By PR Pradhan
Last Saturday, I read two articles in two different Nepali broadsheet dailies – Naya Patrika and Annapurna Post.
One was recollection on April uprising in 2006 by the then home minister Kamal Thapa, another was demise of Sikkim by Sudhir Sharma former editor of the Kantipur daily. In both the articles the writers have described on how the Indians are playing against the small neighbouring countries. Co-incidentally, both the pieces have published on the day when the Indians were celebrating their republic day, 26 January.
Thapa, in his piece, has recalled that the Nepali political parties including the Maoist, under the direct involvement, support and sponsorship, the April uprising was mobilized in Nepal.
Thapa has described that the then King Gyanendra was of the view of handing over the executive power to the political parties after conducting all the elections within three years. But, Girija Prasad Koirala joined hands with the Maoists and asked the Maoists to disturb elections by making situation violent, even killing the candidates.
Even in such an adverse situation, local level election was held, unfortunately, political parties didn’t take part in the election and turnout was also low in the election. Therefore, the King had developed the mentality of handing over power to the political parties. But Girija Prasad Koirala, under the Indian pressure, wished to continue agitation with the support of the radical Maoists. The King had even tried to handover executive power by assigning Krishna Prasad Bhattarai to the post of the prime minister. He also refused.
The conclusion is that how all the political parties and Maoists were used against the institution of monarchy by India. Will this process of active intervention of the Indians ends along with introduction of the new constitution, one cannot believe as what had happened in Sikkim, according to Sudhir Sharma’s piece.
Sikkim, a sovereign Himalayan kingdom, lost its identity due to the ambition of Indira Gandhi. After separating East Pakistan successfully, Gandhi moved towards Sikkim, a peaceful Buddhist country.
So far, Sikkim’s Chogyal (king) Palden Thondup Namgyal had visited Kathmandu to attend the coronation ceremony of King Birendra. In spite of Indian obstacle to stop him from going to Kathmandu, Chogyal arrived in Kathmandu. In Kathmandu, Chogyal had several rounds of hours long meeting with King Birendra. Within one and a half month of his visit to Kathmandu, Sikkim was annexed by India.
Sonam Yongda, captain of the Sikkim Guard was accompanied with the Chogyal as the ADC and personal secretary and he had the opportunity to attend the meeting between King Birendra and the Chogyal.
Sharma, quoting captain Yangda, has stated that during the meeting, the Nepali monarch had initiated the plan of developing Federation of Himalayan kingdoms comprising of three independent nations Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan and declaring the three nations as Zone of Peace. The two monarchs were positive on Nepali monarch’s proposal. If this plan could have materialized, small nations should not have to stay with fear of Indian hegemony. Also, Sikkim could save her sovereignty.
Why King Birendra had proposed Nepal as the Zone of Peace, it is already understood.
During his stay in Kathmandu, Chogyal had held meeting with leaders from China and other countries, including ambassador of Pakistan. They had suggested Chogyal for not returning Sikkim immediately. However, Chogyal could not suspect Indira Gandhi that she would move to that extent of annexation of Sikkim. Finally, within one and a half month of Chogyal’s return to Sikkim, India annexed Sikkim.
Nepal doesn’t remain aloof from the Indian wicked eyes. Indira Gandhi had already ordered the then RAW chief to separate Nepali Tarai and annex this territory. Nepali monarchs have had to struggle hard to keep Nepal a sovereign and independent nation. It is understandable that why political uprisings are taking place time and again and who have sponsored such agitations! Why Tarai issue is existed in Nepali politics? Why the citizenship issue appears in Nepali politics? These issues are very clear to understand.
There are many Kazi Lhendup Dorjes in Nepali politics. Nevertheless, how Indians neglected Dorje after accomplishing the plan of annexation of Sikkim, Nepali Lhendups should not forget.
On the eve of the Indian republic day, Ratopati online portal and Public Policy and Strategic Study Center organized a symposium on “Long-run Foreign Policy for Nepal’s Peace and Prosperity”.
Speaking on the subject, Baburam Bhattarai, coordinator of Naya Shakti Party, urged to develop consensus among the political parties and declare Nepal a Zone of Peace (ZOP). He further added, he had opposed King Birendra’s proposal for ZOP as there was no democracy during that time. Now, there is democracy in the country, thus, by managing India, Nepal should declare ZOP.
It makes clear that how visionary were the Nepali monarchs!
While presenting a concept paper on Nepal’s foreign policy, Dhruba Adhikari, secretary of the Study Center, said that in Nepali foreign policy, King Prithivi Narayan Shah the Great, Bhimsen Thapa, Junga Bahadur Rana, King Mahendra and King Birendra had made remarkable contribution to save Nepal’s sovereignty.
Other speakers, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Ramsharan Mahat, Narayankaji Shrestha, among other also said that Nepal should maintain equidistance policy while dealing with the two giant neighbours.