Saturday, May 11, 2013

A tale of a sovereign nation dictated by foreigners

"Chakrabyuhama Chandra Surya"

The debates on foreign interference in Nepal’s internal affairs are so deep and intense that there are hardly any sectors left untouched by it in Nepal. However, no one, including the political leaders who keep harping on the issues of patriotism and nationality, has dared speak out in public the kind of interferences and unwarranted foreign interventions Nepal faces from foreign elements.

Journalist Saroj Raj Adhikari deserves special appreciation for meticulously analyzing and documenting numerous instances of foreign interventions in Nepali politics and other internal affairs in recent years in his book, “Chakrabyuhama Chandra Surya.”

Not only has the book exposed how our country’s political leadership on various occasions is dictated by foreign forces, many of the incidents the book deals with make one to painfully apprehend that the very existence of sovereign Nepal may fall into jeopardy should foreigner forces continue maneuvering all developments that take place in Nepal, and we Nepalis fail to work unitedly against such unwarranted interferences.

Adhikari combines the highest standards of his research works with his experience as a journalist covering issues relating to security and politics in Nepal for the past several years. He begins by giving examples of a series of ‘sponsored killings’ of businessmen, politicians, media owner and goes on to describe various issues of security challenges that Nepal faces mainly after the political changes that occurred in Nepal in 2006.

While the first two portions that deal with the cases of sponsored murders and issues of security challenges during the transition period set as background to its overall conclusion that Nepal’s national security and sovereignty are under a serious threat, the concluding portion that includes three separate chapters acutely show how Indian security as well as other interests that are at play in Nepal are shaping our national politics and how we have fallen into difficult situation due to our geostrategic location between two giant neighbors—India and China.

Although the book is a pure non-fiction evidenced by facts so rare for the public, one gets an impression of reading a racy thriller while reading the 323-page long book published by Sangrila Book, Kathmandu. While the first chapter deals with threats that former crown prince Parash Shah faces from underground criminal elements, eight succeeding chapters deal with the sponsored killings of Mirja Dilsad Beg, Kamal Singh, Majid Manihar, Shaukat Beg, Jamim Shah, Phaijan Ahmed and the murder attempt on Yunus Ansariat in the central jail in Kathmandu.

Adhikari has made painstaking efforts in depicting how these seemingly usual cases of murders were linked to critical interests of foreign state and non-state criminal elements and exposing how they pose serious threats to Nepal’s national security and sovereignty. He merits due appreciation for digging deeper into the causes and consequences of each of the murder case and analyzing the interests foreign powers have in Nepal.

Of course, the strategic location of Nepal between two emerging economic superpowers, India and China, presents it a great opportunity. But Nepal finds itself trapped over the Tibet issue as western countries, including the US, continue to exert pressure on Nepal to provide ‘safe passage’ to Tibetans who flee their homeland to make their way to India and elsewhere, and China mounts diplomatic pressure to stop giving any such privilege to Tibetans.

Besides analyzing how the interests of westerners on Tibet has added security challenges, the book also meticulously examines the maneuvering of external elements in Nepal’s security issues –something very critical against Nepal’s national interests.

The book also deals with other critical issues pertaining to Nepal’s national interests, such as citizenship distribution by birth, the President’s move to revoke the decision of the Maoist-led government to sack the then army chief Rookmangud Katawal under the title “Security in Transition Period.”

While serving various instances where our political leadership has made blunders, the book stresses on the need to have clear policies and commitments by Nepal on issues related to national security.

“We never became subservient to anyone. This is a matter of pride. But we could never become independent, either. We are exercising controlled sovereignty. In practice, we are still in a semi-colonial state.” T he author has thus summed up Nepal’s situation after giving so many instances of foreign interventions, mainly from India, in Nepal’s internal affairs.

Though Adhikari accomplishes a lot in the book and makes his message clear with his convincing skills and ability to make connections between a particular event and its consequences, readers at times feel that the author would have done much better had he devoted a little more effort in linking each of the incident mentioned in the book to national politics and how those incidents shaped political courses ahead.

Nevertheless, for those who would prefer informed action over foreign interference and other aspects in Nepal, this book by a journalist who has so closely observed Nepal’s politics and security for the past several years is no doubt a blessing. The book is especially valuable for Adhikari’s insights, contacts, and ability to get confidential documents and get concerned officials and analysts to speak honestly in both on- and off-the-record interviews, and his objective analysis of the events.

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