SANSAD Public Forum with Dr. Chitra Tiwari
Sunday June 26, 2011, 3.00 pm – 6.00 pm
Langara College, 100 W 49th Ave, Vancouver
Nepal has just averted a constitutional crisis by extending the deadline for its constitution writing by three months to August 28.
Five years ago, in April 2006, the ten-year-old insurgency led by the Maoists came to an end with a 22-point agreement among the democratic political parties that aroused the hopes of the people of Nepal for a new Nepal. It also marked a great moment in the history of people’s struggles because an armed struggle that was poised for military victory chose to adopt the peaceful path of democratic transformation on Nepal’s society. This was historically unprecedented and unimaginable.
Nepal abolished its monarchy and established itself as a republic. It held elections to a Constituent Assembly, in which the Maoists emerged as the largest party in May 2008. And yet, thanks to continued foreign intervention by the Indian State, to the great disappointment of Nepali people, the Constituent Assembly failed to meet its already extended deadline of May 28.
Nepal faces a crisis on many fronts. The people of Nepal suffer from extreme impoverishment and inequality. The United Nation’s World Food Program, which has been feeding close to a million people in remote areas in Nepal, is cutting down its program to feeding only 100,000, leaving the rest to face starvation because of lack of donations. The key issue in the crisis in constitution-making is finding common ground among political actors of Nepal on the fate of the Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA): either liquidating it or integrating it into the Nepal Army (NA). Though the leadership of the Maoists is willing to facilitate merger of PLA into NA as proposed by NA, there are bitter dissents within the party in this regard.
What happens in Nepal is a matter of grave concern for the people of Nepal and all who sympathise with their well being and aspirations. But it is also of great interest to all progressive people concerned with the questions of the right solution to problems of social justice.
Dr. Chitra K. Tiwari is a free-lance journalist and political analyst specializing in South Asian affairs. He has taught at Nepal’s Tribhuvan University and holds a Ph.D. in international affairs and political science from George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Organized by South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) and Progressive Nepali Forum in Americas (PNEFA); co-sponsored by School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Simon Fraser University and Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Langara College. For more information contact Abi: 604-506-9259