১৫ আগস্ট ২০১১, monday সময়: ১২:৩৭ অপরাহ্ন

হ্যাঁ, অবশেষে নেপালের বর্তমান প্রধানমন্ত্রী ঝালানাথ খনাল গতকাল রাতে প্রধানমন্ত্রীত্ব ছেড়ে দিয়েছেন।

Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal stepped down from the government after six months and 11 days of his election as the country’s top executive on Sunday, creating further uncertainty in the prorgression of peace process and constitution-drafting with the August 31 deadline of Constituent Assembly in the offing.

Khanal, who announced his resignation at his party CPN-UML’s Central Committee meeting earlier today, tendered his resignation to President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav at the President’s Office in Sheetal Niwas this evening.

As per the constitutional provisions, the president asked him to bearing the caretaker role till the Legislature-Parliament elects a new government.

২৫ আগস্ট ২০১১, thursday সময়: ১:০২ অপরাহ্ন

হ্যাঁ, আবার শুরু হচ্ছে নেপালের সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠ সরকারের প্রধানমন্ত্রী নির্বাচনের ‘মিউজিক্যাল চেয়ার’ শো। রবিবার নেপালি কংগ্রেস প্রার্থী রামচন্দ্র পোডেল তার সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠতা প্রমাণের চেষ্টা করবেন।

A Central Working Committee meeting of Nepali Congress on Thursday declared its Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Paudel as the candidate for the PM post for the majority government.

The CWC meeting held at the party’s central office in Sanepa this morning took the decision to this effect.

Earlier on Wednesday, NC senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba who was the PM candidate for the consensus government had announced that he won’t be the party’s prime ministerial candidate to lead a majority government.

President Dr Ram Baran Yadav on Wednesday had sent a letter to the Legislature-Parliament asking to elect the new prime minister after the parties failed to meet the extended deadline to form the naitonal consensus government.

Earlier, when Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned from the post of prime minister, Paudel was nominated as the NC’s candidate to compete for the post of prime minister along with Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Jhala Nath Khanal from the UCPN-Maoist and the CPN-UML respectively. But Paudel had failed to gather a simple majority in 17 rounds of parliamentary voting.

The date for voting to elect a new prime minister is likely to be fixed for Saturday or Sunday and as per the amended provision of parliament regulations, there will be no more than three rounds of voting.

===

২৯ আগস্ট ২০১১, monday সময়: ৯:৪০ পূর্বাহ্ন

শেষ পর্যন্ত বাবুরাম ভট্টরাই হলেন নেপালের নতুন প্রধানমন্ত্রী।

UCPN (Maoist) Vice Chairman Baburam Bhattarai was elected prime minister on Sunday with the backing of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM), the alliance of five Madhes-based parties. His election comes three days before the Constituent Assembly (CA) term is set to expire.

The election of the new prime minister brings together two political forces that emerged strongly after the Constituent Assembly elections in 2008. The formation of the fourth majority government after the CA elections comes in the backdrop of a protracted stalemate in the peace process and constitution-making.

Bhattarai secured 340 votes of the total votes of 575 lawmakers who participated in the prime ministerial poll. His rival, Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Poudel, received 235 votes, with support from the third largest party CPN-UML.

Poudel, however, was gracious in defeat and rushed to congratulate the prime minister-elect even before Speaker Subas Nembang had declared the winner. He actually waited to shake hands with Bhattarai while the Speaker asked him to wait for the official announcement.

“We took part in a democratic process and Bhattaraiji emerged victorious. I wish him luck and assure him of cooperation,” Poudel later told reporters outside the House. “He has his task cut out and I hope he will be able to deliver on his commitments on peace and constitution.”

Congratulating the prime minister-elect in the House, Speaker Nembang hoped Bhattarai’s leadership will play a decisive role for completing the peace process and create an atmosphere for the preparation of the first draft of the constitution. Bhattarai, the 35th prime minister, committed that peace, constitution and relief to the people would be the priorities of the new government.

১১ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১১, sunday সময়: ১২:২৫ পূর্বাহ্ন

নেপালের মাওবাদী সুপ্রিমো প্রচণ্ড কি এখন ভারতে?

Bishnu Rijal, editor of the Budhbar weekly and a former prime ministerial media advisor, said that in the past, Prachanda had met Indian officials in Siliguri, especially from Indian intelligence agency RAW.

Nepal is passing through a critical stage with the new prime minister seeking support from all quarters to give the becalmed peace process a push.

Though Bhattarai unveiled a relief package Friday with emphasis on improving the deteriorating security situation, the work of drafting a new constitution and disbanding the Maoists’ guerrilla army has not progressed.

It is acknowledged that the giant tasks will not be possible unless Prachanda concurs and there are doubts if he will do so, given his stormy relationship with Bhattarai and his own ambition to return to power.

There is growing speculation that Prachanda could be seeking to meet Indian officials and leaders to discuss the impasse in the peace process.

The new Bhattarai government has to ready the first draft of the new constitution by November 30 or face collapse, like its two predecessors

১১ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১১, sunday সময়: ৬:১৫ অপরাহ্ন

আটচল্লিশ ঘন্টা পরে প্রচণ্ডকে আবার নেপালে দেখা গেছে। কোথায় ছিলেন তিনি? তিনি বলছেন, যারা জানার তারা জানে!

After dropping out of public eye for 48 hours and triggering intense speculation about his disappearance, the chief of Nepal’s ruling Maoist party, Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, reappeared in eastern Nepal Sunday, remaining tightlipped about where he had been.

The former revolutionary was seen at the domestic airport in Biratnagar, the city in eastern Nepal where he had been last seen Friday.

Saying that he had personal family matters to address, Prachanda added cryptically that knowledgeable people knew where he had been.

Nepal’s media Sunday was agog about the disappearance, speculating that the Maoist chief had been visiting the Indian town of Siliguri across the border.

Prachanda had attended a Maoist programme in western Gorkha district Friday along with the new prime minister from his party, Baburam Bhattarai, before flying to Biratnagar after the programme ended.

Accompanied by his wife Sita, son Prakash and a Maoist confidant, Haribol Gajurel, he is suspected of having made his way to Siliguri by road.

The visit, so quiet as to be virtually clandestine, triggered speculation that it could be a visit to sort out the marriage of Prachanda’s youngest daughter Ganga that has hit a rocky patch.

Ganga, who was said to be part of her father’s kitchen cabinet when he was prime minister, is married to Narayan Vikram Pradhan, son of Indian communist leader and former Indian MP Badri Narayan Pradhan.

The Pradhans live in Siliguri.However, in the past, Prachanda had met Indian officials in Siliguri, especially from the Indian external intelligence agency RAW.

With Nepal now passing through another critical stage, there is also speculation that Prachanda could have met Indian officials and leaders to discuss the impasse in the peace process.

The new Bhattarai government has to ready the first draft of the new constitution by November 30 or face collapse, like its two predecessors since 2009 .

২ নভেম্বর ২০১১, wednesday সময়: ১০:২৭ পূর্বাহ্ন

কখন পাবে নেপাল তার সংবিধান? এই ৩০ নভেম্বরের মধ্যে পাওয়ার কথা ছিল, কিন্তু সেটা যে পাচ্ছে না তা একরকম নিশ্চিত। নেপালের সংবিধান সংসদের সময়সীমা আরো ৬ মাস বাড়ানো হবে, সেই সময়সীমার মধ্যেও কি হবে?

At a time when the Vaidya group was accusing Bhattarai of having compromised on the national interest, Prachanda gave another blow to Bhattarai by saying that he had asked the prime minister to sign the BIPPA only if the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement was signed along with it. The 145-member central committee, if allowed to debate the BIPPA, is sure to use Prachanda’s statement as ammunition against Bhattarai. Therefore, for his survival, Bhattarai needs to sort out the integration issue before November 3, so that India and other outside players could throw their weight behind the government. That may ensure Bhattarai’s continuance as prime minister.

But internal politics could still make it difficult for him. Prachanda is reportedly trying to garner the support of the hardline faction in the party. He is also said to have sent feelers to the Nepal Congress leader Sushil Koirala that if the peace process and the drafting of the constitution are completed under Prachanda’s leadership, Koirala may head the government that would conduct elections to the parliament under the new constitution.

It will be a tightrope walk for Bhattarai.

১৩ december ২০১১, tuesday সময়: ২:২৪ অপরাহ্ন

নেপালে চীনের প্রধানমন্ত্রীর গুরুত্বপুর্ণ সফর বাতিলের ঘোষণা দিয়েছে কাঠমুন্ডুতে চীনের রাষ্ট্রদূত, কারণ কিছু জানানো হয়নি। শেষ মুহূর্তে এভাবে সফর বাতিলের ঘোষণা, আমাদের অঞ্চলের ভূরাজনীতি কেমন এলোমেলো ঠেকছে।

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has decided to put off his intended Nepal visit indefinitely.

The Chinese Ambassador to Nepal informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kathmandu about Beijing’s decision today.

The Chinese PM was scheduled to arrive in Nepal on December 20 for a three-day visit leading a 100 member delegation.

It has been learnt that the visit was postponed from the Chinese side. However, the actual cause behind the postponement is yet to be divulged.

Prior to Wen’s visit, a Chinese delegation had already arrived in the Capital on Sunday to take stock of security measures. They were busy the whole day yesterday holding extensive discussions with the government officials, including officials from the home, finance and foreign ministries at Hotel Soaltee to gather information about the arrangements being made for the PM’s visit to Nepal.

Nepal had also prepared the agendas to be discussed with the high level Chinese delegation. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai was expected to seek Rs 4 billion of assistance to fund the retirement package of Maoist combatants and other financial assistance on the occasion.

১৪ december ২০১১, wednesday সময়: ১:০৭ অপরাহ্ন

তিব্বতের ভিক্ষুদের আগুনে আত্মাহুতি কি বড় ব্যাপার হয়ে উঠছে চীন সরকারের কাছে, ভয় পাচ্ছে ওরা নেপালে ওয়েন জিয়াবাওয়ের সফরের সময় সেখানকার ভিক্ষুরাও আগুনে আত্মাহুতি দিয়ে প্রতিবাদ জানাতে পারে?

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s much-anticipated Nepal visit has been cancelled. Sources attributed the cancellation of the high profile visit to China’s concerns about security and political instability in Nepal.

Wen cancelled his visit after China’s team of security experts, after assessing the situation in Nepal regarding possible self-immolations and protests by Free Tibet activists, conveyed to Beijing that it was not the right time to visit Nepal, added the sources.

The Chinese premier was scheduled to arrive in Nepal on a three-day official visit on December 20, which was prematurely ‘disclosed’ by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on November 15 only to rile Chinese officials.

Chinese Ambassador Yang Houlan today called on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha and informed him about the cancellation of visit. Shrestha, however, plainly maintained that Wen’s visit has been ‘put off’. “Preparations were under way, but the date was yet to be fixed bilaterally. We were supposed to finalise it after discussions. The Chinese side has requested for some time to ‘reschedule’ it,” said Shrestha. “The Chinese leader will visit Nepal soon,” he added but did not mention when.

“We are sorry to inform you about our premier’s inability to visit Nepal now, as his presence in Beijing became necessary to be engaged in economic and budgetary issues,” Shrestha quoted Houlan as telling him.

When Shrestha was in Beijing last month for the preparation of Wen’s visit, the Chinese side had put forth the condition that there should be ‘no protest in the name of Tibetan activists during the visit’. Shrestha, however, denied that security flaws were the reason behind the cancellation of the visit. “The Chinese side was very much assured about our security arrangements,” he stated.

Three advance teams — protocol, security and political — from Beijing had visited Nepal for the preparation of Wen’s visit. Nepal and China had agreed on signing three agreements — pasturing, cultural exchanges and borders and ports managements — during the visit.

Nepal had expected an announcement of increased Chinese annual grant, one-time special assistance and a line of credit of more than $5 billion for a new airport, four major roads along the Nepal-Tibet border, four dry ports and hydro projects.

But sources suggested that possible protests by Free Tibet campaigners were not the only reason behind the cancellation of the visit. A political source claimed that even some ministers from Madhes-based parties were of the opinion that this was not the right time for receiving such a high profile dignitary. Besides, the Chinese side was suspicious about the future of the incumbent government, as its coalition partners and some leaders from PM’s own party were pitching for a unity government. Sources said the Chinese side had sought a new peace and friendship treaty between the two countries be signed during the visit. Nepal, according to sources, had expressed its inability to this effect before the promulgation of a new constitution.

Lack of diplomatic finesse exhibited by the Nepali side could also be blamed, said the sources. Government ministers had even gone on record about issues to be discussed during Wen’s visit, which the Chinese side had assessed as flippancy in diplomacy. “It’s a diplomatic failure on the part of Nepal,” said Rajeshwor Acharya, Nepal’s former enovy to China.

Why last moment hitch?

