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Celebration of Martyrs’ Day In Nepal

Issue 05, Janaury 31, 2010

Siddhi B Ranjitkar

On January 30, 2010, Nepalis celebrate the anniversary of the Martyrs’ Day. Memorial services are held at various places where the brave Nepalis have reached the immortality. Thousands of brave Nepalis have sacrificed their lives for making Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal in 2007. However, even then, some leaders of the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML) have made the mockery of democracy supporting the man defeated in two constituencies for a Prime Minster and saying the unconstitutional move of the President on directly writing a letter to the then army chief as a democratic move.

In 1876, a brave Nepalese son called Lakhan Thapa became the first martyr. He quit the then very lucrative job of the service in the state army and secretly trained some people for revolting against the tyrannical rule of the then Rana family members. The then Rana ruler called Jung Bahadur Rana gave the death sentence to Lakhan Thapa for rising up against the despotic rule of the Rana family. However, Lakhan Thapa has remained unrecognized for his deeds until the government declared Lakhan Thapa a martyr in 1999 but has not declared him a first martyr, yet.

In 1942, the same Rana family rulers made four brave sons of Nepal Martyrs. They hanged Sukra Raj and Dharma Bhakta from a tree until death, and shot dead Ganga Lal and Dasrath Chand in Kathmandu, and gave the life sentence to Ganesh Man Singh and other political activists. Ganesh Man Singh escaped from the jail and went to India in exile, and successfully tore down the Rana regime in 1951. So, killing four brave sons of Nepalis, the despotic Rana rulers could not save their regime.

Thereafter, the killer of democracy Mahendra built a monument called ‘Sahid gate’ to martyrs at the heart of Kathmandu. He set up busts of four martyrs such as Sukra Raj, Dasrath Chand, Dharma Bhakta and Ganga Lal at the four corners of the monument and the bust of his father Tribhuvan on top of all the martyrs dishonoring them. Tribhuvan did not deserve this position among the martyrs, as he turned the table on the martyrs’ dream of institutionalizing democracy and continued the despotic rule of his dynasty.

Then, in 1960, despotic ruler Mahendra killed democracy and institutionalized a no-party political system. The statue of the killer of democracy Mahendra has been standing majestically at the center of Kathmandu even after Nepal has been a federal democratic republic whereas the first martyr Lakhan Thapa has been neglected for such a long time.

We don’t have any statue of another martyr called Durgananda Jha. Going against the basic principles of judiciary, Despotic Ruler Mahendra changed the law for giving a death sentence to Durgananda Jha for attempting on his life. Durgananda Jha wanted to kill the killer of democracy Mahendra and set up a republic. So, the statue of Durgananda Jha needs to replace the statue of the killer of democracy.

Then, we forget to give due respect to another propagator of republic Ram Raja Prasad Singh. Despotic Ruler Mahendra gave him a death sentence in absentia for saying Nepalis need a republic in his election manifesto running for the member of the then national assembly called Rastriya Panchayat in the elections held at the four graduate constituencies in early 1970s. Legislators of the NC, CPN-UML and the MPRF rejected him for the position of the first President of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal and elected someone who has once again killed the spirit of democracy violating the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007.

In 1990, brave Nepalis again sacrificed their lives to tear down the Panchayat Regime set up by the killer of democracy Mahendra in 1962, and to institutionalize democracy again in Nepal. However, corrupt leaders of the NC and CPN-UML institutionalized corruption rather than democracy. In 2005 Nepalis again lost the democracy to another despotic ruler called Gyanendra who came to power after the massacre of the family of his senior brother Birendra in 2001. He thought that his fore fathers had earned the state of Nepal for him.

Again, Nepalis for setting up democracy have united and fought against the despotic ruler Gyanendra in 2006. The Maoists fighting in the field came to cooperate with the NC and CPN-UML cadres in Kathmandu to finish off the despotic ruler. As a result, Nepalis successfully made the royals as commoners and subjected them to the rule of law, and made Nepal a federal republic. However, many brave Nepalis have to sacrifice lives to this end.

In 2008, Madheshi Nepalis have launched a movement against the Interim Government headed by Girija Prasad Koirala for the rights to have a say in the state affairs. Again many brave Nepalis sacrificed their lives to achieve the goal but most of the Madheshi leaders betrayed the martyrs and surrendered to the leaders of the NC and CPN-UML for the jobs of ministers in the current government of Madhav Nepal brought by the unconstitutional move of the president on directly writing a letter to the then army chief.

Dreams of the most of the martyrs killed in the people’s liberation war, in the movement against the despotic ruler Gyanendra and in the Madheshi movement have gone astray, as the regressive forces have been raising the heads successfully. For example, NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba has been advocating for declaring the then chief of the armed police Krishna Mohan Shrestha killed by Maoists a martyr. Similarly, some CPN-UML leaders such as Modnath Prashit and others have advocating for glorifying the despotic rulers such as Prithvi Narayan and Mahendra: Prithvi for uniting all small states into a single state by force and cruelty and Mahendra for his contribution to the Nepalese literature.

Recently, taking advantage of the weak government in the transitional period, some NC leaders have forced the government declare the legislator belonging to the NC and killed in the road accident in Biratnagar a martyr and pay one million rupees to the family of the deceased legislator as the compensation for the loss of the loved one.

Due to the politicization of declaring martyrs, real martyrs have been sidelined and members of the influential political parties have taken the front seats in the martyrdom. Families of real martyrs have been suffering from not paying the compensation the government supposed to give them for the loss of their loved ones. Real martyrs cannot expect anything from the government headed by the man defeated in the two constituencies and the man came to power following the unconstitutional move of the President on directly writing a letter to the then army chief.

Martyrs’ dream would be realized only after completing a writing of a new constitution and then holding elections for a new legislature making the federal democratic republic of Nepal a real, and making participation of all ethnic people in the state affairs a reality.

January 30, 2010

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