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Martyrs’ Week And Others

Issue January 2018

Martyrs’ Week And Others

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


On the first day of the martyrs’ week, on January 24, 2018, Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan Bidhya Sundar Shakya garlanded the statue of Sukra Raj Shastri who was hanged to death in 1941 by Prime Minister Judha Shumsher enforcing the death sentence King Tribhuvan had passed on Shastri. The crime of Shastri was to speak for the basic rights of the people and for democracy ending the autocracy of King Tribhuvan enforced by the Rana prime ministers.


Today the statue of Tribhuvan at the Shahid Gate has been mocking the statues of four extra-ordinarily courageous martyrs such as Sukra Raj Shastri, Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Ganga Lal Shrestha, and Dashratha Chand on whom King Tribhuvan had passed the death sentence for demanding civil rights to the common folks. The Statue of the same man Tribhuvan that had made the four so brave men martyrs has been standing on top of those martyrs. Is that not irony that could happen only in Nepal thanks to the monarchists?


King Mahendra built the statue of his father Tribhuvan and placed above the statues of four martyrs to glorify the Shah dynastic rulers even though they were killers and murders. For 30 years during the Panchayat period, the then prime ministers and ministers went to garland the Statue of Tribhuvan placed above the fighters for democracy, overshadowing the bright martyrs that gave the lives for the welfare of the common folks. Thus, the statue of the life taker has been staying above the statues of the life givers for democracy and welfare of the common folks.


In 2012, the then Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai decided to remove the statue of Tribhuvan staying above the statue of four martyrs from the Shahid Gate because the Statue of Tribhuvan above the martyrs’ has been insult to injury but the Supreme Court stopped the prime minister from taking out the statue stating it is the cultural heritage of Nepal. Consequently, like it or not; today the statue is making fun of the real martyrs.


Even today some so-called intellectuals glorified Tribhuvan as the fighter for democracy. How could Tribhuvan fight for democracy when he passed the death sentences on the people that had done nothing wrong except for demanding the basic human rights that had been denied to the common folks for centuries?


When Tribhuvan was sure that the people were winning against his Prime Minister Mohan Shumsher in 1950s, Tribhuvan with his entire family members except for Gyanendra left at his maternal home simply took refuge at the Indian embassy in Kathmandu, and then two Indian planes had flown them to New Delhi, India that Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had so generously provided him.


With the good intention of the political leaders that had launched an armed struggle for democracy, Tribhuvan got back the throne on the condition that he would follow the democratic rule and hold an election to a constituent assembly for crafting a people’s constitution. However, he did not keep his commitment and indulge in the dirty political game to enforce and continue the repressive dynastic Shah rule.


In 1960s, his son King Mahendra went even farther taking over power from the elected government and imposing the no-party system called Panchayat killing democracy and changing the government of Nepal into his majesty’s government of Nepal, and repressing people as much as possible for 30 years. He killed directly or indirectly many active NC cadres that fought for the return of democracy in 1960s. So, Mahendra was a killer, too.


Mahendra sold the Narayanhity palace to the government, expropriated the land of the common folks for building residences for his sons such as Gyanendra and Dhirendra in Maharajgunj in Kathmandu, and to make the exhibition stall called Brikhutimandap in Kathmandu, and for the office for the National Trading at Teku also in Kathmandu. These are the few example of how Mahendra simply grabbed the land of the common folks without or with a very small compensation.


On January 11, 2018, President Bidhya Bhandari and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba solemnly garlanded the statue of Prithvi Narayan Shah: one of the most atrocious kings, and the ancestor of King Tribhuvan that had perpetuated the tyrannical rule for centuries keeping the entire Nepalese in poverty while giving every possible benefit to a clique of the ruling people. However, today when the Kathmandu Metropolitan is celebrating the martyrs’ week, both President Bhandari and Prime Minister Deuba were nowhere to be seen not to mention garlanding the statues of martyrs and expressing deep gratitude to those martyrs for shedding their blood for the cause of the entire populace.


President Bhandari and Prime Minister Deuba would not have been in their respective positions today had not those brave martyrs shed their blood from 1940s to today, rather Bhandari would have been carrying compost manure on her back to the field for a better crop while Deuba would have been a seasonal worker in Punjab in India or elsewhere in India working as a seasonal laborer or a security guard as most of the people in the west where Deuba has his ancestral home do even today because the benefits brought by the sacrifices of martyrs have not reached the area, yet.


Thanks to the hundreds if not thousands of Martyrs that have shed the blood for the bright future of Nepalese, today honorable President Bhandari is in the presidential residence, and honorable Prime Minister Deuba is in the Baluwatar official prime ministerial residence but they have been hopelessly ungrateful to the martyrs that made them possible to be there not showing up to garland the statues of martyrs.


