IN THE WORLD today, we
are witnessing the unravelling of society, the breakdown of
families, and the increasing contempt for parents. This social
breakdown was played out in the tragic massacre of
the royal family of Nepal in early June. The Holy
Scripture tells of the very types of family feuds that we are witnessing in
our times. “For a son treats his father with
contempt ... A man’s enemies are those of his own household …Brother will
betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up
against parents and cause them to be put to
death.” “They will be divided, father against son and son against father,
mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law
against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law
against her mother-in-law.” (Micah 7:6. Matthew 10:36, 21. Luke 12:53)
God’s universal command
is that children respect their parents. This “law,” in fact, is inherent in
the thinking of most peoples of the world. In any
culture, contempt for parents is a despicable evil.
Let us recall what the Word of God says:
“Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the
land which YHWH your God is giving you.”
“HONOUR YOUR FATHER AND
MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), that
it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”
(Exodus 20:12) (Ephesians 6:2-3)
Striking or cursing a
parent is so grievous in the mind of God, that he said to ancient Israel:
“He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to
death. And he who curses his father or his mother
shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21:15,17)
A Most Heinous Crime
The brutal massacre of the royal family of Nepal has shocked the whole wide
world. Even now it is hard to believe that is
actually happened. In this time of tragedy and crisis, our hearts go out to
the friendly people of this lovely country.
King Birendra, the beloved monarch of Nepal, was highly regarded as a
reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.
On the evening of 1 June, according to explanations, after family
arguments, Crown Prince Dipendra, aged 29, shot
his father, King Birendra, his mother, Queen Aiswarya, his young brother,
Nirajan, and his sister Shruti, and some 10
others. Dipendra, then shot himself. He went into a coma and died after
two days. Birendra’s brother, Prince Gyanendra, then became the king.
The mass assassination immediately plunged the Himalayan kingdom into
another crisis it did not need. Already the nation
was facing a severe political, economic and insurgency crisis.
The Battle for Nepal Nepal is a beautiful land
with towering Himalayan peaks. Sadly, though, it is a land with few natural
resources; it is one of the world’s poorest nations. 88% of its
population is dependent on agriculture and related
activities, and 40% of the people live in a state of absolute poverty.
With a population of 23 million, Nepal has some of the lowest human
development indicators in South Asia, and those
indicators are even worse as they relate to women. Only 14% of women are
literate (1995), and the maternal mortality rate
of 830/100,000 live births is by far the highest in the region.
Socially the country is gripped by feudalism. King Birendra ruled Nepal as
an absolute monarch until 1990 when an uprising
pressured him into sharing power with a prime minister and parliament. A
multi - party democracy ensued.
Economically, the nation is heavily dependent on its neighbours,
and on tourism. The environment is being seriously
damaged by the high dependency on wood fuel, leading to
deforestation and soil erosion.
Politically, Nepal is in crisis, as communism, democracy and insurgency vie
for the minds of a population held captive by
incompetence, corruption, and poverty. On top of
all this, in the early 90’s Nepal had to cope with a large influx of
refugees from Southern Bhutan. For the past five
years, 100,000 Nepali-Bhutanese have been given refuge in UNHCR camps in
Since 1990, democratic Nepal has had ten prime ministers. The eleventh prime
minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, was sworn in after
No 10, Girija Koirala, resigned this month. Both are from the Nepali
Congress. Mr Deuba was a prime minister back in 1995-97.
Mr Koirala’s government was widely accused of failing to maintain law and
order, of widespread corruption, and of inability
to govern. The main opposition is the Nepal
Communist Party (Unified Marxist-Leninist). Since
it became a constitutional monarchy, Nepal’s real policies have been a
result of compromise between the Nepali Congress
and the Communist Party. A bitter rivalry and
feuding within the Nepali Congress, as well as poor governance by the
government, and an increasingly successful Maoist
insurgency throughout the districts, has created a serious political,
economic and security crisis.
Nepal’s Maoist insurgents, according to reports, control about one third of
the country, and operate in about 70 of the 75
administrative districts. The government effectively controls only
one-fourth of the country.
The Maoists are rebels who model themselves on the Shining Path
guerrillas of Peru, and who specialise in
night-time hit-and-run attacks on police posts. They have announced the
creation of a provisional government that aims to
take over the country. The Maoists began their
rebellion in February 1996, with a goal of toppling the Nepal’s
constitutional monarchy, and establishing a
communist republic. In the past, to end the violence, they have demanded
an all-party conference and an interim government to prepare a new
constitution. Reports say there are 1,500 to 2,000
full-time guerrillas, plus another 10,000 irregulars in the Maoist
force. 85% of the civilian population live
in rural areas, and much of it supports or is sympathetic to the
Maoists because of their poverty, and because of government
discrimination, or disregard of the people’s
needs. The rebels take advantage of the rugged
mountains running the length of the country, and are now
gaining momentum, and moving their operations into Nepal’s more populated
areas. Confusion After the Massacre
The rebels have capitalised on the confusion following the massacre
of the royal family, and have stepped up their
violent campaign against the government. According
to the South Asia Analysis Group, in five different cases since February,
300 to 500 rebels
have coordinated to simultaneously attack police posts.Maoists shot dead 41
policemen in attacks across Nepal on the eve of King Gyanendra’s 55th
birthday (7 July). A week later insurgents struck
again, capturing 70 policemen - and a big cache of arms.