• Security concerns: Protests by Tibetan activists, possible self-immolation bid

• Flippancy in diplomacy: Premature ‘disclosure’ of date by the prime minister, lot of hype

• Current politics: Uncertainty about incumbent government’s future

• Naivety of ministers: Statements about agendas to be discussed during the visit

• Deal(s): Nepal not in position to sign a proposed peace and friendship treaty before the promulgation of the constitution

• Home concerns: Wen’s presence in Beijing for economic and budgetary issues more important

===

১৪ জানুয়ারী ২০১২, satuay সময়: ১:৪১ অপরাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/6746#comment-11491

গতমাসে তিন দিনের সফর বাতিল করে আজ পাঁচ ঘন্টার নেপাল সফরে এসেছেন চীনের প্রধানমন্ত্রী। তিব্বতের ভয় কি সত্যিই পেয়ে বসেছে চীনকে?

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s special aircraft has landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), where Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai, Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Speaker Subas Nembang, other senior government officials were waiting to shake hands and welcome him.

Accompanied by his Cabinet members — Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Commerce, and Public Security , Politiburo member Zhao Yongkang of the Communist Party of China, among others in the delegation, the Chinese prime minister is slated to head towards Singha Durbar, where he will be officially welcomed by Prime Minister Bhattarai. The Chinese delegation will hold officeial talks with the Nepali side there.

After both sides table their respective agendas during the meeting in Singha Durbar, Wen will also call on President Dr Ram Baran Yadav in his office in Sheetal Niwas.

He will fly to Qatar later in the afternoon.

আরো পড়ুন

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is arriving in Nepal on Saturday on a five-hour visit that is shrouded in secrecy. There is no official word from either side though preparations, The Indian Express has confirmed, are on to receive Wen at 11 am and see him off at 4.30 pm.

While the Chinese Premier will be going to Qatar from Kathmandu, sources said his visit is being termed “official” and not “in transit”. Incidentally, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai reportedly personally called up Sushil Koirala and Jhalanath Khanal —the President of the Nepali Congress and UML — asking them to be in the capital Saturday.

The visit is reportedly being kept under wraps because of the cancellation of Wen’s earlier scheduled three-day visit on December 20 following fear of protests by Tibetans. The Chinese had lodged a verbal protest over “premature leak” of the visit by Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. Deputy Prime Minister Narayankaji was reportedly told of Wen’s visit during his Beijing tour two weeks ago. According to sources, the Deputy Prime Minister in-charge of home affairs, Bijay Gachedar, travelled to China last week to assure Beijing that there would be no law and order issues. Authorities are not saying if any agreement would be signed, but security-related issues are expected to be be discussed.
===

১৪ জানুয়ারী ২০১২, satuay সময়: ১:৫৩ অপরাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/6746#comment-11492

সফরের শুরুতে প্রধানমন্ত্রী বাবুরাম ভট্টরাইয়ের সাথে একান্ত বৈঠকে মিলিত হয়েছেন ওয়েন জিয়াবাও। সরকারী নেপাল রেডিও, নেপাল টিভি ও গোর্খাপত্র ছাড়া আর কোনো সাংবাদিককে নেপালের প্রধানমন্ত্রীর কার্যলয়ে ঢুকতে দেয়া হচ্ছে না। অদ্ভুত সফর!

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has reached Singh Durbar during his five hours Nepal visit, where he is holding one-on-one talks with his Nepali counterpart Dr.Baburam Bhattarai, which will be subsequently followed by a delegation level meeting, in a bid to ink different agreements in consideration, between the two neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, scores of media persons who were thronging the Southern Gate of Singha Durbar to cover news about Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s Nepal visit, have been barred from reporting Wen’s visit.

It has been learnt that journos have been agitated after the government barred them from entering the administrative headquarters today.

According to The Himalayan Times’ correspondent Lekhanath Pandey, reporters of state-owned media– Radio Nepal, Nepal Television and Gorkhapatra– were only permitted to enter Singha Durbar.

Photographers of a handful of independent media houses were however allowed to have their entry into Singha Durbar .

The journalists slammed the government’s move to put the media in darkness about the visit.

===
১১ এপ্রিল ২০১২, wednesday সময়: ১০:২৬ পূর্বাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/6900#comment-12149

নেপাল আর্মি শান্তি প্রক্রিয়ার চুক্তি অনুযায়ী মাওবাদী পনেরোটি সেনানিবাসের পূর্ণ দায়িত্ব নিল। এর ফলে নেপালের শান্তি প্রক্রিয়ায় একটি বড় অগ্রগতি হল। যদিও এই সিদ্ধান্তের জের ধরে মাওবাদী সেনানিবাসগুলোতে উত্তেজনা বিরাজ করছে এবং বিচ্ছিন্ন সংঘর্ষের ঘটনাও ঘটছে।

In what is being considered a major development in Nepal’s peace process, the Nepal Army (NA) has taken control of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) cantonments, combatants and the weapons stored in containers inside the camps. This is in line with a decision taken by the all-party Special Committee (SC) for the Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoist combatants, which was also attended by top political leaders, on Tuesday.

NA will now be responsible for the security of the 15 remaining Maoist cantonments, including its infrastructure. Around 9,700 combatants who have opted for integration remain in these cantonments, and there are over 3,000 weapons in the containers. A little more than 7,000 former fighters who voluntarily retired with cash packages left the camps in mid February, while 12 satellite camps were shut down in March.

Last week, the SC had decided that there would be another round of regrouping in the cantonments, where combatants would be given a second chance to take voluntary retirement. This was aimed at bringing the numbers of those opting for integration down to 6,500 — the agreed maximum limit of those who can join a specially created directorate under the Nepal Army as per a peace agreement.

TENSIONS AND CLASHES

Opposition parties have long demanded that the Maoists hand over the control of cantonments to the Nepal government. Tuesday’s decision, however, comes in the wake of reports of increasing tensions and even clashes among combatants in the cantonments during the process of voluntary retirement. The process was halted at the request of the Maoist leadership.

Highly placed sources involved in the integration process told The Hindu that trouble had emanated from different quarters. A member of the SC secretariat present at a cantonment in western Nepal, on the condition of anonymity, said over phone: “There seems to be a virtual breakdown of the chain of command here. Most combatants want to opt for retirement and the commanders, to save face, have told them to take integration — but with little success. Instead, combatants have threatened the commanders.”

A source from another cantonment in eastern Nepal said ethnic tensions had broken out, with junior combatants not listening to senior commanders who hail from the west and belong to other communities. “Junior commanders want rank determination before integration and transparency in the selection process. They fear favouritism by the party leadership,” he added.

Former fighters who were “disqualified” during the U.N.’s verification in 2007 and discharged from the cantonments in early 2010 have also gathered outside some cantonment sites protesting against the party. Loyalists of Maoist senior vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya ‘Kiran’, who has opposed the integration process and termed it a “sell-out”, are also understood to have encouraged dissent within the camps.

===

৫ মে ২০১২, satuay সময়: ১:৪৫ পূর্বাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/6901#comment-12540

নেপালে যখনই সংবিধান পাসের ডেডলাইন (এবারের ডেডলাইন ২৭ মে, ২০১২) কাছাকাছি আসে তখনি সরকার পরিবর্তন, ডেডলাইন বাড়ানো, ঐক্যমতেসৃষ্ট জাতীয় সরকার এসবের কথা শোনা যায়। এবার শোনা যাচ্ছে ঐক্যমতেসৃষ্ট জাতীয় সরকারের কথা। দেখা যাক শেষ পর্যন্ত কী হয়! এনিয়ে হিমালয়ান টাইমসের সম্পাদকীয় Come together।

There have been bids to form a national unity government as it is believed that such a government would be of help in delivering the constitution by the May 27 deadline. But, as things stand now, the major political parties, the UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the United Democratic Madhesi Front, even after agreeing to form a consensual government, have failed to give the formation of such a government the needed momentum. However, under no circumstances should such a government try to extend the stipulated deadline for the promulgation of the constitution as former prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal had mooted only last week. The Constituent Assembly (CA) has had enough time to write the constitution— more than four years—but all they have been doing so far is dilly dallying and pushing their partisan political interests, much to the dismay of the people who have by now virtually stopped believing that the constitution is possible from these political parties and leaders. What we find is that the political parties and their leaders stick adamantly to their stubborn stances and fail to accommodate their differing interests and views, without exercising the flexibility that is so essential for compromises to be made in the larger interest of the country and people. And, that is what has the constitution-drafting process stuck up.

Of course, the various political parties can have differing viewpoints and interests as can only be expected in a democracy, but it behooves on them to seek common ground on the contentious issues that are leading the negotiations to an impasse. As such, a consensus government could facilitate this demanding need whereby there would be a situation of give and take, preferably leading to a win-win situation for all the stakeholders. The daunting task that the political leaders face is trying to please everyone, which is next to impossible. This is why we may need a consensual government, as in the past the various governments could not reach an agreement. Like always, the Maoists try to negotiate seriously at the eleventh hour perhaps hoping that they would be in a stronger bargaining position.

Now, however, there is a ray of hope as the major political parties are close to an agreement on the contentious constitutional issues, namely federalism and forms of governance. They are also close to an agreement on amending Article 70 of the Interim Constitution, which shortens the various procedures for the ratification of the contentious constitutional issues in the CA. Again, having a consensus government alone is not the panacea to all the problems that are besetting the country, though for long this had been touted as such. Even as we see that the country will actually have a unity government, the hopes of the people should be high that their aspiration for an all encompassing statute will materialize. But, only if the political leaders mend their ways will the much-awaited constitution be ready for promulgation by the end of the CA’s latest extended tenure. This is the need of the hour and political leaders should not let the people down, again.

===

২৭ মে ২০১২, suay সময়: ১০:৩৬ পূর্বাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/6901#comment-12704
যেনেপাল রাজতন্ত্র থেকে গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রে নিজেকে উন্নীত করেছে, যেনেপাল হিন্দু রাজতান্ত্রিক রাষ্ট্র থেকে নিজেকে গণতান্ত্রিক ধর্মনিরপেক্ষ রাষ্ট্রে রূপান্তরিত করেছে, আজ ২৭ মে ২০১২, সেনেপাল কি পাবে তার বহু আকাঙ্ক্ষিত যুক্তরাষ্ট্রীয় গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী সংবিধান?

For over six decades, Nepal’s democratic, left and ethnic movements have waited for this day — when a popularly elected and representative Constituent Assembly would usher in a new social contract for its diverse peoples. But the country’s date with history on Sunday, when the term of the CA expires with the possibility of extension ruled out, could swing either way. At midnight, true to Nepal’s political tradition, major forces could strike a last minute deal and promulgate a federal democratic republican statute. Equally, the country could be staring at a political and constitutional crisis with the CA dissolved, without a constitution having been written. Not only would this be a betrayal of the long political struggles where thousands have lost their lives, it could well push the country into years of instability and multiple ethnic conflicts.

The uncertainty comes from a fundamental political divide about the nature of federalism, and what should be incorporated in the final constitutional text. While the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Madhesi parties, and Janjati (ethnic) MPs across party lines stand on one end of the spectrum, the Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) represent the other pole.

The latter two forces are in favour of promulgating the constitution, while postponing the issue of state restructuring. The federal model, they argue, can be determined by the transformed legislative-parliament which will continue to exist if the constitution is done. The Maoist-Madhesi-Janjati combine has rejected this. Instead, they seek a constitution with specific agreements on the names, numbers and territorial boundaries of the new federal structure. They have demanded a firm commitment that the 14 state model, prepared by the CA committee on state restructuring, or the 10 state model, recommended by the State Restructuring Commission, should be clearly mentioned as the basis for federal demarcation. Both these models have two provinces in the Tarai plains, and demarcate boundaries in a way where ethnic communities will have a demographic advantage in several hill provinces. NC and UML have termed it ‘ethnic federalism’, and said it would be unacceptable.

Many argue, logically, that it would make sense to preserve the achievements and work of the CA by framing a constitution and leave contentious issues for later. But the trust deficit is so deep that marginalised communities do not have faith in assurances. A Madhesi Minister told The Hindu, “There is already an in-principle commitment to federalism in the interim constitution. The entire rationale of the CA was to restructure the state. Both the 10 and 14 state models are products of constitutional mechanisms. If we can’t get federalism now, the elites will conspire and stall it forever.”

If Nepal is to have a constitution by Sunday night, the real challenge is in bridging this trust deficit and balancing these multiple constituencies. Madhesi and ethnic politicians will have to understand that in the remaining one day, they cannot possibly get a full-fledged federal structure. They could instead negotiate hard on principles and guarantees that the transformed parliament will indeed deliver federalism within a specified time-frame, and the next elections would be held both for the national and provincial legislatures. At the same time, Nepal’s two older parties must wake up to the new political dynamic and movements. The aspirations of excluded communities cannot be brushed aside; identity has to be recognised as a key element of federal restructuring and the recommendations of legitimate constitutional bodies on federalism cannot be discarded. If they do not relent, and the CA collapses without a constitution, it will lead to the irreversible radicalisation of Madhesi and ethnic politics.

