Nepal Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala will go down in modern history as the leader who brought ruination upon his nation. Mr. Koirala has negated a political career spanning
60-year to work out a Neville Chamberlain style of ?peace? with the Maoists, bringing them into the government without even the formality of a UN-certified arms surrender.
The Maoists have entered the interim Parliament, and now the government, and it is clear that Mr. Koirala and his colleagues in the Seven-Party Alliance were unequal to the invisible pressures exerted by the forces that paid for the rent-a-crowd mobs that brought down King Gyanendra.
It is now virtually certain that the forthcoming elections to the constituent assembly are unlikely to be free or fair or non-violent. The plains people, Madhesis, are increasingly involved in physical fights with the Maoists, who are still armed and resorting to violence and intimidation. An increasing number of Indian businessmen in Nepal are reporting sorry experiences with the Maoists and returning home in disgust.
This trend is likely to accelerate in coming weeks and months, especially as the Royal Nepal Army has been confined to the barracks under a scandalous (and now violated) agreement whereby the royal government arms were kept under sole UN custody and the token arms surrendered by Maoists kept under joint custody. This gives Maoists the opportunity to retrieve their arms at any point, though it is well known that all arms have not been surrendered. Even UN does not claim a complete surrender.
The western-Christian agenda in Kathmandu is meanwhile becoming increasingly apparent. Buoyed by the success in making Nepal a secular state, thereby improving the climate for conversions under the Christian leadership of the Maoists, the Vatican has moved swiftly to appoint a Bishop for the country. Last month, Pope Benedict XVI not only elevated Nepal from a Prefecture to a Vicariate, he appointed Father Anthony Francis Sharma, 69, as the former Hindu kingdom'sfirst bishop.
Sharma'swidowed mother converted to Christianity while living in Assam, and got the four year old boy baptized. He will be ordained as Bishop in Kathmandu on May 5 by the Pope'srepresentative, Papal Nuncio Pedro Lopez Quintana. Nepal is now likely to face intensified evangelical pressures, driven explicitly by the West. Father Sharma has already declared his mission to concentrate upon the conversion of the country'sethnic communities, a development that is likely to increase internal stress in the Himalayan state as the traditional culture of the people is displaced by west-funded religion and an open assault upon the old way of life.
It is interesting to recall that King Prithvi Narayan Shah had expelled Christian missionaries from his kingdom on the ground that they were spying for the British government. Modern day evangelists too, are likely to play a similarly disruptive role in the country, and the impact of evangelisation upon India 'ssecurity environment will also have to be assessed, especially if the Maoists provide their western-backers with military bases to spy on China and Tibet, not to mention India.
Little wonder that the Maoist entry into government has met with silence from India, where there is growing realisation that Ms. Sonia Gandhi'sdomination over the UPA has sacrificed crucial national interests. Yet, it has been welcomed enthusiastically by the international community. Maoist pressure has assured the retention of the highly unpopular Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula.
The Maoists have managed to make spokesman and chief of the parliamentary party Krishna Bahadur Mahara the Information and Communications Minister. The wife of Prachand'sdeputy Baburam Bhattarai, Ms. Hisila Yami, has been given the Physical Planning and Infrastructure portfolio. Mr. Khadga Bahadur Bishwakorma has been given charge of women, children and social development; Mr. Dev Gurung has been given Local Development, while Mr. Matrika Prasad Yadav from the Terai has got the Forest and Soil Conservation portfolio.
Maoist ascendancy has already begun to impact upon the cultural environment in Nepal. Fringe groups like homosexuals and lesbians are being encouraged by unknown forces to come out of their privacy and take centre-stage of the country'ssocio-cultural landscape. In an open assault of the kingdom'snatural conservatism, the first same-sex marriage has already been held along with a beauty pageant of trans-genders. The country is slated to hold its first ever gay film festival next month, and this will be crowned by a beauty pageant of homosexuals dressed as women.
There can be no doubt that this is part of a larger conspiracy to culturally disarm and demoralise the Nepali people. If the sexual activity of marginal social groups is all that a society has to offer or demand in the name of secularism, the Nepali people would do well to ponder if the loss of the kingdom'sHindu status is worth it.
If Nepal is to be saved from becoming a cultural wasteland like Thailand (best known for casinos and child prostitution), the Nepali people and non-Maoist political parties would do well to ensure that elections to the constituent assembly are preceded by a fair delimitation of seats, with the Terai getting its legitimate share in proportion to its population. They should also scrutinise the activities of the evangelicals closely, particularly the drastic and often deleterious cultural changes introduced in the lives of communities where missionaries are active. Above all, they should ensure that Maoist terrorising tactics during and prior to the elections are met with fierce resistance. The bells are tolling, not just for the Nepalese monarchy, but also for the Hindu culture and civilisation of the nation.