Civil Movement Continues!

Let’s first have a look at the atmosphere on April 24 for last two years and see how people’s power changed that:

Chaitra 11, 2062 (or April 24, 2005): King Gyanendra was in Asian African Summit in Indonesia; his speech hinting that Nepal will soon be free from the state of emergency, whence civil liberties and press freedom will be restored. Girija Prasad Koirala out of house arrest had asked, in weak voice, for reconciliation for multiparty democracy and constitutional monarchy. The bottomline of The Kathmandu Post editorial on the day read: …when the King himself has been spreading the message of democracy and peace, the onus is on all Nepali citizens to help the King fulfill his dream.

Chaitra 11, 2063 (or April 24, 2006): King Gyanendra gave up after 15 months reading out the statement drafted by political parties. The Maoists attacked Chautara killing six. After 19-day protest by millions of people, unprecedented, the parliament restored suggesting not only the restoration of democracy but also the end of Maoists violence, though the Maosits attacked Chautara and killed a few same day. The Kathmandu Post editorial urging Maoists to annouce ceasefire wrote: Though the revolution is yet to be completed, it can be said that upon its completion, it is going to be the most glorious instance of a peaceful movement in the world history.

Chaitra 11, 2064 (or April 24, 2007): A year after the end of 11-year long Maoists violence, monarchy hiding in the dark, political parties showing unprecedented unity for going republic, people are yet to be satisfied. It’s not that nothing has happened, the Maoists are in the government – the biggest achievement for the people who hated reading everyday about attacks and deaths. The Kathmandu Post editorial today noticing that there are still a lot of area where where improvements are required urges: We urge the government to put in more effort so that the complaints of the people ill be less by the time of the next Loktantra Day.

Today, Nepal is celebrating the Loktantra Day (or Democracy Day) as it’s the anniversary of the day when King Gyanendra was brought to his knees by the will of people. After ruling 15 months, millions of people taking streets nationwide forced the King to step back. This day, we celebrate the power of the people – the power that uprooted the regimes trying to stand on the foundation of weapons.

I wonder why not call it the People’s Day.

Sadly enough, the people who braved the curfews, latthis and guns, are not satisfied at what had happened in the gone year. One rightly said, the people brought down the King, disciplined the Maoists but failed to do so with the political parties and leaders. The political arena is back to the old, dirty game – leaders accusing each others and trying to work for the sake to their parties not to the people’s.

While writing this, I am listening to Raamesh’s Raktakranti Ko Jwalamukhi ma (on the volcano of bloody revolution) and remembering how did people participated in the rallies around the country, how did the security forces were forced to step back and how enthusiatic people were for the revolution.

Despite the dissatisfaction around, the celebration of this day is very important – neither to celebrate the restoration of democracy nor to laugh at the ashen-faced King speaking to the nation. But to remember our deeds – what we as a people can do, to regain the faith that people are the ultimate power, to remember the love and labor we had a year ago for the betterment of our country.

On 24 April, 2004, there were no talks about republican, they were for reconcilation because the political parties knew that people had lost faith in them. The leaders were jokers of the circus where a few of their own followed around but the mass mostly laughed at their performance.

A year after, they regained the faith not because they led the protest rather because they went with the wish of the people that were already in the streets. They learnt that going with people’s wish is their only way.

But have they forgotten the lesson?

As people, let’s celebrate the day! As the civil society had in their slogan for the day – Civil Movement Continues! Remember. Review. Warn. Let’s remember our power, the daring courage we showed for the country. Let’s review what had happened in the year since after and let’s warn our leaders that we are not done yet! If you are incapable, we are ready to take over!

The Best Blog Meet! So Far

By Jitendra Raj Bajracharya

Twenty-four! The number is certainly not very big, but whenever I look at the attendence of the Blog Meet IV and saw that 24 bloggers attended the April 21 gathering, I feel great. Not only because it was double than the biggest previous meeting, but because the discussion today led us to a new direction.

The most motivating factor was participation of Buddhi Narayan Shrestha, the border issue expert, who will surely prove a big motivator for all bloggers and six female bloggers.