===

২৮ মে ২০১২, moay সময়: ১২:৪৪ পূর্বাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/6901#comment-12708

একটি মৃত্যু সংবাদ। ২৮ মে সোমবার ২০১২ ০০:০০ টায় নেপালের সংবিধান সংসদ মৃত্যবরণ করেছে। এবছর ২২ নভেম্বর নতুন সংবিধান সংসদ গঠনের লক্ষ্যে নেপালে সাধারণ নির্বাচন অনুষ্ঠিত হবে। সময়ের অসাধারণ অপচয়ের দৃষ্টান্ত হয়ে থাকবে এই মৃত সংবিধান সংসদ। সত্যিই দুঃখজনক একটি খবর নেপালের জন্য।

In a televised address to the nation after the clock struck 00:00 am on Monday, May 28, Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai announced that the Constituent Assembly, elected in 2008, exists no more and that fresh elections will be held on November 19[22] to elect a new Constituent Assembly.

Also one of the vice chairmen of UCPN-Maoist, Dr. Bhattarai addressed the nation from his official residence in Baluwatar soon after briefing President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav about the Cabinet’s decision to hold fresh polls for the CA.

===

২৮ মে ২০১২, moay সময়: ৬:৫৫ অপরাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/6901#comment-12713

২০০৮ সালের এপ্রিল থেকে নিয়মিত আমি নেপালের সংবিধান সংসদের খবরাখবর রেখেছি। গতকাল (ঠিকভাবে বলতে গেলে ২৮ মে সোমবার ২০১২ ০০:০০) সেই সংসদের যখন মৃত্যু হল, তখন থুবই দুঃখ পেয়েছি। এখন বলা হয়েছে এবছরের ২২ নভেম্বর (প্রথমে ১৯ নভেম্বর বলা হয়েছিল) আবার নতুন করে নির্বাচন হবে। আগামী দিনগুলোতে নেপালের রাজনীতি কীহবে সেই মধ্যরাত থেকে আমি চিন্তিত, এই যেমন এখন নেপালের সব রাজনৈতিক দল, নেপালের বর্তমান প্রধানমন্ত্রী পদত্যাগ দাবী করেছে,

KATHMANDU: All party meeting held at the party office of the Nepali Congress in Sanepa has sought the Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai’s resignation as quickly as possible.

নেপালের এই রাজনৈতিক টানাপোড়েনে উপমহাদেশের সবার জন্যই গভীর আশঙ্কার কারণ আছে। আজ হিমালইয়ান টাইমসের সম্পাদকীয়তে লেখা হয়েছিল

The Constituent Assembly (CA) comes to an end today after 4 years of political roller coaster ride, and a task-half finished. After a series of frustrating delays, the elections for the CA were held on April 10, 2008, ushering in a new era in Nepal’s turbulent history. The CA was the key element in Nepal’s peace process intended to transform the warring Maoists into a civilian political force and the country into a federal democratic republic. Although the Maoists have refused, until now, to let go of their communist ideology and tactics, they committed themselves to peaceful politics and promised to lay down their arms and armies. Unfortunately, although original agreements required the peace process, primarily the management of arms and armies, to be completed in six months, the Maoist leadership took 47 months to complete the process of rehabilitation and hand over the remaining combatants to the Nepal Army for integration. This forced the political parties to extend the CA’s term four times for a total of four years although the contract with the voters was that they would take no more than two years.

Now, with the Supreme Court standing firmly against any further extension, the parties were forced to choose between letting the CA die without any concrete results or promulgating a constitution in time. The Supreme Court’s verdict was based on several logical principles, and violating the SC verdict would have meant overriding these foundational principles of democratic governance like popular consent, adherence to principal law, and accountability. In the last four years, we have seen many weaknesses among the political parties. First was the way in which the political parties sought to side-step the CA and turn it into a mere rubber stamp. The idea of CA emerged because it would allow the people to frame their own constitution, and it would constitute a democratic-decision making process in case there were differences in opinion among the different stakeholders. Unfortunately, political parties sought to sidestep the CA process altogether and depend on closed door meeting among top-leaders that were rarely transparent.

সংবিধানটা হয়ে গেলে নেপালটা যেভাবে এগিয়ে যেত, এবং তার সাথে সাথে উপমহাদেশে গণতন্ত্রের উপর মানুষের আরো আস্থা তৈরি হত, সেই আপাত সুযোগটা নষ্ট হয়ে গেল। এখন সবচেয়ে আশঙ্কার হল নির্বাচনের আগে এই দিনগুলো কেমন যাবে, বা আদৌ সময় মত নির্বাচনটা হবে তো? সব মিলিয়ে একটা বিকট সময়ের আশঙ্কার ভেতরই ঢুকে গেলাম গত মধ্যরাত থেকে।
===

৪ জুলাই ২০১২, wednesday সময়: ১০:১৭ পূর্বাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/6989#comment-12916

নেপাল বিষয়ে প্রয়োজনীয় পাঠ নিতে এই বইটি হবে গুরুত্বপূর্ণ।

Book: Nepal in Transition: From People’s War to Fragile Peace

Author: Edited by Sebastian von Einsiedel, David M. Malone and Suman Pradhan

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

The first is the narrative of liberation, which starts with the awakening of political consciousness following World War II, and moves on to the 1950 and 1990 and 2006 democracy movements, and analyses current events as new chapters in the story of a revolution that has yet to be completed. This narrative is full of heroic struggles, rights movements and a yearning for justice, equality and a better day via democracy. Those attuned to the injustice prevalent in Nepali society tend to follow this narrative.

The second narrative is more alarmist, and it envisions the end of Nepal — at the hands of the Maoists, or of imperial India, or of Western aid organisations funding work on rights-based development and social inclusion, and as a consequence destroying social harmony. Those attuned to the concerns of the nation’s high-caste elite tend to follow this narrative.

Nepal in Transition: From People’s War to Fragile Peace will be educative to the latter, and educative as well as inspiring to the former.

Edited by Sebastian von Einsiedel, David M Malone and Suman Pradhan, this dense collection of essays is full of information thus far understood fully by only a handful of specialists. For this alone it is essential reading.

Deepak Thapa’s chapter offers a helpful overview of the causes — historical, ideological and opportunistic — behind Nepal’s Maoist insurgency, while Rhoderick Chalmers focuses specifically on the security sector at war and in peacetime, with an examination of the Royal Nepal Army and the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army. A very good follow-up to these two chapters comes later in the collection from Aditya Adhikari, who lays out, with thoroughness and precision, how the Maoists have used the peace process to enter, and master, Nepal’s democratic polity.

===

৩ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১২, moay সময়: ১২:৩৪ অপরাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/7021#comment-13643

নেপালের প্রধানমন্ত্রী যতই নেপালকে চীন দক্ষিণএশিয়ার সেতু বলুন না কেন, চীনের স্ট্র্যাটেজিক চিন্তাবিদরা কিন্তু তা সমর্থন করেন না। চীনের স্ট্র্যাটেজিক চিন্তাবিদরা তিব্বতের চেয়ে ইউনান প্রদেশের অবকাঠামো উন্নয়নে অনেক বেশি আগ্রহী এবং বাস্তবে হচ্ছেও তাই। চীনের এই প্রদেশ থেকে বার্মা, বাংলাদেশ,উত্তরপূর্ব ভারতের সাথে যোগাযোগ হবে খুবই সুবিধাজনক এবং এই প্রদেশ থেকে বার্মার বন্দর এবং বাংলাদেশের চট্টগ্রাম বন্দর ব্যবহার করে চীনের পণ্য অনেক কম সময়ে পৌঁছে যেতে পারবে পূর্বআফ্রিকা। কাজেই নেপাল নয় বার্মাই হবে চীনের দক্ষিণ এশিয়ার প্রবেশদ্বার এবং তারপরেই গুরুত্বপূর্ণ বাংলাদেশ। এটাই বাস্তবসম্মত এবং এটাই হবে।

Senior Chinese officials and academics say Nepal is not part of China’s strategic gateway to South Asia.

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has positioned Nepal as a bridge between China and India, however, given the topographical terrain, China’s engagement in South Asia is being planned through a completely different route.

China is carrying out massive infrastructure projects and logistics in Yunnan province in southern China to connect not just to Southeast Asia, but also to South Asia and East Africa as well, Ai Ping, Vice Minister of the International Department of Central Committee of Communist Party of China said. “Nepali people must get realistic,” Ai said. He was answering questions raised by the media during a recent banquet at the IDCPC to honour a group of visiting Nepali media delegates. The Gateway Strategy started in December 2009, after Chinese President Hu Jintao announced that China would turn Yunnan into a social and economic corridor towards South and Southeast Asia.

Construction has begun on 12 railroads connecting Yunnan with other parts of China as well as Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. The connection to South Asia is through the Southern Silk Route and consists of the Kunming-Myanmar Road, China-India Road and Guangtong-Dali railway. The route through Myanmar connects to Bangladesh and northeastern part of India.

As a result, China is not likely to invest in the Lhasa to Kathmandu train route, which may yield returns in 100 years, says Ai Ping. “However, if we build infrastructure through Myanmar, it can give results within 40 years,” he says.

“Nepal, however, is still very important as a bridge between South Asia and western part of China,” Prof Wang Hongwei of the Institute of Asian Pacific Studies told THT. Given the difficulty of connecting western regions to the mainland, China could prefer the region’s trade with South Asia,” Prof Wang said. The view was shared by Hu Shiseng, Director of Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceania Studies of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations said.

“Nepal can be a very important tourist destination for Buddhist pilgrimage,” he said. “Its role for stability of Western China is also important.”

===
২০ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১২, ursday সময়: ১:৩১ পূর্বাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/7021#comment-13700

সংবিধানটা হয়ে গেলে নেপালটা যেভাবে এগিয়ে যেত, এবং তার সাথে সাথে উপমহাদেশে গণতন্ত্রের উপর মানুষের আরো আস্থা তৈরি হত, সেই আপাত সুযোগটা নষ্ট হয়ে গেল।

এটা ছিল নেপাল নিয়ে ২৮ মে ২০১২এর আপডেট। আর আজকের আপডেট হল ১৯ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১২ বুধবার নেপালের প্রধান চারদল মিলে সংবিধান সংসদকে পুনরুজ্জীবিত করার একটা চেষ্টা হয়েছিল এবং দলগুলো কোনো মতৈক্যে আসতে না পারাতে সংবিধানহীন নেপালকেই পরবর্তী নির্বাচনে যেতে হবে।

Chances of CA revival end: CPN-UML chair

The four major political forces failed to forge an agreement on the revival of the Constituent Assembly on Wednesday.

After a joint meeting of the top leaders of UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front, CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal said that the chances of promulgation of new constitution by reviving the dissolved CA have ended as the parties failed to build an agreement on the content of constitution.

Saying the country will now have to opt for the fresh elections, the former prime minister added taht the course and time for the polls will be decided by holding further discussion in the days coming.

The parties had sat together at the New Baneshwor-based Secretariat of the Special Committee for army integration in a bid to explore how the existing political and constitutional crisis can be resolved.

The CPN-UML chairman was the first leader to come outside the meeting hall, while the others are still holding talks inside.

===
১৫ মার্চ ২০১৩, friday সময়: ৫:৫৯ অপরাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/7227#comment-14752

শেষ পর্যন্ত নেপালের সাধারণ নির্বাচনের জন্য বিদায়ী প্রধানমন্ত্রী বাবুরাম ভট্টরাইয়ের উদ্যোগে দেশের প্রধান চার রাজনৈতিক দলের সম্মতিতে প্রধান বিচারপতি খিল রাজ রেগমিকে প্রধান করে অন্তর্বর্তী সরকার গঠিত হয়েছে। এই সরকারের অধীনেই আগামী ২১ জুন ২০১৩তে সাধারণ নির্বাচন অনুষ্ঠিত হবে। সাংবিধানিকভাবে এই এগারো সদস্য বিশিষ্ট এই সরকারের নাম হবে ‘অন্তর্বর্তী নির্বাচন কাউন্সিল’ ( Interim Election Council)। গভীর মনোযোগের সাথে আমাদের এই বিষয়টি পুঙ্খানুপুঙ্খ পড়া উচিত, আমাদের দেশের সাধারণ নির্বাচন সংকটে এরকম কোনো সাংবিধানিক সমাধানে আমরা আসতে পারি কিনা, সেসাথে নিবিড় মনোযোগের সাথে এই কাউন্সিলের এখন থেকে নির্বাচন পর্যন্ত প্রতিটি পদক্ষেপ আমাদের খেয়াল রাখা উচিত।

Regmi sworn in as new executive head

Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi took the oath of office and secrecy as the new head of the executive today, a day after the four major political forces and the outgoing Baburam Bhattarai-led government recommended President Ram Baran Yadav to appoint him as the head of election government.

Regmi was sworn in as Chairperson of the Interim Election Government by the President at Shital Niwas in a function attended by political leaders, chiefs of constitutional bodies, chiefs of security agencies, high-ranking government officials and diplomatic corps.

Regmi appointed former chief secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire and former Law Secretary Hari Prasad Neupane as ministers in his Cabinet. The new head of executive sworn in both the ministers in front of the President at Shital Niwas. Ghimire has been assigned home and foreign affairs portfolios and Neupane will handle the portfolios of law, justice, constituent assembly, parliamentary affairs, labour and employment.

