The Fight for Democracy in Nepal
The well-known Kot Massacre saw to the rise of the Rana regime. They ruled Nepal for approximately 104 years, before there was any hope for democracy in Nepal. The members of the Rana regime were Britain’s allies and supported their war efforts during World War I and World War 2. It took the determination of a King who was blackmailed and forced to back the Ranas, to take a stand - and he did.
By the year 1950, the growing unhappiness of the Nepali people was evident, with a few anti-Rana political parties flaring up all over the country. King Tribhuvan fled to India with his family to escape the wrath of the Ranas, who were quickly losing ground. Public outrage and uproar led by King Tribhuvan soon toppled the Rana regime. The King was reinstated as the ruler of Nepal in 1951 and he set about transforming Nepal into a democratic country. With political parties, voting rights and the freedom to make their own decisions, it seemed that democracy in Nepal was going to thrive.
By 1959 King Tribhuvan died and his son, King Mahendra, was in power. After a failed election, the government was dismissed and political parties were abolished. King Mahendra established a new government that consisted of councils and not political parties. This gave the King sole power of the country and small changes (such as Nepali being the only official language) created a time bomb waiting to explode. The Mahendra Museum has detailed exhibits on his life as king and the decisions he made that influenced the country. As expected, student demonstrations and public upset had the country in turmoil as King Birendra succeeded his father in 1972. Unfortunately, so much damage had been done to Nepal that the 1991 elections and another change in government procedures just worsened the economic crisis of the country.
Over the following years, the reoccurring violence and political struggles had not yet ceased. With the vast differences in options between political parties, the lapse in constitutional rights, the uprising of rebel parties such as the Maoists and the restrictions in press, makes one wonder is there will ever be true democracy in Nepal. Though the position in Nepal currently seems to have improved, one never knows when the next battle might begin.