Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Nepal update

Sorry for the long absence, but life is a-churning, as is Nepal....  Please excuse the lack of complete sentences aka social media-type rambling. Take it for what its worth... 

... the passing away of SuKo aka Sushil Koirala (the vanguard of the Koirala dynasty) has opened the flood gates of a rapprochement... of sorts.... Seems like the IB had intel on his impending demise. Plus the fact that the UDMF was splitting away and folks like Rajendra Mahato of the Sadhbhavana party were saying "get the hell out" to the threesome in UDMF (that is, Mahendra Thakur, Upendra Yadav and Mahendra Raya Yadav). Looks like despite the blockade, illegal trade/smuggling was going on (which would always be the case --- happens anywhere there is a border crossing) and Rajendra Mahato might have been pissed or not making enough cash relative to the threesome. So Rajendra babu loosened his hold of Birgunj and he was the one holding the forte at the Birgunj-Raxaul border crossing (70% of Indian imports go through this route, not Biratnagar, not Sunauli, definitely not Nepalgunj, not nothing)...  

So the Indians/IB must have been seeing all this tamasha and forced the UDMF to call off the blockade... And of course nothing moves in the Raxaul-Birgunj sector without the South Block saying ok... This is reality, however one would like to deny it. 

So here is my story, rumor-mill sourced or otherwise... SuKo bulldozed through a Constitution as a mission that cannot wait for the next hour, let alone tomorrow... Why I dont know... Was it the fact that he knew of his near/impending-death... wanting to be the Messiah of a new Nepal, a republican Nepal, a 21st century Nepal?... No idea, but this tamasha was easily bought in by the CPN(ML) and CPN(M) cabal... Was it just a case of entrenched Pahadi elites holding forte for eternity?.. I dont know... but does not smell right to me... 

But there was/is a vertical divide inside the CPN(M) camp.. with the ideologicals (aka useful idiots) led by Baburam Bhattarai saying, "what, what, why so urgent?".. and the Prachanda gang sitting opposite to the ideologicals.. There was already a split with the now not-so-healthy Mohan Baidya Kiran camp going wolf on "People's war is not over yet, we need to torch more buses, torch more thanas, recruit more thugs, fight more battles, till then laal salaam, laal salaam"... Now that Baburam-da has quit CPN(M) and started his useless party of sorts (which had been long time coming btw), Prachanda and MBK are making up... They will make up given that MBK is nearing his saranagati days and he needs the army of Prachanda cabal to sing along, lest he be consigned to the trashcan of history... Prachanda too needs MBK to shore up his wing as the real CPN(M) given that Guru Dronacharya is out of the ranch now :))... 

But still... how did CPN(ML) and CPN(M) buy this SuKo drama all along?.. This is something I dont see a good answer to.. its not just the anti-Indian of sorts, Jhalanath Khanal, but also the old aspiring PM-lot (aka Madhav Kumar Nepal) and that dreg who is the PM now, KP Sharma Oli... All were seeking bread crumbs??.. Makes little sense... the Indians/IB/South block/MEA/foreign office seem to have been caught up in surprise given the quick movement of things... and the quick sabaash-waa-rewa (1-2-3) from the Chinese, the Americans and the Pakistanis meant that Indians said "Start the moosik, pronto." Of course, the Nepali establishment had to retort with "We will seek the warmth and embrace of our birathers up north," but even an IQ-deficient person knows that this is just claptrap. The Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Dhivehis do this too, but in the case of Nepalese, it is utter claptrap. China cannot supply beyond a certain point to Nepal and only the poor will suffer (as it is the case now). Even the Nepali establishment (visceral in its hatred of the Indian establishment is) knows it. All they want is for the Chinese to supply their party offices so that they are not using firewood to light up their offices, aamchi Gorkhali be damned. Anyway.... 