For going to garland the statues of martyrs today, where is the pickup truck the academicians fattened by working in Nepal Academy have used to carry the portrait of Prithvi Narayan Shah to the statue of Prithvi at the main gate to the Singh durbar in Kathmandu for marking the 296th anniversary of Prithvi so pompously at the expense of the taxpayers’ money?


Those so-called academicians would have been milking the cows in their respective cow pens in the rural areas had not the brave martyrs shed their blood to irrigate the land for flourishing them and for working as academicians in Kathmandu today; however, they have been so disastrously ungrateful to the martyrs that they did not even bother to show up at the statues of martyrs to pay homage to the martyrs that they deserve very much but ironically the academicians have been so grateful to tyrant Prithvi.


“Gorkhapatra” that had so nicely printed the color pictures of how the president, and the prime minister garlanded the statue of Prithvi on January 11, 2018, has relegated the news of the celebration of the martyrs’ week inside the page on January 25, 2018, and has stated that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, ministers, high officials of civil, and State security forces will march from Tundikhel to the Shahid Park in Lainchour and garland the statue of martyrs on January 30, 2018 but nothing about the president garlanding the statues of martyrs or not.


Those guys working at “gorkhapatra” would have been only Shahs and Shumshers if so many martyrs had not sacrificed their beautiful lives to make the guys so educated and make them fit for working at “gorkhapatra” today, however, they have unbelievably disregarded the contribution of the martyrs to make them what they are today. They did not think of even publishing the portraits of the four main martyrs that gave their lives in 1940s; later they published the portraits of four martyrs in an inside page. These guys working at “gorkhapatra” would have been porters or daily-wage laborers instead if the martyrs had not fought for their rights to education and so on.


I would not have been writing this article, too without the contribution of the martyrs that gave their lives for fundamental rights of the common folks like me. I would have been simply plowing the ancestral land, and then working for the clique of rulers without pay under the title “jhara” they had set up for forcing the common folks to work for them free. I would say I am lucky because I have land to plow my ancestors had earned but those millions that did not have land were quite unlucky and had to live miserably without foods for months if the martyrs were not born and died for the common cause of the folks.


These evidences suggest that President Bhandari, Prime Minister Deuba and so-called academicians and intellectuals and politicians and others want to take the positions vacated by those merciless kings and their prime ministers, and their support employees who had made Nepal so poor and who had made Nepalese destitute and diseased for centuries.


These guys for reviving the remnants of the Shah dynastic rulers know that the monarchy could not return but they want to enjoy the power and pomp those despots had enjoyed in the past. That might be the reason why they have been so fond of celebrating the anniversary of Prithvi while disgustingly neglecting the martyrs that have made them what they are today as the president, prime minister, academicians, intellectuals, and politicians otherwise as already stated most of them would be milking cows or carrying manure for the luxurious lives for the clique of rulers to enjoy.


Most of the guys glorifying the past repressive rulers have been against the federalism, inclusive administration, and secular state because they did not want to share the benefits brought by the blood of martyrs with the common folks. They have been installing the statues of Prithvi and even of Drabya Shah recently to remind the people that they are for an oppressive rule and for keeping the majority of the people repressed again, which would not be possible as Nepalese have been smarter and of the 21st century.


In 2007 the then Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala scrapped the celebration of the birth anniversary of the despot Prithvi Narayan Shah and then became instrumental in ending the monarchy in 2008. Thus, Girija Prasad Koirala became the first prime minister to remove the remnants of the oppressive rulers in other words the monarchical rule. His name would be written in golden letters in the modern history of Nepal.


However, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba reinstated the State celebration of the anniversary of Prithvi in 2017, and glorified the despot again only to become the most incompetent prime minister in the history of Nepal, and the president simply followed the downhill path of the prime minister.


Supreme leader Ganesh Man Singh commanding the joint front of the communist alliance and the Nepali Congress party toppled the Panchayat regime in 1990; however, he did keep the monarchy believing the king would be a constitutional monarch and would contribute to institutionalizing democracy. However, the kings one after another had demonstrated that they were not for following the commands of the elected prime minister rather wanted to remain above the law and robbed the people as their ancestors did for centuries. Consequently, the people needed to end the monarchy forever; so they did in 2008 so that youths would not need to shed their blood again and again to reinstate democracy and the people’s rights.


Today, federalism, inclusive administration and secularism have been enshrined in the constitution that would remain unchangeable forever. However, some laws have been against the secularism particular the Civil Offense Act that has made the provision for hurting cows and oxen punishable by imprisonment for three years has definitely gone against the tradition and culture of the beef-eating Hindus and ethnic people. So, some regressive forces are in action again in the country indicating some brave people might need to shed their blood for doing justice to all the people.


January 25, 2018

Updated on January 29, 2018

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