DON’T COUNT OUT NEPAL’S ROYALISTS, THEY’LL COUNTER-ATTACK!


Erle Frayne  Argonza

Good morning from Manila!

The recent turn of events that saw the catastrophic devastation of the old order in Nepal should not be equated to the complete eradication of kingship. Any adroit observer of political dynamics knows that, in the founding of any modern nation-state, the forces of the deposed ancien regime will counter-attack sooner or later, with the option of a royal revival or equivalent being the top agenda.

Nation-building takes so much time to galvanize, more so for a new nation with a diversity of ethnic communities. Look at Canada, after so many decades of existence as a sovereign nation-state, there are still forces within it that want to separate from the republic. The Canadian nation is still being constructed till these days, this is the clear message of the Quebec separatist movement.

A century may not even suffice a time to build a new nation from out of formerly diverse ethnic communities, or after gaining independence from a colonial master. In the case of the USA, the southern landlords-slave owners represented the ancien regime that refused to go by the wave of the north’s modernist, anti-slavery, pro-industrialization path. The landlords opted to make war against the Union, and had they won, they could have gone back to the old days of bondage to the British Empire.

Till these days, the clash between the Unionists (nationalists) and Confederates (pro-British Empire & oligarchy) continues in the USA. Amid the galvanization there of a federation-wide American identity, the clash continues in the terrains of public policy and foreign affairs. Fact is, the victory of the neo-conservatives and realists in America—who kowtow to the whims of the Anglo-Dutch oligarchy—point out to a subtle victory of the Confederate forces right inside Washington DC.  

In my own country, the landlord-clergy classes comprise the representatives of the ancien regime .Even before America left Manila in 1946, the landlords-clergy already pre-positioned themselves in society. The landlords eventually controlled both the Establishment political parties, thus effectively undercutting the possibility of a revolutionary agrarian program that could have jettisoned the country to mature industrialization as early as the late 1970s.

Till these days, patron-client relations remain strong in all spheres of Philippine life. Not even if the post-industrial society had already made inroads into Manila’s cultural and economic domains. The landlords are themselves the big capitalists, while the Church remains the biggest landlord oligarch of all, praise the Lords of the oligarchic houses!

Thus, in the Philippine case, the nationalists who represent the modernizing, Enlightenment-inspired trend remain in the margins. During the Cold War, the nationalists were demonized as Soviet agents and were chased out of state organs, chased in the hills as insurgents, locked up behind bars, tortured and killed. Till these days nationalists are marginalized here, this is the real situation in Manila.

So, fellows, please don’t count out the royalists of Nepal just yet. Even long after the present monarch (Gyanendra) is gone, pro-royalist fanatics will raise up arms against the prevailing regime, expect this to happen. It’s like the recycle of the Stuart revival in England, Bourbon revival in France, and the long struggle for a Bonapartist revival in the whole of Europe.

The modernists of Nepal (Congress, Marxists, Maoists) look like the Atuturk prototypes of Turkey of the nationalist halcyon days of post-Ottoman era. The problem for Nepal is that it has too many nationalist voices with nary  clear consensus on the compass of nationhood, while Ataturk forces were homogenous in mindset, vision, and agenda of economic development and governance for Turkey.

So no matter what overthrow plots the Caliphate’s loyalists want to mount in Turkey, they will fail. They have to ride by the modernist rules there, abide by the ‘rule of law’ of the Atuturk mindset. It’s been a century hence since the Caliphate’s overthrow,  so the chances for the Caliph’s fundamentalists to return Turkey to the superstitious ancien regime is too late a dream.

Again, to re-echo, please don’t count out Nepal’s royalists. They are watching closely the fractiousness of the Enlightenment parties (secular, modernist, socialistic) in Nepal. They will bide their time. They will regroup, silently organize and expand, build their logistical bases both within and outside of Nepal.

And then they will strike with sweeping zeal, like thousands of angry Himalayan tigers coming down upon their enemies. Whether they win or not is another question. They will come back for sure.

[Writ 02 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

 

 

 

 

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