N. P. Upadhyaya; Kathmandu: A new debate that was long overdue has erupted of late in the Social media in Nepal.
The issue was more or less dormant.
The debate questions the very efficacy of the Nepal Army and seeks a plausible answer, “do we need the institution of a non-performing and inert Nepal Army at all”?
The question is again whether it is really an inert institution?
The answers may vary according to individual perceptions.
However, what should be common among the variety of presumption is that if Nepal as a nation-state has an Army then what were the duties of the Military institution after all?
What the Nepal Army has to do or what should the Army chose to do or even not to do?
It is believed that the national army has to come into action as and when the nation is close to a political disaster or for that matter when the nation is experiencing a trouble as regards the matters pertaining to the safeguarding of its national integrity and the sovereignty.
The national army is expected not only to ensure security and safety to its citizens from the hostile inimical forces across the borders but also to impart a sense of trust and belief among the population signaling that “it is the National Army which shall protect the citizens from troubles both originating from within and without”.
Now let’s examine in this light as to where Nepal Army-institution stands for the country and its people as of now?
Let’s exclude the period of Gurkha valor and bravery under the previous Kings of Nepal that has a glorious past indeed.
The track record of Nepal Army has been that: firstly, it has failed to protect even the life of its own Supreme Commander.
The Nepalese people feel proud to be the inhabitants of the land of the Gurkhas who wrote history for themselves during the past two world wars.
Nepali territory stretched almost to Delhi and the Kumaon and Garhwal in the West were Nepal’s conquered lands.
Let’s talk the facts:
Had the Nepal Army been serious for the safety of King Birendra-the Supreme Commander of the Nepal Army when the King was alive- he would not have been brutally killed right inside the fortified walls of the Royal Palace.
King Birendra was killed when he was, at least we the people so believed, under the tight security and protection of a sizeable multitude of the Nepal Army officials including the King’s immediate Aides.
But the King was murdered and, most unfortunately, some high placed Army officials then bluntly told the population that “Army was not supposed to save the life of Nepal’s beloved King Birendra”.
If it were not the bounden duty of the Army men deployed inside the Royal Palace, then who was responsible and who then should be held accountable for the Himalayan loss?
The King died or better say killed together with his entire family, the Army kept a stoic silence as if nothing had happened.
The Army took the killing of the sitting monarch in a light manner. This sent chilling waves in the minds of the people who revered the King as their treasured “guardian”.
Question then automatically come to our minds: What for the National Army? Why is the Nepal Army then?
Now let’s take the second incident:
Clearly, King Gyanendra was unceremoniously ousted in 2006 under the India’s calculated and well-structured planning with appropriate supervision and the Nepal Army though it knew of the Indian manipulations could not side with the King solidly and thus assisted (?) in doing away with its Supreme Commander once again.
Here again the National Army failed to remain honest-obedient and duty-bound to its own Supreme Commander and the Army institution saw through the Idiot Box its Supreme Commander proceeding towards the Nagarjun Jungles.
The Nepal Army kept a studied silence. Isn’t it thrilling drama for the common people?
If so then why we need the National Army? What for?
Doesn’t all these instance encourage the common population to ask that why should we need such a lethargic and “quiet and faint” national Army? The question is valid and logical.
Is Nepal Army an Ornament or a “forced” appendage for the Nepali population? Has the Army been imposed upon the innocent population? Doesn’t NA feel pride of its past?
Isn’t the National army then a “national-financial burden” on this donor driven country? Perhaps yes.
Wait! Wait! Wait.
We have some more instances to keep on record for posterity so that our coming generations could know as to what sort of Nepal Army our forefathers have had in their life time.
The nation is at the moment experiencing a political /crisis/stir never seen observed before.
(Understand that Comrade Prachanda, Jhal nath Khanal ( a Beijing man in effect) and Mahanta Thakur have already visited New Delhi for presumed consultations and to get blessings for the ouster of sitting PM Oli from the Chair).
The ongoing turmoil, albeit a mysterious one, has not only created political fluidity/uncertainty inside Nepal but also appears to have been heading towards a point where Nepal as a nation-state may experience what could be taken as an “existential crisis”.
The unending and unyielding near to fatal collision associated with aggressive verbal war of words in between Prime Minister Oli’s Communist party (so called Government’s communist party) and the Communist party led by Madhav Kumar Nepal and Pushpa Kamal dahal aka Prachanda has brought the entire nation to a grinding halt.
With this Communist staged drama backed by the “seasonal and alien instigated Civil Society”, the country has almost polarized into two halves.
India is benefitting both ways. The Army knows this fact.
If the first one is Government’s Communist party then the other is “opposition” Communist party.
The sitting Prime Minister Oli is the boss of the government’s communist party then three former Prime Ministers ( Prachanda, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhal Nath Khanal) lead the opposition to the Prime Minister’s party.
Sources say that the funds pour in from the South to both the Communists. This is funny.
The common men who have nothing to do with the two communist’s ( the declared Thugs whose top leaders are equivalent to a mini Swiss Bank each) quarrel and clash appear bewildered which compels them all to think as to what has happened to the India sponsored and gifted Republican Order?
Some critics claim that the gifted Order has already collapsed.
The main purpose of the Indian establishment was to control the entire body politic of Nepal, both internal and external, after the ouster of the Royal Institution.
The Republican Order has given full space to India to twist Nepali arms.
The purpose was served when some trusted and tested India’s men in Nepal assisted the “traditional friend” across the “deliberately kept open border”-the curse for Nepal.