More than 1,700 people
have been killed across Nepal since the rebellion began. So far the Maoists
have not targeted tourism, but foreign tourism
revenues are reported to be in decline. General
strikes, called by either the government’s political opposition, or by the
Maoists, are all too common in Nepal. These
strikes bring great hardship to the common people - many who depend on
meagre daily wages for survival. The strikes also drastically reduce tax
revenues. Police on the Defensive
There are 40,000 police and security personnel, but they are poorly
trained, poorly equipped and too thinly deployed
to effectively contain the Maoists. The Kathmandu
Post reported that whole units of Nepalese police have abandoned their
posts, and fled from the line of confrontation
with rebels. The late King Birendra insisted the
insurgency was a police problem, and he refused to commit the
45,000-man Nepalese army to this battle. But with the deteriorating
situation, there is increasing pressure on the
king and the government, to throw the armed forces into the battle.
While the king has final authority over the army, which is loyal to
the crown, operational decisions for running the
country are left to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
Agence France-Presse has reported that the Nepal government plans to
import $50 million worth of weapons within the
next 12 months.
After the capture of the seventy policemen earlier this month, the
government mobilised a large army contingent to
rescue the kidnapped policemen. The Maoists stood
their ground, and demanded the resignation of Koirala as a prerequisite for
any negotia-tions. After Koirala stepped down, the
rebels released 30 of the captive policemen. This was
followed by the government and the Maoists both declaring a temporary
truce. This gave rise to a hope that negotiations
might start. At the same time, 15 more police were
killed, and the Maoist leader, Prachanda, was uncompromising
on his long-term goal of overthrowing parliamentary democracy.
Nepal is heading towards very difficult times. As neither the military nor
the rebels are likely to completely wipe the other
out, a prolonged battle is ahead. While the
military has greater numbers and resources, the Maoists, with much of the
rural population on their side, are able to
retreat to the mountains whenever threatened. From there, they will be able
to continue their guerilla warfare.
If current trends become
so grave that King Gyanendra proclaims a state of emergency and suspends the
constitution, the country could be plunged into a deeper crisis.
The rebels expect the subsequent chaos will lead to a Maoist victory
and a revolutionary government. Another danger is
that China and India could be drawn into the conflict. Nepal is hedged in
between these two populous nations who keep keen
eyes on the geo-strategic value of the Himalayan kingdom.
Other major powers also have their eyes on that strategic territory.
A communist or Maoist victory in Nepal would have widespread
repercussions for the whole of the south Asian
region. A communist government would undoubtedly lean toward Beijing, and
allow Chinese surveillance and listening posts in
the Himalayas. Beijing wou ld gain leverage over much of
Asia, and this would cause major problems for India. New Delhi would
not be happy with a revolutionary government on
its northern border.
The Races and
Religions of Nepal
Nepal is home to numerous races, tribes, languages and customs. The
Sherpas inhabit the northern and eastern regions,
and are carriers of Tibetan culture. They are known worldwide as the guides
to conquering Mt Everest. The midland hills and
valleys belong to various Tibeto-Burman and Indo-Aryan
groups. Nepalese of Indian decent live in the Terai lowlands.
This tribal diversity has created a nation with intricately woven
cultures and religions. Nepal is predominantly a
Hindu nation, but it is also the birthplace of Buddhism. The two religions
have been fused with the ancient beliefs of Bonpo
shamanism. This religious mixture allows all kinds of occult
practices. Religion plays a very important part of
the lives of the Nepalese. There’s a saying that goes like this:
“Nepal has more deities than people, and more festivals than there
are days in the calendar.” 4-year-old chosen as
Nepal’s new Kumari In July, a 4-year-old girl was
chosen to be Nepal’s new ‘living goddess.’ The child, Preeti Shakya, will
now be known as “the Kumari.” The new goddess comes from the
Kathmandu valley, and her family is part of the
Sakya clan, from which candidates for Kumari are chosen.
The Kumari will live a
life of seclusion at her official temple-residence, the Kumari Ghar, and
will be seen only rarely in public. But in
October, she will appear at the annual Dasain festival, when Hindus
and Buddhists, including the king, will receive blessings from her.
The Hindu goddess is seen as the patron deity of the Himalayan
kingdom, but she must retire before puberty. The
former goddess has been the Kumari since 1995. Now, at 12 years, she joins
eight other retired Kumaris.
Christianity in Nepal
In the 19th century, the king of Nepal banished European missionaries from
the country, fearing an invasion of the British.
For over 100 years, Nepal closed its door to the outside world.
In the 1960s there was a mere handful of 25 baptised Nepali believers
in the country. Over the next 30 years the number
of believers increased, but many were thrown into prison.
After democracy came to Nepal in 1990, the people had freedom to live
and witness as Christians, if they so chose. Since
then the number of Christians has grown to an estimated half million.