Assuming the office today, the newly appointed head of the executive said his government’s top priority was to hold elections on time. He urged all parties and stakeholders to cooperate in holding fresh elections.

Later today, the new Cabinet held its first meeting at Singha Durbar and thanked the political parties for assigning them important responsibility of holding fresh Constituent Assembly elections. Stating that elections alone can end the political stalemate, the Cabinet appealed all to take part in the elections. The Cabinet’s appeal was aimed at winning support of the fringe parties who have been protesting against the chief justice-led government.

The Cabinet has stated that it was committed to holding free and fair elections, maintaining the rule of law, respecting the principle of separation of powers and respecting human rights by embracing checks and balances.

It also directed the government functionaries not to grant economic assistance, donations and awards to anyone without following agreed economic assistance guidelines. The new Cabinet has tasked a group of government secretaries to ensure smooth supply of petroleum products.

President’s order

• The new order issued by the President has amended Article 158 of the Interim Constitution whereby new amendments made in the constitution should be endorsed by new Constituent Assembly within a month of the first meeting of the CA.

• The order issued by the President also states that a suitable arrangement (formation of a new government) would be done as per political consensus if the post of the Chairman of Interim Election Government falls vacant or if the elections cannot be held on the declared date for any reasons or due to unforeseen circumstances. The order also states that once the new provisions incorporated after invoking Article 158 are implemented, the new provisions would automatically be ineffective after the first implementation of the provisions.

ICJ asks him to step down as chief justice

KATHMANDU: The International Commission of Jurists today urged newly appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi to step down as chief justice to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.

‘The Supreme Court under the leadership of Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi, has demonstrated a strong commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting human rights in Nepal,” said Ben Schonveld, ICJ’s South Asia Director in Kathmandu. ‘To preserve the Nepali judiciary’s hard-won independence, the chief justice should step down from his post as soon as he assumes his position at the top of the executive branch.”

ICJ’s request came just a few hours after Regmi assumed chief executive’s post following the presidential order to clear hurdles to appoint him to the post.

“Appointing the serving chief justice to act as Chairperson of the Council of Ministers throws the country into uncharted constitutional waters,” said Schonveld, adding, “This agreement obliterates the line between the executive and the judiciary.”

According to it, the interim Constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers and added that Article 106 bans sitting and retired judges from assuming any appointment in government service apart from a role in the national human rights commission.

“To enable the chief justice’s appointment as prime minister, the President on the recommendation of the Council of the Ministers amended several provisions of the Interim Constitution, including Article 106. These amendments were made in contravention of the requirements of the Interim Constitution, which calls for a mandatory two-thirds majority of Parliament,” it added.

The world jurists’ body also added that the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers emphasise the need for all states to ensure the independence of the judiciary at all times. “Judges must be free, and be seen to be free, from inappropriate connections with the executive and legislative branches of government,” the ICJ added.

Midnight deal on CJ-led govt saves the day

• Regmi to lead an 11-member interim election council • Appointment today • Poll by June 21

Four major political forces today put an end to long-drawn speculations‚ as they signed an 11-point political agreement on removing constitutional difficulties and forming an election government‚ raising hopes of an election as early as third week of June.

Top leaders of four forces — the Unified CPN-Maoist‚ Nepali Congress‚ CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front — today finalised that the new government will be formed under Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi‚ to be called an interim election council‚ that Regmi will lead the council as the chairman and that it will have 11 members‚ chosen by the chairman of the council on the basis of inclusiveness.

The top leaders finally managed to accomplish an exacting task of clinching the deal to this effect at around 11:00pm after 14 hours of negotiations today and days of rigorous‚ tense‚ and at times heated discussions‚ as issues kept on frustrating their efforts.

The major forces have finally ironed out differences on issues of citizenship and voters’ list — two most thorny issues that prickled them the most.

The parties agreed to recommend President Ram Baran Yadav to invoke Article 158 and appoint CJ Regmi as the chairman of the election council. Though the parties have agreed that the CJ-led interim election council will hold the election within June 21‚ they have caveated it saying that in the event of failure to hold the polls on said date‚ a high level political committee will take a decision regarding the new date‚ at the next earliest possible date but no later than November‚ on the basis of political understanding and that the committee will advise the council to that effect accordingly.

On the issue of citizenship‚ major forces have agreed that those who are born to the parents who have acquired citizenship by birth will be given citizenship on the basis of descent‚ and on voters’ list‚ parties have agreed to include those as voters who were listed during the 2008 elections and those who are in the updated list of the Election Commission. For others‚ Section 11 of Voters’ List Act 2063 will be applicable‚ which means those who are yet to acquire their citizenship will have to produce any other proof of being a Nepali citizen for their right to vote. “As the Supreme Court has already removed the provision‚ it will be activated through invoking Article 158‚” said NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi. In relation to filling vacancies at the Supreme Court‚ the parties have agreed to formulate required constitutional provisions as soon as possible. After the chief justice’s appointment as the chairman of the election council‚ an officiating chief justice will take over his duties. For appointments at constitutional bodies‚ parties have said they would do so as per an agreement of the high level political committee‚ which will comprise representatives from the major political parties.

The parties have also agreed to elect a 491-member constituent assembly‚ in line with the spirit of inclusiveness‚ in which 240 members will be chosen through first past the post system and 240 through proportional representation system. Eleven members will be nominated by the election council on the basis of political agreement.

The new constituent assembly will double as Parliament as long as the work of drafting a new constitution continues‚ and following the promulgation of the constitution‚ it will function as per the spirit of the new constitution.

The parties have also agreed to take the ownership of all the achievements made by the dissolved constituent assembly.

===
১৯ নভেম্বর ২০১৩, tuesday সময়: ৯:৫৯ পূর্বাহ্ন

http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/8497#comment-17877

আজ নেপালে সংবিধান সংসদের ভোট চলছে। এটি নেপালের দ্বিতীয় সংবিধান সংসদ ভোট, প্রথম সংবিধান সংসদ দুবছরের মধ্যে সংবিধান প্রণয়নের কথা থাকলেও এবং আশি শতাংশ কাজ সম্পন্ন করলেও প্রধান দলগুলোর অনৈক্যের ফলে চার বছরেও বাকি কাজ শেষ করে সংবিধান প্রণয়ন করতে ব্যর্থ হয়। এবার বলা হচ্ছে নির্বাচিত ৬০১ সদস্যের সংবিধান সংসদ এক বছরের মধ্যেই সংবিধান প্রণয়নের কাজ শেষ করবে। দেখা যাক, এবার তারা কথা রাখতে পারে কিনা।

EDITORIAL: Rerun in hope

Nepal votes today in historic Constituent Assembly (CA) Election, sending 601 representatives to the supreme constitution-drafting body. The present election is also a repeat CA, unheard of in the political history of the world, because the political parties represented in CA I, especially the major ones, failed to deliver a constitution despite taking up double the two years’ time envisaged by the Interim Constitution. And it died a controversial death when it crossed the deadline given by a Supreme Court verdict, which put a check on the legislature-parliament to extend the CA’s tenure further. Between CA I’s demise and today’s polling day, one and a half years has elapsed because of the dissensions among the big political parties as to who should head the electoral government. But that the election is underway is in itself an important achievement, despite the election-boycotting 33-party alliance’s efforts, including resort to violence, to foil it or undercut it.

Indeed, CA I was reported to have completed 80 per cent of the constitution-making task; even then at the eleventh hour, the Nepalese people were let down. Now the major political parties have been pledging to the people that they will deliver a constitution within a year. Hopefully, this time around they will live up to their word, rising above their petty interests having learned from their mistakes and failures. But it should also be noted that the public are taking these promises with a pinch of salt. CA Election I and CA Election II, then the peace process had not been completed, now it has more or less been done, including the settlement of the UCPN-Maoist’s People’s Liberation Army. Their wartime hangover was then fresh and strong but it has lost much of its fervor now. But the failure of the major parties that have engineered CA II to bring the 33-party alliance led by the CPN-Maoist on the electoral bandwagon sticks and will probably lead to unrest in the post-election period. This will also represent a failure to create a situation in which all the political forces and the people may own up the constitution and the change.

In the coming days, however, the big parties in the election should therefore initiate damage-repairing action in this regard, though it has become more difficult now. Elections may well throw up surprises, and yesterday’s losers may turn out to be today’s gainers. But what is of paramount importance is that the country must get a constitution that will bind the whole nation together which everybody may be able to own up and which may provide lasting political stability in the country, contributing considerably to the prosperity of Nepal and the Nepalese. But things do not appear sanguine, because divisive tendencies have been taking roots in the country in terms of secularism, ethnicity and origins, geography, federalism, state restructuring and the like. Unfortunately, none of such highly divisive issues has been put before the Nepalese people to decide in a referendum. The success of the CA being elected will, therefore, chiefly rest on its ability to resolve such issues permanently, so that the deep crises that have erupted on such grounds may not come to life again in the country.

===

২৫ এপ্রিল ২০১৫, satuay সময়: ৭:১৯ অপরাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/9996#comment-48710

Earthquake in Nepal Kills Hundreds and Levels Buildings

An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.8 shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu, flattening sections of the city’s historic center and trapping sightseers in a 200-foot tower that crumbled into a pile of bricks. People in the capital described scenes of panic and collapsed buildings, and the United States Geological Survey predicted severe damage to villages near the quake’s epicenter, about 50 miles from Katmandu.

A spokesperson for Nepal’s Home Ministry, Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, said that the preliminary death toll stood at 686, nearly all in the valley around Katmandu, and that thousands of people had been injured. Trekkers reported a major avalanche on Mount Everest, where two people were reported dead, according to tourism officials. In addition, 34 deaths had been reported in India.

Residents of Katmandu ran into the streets and other open spaces as buildings fell, throwing up clouds of dust, and wide cracks opened on paved streets and the walls of city buildings. Overflowing hospitals were treating injured patients on the street, and Nepal’s leading television station, its studios crushed, was broadcasting from the pavement outside.

By midafternoon the United States Geological Survey had counted 12 aftershocks, one of which measured at a magnitude of 6.6.

Kanak Mani Dixit, a Nepali political commentator, said he was having lunch with his parents when the quake struck. The rolling was so intense and long-lasting that he had trouble getting to his feet, he said. He helped his father and an elderly neighbor to safety in the garden outside and then had to carry his elderly mother.

“And I had time to do all that while the quake was still going on,” Mr. Dixit said. “It was like being on a boat in heavy seas.”

The nine-story Dharahara Tower, which was built in 1832 as a watchtower on the orders of the queen, collapsed, Mr. Dixit said. Witnesses there said more than 200 people had bought tickets to climb up to a viewing platform on the eighth story, and that several dozen were likely to have been on the platform when the earthquake hit. “Scores probably died in this place,” Mr. Dixit said.

Joydeb Chakravarty, managing director of the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in Nepal, said he was grocery shopping when the quake struck. “And suddenly, everything started collapsing around us,” Mr. Chakravarty said. “The shelves all came down, the food items all crashed down. We were barely able to get out the emergency exit.”

Seismologists have long feared a big earthquake in western Nepal, where there is pent-up pressure between tectonic plates grinding up against one another. Though there have been a series of earhquakes in the region over the last century, none resulted in a full release of seismic energy, said Ganesh K. Bhattari, a Nepali expert on earthquakes now living in Denmark.

Many worried that there would be vast loss of life in urban areas, where multistory concrete buildings have been hurriedly erected in recent years. But Saturday’s earthquake may prove less devastating than feared, because it struck during the afternoon when schools were not in session. Building collapses in Katmandu appeared largely confined to brick structures in the city’s historic area, rather than concrete high-rise buildings.

Photographs posted on social media showed people digging in the debris of collapsed structures. Kashish Das Shrestha, a photographer, said people had been trapped in the rubble and could be heard crying out as rescuers tried to make their way into buildings.

“Everywhere there are people on the streets, people crying, people stuck in rubble, people trying to help,” Mr. Shrestha said.

He described severe damage to parts of the palace complex in Vasanthapura Square, the site of palaces and temples that date to the 11th century. The old section of the city is a warren of narrow lanes and historic structures.

“Oh my God, the entire Vasansthapura is in rubble,” Mr. Shrestha said. Hospitals in Katmandu were reporting the arrival of patients with broken limbs.

For hours after the earthquake, many in the city remained sitting in the road, afraid to go back indoors. Many residents said they would spend the night outside, despite the cold and darkness.

The earthquake set off avalanches on Mount Everest, where several hundred trekkers were attempting an ascent, according to climbers there. Via Twitter, Alex Gavan, a hiker at base camp, described, “huge earthquake then huge avalanche,” and “running for life from my tent.” Nima Namgyal Sherpa, a tour guide at base camp, described one avalanche as “huge” and said it had caused many injuries.

“Many camps have been destroyed by the shake and wind from the avalanche,” Mr. Sherpa, the base camp manager for Asian Treks, wrote in a post on Facebook. “All the doctors here are doing our best to treat and save lives.”