The sitting King was unceremoniously ousted in the year 2006 and the Army almost gave the “impression” that the entire institution of the Army too was hand in glove with the Indian establishment.
It may not be true but the impression that went to the people was what has been stated here.
By implication, the Army was with the Seven Party leaders who had signed the 12 point New Delhi drafted agreement and in many more ways than one helped Girija Prasad Koirala plus the India trained and indoctrinated Maoists for the ouster of the Nepali monarchy.
The Maoists had fairly penetrated into the Army institution, reportedly.
Senior journalist Yubraj Gautam suspects that the Police and some men in the service of Nepal’s security agencies have been shielding the known India bend men who possess ill towards Nepal.
However, this remains yet to be substantiated.
Yet Mr. Gautam’s emphatic assertion makes us to think over what this senior journalist wants to say when he hints at that?
I just recall one incident of high political importance.
After the India sponsored and encouraged so called “revolution” of the 1990 went in favor of those who had been acting proxy to the then Indian establishment, an Interim government was formed under the Command of Krishna Prasad Bhattarai-the Nepali Congress leader.
The 1990 revolution had cut down the size of the “active” monarch to a “constitutional” which meant that the King was just the figurehead only.
At a regular weekly briefing meet of the Prime Minister K. P. Bhattarai with the Constitutional Monarch King Birendra, the former suggested the King to dismantle the Institution of the Nepal Army forwarding the reasons that since Nepal has neither to fight with the enemies in South or the North nor it can dare to do so in an eventuality, thus it would be proper and an act of wisdom to undo the Nepal Army as it is simply an added “financial encumbrance” to the nation-state.
PM Bhattari was talking on behalf of India presumably.
Listening to PM Bhattarai’s almost justifiable claim, the King responded and said to the Prime Minister:
Look Mr. PM! I know that our Army can’t fight with neither the Indians nor the Chinese. But in the eventuality of a war either with the Indians or for that matter the Chinese, our Army could safeguard the nation for at least ten minutes with valor and courage.
Listening to King’s Himalayan belief/faith in his Army and the Institution itself, the Prime Minister got the point and since onwards he never talked on the undoing of the Nepal Army institution.
But was King Birendra correct? The question remains alive.
So this is how the King Birendra looked upon the National Army- the institution created by late King Prithvi Narayan Shah-the Unifier of Nepal where we stand today with pride and honor.
And when such a believer was killed inside the fortified walls of the Palace, the Army ignored the entire event.
This was too much for the population.
So do we need this Army institution? We the people have the right to discuss at least.
The Southern neighbor-India, has almost gulped some sixty thousand acres of Nepali landmass across the nation-the Susta and the Kalapani, Limpiya Dhura, Pasupatinagar and Lipulek being the most prominent, but the National Army behaves in such a way that it has never happened or India can’t take away our landmass.
The fact is that the Nepal Army understands better as to where and how much the Indian establishment has encroached upon our lands but yet the Army keeps a studied silence as if the safeguarding of the Nepali territories does not fall under its bounden duties and pious responsibilities.
And if it is not their duty then what for the Nepal Army? The white elephant? If so then do we need this elephant?
And look how Nepal Army received the one Indian national who insulted Nepal on May 15, 2020, when he point blank stated that “Nepal has been crying foul on Kalapani, Limpiya dhura and Lipulek at the “behest of China”.
The man who insulted the entire country-our motherland-was accorded warm welcome in the name of “continued tradition” and even the Nepal President decorated him with the “Honorary General of the Nepal Army” award. The tradition must be broken.
The same man just last weakened, was warning neighboring countries not to come closer to China forwarding the fake and manufactured theory of China’s “debt trap”.
And yet we need the Nepal Army? And still we hope that it is the National Army that will eventually defend our lands and the population should a sizeable catastrophe, including a War with neighbors, occur?
Aren’t we “hoping against hope” from such an idle and ornamental institution which believes in doing business and opening banquets for the rich people who can afford right inside its security wise “sensitive” premises? The catering inside the NA compound is risky.
And the question thus is logical as to why we should bear the “astronomical financial burden” of the highly expensive Ornament that has ever disheartened the common people who repose trust on this Institution since late King PN Shah Days. We still revere the NA but…….
We now wish to open a debate on the efficacy of this institution whose synonymous presumably is indolence, sluggishness, torpor, lethargic and exhausted.
Do we need such an expensive institution? If we need then for what? No logic to vote in Army’s favor.
Above all, the political situation in the country is getting worse with each passing days but yet the national Army is silent.
At times the Nepal Army issues an abstract statement stating “we are monitoring the situation”; “we have become grave with the “obtaining state” of the country; “we believe in the constitution in force” and that “unless ordered by the government in place, we will not take law into the hands”…and much more.
The Army that prefers to enjoy in the government’s fund and generosity and believes in “monitoring the situation” only is perhaps of no use to the common population.
The debate is open whether we need the national Army or wish its total and complete demolition?
Very recently, Prachanda went to Delhi and appealed the Indian establishment to come to his political support in fighting with PM Oli. And now the Indian Home Minister Amit Sah says Nepal should be a Hindu State led by Nepal’s BJP followers.
Has the Nepal Army monitored this sensational news? Whither NA’s intelligence?
Not perhaps. That’s all.
(With malice to none and more so no harm to Nepal Army. Just initiating a public debate as per people’s wishes. : Upadhyaya).
# A delayed posting.