The use of excessive force during Madhes Revolution in Nepal

March 22, 2009 at 12:24 pm Leave a comment

 The use of excessive force during Madhes Revolution in Nepal

The Joker in the Dark Knight said to the Batman, “They need you right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you like a leper!” I loved this line. This is such a blow and good analysis to what society does to you, us and everyone. They raise you to a position, they depict you as a role model and when they don’t need you, they dump you; they let you fall deep, deep in the abyss of humiliation. This is what happened to Michael Phelps recently, wasn’t it? And this was what we talked in our Writing Workshop class today as well.

The Joker’s statement has far-reaching implications and thus is a powerful statement. What happened to King Gyanendra may be termed history but the events are still fresh in Nepalese minds. He was considered as an incarnation of God when he was the king. All Nepalese kings were considered the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the protector. Well, we as educated Nepalese knew better than to believe in such superstitions but a big chunk of Nepalese in rural areas still regarded him as God and this notion was validated when he paid a visit to some rural areas about a year before the April Revolution with massive popular support and participation. So, why was he allowed to fall and done away with? He was reduced to almost nobody from the mighty King, the commander-in-chief commanding a strong 95000 Nepalese Army, notorious for their bravery. The politics behind this is apparent to only few who truly understand the insides of Nepalese politics. To common person, it was signified as the usher of ‘Loktantra’ from cruel monarchy. But, those who know and understand know nothing much has changed for Nepalese apart from the title. Changing name from Monarchy to Republic does not change anything if people still have to face a shortage of electricity, fuels and all kinds of troubles.

The king was punished and his royal pleasures and his royal palace were taken away because he used excessive force against the agitators and the demonstrators. Less than 20 people died during the 19 day old April Revolution while 13000 died during the ten year old struggle waged by the Maoists yet King Gyanendra was posed as the ruthless dictator who had committed grave crime while Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) was welcomed with ‘pushpas’ (flowers). Why did this happen?

Gyanendra was punished because he was ruthless against the agitators but did anyone care about the atrocities and the excessive use of force during Madhesi Revolution? Only months after the popular April revolution, Madhes revolution broke out in the southern plains of Nepal. There were few similarities in both of the revolutions. First, both were for the struggle of rights and against tyranny. Second, excessive force was used in both to crush these revolutions. The king used excessive force to control the agitators which added momentum to the revolution. In Madhes too, the security forces were ordered to beat the shit out of the demonstrators and agitators. Security forces even entered the homes of many locals chasing the agitators after they dispersed. Few security forces kicked open the gates of my neighbor’s house with strong boots provided by the government and yanked my neighbor’s son out of sleep and beat him as if he were a criminal in Guantanamo. Few demonstrators had cleverly escaped but the security forces ended up beating my neighbor’s 20 year old son, giving him a swollen mouth because he had committed a felony by sleeping when the whole madhes was agitating. It did not take too many brains to understand that additional security forces from other parts of the nation were brought who were of hill-origin, to crush the agitation after the madhesi security forces had been lax in battering their own brothers.

Many madhesi security forces were sent to work in hills and hardliners were brought to fill in their positions. And, this was the work of a government that had assumed power after struggling against tyranny to ensure that people will not have to suffer or be devoid of their rights. When I look back at the Madhes revolution, the ugly faces of those in power come to me with disgust. But I wonder why the leaders who were in power during this Madhes revolution were not punished while King Gyanendra was punished severely for the same reason. Do Nepalese know nothing about the symmetry principle?


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The marginalised liberal Ethnic democracy

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