Two people died on Mount Everest after the earthquake, and another eight people have been badly injured, said Tulasi Prasad Gautam, an official in the state tourism department.

Tremors from the quake were felt across northern India, rattling bookcases and light fixtures as far away as Delhi. Electricity was switched off for safety reasons in the state of Bihar, where three deaths were reported in one district, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, India’s minister of skill development, told reporters in New Delhi. Two other deaths were reported in a second nearby district.

Historically, the region has been the site of the largest earthquakes in the Himalayas. A 2005 earthquake in Kashmir and a 1905 earthquake in Kangra resulted in a death toll of more than 100,000 people, according to the United States Geological Survey.

===

১৭ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৫, ursday সময়: ১০:৪৬ পূর্বাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/10238#comment-53677

Nepal’s Parliament Passes New Constitution

Nepal’s Constituent Assembly today overwhelmingly approved a new constitution after seven years of painstaking efforts and deliberations, splitting the country into seven federal provinces.

Constituent Assembly Chairman Subash Nemwang announced the charter was passed by a 507-25 vote in the 601-seat assembly after the voting. Lawmakers raised their hands in celebration after the announcement was made.

Now, the bill will become Nepal’s new charter once the lawmakers sign and the CA Chairperson authenticates it.

The constitution was pushed through the assembly despite protests by ethnic minority groups. It will split Nepal into seven federal provinces. Some ethnic groups have opposed the makeup, borders and size of the provinces.

When put to split voting after the endorsement of individual articles and schedules, the entire Revised Bill garnered support from 507 out of 532 lawmakers who were present in the parliament.

The lawmakers from Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN- Maoist supported the draft constitution.

The voting was boycotted by smaller opposition parties.

As many as 25 lawmakers belonging to pro-Hindu and pro-monarchist Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal cast their vote against the bill. Most of the Madhes-based parties, whose combined strength is 60, boycotted the voting process.

After announcing the result of the voting, Nembang asked the lawmakers to sign on the dossiers on Friday.

The government is planning to declare public holiday on September 20 and 21 to celebrate the occasion. Major ruling parties have directed their cadres and supporters to lit colourful lights on September 20 to celebrate the occasion.

In the CA meeting scheduled for September 20, President Ram Baran Yadav will announce the promulgation of new constitution through the sovereign body elected by the people.

Nepal was declared a secular state in 2006 after the end of decade-long civil war between Maoist insurgents and the state that claimed nearly 16,000 lives.

A CA was elected in 2008 after the abolishment of the Himalayan country’s 240-year-old Hindu monarchy, but it could not finish its task despite four extensions.

Subsequently, a second CA was elected in 2013 which deliberated the draft constitution for over two years.

The drafting process was accelerated after the deadly-quake of April 12 that claimed more than 9,000 lives in the country of of 28 million people.

===
২০ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৫, suay সময়: ৮:১৬ অপরাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/10238#comment-53780

[Special editorial] A delicate balance

We are relieved to have new constitution but would like to see a larger ownership

With the constitution at hand, the narrative now needs to focus on how to improve this document to ensure maximum political ownership. While the constitution has its flaws, as we have pointed out in our numerous editorials, it is nevertheless a document that has been endorsed by the country’s sovereign Constituent Assembly.
There are some positives. It institutionalises many progressive gains and caps a long struggle to have a constitution written by an elected body, rather than through a committee of experts. Republicanism, federalism and secularism are now irreversibly established as fundamental principles in a new Nepal. This is no mean feat.
We recognise that thousands have fought hard, and many have died, in an effort to get their voices reflected in the constitution. It is true that many of their demands still remain to be addressed, as we have noted here week after week and often several times a week these last few years.
Yet we call on the dissenting parties and groups to accept ownership of the constitution while maintaining their reservations and choosing to fight their battle another day. We urge them to see this as an incremental battle that needs to be continued peacefully—which will enable them to keep their moral high ground.
Our message to the major parties that stood firmly in favour of the current CA timeline remains consistent, and is now even more urgent: the onus now lies on the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) to redouble their efforts to reach out to the disgruntled parties and groups. Show humility; major parties need not display triumphalism; they need to instead communicate to the dissenters that no one has won and none has lost; that they remain open for negotiations; let’s accept the fact that the new constitution hasn’t been able to carry all sections of the society. The marginalised groups, the Dalits, Madhesis, Tharus and tens of thousands of women feel cheated by their male party leaders.
But it’s the Tarai that worries us most. Even Tharu/Madhesi moderates were shocked to see that the three parties had chosen to ignore their calls to hold off the CA process for a while as a symbol of respect for the protests and dissent. The government’s decision yesterday to provide Rs1 million to each of the 40 families who lost their kin in the recent unrest in Tarai is a positive move, but the major parties could have done still more to reach out to the estranged constituencies.
A large section in the Tarai is deeply suspicious of Kathmandu. They lament the fact that Kathmandu remains insular to voices from the Tarai, where 40 people died in the recent protests, a toll higher than that of the second Jana Andolan, which toppled the royal regime.
No one disputes the fact that the constitution was long overdue. Many people now feel a huge sense of relief that a page has been turned on what has been a very difficult chapter in the country’s modern history. But that is only half the story. History will also hold to account the parties and their leaders on whether they were able to deliver a durable constitution. Were they able to assure the country’s population that the new constitution embodies their aspirations? That, more than anything else, will be the biggest test of the new constitution and the people who made it possible.
Many still see the new constitution as a continuation of the hill-centric regime—not of an inclusive, tolerant and vibrant modern democracy and a dream for a new Nepal that drew tens of thousands of young and no-so-young Nepalis, men and women, Pahades and Madhesis to the streets in the 2006 mass movement. That’s where they feel let down by the new constitution.
If these feelings continue, it will only serve to widen the gap between the political classes in Kathmandu and the minority groups on the ground. As the sentiments change, so will the narrative, thus hardening attitudes irreversibly. This will be a dangerous slippery slope. Kathmandu’s political leadership should seek to reverse the trend by reaching out with genuine intent for a compromise, not with perfunctory tokenism.
Those who argue that numerical strength in the CA alone makes the process legitimate need to be more careful. World history offers numerous instances when the complacency of majoritarianism and hubris brought on by political power have resulted in irreparable losses for nations.
We hope that won’t happen here, as we sit at the cusp of a new dawn. We would like to see saner voices and moderates prevail in the parties and outside in these deeply polarised times. In the end, only a politically stable Nepal will be able to deliver on what every nation strives for: socioeconomic transformation and justice.
===

২১ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৫, moay সময়: ১১:০৪ পূর্বাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/10238#comment-53810

Nepal’s new constitution comes into force on Sunday, but minorities say it privileges Hindus

The new statute claims to enshrine secularism but states that it will protect Sanatan religion culture.

The upper-caste leaders crafting Nepal’s constitution – to come into force 5 pm on Sunday – have included provisions on secularism that leave room for future conflicts over religion, lawyers warn. The new constitution says Nepal will be a secular state, but goes on to define secularism as the “protection of Sanatan religion culture, as well as cultural and religious freedom”.

“Sanatan religion, in Nepal’s context, is interpreted as Hinduism, which has influenced Nepali law and governance,” said Sapana Pradhan Malla, a lawyer who has been active in exposing the constitutional provisions that discriminate against women – including a separate unequal provision for men and women on passing citizenship to their children.

Secularism has long been demanded by Nepal’s religious minorities – including Buddhists, Christian, Muslims, and nature worshippers, as well as indigenous groups some of whose cultural traditions have been criminalised by laws based on Hinduism.

An example is the Muluki Ain, the criminal code, which criminalises killing cows.

“The Muluki Ain has a maximum sentence of 12 years for killing a cow, even though cow meat is required for cultural practices of some groups like the Kirats,” said Shankar Limbu, a lawyer. According to research carried out by Limbu’s organisation, the Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Groups, there are more than 150 people currently in prison for killing cows or consuming cow meat.

Just like homicide

“Our laws say we treat cow killing with the same seriousness as homicide,” said Police Inspector Rupak Khadka, speaking from the District Police Office in Sindhupalchowk, a district that has a large number Tamangs, as well as Dalits, who consume cows. The animal also holds an exalted position as the “national animal” in the new constitution.

Nepal has been a Hindu country since Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered dozens of principalities in the rugged mountains to form the modern Nepali state in the 18th century. He expelled Christian missionaries from the country and declared Nepal “a real Hindustan”. The first legal code, the Muluki Ain, was based on Hindu rules of crimes and punishment, and institutionalised discrimination based on caste and ethnicity. Punishment for a crime depended on the offender’s position in the caste hierarchy.

After the Maoist war and indigenous movements in the last decades, Nepal was declared secular in the Interim Constitution of 2007. The first draft of the constitution released last month for public consultation, too, was clear about Nepal’s secular status. However, after protests from Hindu nationalist groups and parties that want to restore Hinduism as the national religion, the upper caste leaders drafting the constitution decided to include the definition of secular that, in effect, contradicts the meaning of secular to mean the protection of Hinduism. The Maoists, who form the third largest party in the Constituent Assembly that will be disbanded with the promulgation of the constitution on September 20, did not oppose the move.

A long history of struggle

For indigenous and religious minority groups, who see secularism as a key foundation for inclusive democracy, the distortion is a nullification of decades of political mobilisation to ensure the Nepali state treats all religions, castes, and ethnicities equally.

“The idea of secularism is meant to separate state from religions, and is meant to protect religious minorities, instead it has been defined to protect the dominant religion,” said Malla. “The state should either be separate from all religions, or treat all religions equally.”

The provisions on secularism are a recipe for future conflict. According to a youth leader and assistant pastor at Ananta Jeevan Protestant Church in Kathmandu, it means that the state is biased toward one religion over the others, which could disrupt religious harmony. Malla shares the view, given that the state has given itself the role of protecting the historically dominant religion ‒ Hinduism ‒ based on which upper caste people have been practicing various forms of discrimination against women, Dalit and indigenous groups.

Anti-woman possibilities

Malla added that discrimination and exploitation could be justified with the pro-Hindu definition of secularism. For example, according to Hindu tradition married daughters are no longer part of the parent’s family: a sentiment that has seeped into the Inheritance Law, where married women are denied parental property.

Some of the consequences of ambiguity surrounding secularism could be redressed by another article in the constitution, on the Right Against Exploitation, which states exploitation based on caste, religion, ethnicity and tradition is punishable. But which articles and clause will be paramount, and how the contradictory language on secularism is resolved will depend on the Supreme Court, the body ultimately responsible for interpreting the constitution.

However, for those most disadvantaged by the Hindu character of the state, the proviso is a disappointment. According to Anita Pariyar, a Constituent Assembly member and Dalit leader, the way secularism has been defined has satisfied neither the group that wants Hindu hegemony, nor the secularists.

“For Dalits, this is especially ominous,” Pariyay said. “Dalits have been discriminated against for centuries. Dalits are forbidden to enter temples according to Hindu tradition. So in protecting Hindu religion and tradition, discrimination based on Hinduism will continue.”
===

২২ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৫, tuesday সময়: ১০:৪৯ পূর্বাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/10238#comment-53853

[Constitution special] Don’t talk, just listen

Whatever happens in the coming days, amendments or protests, Kathmandu needs to learn to listen
Pranaya SJB Rana, Kathmandu

I am a Chhetri man, born and raised in Kathmandu. Today, the new constitution of the Federal Republic of Nepal will be officially promulgated and it is my constitution—it has been drafted by people who share my gender, my complexion, my language, my customs, my religion and my traditions. It is a document that preserves my standing in society. It takes pains to ensure that my kind, we Bahun-Chhetri men, will not lose much, if anything. And it sends a message to those pesky Madhesis, Tharus, Janajatis and women—all those who oppose this ‘historic’ ‘epoch-making’ document—that we will prevail, whether by ballot or by bullet.
On that vaunted public sphere that is Facebook, there is triumph, a sense of victory for having persevered against those who would try to derail us. There is a very real geist present, that of a battle won. We the winners and they—the protesters who are against the constitution—the losers. After all, we tried to reason with them, but they just wouldn’t listen. We invited them for talks but they never sat down with us. Of course, we had armed policemen, ready with their tear gas, their rubber bullets and their live ammunition, but that, of course, was just for our protection.

