Once, There was a Hindu Nation

June 13, 2007

Author: Tarun Vijay

Source: The Times of India


|2|3|Next > Nepal used to be the only constitutionally declared Hindu nation on this planet. Last year in a quick change in the state's governance, it removed the word Hindu and became secular.

This beautiful country, Shangri-La of the East, and in many ways as charming and scintillating as Kashmir or even better than Switzerland, lost more than 12 thousand lives under a bloody 10-year long 'Maoist peoples' war' which culminated in a joint interim government last May. The first thing that this new set of governors did was to remove the celebrative tag of a constitutional Hindu nation from her name. Very soon after the formation of the new constitutional assembly, they may get rid of the constitutional monarchy system too.

With a population of 27.1 million and a life expectancy rate of 62, Nepal's only 46.8 per cent population above the age of 15 can claim some literacy. And all this happened when the constitutional monarchy was in saddle firmly and a democratic movement had taken shape to have 14 Prime Ministers in last 16 years. Still it seemed working better than a direct and dictatorial regime of the King.

But the development issues remained mired in growing corruption, nepotism and unfocussed policies with continuous brickbatting within the political parties leading to the growth of a violent Maoist movement that promised a 'revolutionary rule of the proletariat' . It did garner support amongst the rural masses, through selling dreams, guns and a systematic annihilation of the Opposition, thus creating an atmosphere where to be with them was life and to remain aloof meant a bullet.

Now they are running the show in Kathmandu.

Nobody questions that if there can be a hundred Islamic and Christian nations with their 'Christian or Muslim only' constitutional provisions for their head of the states, and democracy and pluralism can still flourish in a royal Britain with a Church of England taking care of the faith officially and a US president taking oath on Bible without murmurs from citizens belonging to other denominations, why on earth, a lonely Hindu nation was looked up as a threat to democracy and egalitarian values, while it ensured full freedom to all for propagation and practice of whatever they believed in?