Everybody agreed that we need a formal structure, although there was hot discussion whether is should be registered or not. Going through self-nomination process, KP Dhungana, Ghanshyam Ojha, Deepak Adhikari, Ram Prasad Dahal, Bishnu Dhakal, Rajendra Biswokarma, Avinashi Paudel, Mohd Tajim and Tapas Barsimha Thapa became the members of the working committee while I nominated Umesh Shrestha.

For now, until the formal structure is made, I will be co-ordinating the working committee. Thanks all for approving me for the responsibility.

The other major decision made today include giving kick-start to book publication. KP Dhungana will be co-ordinating the work while all of us agreed to help him by writing what he will ask for. All the bloggers will write their blogging experience (either English or Nepali), Deepak will write a chapter on Nepali Blogging History, I will write the chapter on international trend on blogging while Salik Shah and Mohd Tajim will write a practical guidelines of using and WordPress respectively. Continue reading “The Best Blog Meet! So Far”

Participatory Model for Television

Audience participation in television is always difficult. It’s difficult for television stations to broadcast letters they receive, though we have seen CNN broadcasting thoughts of their viewers. In newspaper, the opinion page and letters to editor gives readers space to express themselves (of course, they are selected and edited).

In television, there is very little normal audience can do. They are a few ways to integrate the audiences’ voices. One good model of television giving space to their audience in Nepal is Kantipur Television’s Sarokar. The one-hour weekly program has gained popularity and because of the nature of the program, it asks for the citizens’ participation.

The participants of the program.

The program, produced by Bijay Poudel, Somesh Verma and researched by Bhaskar Gyawali (all of whom are my friends), is a moderated discussion between 12 to 24 people on a particular topic.

I watched the shooting of the program on April 16. It was on the election of constituent assembly and there were 14 participants. Four of the participants were invited while other joined by their interest. The station runs an advertisement asking the people to call them if they are interested to come and join the discussion on the subject on Sunday for about an hour (or until there are enough callers).

Normally, no caller is rejected and they all are asked to come for the shooting on Monday. I talked with a few participants who came by their interest and they seemed quite happy. “We were said the democracy dawned in 1951 and then in 1990, but as a normal citizen, we didn’t get forum for such expression,” one of the participants told me.

During the shooting that lasted for 53 minutes the participants participated nicely in the discussions. Though I felt like the time wasn’t enough for the participants to talk all they wanted too.

Somesh and Bhaskar during shooting of the program.

I have seen program called Sarbajanik Sunuwai in Nepal Television in which the programs are organized in districts and government officials are made to answer the questions from people. And, that too is quite participatory.

I believe these two models (of course, I don’t know much about NTV’s program for I don’t have friends producing that program) of participation of citizens in discussion of current events will have some effects and there will be more such program.

Photos by Nepal Photo Agency

Happy New Year 2064

Happy New Year 2064 AD!

Let’s hope Year 2064 will be fruitful to Nepal in terms of political stability, peace building and smooth transition from conflict-hit nation to once-again-country of peace.

For Nepali, there is three opportunities to wish happy New Year every 12 months; the Gregorian calendar, the Bikram Sambat, and then the Nepal Sambat. Yet, despite making the wish every time, we fail to work for the completion of the wishes and go on wishing that again each and every time.

We all know, wishing alone is not enough; we have to work for that. Yet, we remain ignorant. I am not an exception and I am afraid to make new resolutions. But with the hope of not running away and not ignoring, let’s make a few resolutions.

All Nepali citizens let’s make a promise to be aware of the current situation in the country and then to express our views in anyway possible – at teashops, at letters to the editor and better in blogs.

All Nepali bloggers, let’s try to make our blogs a regular one and to help build the New Nepal in our own way! Let’s raise the voice and let’s discuss.

One of my blogger friends vowed to write for the establishment of republican democracy in his blog and I loved it. Our views can be different, but for the making of the New Nepal, if we could do something, we should do it.

New Nepal is a vague term and this doesn’t only apply for the political turnaround. This applies to socio-economic change too, and most importantly the change in our perceptions. We need to believe that we can build a happy nation.

We can wish for New Year three times a year, but for contributing to the making of New Nepal, we may not get the second chance. Let’s contribute from our side in whatever way we can. Together we can!