Winners and losers

By all accounts, I should be ecstatic.
But there is little euphoria. Unlike most of my acquaintances on social media, instead of joy and celebration, there is only a deep unease and a sense of foreboding. There have been more than 40 deaths in the Madhes, of both protesters and security forces. Half of the country has been shut down for weeks. There are still curfews in place. And yet, the constitution was issued in Kathmandu amid a flurry of handshakes between ageing men in daura-suruwals and Dhaka topis. Once again, it is as if Kathmandu is all of Nepal and the Madhes might as well be Syria or Kosovo.
On social media, among those who would call themselves ‘liberal’, the tone is both triumphalist and defensive. It celebrates the ‘historic’ constitution with the caveat that the document is not set in stone and that it can be amended. Certainly, it could’ve been amended even before it was passed. But that wasn’t allowed. The party whips saw to that.
This triumph has been a long time coming. Ever since the protests started in the Madhes and the Far West, Kathmandu has treated them with deep suspicion. Despite media images of thousands of people on the streets of Tarai in protest, there are those who refuse to believe that this is a legitimate protest from legitimate citizens. The Madhesis are being misled by opportunistic leaders, or they are being instigated by Indians from across the border, or the favourite refrain, they are ‘uneducated’. There is little attempt to listen and try to understand why so many would want to march on the streets when there is a very real chance that they might be shot.
Instead, everything is taken personally—“I am not anti-Madhes”, “I didn’t oppress you”, “I didn’t call you dhoti”. The distinction that the Madhesis are opposed to the state, not individuals, is lost. And that is because our, we Kathmandu elites’, identification with the state is complete and total. The state has always been there for us. It is at our beck and call. We can march into any government office and know that the man (and it is always a man) behind the desk will speak our language and understand what we want. We can rest easy knowing that the police will never call us dhoti or Madhise or Bhote. We are the state and when it is opposed, so are we.

Know your privilege

Because Kathmandu is so divorced from the rest of the country, we have the privilege of sitting back and allowing things to take their course. We can celebrate the constitution because we have something to celebrate. We find it difficult to identify with those in the Madhes because we have never lived the lives they have. Our privileges have insulated us from everything that they go through. Empathy is one thing, experience is another. And it is just so hard to admit that one is privileged. It means coming to terms with the unpleasant fact that perhaps it is not our innate talents that have gotten us to where we are. It is difficult to believe that we had a head start when we’ve already won the race. So we choose denial. No, they must be wrong. Their grievances are illegitimate. Structural inequalities don’t exist anymore because now, there are no seats in the Lok Sewa reserved for us.
And we actively seek out faults in others. They’re lazy, they’re uneducated, they’re violent, they hate us when we’ve never hurt them. And when that doesn’t work, we choose to patronise them, treat them like children with no minds of their own. Poor Madhesis, they’re just misled. We, with our degrees from foreign universities, talk down to them in English from our op-ed pages. We delude ourselves into thinking that they don’t understand what federalism entails. And when they write to us, outraged and angry, we dismiss them as the ramblings of the ignorant. We accuse them of wanting to break up Nepal—the Nepal they’ve never really gotten to know because this Nepal sees them as Indians.
This is a malaise that infects everyone from the top rung leaders of this country to the ‘educated’ upper and upper-middle class. Those who’ve gone to school in America post Facebook links about how #Blacklivesmatter, but back home in Nepal, the quiet comfort of Kathmandu cannot be shaken by protests because Madhesi lives don’t matter. It is a symptom of a small privileged population that continues to see itself as the custodian of democratic values and the harbinger of anything progressive. Kathmandu’s elite young people have benefitted so much from a rigged system that they will do anything in their power to maintain that stranglehold.

Just listen

The approach then is of excessive benevolence and magnanimity. Kathmandu is the benefactor and the Madhesis, Tharus supplicants. And if they finally come to talk, first, we make them beg and then we talk over them and down to them. At first, there is the patronising ‘Tharus are not violent people, they must’ve been instigated to do this’ and then ‘You were misled by your leaders’. When that doesn’t work, the bigotry comes to the fore, ‘You are violent people’, ‘You want to break up Nepal’. And then the admonishments that dangle ‘being Nepali’ as if it is a gift to be given away. The age of hectoring from a bully pulpit is past. Whatever happens in the coming days, amendments or more protests, Kathmandu needs to learn to listen.

===

২৫ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৫, friday সময়: ৭:০০ অপরাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/10238#comment-53965

The day after

We again urge major parties to reach out to opposing parties and groups

The new constitution has finally been promulgated. The president’s historic announcement in the Constituent Assembly (CA) on Sunday established Nepal as a federal democratic republic. This brings to an end a difficult and protracted political transition that started with the 12-point agreement way back in November 2005. This period saw the underground Maoist party join the political mainstream, the fall of the feudal monarchy, CA elections and, now, finally the constitution written by an elected body—a first for Nepal.
Indeed, the new constitution has its flaws, as we have pointed out repeatedly in our editorials. We are worried that the polarisation seems to have deepened with all Madhes-based parties keeping out of the CA process, including Bijaya Gachhadar’s Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik that had earlier supported the 16-point agreement that helped expedite the stalled constitution project. We have also noted the international community’s response on the new constitution and New Delhi’s lukewarm response to it. Yes, we are deeply disappointed with the three major parties’ failure to take on board the broader sections of the Nepali population ourselves. But Delhi would do well not to be seen as crossing the red line to meet its objective. It could box itself in a difficult position and see it lose its diplomatic leverage against certain parties and sections of the polarized society.
Nepali actors have their task cut out. The major parties need to urgently reach out to the disgruntled parties and groups and do all they can to regain their confidence. The Madhesi and Tharu groups have made their discontent clear through protests that continue to take place across the Tarai.
The disenchantment against the political class runs beyond the minority communities. There are vast numbers of people in the earthquake-affected regions who remain more concerned about their livelihood and safety than the constitution.
On the day the constitution was promulgated, this group of people probably paid more attention to another bit of news: two of the major parties—CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist)—had scuppered the reconstruction bill in Parliament, thus causing yet another indefinite delay to the reconstruction effort. While some people applauded the ability of the politicians to come to a compromise on the constitution, others are more concerned with the utter irresponsibility these same politicians have continued to demonstrate with regard to people who have been affected by the earthquake.
It is clear that the two major parties deliberately stalled the formation of the Reconstruction Authority. These parties expect that they will soon come to power, and believe that they can take advantage of the reconstruction process to benefit themselves once that happens. They are much keener to see the election of KP Oli as prime minister and the formation of a new government before dealing with the reconstruction money. Within the Maoist party, there is a long queue of senior leaders who want to become ministers in the new government. It is likely that a situation will be created where Govinda Pokharel will no longer be able to continue as CEO of the Reconstruction Authority.
Not for the first time, a major reconstruction process has become a victim of the severe politicisation. In fact, the effect has been even worse than was initially expected. Many people thought that the parties would compete to gain access to the reconstruction money once it arrived and then siphon off large sums for their own benefit. But the competition has been so intense that the parties have not even been able to agree on arrangements enabling them to receive the $4 billion pledged by donors. This has led to paralysis, and not a single dollar of the pledged money has been received almost three months after the quake. And rubbing salt into the victims’ wounds, the government seems intent on preventing nongovernmental organisations from providing reconstruction support as well. It hardly needs to be said that the actions of the parties are a dire dereliction of duty. If the reconstruction bill cannot be passed soon, immediate steps need to be taken to ensure alternative arrangements to start the reconstruction process.
===
২৮ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৫, moay সময়: ৯:৪৩ পূর্বাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/10238#comment-54027

We made mistakes on constitution, admits Nepal Maoist ideologue

Key Nepali Maoist leader and former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai on Wednesday admitted to many mistakes – from the side of Nepali political leaders, including his party, and India – in the constitution drafting process in Nepal, which has triggered a political crisis and upset Nepal-India ties.

In an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times, Bhattarai declared he too will join the movement of Madhesis, Tharus and other hill ethnic groups for justice and an amendment is necessary to address their concerns.

The Maoist leader slammed a section of his own party leadership – hinting at chairman Prachanda without naming him – for not standing strongly by the agenda of rights for the oppressed they had raised in the ‘People’s War’.

India’s management weakness

Bhattarai, who was also the chair of the key Constituent Assembly committee on political dialogue which resolved disputes, said, “Both internal and external players should have anticipated the problems in time, and communicated and coordinated better.”

Bhattarai’s assessment of India’s role was mixed. Appreciating Delhi for its support to the peace process, he said there was a ‘management problem’ and that India did not ‘convey and manage its concerns in time’. He also spoke of ‘mixed signals, probably because of multiple channels’. India has made its displeasure at the constitution known.

The Maoist leader seemed to share India’s views on need for a broad-based constitution, of taking into account Madhesi and Tharu concerns, and the need for an amendment but cautioned that the perception there could be a blockade would be ‘counter productive.’ Delhi has indicated that the security situation at the border could disrupt supplies.

Legitimate demands

Bhattarai said the demands of the socially marginalised and excluded groups like Tarai’s Madhesis and Tharus are legitimate. The groups have asked for political representation and constituency delimitation according to population, commitment to proportionate inclusion in state organs and revision in federal boundaries to have largely plains-only provinces.

He emphasised that this should not be viewed as a hill-plains divide. “Nepal has three main social groups – hill Arya Khas or upper castes; hill Janjatis and Madhesis – in almost equal numbers. “Hill Arya khas elite is showing arrogance and chauvinism and is trying to bypass other two social groups,” he said.

Critical of Maoist leadership

Listing out the mistakes from the domestic side, the Maoist ideologue said, “As chairman of the CA political dialogue committee and the coordinator of a special committee which included four party chairmen, I said we should meet the Madhesi and Tharu demands unilaterally without waiting for talks. This was before the vote began in the CA on the draft. The other leaders did not accept it and it precipitated the situation.” The other leaders included his chairman, Prachanda.

Admitting that the Maoist leadership made a mistake he said: “We registered a note of dissent on many of these issues but we should have insisted on it more strongly. Our party did not play the role it should have. A section of the leadership went back on the agenda.”

The Maoist decision to break ranks with excluded groups and join conservative ruling parties was the game-changer, which led to the rapid constitution promulgation.

Bhattarai himself participated in the process on grounds that this institutionalised a federal democratic republic and his belief in a constitution through a CA but expressed his reservations and did not celebrate the promulgation.

On the future of the Maoists, he said that now that one phase of the struggle was over, a section of the leadership wanted to ‘get coopted into the system, practice ultranationalist politics’. This appeared like a direct attack on Prachanda, who has raised the rhetoric against India recently.

Federal map and future

Bhattarai said the core dispute on federalism was around three districts in the Far East Tarai and two districts in the far west Tarai. And even on that, Madhesis may have accepted only parts of two districts in the east and Tharus would have accepted if parts of one district in the west were added to a Tharu-dominated province.

“But vested interests of a few leaders prevailed”, hinting at UML chairman KP Oli and NC’s Krishna Prasad Sitaula in the east and Former PM Sher Bahadur Deuba in the west.

For the future, Bhattarai said there was no alternative to a sustained movement, to force an amendment of the constitution to correct these issues. “Madhesi and Tharu comrades of the party are in the movement in the Tarai already. The Magars have also been unfairly treated as their cluster has been divided. I plan to visit these regions to express solidarity.”

The end of the Nepali Maoists in sight as Baburam Bhattarai resigns

Manushi Yami Bhattarai was in a jeep up in Gharwal on Saturday afternoon when she got a call from her father, the Maoist ideologue and Nepal’s former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. He told her did not want her to get a shock after hearing from other sources – and broke the news. He would, in a few hours, quit the Maoist party and resign from parliament.

Manushi was stunned. The Maoist party was not just a regular party for the Bhattarai family – it was their life. The family was underground through the years of the Maoist insurgency, moving around small towns and big cities in India and sporadically spending time in base areas in Nepal, living separately to avoid to being spotted. Her mother, Hisila Yami, was a prominent leader and a former minister. Manushi herself took on other identities when she went to small schools in the Indian hills, and college in Delhi and had been active in student politics. This was a big moment.

Bhattarai called a press conference on Saturday afternoon and announced he was quitting the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), a force he had helped build, as well as resigning from Parliament. He said an era had ended with the Constitution, but he was deeply regretful that Madhesi and Tharu concerns had not been addressed. A Constitution through the CA had been a political line he had pushed but the fact that half the country was not celebrating the promulgation had dampened the occasion.

An academic revolutionary

Bhattarai is one of the most striking figures of Nepali politics; his story is the story of the last twenty years of Nepali history.

Bhattarai got increasingly radicalised during his time in India, while studying in Chandigarh and later in Delhi’s JNU, when he saw the state of Nepali workers in India. He organised the students and working class, got involved with Nepali extreme left platforms back home against an autocratic monarchy, even as he finished a PhD on Nepal’s underdevelopment in the 80s.

While Bhattarai participated in the 1990 movement for the restoration of democracy, he and his then party objected to the Constitution that emerged as a compromise between the king and democratic parties. Instead, they demanded that the Constitution must be drafted by a Constituent Assembly and monarchy be given no space.

Subsequently, Bhattarai joined another radical left party led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’. The two men together decided to launch a People’s War in 1996. Its political and economic rationale was laid out by Bhattarai in a seminal text where he documented how Nepal was ‘semi colonial’- under the political and economic grip of India – and ‘semi feudal’, and only a revolution could liberate the oppressed.

Such a political project was dismissed as a fantasy in a post Cold War World but it came rather close to fruition.

Prachanda was undoubtedly the mass charismatic figure, the organisation builder, the supreme leader and the man who commanded the loyalty of the Maoist fighters on the ground. But Bhattarai was the political mind who drew up the party documents, conceived of the need to expand the party base by including the issues of oppressed ‘nationalities’ or ethnic minorities and Madhesi, and build relationships with those outside the party fold in the media, civil society and international community. The two men had more than their share of tensions, but recognised they complemented each other.