One major thing was a few amendments were made to please the Madhesis.. the kicking of the bucket of SuKo + wanting a face saver + things quickly spiraling out of control and losing the face of not holding the border to ransom meant that Indians called things off at that stage... now people (aka Singha Durbarians) will forget the remaining Madhesi demand for re-drawing provinces... none will happen, yes you heard that right. If they did not happen for so long after 4 1/2 mths of crippling blockade, none will happen with 4 1/2 yrs of People's war... So we have 6 provinces now, or was that 7?.. I lost count already. Also, plus, the person who is going to run riot in NC now (Sher Bahadur Deuba - the other pole of the NC) does not want to split one of the provinces despite the Tharu demand or inspite of it. So status quo it is. Each province shares a border entrypoint with India (is that good or bad, even that Pashupathinath will not know!)... the Madhesis get their amendments... the Nepalese get their fuel and supplies.. India gets its face saving withdrawal... now does it mean that the Nepalese will go back to normal or will people remember this blockade for far longer?... Of course, time will tell... but most likely people will remember.. they remember the 1990 blockade.. Why wont they remember this given its so immediate pain?... This is also a yug where every dog and his uncle needs to have an opinion, so yes, the blockade stings/stang/whatever. 

Now what can they do if they remember?.. Nothing... Nepal is landlocked, period... You can euphemistically call it any way you want, go to the UN or even a bigger body, sing dongfang hong or pak sar zameen, but that is what it is.. But did it (the blockade) help for India?.. Probably not... So I am confused... What is the grand strategy to all these tactics?.. What am I missing?.. It is idiotic to assume that the South Block decided to blockade because they woke up on the wrong side of the bed one fine day... South Block is legendary in its deep elephantine memory and things do not move up quickly unless they are serious, important and worse, painful. 

Did the SuKo Messiah mission ruin a carefully built decade of work, albeit moving at a glacial pace??.. the Constitution work was going on from 2004 since the 8-point agreement was signed. There was one 6 year mis-rule of CPN(M) followed by another elections (which was long time coming when I was waiting for that) and Constitution writing was going nowhere... and within a few days/weeks they promulgated one.. Even for miracles, its weird... how.. what.. wtf.. This is exactly what must have happened at South Block... So here are a few questions that make no sense (at least to me) now: 
1) How did the Constitution come up overnight? 
2) Who orchestrated it?
3) How did all the three parties buy into it? How did the greasing/convincing happen?  
4) Why did the Indians get surprised? 
5) Why did they blockade? 
6) What do they want as a face saver? 
7) Did they get one? 
8) If so, is all well now? 
9) If not, what can be done? 
10) What is being to address the colossal intel failure that was? 

Here are more questions that can be asked, but wont be: 
1) Did the INC ruin the India-Nepal relationship by cosying up with the Pahadi elites for so long, across party affiliation? 
2) Is the change from embracing the Pahadi elites and ignoring the Madhesis for so long get a U-turn with the arrival of Modi? All this roti-beti tamasha make no sense with the Pahadis, it started with Modi. Innit?! 
3) Why did India let the mudslinging at the "Indian-origin" Madhesi take traction when the Madhesis are Nepalis? 
4) Are we preparing for a demographic shift in favor of the Madhesis? 
5) Are we seeing a Pahadi (which is euphemism for the upper class partisans of the Brahmin-Kshatriya varna) vs. Madhesi (which is euphemism for OBC/more comfortable in Hindi than Nepali) fistfight in the name of something else? Or is this a regular fight of the entrenched vs. usurpers? How much of this is caste, class and status?  
6) All policies get the imprint of the man in-charge, but does the current change in policy have an imprint from Nagpur? 

Of course, remote controlling happens across party-lines and not that one can do much if Nagpur does frame policies. But one is indeed curious as to if there is a grand strategy and if so, have all things been considered properly? 

In general, I am more confused with time than not... 

Did that non-partisan line-up (of Anand Sharma, Sitaram Yechuri, Sharad Yadav, Sushma Swaraj + Ajit Doval) cremate a SuKo type Messianic effort for good?? Did it?? I will always doubt such certitudes... Will KP Sharma Oli stop barking at the wrong tree now? While the Burnol will take a few days/months to heal, I dont expect the visceral garbage to go down any time soon. Nepal establishment is not a bosom friend of the Indian establishment, period. It never was, it never will be, and one should not even expect anything close to that. Period... 

So what is our strategy now? How exactly is a strategy supposed to be defined? What are the parameters, what are the contours of the optimization? "Do nothing" is loser-talk and I dont buy grand visions and strategies hinged on inaction ... So what exactly is going on in Nepal?! 

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