Why have so many embraced Christ within a few decades? Have they been
forced or coerced into
becoming Christians? Not at all! No one can become a true believer by force
or coercion. Y’shua Himself said:
“No-one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” (John
There’s nothing a
missionary, a pastor or evangelist can do to draw a person to the Saviour,
except to present the Gospel message. It is the
Master Himself who draws people to Himself. Jesus the Messiah
said: “And I, if I be lifted up from the
earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32)
There has been a
sovereign movement of God in Nepal, drawing many to Christ. These folk have
experienced the mighty, life-changing power of the Messiah and the
Gospel working in their lives. Is it necessary for
the Gospel to reach all of Nepal?
Yes! And the uttermost
parts of the earth! “Y’shua said to them, ‘Go into
all the world and preach the Gospel to all Creation’.” (Mark 16:15)
“And this gospel of the
kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a witness to all the nations,
and then the end will come.” (Mathew 24:14)
The Great Commission of
Jesus Christ was given, not to the twelve disciples only; it has been given
to all who belong to Christ. The apostle Paul
wrote: “For if I preach the Good News, it is not a
matter of boasting for me, for necessity is laid on me; and it is
woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16)
“God ... reconciled us to
Himself through Y’shua the Messiah, and gave us the ministry of
reconciliation, that is, that God was personally present in the
Messiah reconciling the world to Himself, not
counting men’s trespasses against them; and He has committed to us the
message of reconciliation. Therefore we are
ambassadors for the Messiah, as though God were entreating through us. We
implore you on behalf of the Messiah; be
reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
Believer, Nepal needs our
fervent prayers these days!
HISTORIC PEACE ACCORD SIGNED
After 25 years of underground activity and 11 years of armed struggle
across Nepal’s jungles and mountains, and the loss
of 13,000 lives, the notorious Maoist leader finally declared an end to his
armed insurgency. In a
historic ceremony on Nov 21, PM Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist chairman
Prachanda signed the ‘Comprehensive Peace Accord
(CPA) 2006,” bringing the decade-long armed insurgency to an end
and promising to chart a new destiny for “a peaceful and democratic”
KOIRALA AND PRACHANDA SIGNING THE ACCORD
The front page of the largest selling English daily in Kathmandu read:
THE END OF THE WAR:
GOVERNMENT AND MAOISTS SIGN PEACE AGREEMENT
“NATION ENTERS INTO NEW ERA.”
The government declared a public holiday to celebrate the breakthrough.
The 10-point CPA which included provisions on human rights, civil and
political rights, arms and army management,
socio-economic transformation, among others, was signed in the presence of
ministers, political party leaders, Maoist
leaders, foreign diplomats, MPs, government officials and media
“Beginning today, the
politics of killing, violence and terror will be replaced by the politics of
reconciliation,” declared the 85-year-old PM Koirala who said he had
put his entire political career at risk by
venturing on this path of peace and democracy.
“Being a democrat, I wanted to bring non-democrats into the framework of
democracy. I was warned by many friends about the
hazards of dealing with terrorists but I thought that bringing all under
democratic framework was the duty of a democrat.
We all are entering into a new era from today. All of us Nepalis
must come together to build a new Nepal.”
He added that Nepal will, henceforth, be regarded as a model in conflict
resolution by other conflict -torn countries
around the world.
Prachanda stated that
with the signing of the CPA, people of Nepal were in a
position to give a message to the entire world. “The continuity of
238-year-old tradition has been broken now. This
is the victory of Nepalese people and the loss of
He said that like in the war, his party would work with equal zeal to
implement the peace accord. “We have no prejudices
against anyone. We want to make it clear to everyone that we are neither
conservative nor dogmatic in our thinking,” and the people of Nepal
will “perform another miracle” by working on a
war-footing to develop their nation after the elections of a Constituent
He termed the successful struggle of the people of Nepal as the first
miracle of the 21st century. Effective
immediately, the CPA states that illegal carrying of weapons, their display
and any kind of attack, threat or intimidation
would, henceforth, be punishable by law.
commitment to hold the elections of CA by mid-June, 2007, the CPA prohibits
all kinds of illegal use of weapons, raid, ambush,
mining, aerial attack, abduction, etc. Within 30 days both the
sides will share information regarding the placement of mines and
within 60 days they all would be disabled.
The CPA also talks about
rehabilitation of conflict victims. It vows to form a high-level Truth and
Recon-ciliation Commission to investigate about human rights abuses.
It has a provision guaranteeing free passage of
civil servants, UN, I/NGO workers across the country. it also has separate
provisions dealing with civil and political rights
and rights of women and children. On the issue of
implementation and monitoring, the accord states that the UN will be allowed
to continue its monitoring of human rights.
Likewise, the UN team will be asked to verify and monitor
arms and army management, which will be as per the November 8
agreement. It also states that the UN will be
asked to observe the CA polls as well. The CPA
also declares that henceforth no parallel institution will exist in the
country – which means the Maoists’ People’s Court,
People’s Government, parallel tax collection and similar other parallel
outfits will cease to function. This effectively
ends the existence of two regimes – which the Maoist leaders have
often used to justify their extortion, justice dispensation and
similar other activities - within the country.