The party grew, but Bhattarai was the first to recognise that a traditional style communist republic was not feasible, and war alone would not lead to the republican political transformation he sought in Nepal. Even as large sections of his party, including Prachanda, flirted with the idea of allying with an autocratic monarch, Bhattarai pushed the line of a ‘democratic republic’ – the party would give up the war, adopt Constitution through a CA as its primary line and republic as its core goal. In this quest, he deepened relations with other parliamentary parties and India.

When the king took over absolute power, and Maoist suffered a military setback, Prachanda came around to this view. And the roots of a peace process were planted.

This much can be said with reasonable certainty. If Nepal was able to arrive at a peace settlement and manage a respectable political deal to end the conflict, Bhattarai deserved a large path of the credit for conceiving it.

Turbulent peace

A new phase began as the party emerged overground. Bhattarai was now key to building relations with the international community. He helped draft the peace accord and the interim Constitution of 2007. In 2008, Maoists won a surprise victory and Bhattarai became the finance minister and won accolades for his performance.

But there was another ideological battle to wage. One section of the Maoists may have entered the peace process, but still entertained hopes of a ‘people’s revolt’ and mass uprising to establish hegemonic rule. They saw India as the main enemy and adopted an ultranationalist rhetoric. They wanted to get rid of the CA and engineer a regime crisis or a regime takeover. Prachanda often flirted with this school of thought – and his attempt to sack the army chief in 2009, which led to the collapse of the Maoist government, was an attempt to cater to this constituency.

But Bhattarai could see the pitfalls of this approach. He disagreed with the ultranationalist line – for he saw the future of Nepal in good ties with India. He was committed to peace along the lines of a Constitution – for he saw this as the way to create an inclusive political order and then work on economic prosperity with equity. For a substantial part of the last decade, Bhattarai fought the adventurists in his own party – and tried to get Prachanda on board.

Eventually, he succeeded and even became the Prime Minister with the support of the Madhesi parties. The peace process – integration and rehabilitation of former combatants – was concluded under him. But the CA failed to draft a Constitution and he resigned to pave the way for a neutral election government.

The resentment and future

The Maoists did badly in the second CA elections. But Bhattarai managed to become the chair of the critical CA committee on political dialogue, with all top leaders as members. This was a unique vantage point to manage the Constitutional process.

The Constitutional debates in Nepal deepened over the past year on both process – issues like form of government and federalism – and substance – whether to go consensually or two thirds majority. The Maoists and Madhesis were in an alliance and pushed the consensus route. But a deadlock persisted.

The earthquake changed everything. Prachanda used the tragedy to alter his politics, broke the alliance with the Madhesi parties and signed on to a political deal where the question of federal demarcation was postponed. Bhattarai too was an active part of this deal. He later claimed in a conversation with HT that he had held out till the end, and wanted to bring the Madhesi parties on board – but was overruled. The fear that the Constitution itself would get jeopardised prevented him from pushing harder.

In fact, this has been Bhattarai’s argument for the past month. As the Constitutional process moved forward, he – as the head of the key CA political committee – actively participated in it. Yet, he expressed reservations at the nature of the Constitution which entrenched elite rule and discriminated against Tharus. Madhesis, women, Dalits and other groups.

I asked him repeatedly in this period why he was not asserting himself vocally. Bhattarai felt that as someone who had pushed the CA line, he could not be seen as preventing its success or walk out at the climax. The fear that he would be held responsible if something went wrong may have also weighed on him, since he was at the helm when the CA-1 had failed. He also thought it was important to institutionalise the republic and secularism. Marginalised groups did not buy the argument.

Bhattarai did not celebrate when the Constitution was promulgated even though Prachanda said it was Deepawali. He told HT on Wednesday many mistakes had been committed – including by his party for not standing up for the agenda of the marginalised as strongly as it should have. Bhattarai wanted to visit Janakpur in Madhes to express solidarity but Madhesi parties told him he would be greeted with deep hostility, for he was seen as a part of the bloc of leaders which had signed the Constitution and even pushed its adoption, the regrets notwithstanding. If he wanted to come, he should quit the party. Bhattarai’s support base also comes from the Madhesi MPs in his party who were angry at Prachanda’s stance.

The immediate crisis has of course come in the backdrop of Bhattarai’s long running tensions with Prachanda – who last week told an interview only he knew how he had ‘tolerated’ Bhattarai for 30 years. Prachanda appeared to view Bhattarai as someone with a superiority complex because of his education but little political weight; the latter viewed Prachanda as a petty pragmatist an opportunist with no ideological spine. But both also needed each other. And it was a remarkable competitive-collaborative partnership as long as it lasted.

It also comes in the backdrop of Bhattarai floating a debate about the need for a ‘new force’ – for he strongly feels that the relevance of the Maoists as it exists is now over, especially with the end of the CA. Inclusive democracy and economic prosperity are his new slogans. During a recent visit to Delhi, Bhattarai made it a point to meet Arvind Kejriwal to think of ways of doing alternative politics.

Bhattarai’s decision also comes in the backdrop of a fresh debate on nationalism in Nepal, on the question of relations with India. Bhattarai believes in resisting Indian overreach, and at the press conference, criticised any unannounced blockade by Delhi to push its views on the Constitution. But he is also committed to ‘progressive nationalism’ rather than jingoistic and hypocritical nationalism that pervades much of Nepali political rhetoric where politicians abuse India in public and seek favours in private.

Quitting a party and setting afresh is not easy for any leader. Bhattarai’s decision is also at a time when Nepali politics and society is deeply polarised – and it is both a challenge and opportunity for him to become a bridge. But the real historical significance of Bhattarai’s decision is that an era has ended in Nepali politics. The Maoist party, as we have known, is over.

===
৯ december ২০১৫, wednesday সময়: ১১:২৮ পূর্বাহ্ন
http://nirmanblog.com/ajkerlink/10407#comment-55208
Shyam Saran: Nepal treads a perilous path

Projecting a Pahari-Madhesi divide as reflecting an India-Nepal divide grossly distorts the reality on the ground

The contrived controversy over the so-called blockade of the India-Nepal border has obscured the perilous path on which the current ruling elite in Nepal is taking the country. A deliberate and risky political and social polarisation is being engendered in order to camouflage a brazen attempt to entrench the privileged status of a high-caste elite with an arrogant sense of entitlement. As has happened a number of times in the past, ultra-nationalism in the form of anti-Indianism is being assiduously peddled to deflect attention from a more sinister domestic agenda. This carries the risk of reversing some of the historic gains made by the democracy movement, which all sections of Nepal’s diverse population made sacrifices for – and which won the support of India.

There are a number of misperceptions in India about Nepal. We appear to have tacitly accepted the Pahari-Plains dichotomy and the associated perception that the latter are “Indian-origin” and thus enjoying the support of India as the Nepali government alleges. The people living in the Terai are the original inhabitants of the region and not immigrants from India. They became part of Nepal as a result of conquest and as a result of later British largesse for services rendered in the suppression of the first war of Indian independence. They are citizens of Nepal by right, not by generosity.

Yes, it is true that these plains people have kinship ties with people living on the Indian side of the border – but so do most of the hill people of Nepal. There are several million Indian citizens of Nepali origin who live in various parts of our country. They are proud citizens of India but also have kinship ties with their brethren living in Nepal. And over the past decade and a half, as a result of the long years of Maoist insurgency and economic deprivation, there are six to eight million Nepali citizens who have been living and working in India. They are overwhelmingly from the hill areas in Nepal.

There are also several thousand ex-Indian Army pensioners who are scattered across the villages and towns of Nepal. They are almost entirely “paharis” or hill people. And finally, even the high-caste Nepalis, including those claiming royal lineage, have close kinship and ties through marriage with their counterparts in India. They constitute part and parcel of the long-standing web of intimate ties that bind the people of the two countries together.

Thus, to project a Pahari-Madhesi divide as reflecting an India-Nepal divide grossly distorts the reality on the ground and one hopes that our own decision-makers do not fall prey to this gross misrepresentation. India should continue to support an inclusive democracy in Nepal and equal rights for its diverse people, including the Madhesis and the several ethnic groups or “janjatis” which have been equally oppressed. There can be no interest on the part of India to cause suffering and distress to any section of Nepal’s population given the broad spectrum nature of India-Nepal links.

Not many people know that today much of Nepal’s power supply comes from India. It continues uninterrupted and several other entry points into Nepal are operating normally. Where is the question of a blockade? If agitating demonstrators in the south are interrupting movement across the border, it is unreasonable to expect India to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for Nepali leaders who have triggered this unrest by their short-sighted policies.

One sometimes hears Indian political figures and analysts dismissing the movement in the plains and in other ethnic areas by pointing to the divisions among their political leaders. But, whatever be their squabbles, they are united on obtaining through their struggle the legitimate rights of the people they represent. We are not supporting the individual ambitions of these leaders but the people whose rights are being denied. In fact the people are ahead of their leaders in many ways and this means that their struggle cannot be easily suppressed. And don’t Indian politicians also squabble amongst themselves?

Ultra-nationalism based on a narrow and contrived hill identity and targeting a section of Nepali citizens as unpatriotic agents of a foreign power risks a counter ultra-nationalism, one feeding on the other. We see danger signs of this already. Nepal is a country bound by strong economic complementarities among its various regions and sub-regions. The plains are the country’s food basket. Much of the country’s industry is located in the plains, near the vast markets in neighbouring India. The Terai and its people are precious assets for the country and will remain the foundation for its economic prosperity. Is it wise to endanger this economic lifeline just when the country is slowly recovering from the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal earlier this year?

Whatever grievances there maybe against India, the risks to Nepal’s national unity and its economic welfare may become the biggest casualties of the policies being pursued by the Kathmandu political dispensation. This is particularly so as winter descends on the country and large number of people remain without adequate shelter and food in the hill areas. The earthquake also severed the already sparse communication links with the rest of the country.

It is this looming human tragedy which should have been the over-riding preoccupation of the Nepali government rather than playing cynical political games to preserve the privileges of the traditional elite. India had responded to the earthquake by rushing urgent supplies and reconstruction assistance. This support needs to continue but is being hampered by the negative attitudes of the Nepali establishment.

And finally there is the China factor. Not surprisingly, the Nepali government has tried to create anxiety in India by suggesting that China would come to its aid through the road links it has built across the Tibet-Nepal border. Some supplies have come through including some oil tankers. Over the past month, there is little evidence that Chinese supplies may assume anywhere near the scale of India-Nepal trade and economic links. India needs to be watchful concerning Chinese activities in Nepal – but letting the Nepali government use the China bogey to pressure India to acquiesce in its current policies would be counter-productive.

Sushma Swaraj says India Nepal’s “elder”, not “big” brother

Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said India should mediate the talks between the government and protesting parties of Nepal.

Responding to concerns of the lawmakers at the Rajya Sabha today, Swaraj said her government is willing to mend ties with Nepal.

Claiming that the Narendra Modi government took great initiatives to mend ties with Nepal after it took over, she said India was not the Big Brother of Nepal, but a caring Elder Brother.

She recalled that India was the first nation to offer humanitarian support to Nepal during the April-May earthquakes.

She said India was ready to airlift essential supplies including medicines to Nepal.

Meanwhile, she claimed that the new Constitution of Nepal did not incorporate rights granted to Madhesis in the Interim Constitution.

Explaining that the Indian government was engaged in Nepal’s Constitution drafting process for a long, the leader accused the Constituent Assembly of endorsing the statute in a hurry, without any serious debate, while removing provisions of proportional inclusion.

India’s concerns over violent protests in the Tarai region, bordering India, were obvious as they could leave adverse impacts on India, she said.

Maintaining that India respects independence of Nepal, Swaraj said it was just advising Nepal as a good friend to find a way out on the basis of consensus.

She said India’s blockade on Nepal was not the first time now as the Indian National Congress’ Rajiv Gandhi-led government in late 1980s had imposed a one-and-half-year blockade on Nepal.

Govt not keen to address our demands: UDMF

The leaders of the United Democratic Madhesi Front who are in New Delhi today called on India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and sought India’s moral support to address their concerns regarding the new constitution of Nepal.

It is learnt that they also sought Indian leaders’ unequivocal support to their ongoing protest and their demands so that they could be met.

Chairperson of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Upendra Yadav, Chairperson of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Mahantha Thakur, Chairperson of Sadbhawana Party Rajendra Mahato and Chairperson of Tarai-Madhes Sadbhawana Party-Nepal Mahendra Ray Yadav held a meeting with Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar that lasted for almost an hour.

In the evening they also called on Doval.

During these meetings, UDMF leaders told the Indian officials that the Nepali government was not serious about holding talks with the UDMF and the three-point proposal mooted by the major parties did not meet their demands, Mahato told mediapersons following the meeting with S Jaishankar.

“The three-point proposal does not have any meaning. Our 11-point demands, including a review of demarcation of provinces presented by the UDMF should be addressed in a package or a consensus should be reached on their eight-point demand and the State Reconstruction Commission report of the first Constituent Assembly,” a source quoted Mahato as telling Indian officials.

