My ebook: Journeys with the caterpillar

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Journeys with the caterpillar: Travelling through the islands of Flores
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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ramblings on Nepal (NEWS & POLITICS)

On one hand millions of protesters in Nepal finally forced the king to step down; on the other hand, over a million people had turned out in Britain for the queen’s golden jubilee. (She turned 80 last week).
Circumstances were very different in both countries, but why such disparate attitude to monarchy at these two places? Like they say, that monarchy exists in Britain only because it’s irrelevant. Also, in places like Britain and rest of Europe, the institutions of monarchy generate substantial employment and income opportunities through tourism and tabloid journalism (the value is surely greater than the Privy Purse they suck in); they also are totally toothless to influence anything serious in these countries. These monarchs too have no reason to cause any mischief since their lifestyles are maintained without any effort. So why did the Nepali king not take this route? What lies in store for Nepal? Power has been restored to the same politicians who had let down the Nepalese many times. But there is some hope; the people will be much less forgiving this time if the politicians mess up.
What about India’s activities during the whole saga? India’s foreign policy has always been a blend of high moral rhetoric and dubious facts on ground; an the Nepal incident was no different. Indians in general exhibit a peculiar stand towards democracy, and this was also reflected in India’s dilly-dallying on the Nepal issue. On one hand, Indian’s don’t miss any opportunity to boast that they are far greater than the richer Chinese because they have a democratic system. On the other hand, there are huge outcries by the same lot whenever the democratically elected politicians set policies that affect certain territories (IIM fee hike, IIM autonomy). Talk to any Indian, and he will have few good things to say about any politician. So an absolute pride in democracy and an absolute distrust of democracy resides at the same time and place. No wonder, we were unsure about our stance with respect to Nepal.
P.S.: In India, many of the monarchs and pseudo monarchs (The Gandhis, Thackerays) have been very successful in electoral politics. My posts on dynasty politics is here.

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