Robin Lustig in Nepal…

Robin Lustig of the BBC’s The World Tonight, one of my favourite BBC broadcasters, seems to be in Nepal thesedays. Last night I heard his report from Nepal, on The World Tonight, about his meeting with a maoist commander in Janakpur area. And early this morning, I found his news piece on BBC online – Up close with Nepal’s Maoists, which is basically a summary of his audio report that I heard last night. I didn’t know Robin was so much of a purist – he has translated even the Maoist commander’s name to English, from Commander Bikalpa (my guess from Robin’s translation) to Commander Alternative. Even interesting is the name of their political spokesman – Commissar Content, which in my guess must be Commissar Santosh!

At a time when the foreign media suddenly seem to have forgotten Nepal again, after those daily headline news about anti-monarchy protests only a few weeks ago, its a timely reminder that all is not well in Nepal yet. Even after three weeks of the parliament revival and the SPA forming the government, nothing seems to be happening towards resolving the problem the country is in – exception being that both warring sides have declared ceasefire. The SPA seem to be fighting over the cabinet positions, and surprisingly (or not really to us Nepalis!) over who should be the Speaker of the Lower House of the Parliament. I think acts like these were the main reason for people’s disenchantment towards the political parties in the past, which encouraged and subsequently led to Gyanendra’s autocratic regime for more than a year. This time people had hoped that these leaders must have learnt their lessons, which unfortunately don’t seem to be the case.

On the other hand, the Maoist seem to be actively involved in extortion and adbuction even during the ceasefire, which certainly wouldn’t help in the peaceful resolution of the conflict. Either the Maoist top-brass is not in control of their militias or these extortions are sanctioned by the top-brass for a source of income, which either way is not a good news. There were a lot of talks about hope only a couple of weeks ago, but now that seems to be waning fast as more weeks pass by. The SPA and the Maoist need to show Nepalis soon that they do want to resolve the political problem, and do so by deeds not just words before that disenchantment (among ordinary people) towards them sets in again.