Chanda Chaudhari of the Tarai Madhes Democratic Party, who is also accompanying UDMF leaders, confirmed that UDMF leaders met India’s foreign secretary and NSA Doval and apprised them of the Madhesi demands and their ongoing negotiation with the Government of Nepal.

THT’s attempts to contact the top UDMF leaders after their meeting with India’s NSA didn’t succeed.

A tale of two parties

The major parties and the Madhesi parties have held several rounds of talks in recent weeks, and the negotiations have become stuck on an old issue. The former want to pass a constitutional amendment dealing with proportional representation and constituency delineation now while leaving the crucial issue regarding the delineation of provincial boundaries for resolution by a political committee in the future. The Madhesi Morcha rejects the proposal. It states that the parties should either reach an agreement on the delineation of borders immediately, or should provide a guarantee that there will ultimately be two states in the Tarai.

This concern has a historical context in Nepal. The government has signed agreements with agitating groups at various points, only to discard them in the future. From the Madhesi parties’ perspective, they feel that they have built up a great deal of leverage through their protests in recent months and that that if they agree to a deal that postpones the delineation of boundaries, they could squander their advantage. For, when the time comes to resolve the boundary issue in the future, the ruling parties could once again get away with refusing to make any change. Madhesi leaders might feel that they will need to generate pressure from the streets again at that time, which might be difficult to do.

This is a sorry state of affairs. Fundamentally, at the heart of the issue lies the mistrust between the government and the Madhesi population. In a way, this is just one manifestation of a much wider distrust between various sections of the population and the government. There are also some differences within the Madhesi leadership, with Mahanta Thakur, Upendra Yadav and Rajendra Mahato offering different bottomlines to resolve the crisis. Still, they all share deep distrust with the major parties.

In order to find the common ground and to resolve the current crisis, there are two options before us. First, all the parties should invest energy and initiative into finding an immediate solution to the problem of delineating boundaries between provinces. This alternative could end the standoff once and for all. However, this might not be possible for some reasons. Due to the currently polarised circumstances, both the sides (major parties and the Madhesi leadership) may find it difficult to immediately back down on their positions.

The second alternative is to agree to as many of the details as currently possible while leaving the remaining few for future resolution. In this scenario, the government will have to make certain guarantees that will satisfy the Madhesi parties. Given their history of breaking promises, this might be difficult for the government. Nonetheless, if senior government figures express genuine commitment in addressing Madhesi concerns, tensions between the two sides could be reduced and a common understanding could be reached. The deal does not necessarily have to state that there will be two states in the Tarai. It could be sufficient for the two sides to commit to ensuring that the ‘disputed districts’ will be divided according to a formula that takes Madhesi sensitivities into account.

১৪ ফেব্রুয়ারী ২০১৬, sunday সময়: ১১:৩৫ পূর্বাহ্ন

Nepal’s Ex-PM Sushil Koirala passes away

Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala breathed his last in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, succumbing to Pneumonia, according to family sources. He was 77.
He succumbed to Pneumonia at 12:50 am, Koirala ‘s private secretary Atul Koirala said.
Koirala was suffering Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and he succumbed to the condition. After the news of Koirala’s death, Kathmandu based Nepali Congress rushed to his residence.

Koirala was not able to attend formal events on Monday .
Meanwhile, Nepali Congress postponed its electoral process prior to the General Convention, General Secretary Prakas Man Singh said.

Koirala was elected Prime Minister of Nepal on February 10, 2014. Sushil Koirala was elected from Banke and Chitwan constituencies in the second Constituent Assembly election of 2013, November 19.

A devoted member of the Nepali Congress party of which he is currently president, Koirala once spent three years in an Indian prison for his involvement in the hijacking of a plane.

Koirala entered politics in 1954 inspired by the social-democratic ideals of the NC. He was in political exile in India for 16 years following the royal takeover of 1960.

While in exile, Koirala was the editor of Tarun, the official party publication. He has been a member of the Central Working Committee of the party since 1979 and was appointed General Secretary of the party in 1996 and Vice President in 1998.

In 2001, he lost the contest for the NC Parliamentary Party leader to Sher Bahadur Deuba.

Koirala was appointed acting President of the party in 2008 by President Girija Prasad Koirala. On September 22, 2010, the 12th general convention of the NC elected him as party President.

The NC emerged as the largest party in the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections under Koirala’s leadership. He was elected leader of the NC Parliamentary party securing 105 out of 194 votes against former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s 89 votes.

১ মার্চ ২০১৮, thursday সময়: ৭:৪৮ অপরাহ্ন

Country will head towards prosperity after party unification: Dahal

CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that the country will head towards the path of development and prosperity after the unification of two communist parties.

Saying that the two left parties—CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre)—will be unified within a couple of days on the basis of recently signed seven-point agreement, the former Prime Minister said that the unification would lead Nepali people towards the path of prosperity.

Speaking at a press conference jointly organised by Press Chautary and Press Centre at Bardaghat in Nawalaparasi on Thursday, Maoist Centre Chairman Dahal said the two parties have already reached an understanding on government formation and allocation of ministerial portfolios. He added that the government has failed to induct more ministers in the Cabinet as initiatives are underway to rope in more parties in the government.

Moreover, the Maoist Supremo said that good governance is essential to bring changes in the lives of people.

He further said that the government of left parties would root out the corruption which is spreading like an uncontrolled virus in state bodies, security agencies and judiciary.

রজনী রঞ্জন সেন সম্বন্ধে আরো জানতে চাই রবীন্দ্রনাথের ছোটগল্পের সেই অনুবাদ পড়তে চাই

কয়েক মাস আগে worldcat.org এ ঝোঁকের বশেই ‘rabindranath tagore, chittagong’ লিখে সার্চ দিই, তার ফলে যেতালিকা এলো সেখানে Publisher: Chittagong : Minto Press, 1913 এবং Author: Rajani Ranjan Sen আর Print book : English এই তথ্যগুলো আমাকে আমাকে প্রলুব্ধ করে, আমি তখন শুধু এটা বুঝতে পারছিলাম রবীন্দ্রনাথের কোনো লেখার সম্বন্ধে ইংরেজিতে হয়ত কিছু লিখে থাকবেন রজনী রঞ্জন সেন এবং তা ছাপা হয়েছে ১৯১৩ সালে চট্টগ্রামের মিন্টো প্রেস থেকে।

পরে আমি গুগল সার্চে এদিক সেদিক খুঁজতে খুঁজতে রজনী রঞ্জন সেন চট্টগ্রাম কলেজের আইন বিভাগের শিক্ষক ছিলেন এবং তিনি রবীন্দ্রনাথের ছোটগল্পের ইংরেজি অনুবাদ করেছেন জানতে পারি।

আমি নিজে চট্টগ্রাম কলেজের ড্রপআউট, আমাদের সময় চট্টগ্রাম কলেজে কোনো আইন বিভাগ ছিল না এবং আমাদের আগে পরেও কোনো আইন বিভাগের কথা কখনো শুনিনি, চট্টগ্রাম কলেজের সাথে আমার বিভিন্ন পরিচয়ের সূত্রে আমি তখন জানতে চেষ্টা করি চট্টগ্রাম কলেজে ১৯১৩ সালে আইন বিভাগ ছিল কিনা, পুরোপুরি নিশ্চিত না হলেও মোটামুটি নিশ্চিত ভাবে আমি জানতে পারি চট্টগ্রাম কলেজে কখনো আইন বিভাগ ছিল না, কিন্তু আমি সন্তুষ্ট হতে পারি না, আমার মনে হচ্ছিল ১০০+ বছর আগে আইন শিক্ষার জনপ্রিয়তার যুগে চট্টগ্রাম কলেজের মতো কলেজে আইন বিভাগ থাকাটাই স্বাভাবিক।

সুহৃদ হারুন রশিদের সাথে আমি চট্টগ্রামের বিভিন্ন বিষয়ে প্রায়ই আলাপ করে থাকি এবং এবিষয়ে আলাপের এক পর্যায়ে তিনিও চট্টগ্রাম কলেজে আইন বিভাগ নিয়ে সন্দেহ পোষণ করলেও এবিষয়ে খোঁজখবর নেয়ার প্রতিশ্রুতি দেন, এই আলাপের কয়েক দিন পরেই হারুন রশিদ ফোনে আমাকে জানালেন চট্টগ্রাম কলেজে আইন বিভাগ ছিল এবং তার ডকুমেন্ট আমাকে ইমেইল করেন।

ccfirstlaw

এদিকে চট্টগ্রামে দুলাল দাশগুপ্তের কাছ থেকে খোঁজ নিতে থাকি চট্টগ্রামের মিন্টো প্রেস নামে তিনি কোনো প্রেস চেনেন কিনা, তার কাছ থেকে দ্রুতই জানতে পারি চট্টগ্রামের আন্দরকিল্লায় একটা মিন্টো প্রেস আছে তবে তার সাইন বোর্ডে লেখা Since 1935। আমি বুঝতে পারি প্রেসের দিক থেকে রজনী রঞ্জন সেন বা তার করা রবীন্দ্রনাথের ছোটগল্পের ইংরেজি অনুবাদের বইয়ের কোনো খোঁজ পাওয়ার কোনো সম্ভাবনা নেই।

গতকাল বিকেলে আমি এক অন্ধ পদক্ষেপ নিলাম, যেহেতু রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর নোবেল পুরস্কার পেয়েছেন, আমি সরাসরি nobelprize.org এ সার্চ দিয়ে বসলাম ‘gilmpses of bengal life, being short stories from the bengali of rabindranath tagore’, সেই সার্চে Rabindranath Tagore – Bibliography তে পৌঁছে দেখি দ্বিতীয় ভুক্তিতেই Rajani Ranjan Sen, Chittagong, 1913 এসব লেখা, আমিও আর কাল বিলম্ব না করে সুইডিশ একাডেমির Nobelbibliotekএ ইমেইল করে জানতে চাইলাম রজনী রঞ্জন সেনের বইটি তাদের লাইব্রেরিতে আছে কিনা, উত্তর এল আছে এবং সাথে তারা পাঠাল এই ডকুমেন্ট।

grtrrrr

আমার অনুসন্ধানের কাজ শেষ, এখন আমি দুটো জিনিস চাই, কেউ আমাকে Nobelbibliotek থেকে রজনী রঞ্জন সেনের বইটি জোগাড় করে দিক, পড়ি, আর কেউ এই কৃতী মানুষটির ভিটেমাটি জন্মমৃত্যু কীর্তির খোঁজখবর নিয়ে জানাক আমাদের।

কমিউনিটি ব্লগে : বইপ্রস্থ ১৩

নয়দশেনব্বই

দিনে গড়ে ২৭ টুইট হারে নয় বছরে গত ১৭ই মার্চ আমার মোট টুইট ৯০ হাজার ছাড়াল। কত কিছু নিয়েই না আমি টুইট করেছি। তবে যেভাবে টুইট করেছি তাতে আমার পরিচয়টা হয়ে উঠেছে ব্রডকাস্টারের। কত কত তথ্য সন্নিবেশিত হয়েছে কত কত লিন্কের উপস্থিতিতে। আর কত আবলীলায়, কী করে নয় বছর পার হয়ে গেল এখনো আমি বুঝতে পারছি না, মনে হচ্ছে এই তো সেদিন আমি টুইট শুরু করেছি।

আমি জানি না টুইটে আমি ঠিক কেন এত অভ্যস্ত হয়ে উঠলাম। কিন্তু এটা ভেবে খুব ভাল লাগে কত কত সময় আমি ব্যয় করেছি এই একেবারেই নিভৃত একটি অভ্যাসের সাথে টানা পথ চলে। পৃথিবীর কত কত মুহূর্তের তাজা বার্তা ও তথ্য উপভোগ করেছি। সমৃদ্ধ কত ওয়েবসাইটের সাথে পরিচয় হয়েছে এই টুইটের সূত্রে।

9yertteeff

কমিউনিটি ব্লগ মুক্তাঙ্গনে আমার নিজের পরিচয়ে একটা কথা লিখেছিলাম, আমার টুইট অনুসরণ করুন, আমার টুইট আমাকে বুঝতে অবদান রাখে, খুবই সত্য কথা, যত দিন যাবে যত দিন যাচ্ছে আমার একথা আরো সত্য হয়ে উঠবে।

নয় বছর তো পার হয়ে গেল। নব্বই হাজার টুইট আর এক হাজার অনুসারীর আমার এই টুইট জগতে একটা পরিবর্তন আমি আস্তে আস্তে আনব ভাবছি। গড় দৈনিক টুইটের সংখ্যা কমে আসবে ক্রমান্বয়ে। ব্রডকাস্টার পরিচয় থেকেও বেরিয়ে আসব। অনেক বেশি লিন্কহীন বার্তাহীন প্লেইন টুইটের দিকেই ঝুঁকতে থাকব বলেই মনে হচ্ছে। এবং নিঃসন্দেহে এতে বাংলায় টুইটও বেড়ে যাবে উল্লেখযোগ্য হারে।