Nepal is a strange country, if you look at it from outside. Any country celebrating more than half a dozen New Years and a few Democracy Days definitely qualifies as being, at least strange. Remember? We had a Democracy Day in Falgun 7 (late Feb). And now, we have another one.
Today is the sixth Democracy Day (nepali nomenclature has it termed as Loktantra Diwas). Officially so! The day brings a lot of emotions to people like yours truly. The day People’s Movement of 2006 became successful. Half a dozen years ago!
Yours truly remembers very vividly the days, the 19 days of uprising.
Today is the day when the movement achieved success. The movement of people just like you and me. Small people; faceless people; voiceless people; and sometimes aimless people. People who were not happy; people who were distraught, disgruntled; people who were offended by the then King (who mistook himself for being the state).
It was mesmerizing to see the sea of people on the streets.
Six years ago, today was the day when jubilation was written across all faces. Such hopes, such camaraderie, never perhaps seen ever in the history of the tiny Himalayan kingdom till then. The then King Gyanendra relinquished power and agreed to reinstate the parliament, virtually paving way for his own ouster. It was 2nd Royal proclamation in less than a week. In somber mood… Much had changed between the two proclamations. Those behind him a few days ago, were not even by his side. One has to give it to him. The monarch must have felt betrayed. That’s how the stories come to end, and new ones begin.
However, yours truly remembers his earlier proclamation more vividly, one where he had assumed all executive powers (2005). The phone lines – including the mobile phones – were cut, so was internet, by the end of his speech. It was quite a few months before the cellular service would resume.
I would always remember the entire period for one thing. I used to charge my mobile phone – an archaic looking Nokia 3315 – every day, despite knowing there would be no network on this machine (which meant battery would run down faster). For me, keeping the mobile set on, without network, was a reminder that my state did not trust me (and many like me). A genuine citizen was equated with a so-called terrorist (The general assumption was that mobile phones were used in terrorist activities). It went on for days on end. One ring a day – the morning alarm.
Looking back at it, and the years in between, you might want to take stock. How far have we come? Quite far, haven’t we, for some of us have forgotten why we even treaded this path. For all I know, people were on streets because they wanted peace. Yes, the same small, faceless, voiceless, and sometimes aimless people.
It was a victory of their hope. A hope that everything will be fine. A hope that we’d be on a path of peace and progress.
At this point, yours truly is reminded of lines from Linda Paston’s poem ‘Five Stages of Grief’
Hope was my Uncle’s middle name,
He died of it
These days my mobile device is not blocked by state. The internet too, works. And I regularly get emails titled ‘Journalist threatened’, ‘Journalist beaten’, ‘Journalist killed’.