Nepal History and Politics
Where did the people of Nepal come from?
The ancestors of the inhabitants of today’s Nepal migrated 1000 BC. From the north and the south into the country. These included Indo-Aryan tribes.
500 years later, one of the most famous scholars of all time was born in Nepal: the little prince Siddhartha Gautama came in 560 BC. In Kapilawastu to the world. You may know him better by the name Buddha. His teachings have been spread and taught in Nepal since then.
Nepal was under the rule of several dynasties
From the 3rd century BC BC Nepal changed from one dynasty to the next. First it belonged to the Indian Maurja Daynastie. This ruling dynasty spread Buddhism in what is now Nepal and in the entire dynasty area that encompassed almost the entire Indian subcontinent.
Religions and rulers changed. The Liccavi dynasty replaced parts of the Maurja dynasty and brought Hinduism. It spread mainly around today’s capital Kathmandu and the associated valley.
This was then followed by the Thakurie Dynasty and the Malla Dynasty. This all happened around the 10th century AD. Under the rule of the Malla dynasty, the caste system, which is still used today, was introduced in Nepal and Hinduism was declared the state religion.
When the Malla dynasty fell, the empire that belonged to it split up. Only individual areas remained, which from then on were at war with one another. It was only in 1768 that Nepal could emerge from various principalities. A ruler of the many splinter empires, Prithvi Narayana Shah, ensured unification.
Relations with Great Britain and the Rana Family
Perhaps you have already read here that the fertile Terai region is in Nepal. The English envied the Nepalese for this when they expanded into the Indian subcontinent in the 19th century. After armed conflict, Nepal became a British protectorate. It was not occupied, but gave some territories to the British and allowed some British politicians to be present in the country.
In 1846, the noble Rana family gained power over the Nepalese territory. They controlled the political authorities and the royal family. The Rana family was also pro-British and repeatedly supported the colonial power in their wars, including during the world wars. In return, Nepal was not occupied.
In the middle of the 20th century, things changed in Nepal, because the Rana regime was overthrown and the fled king came back to establish a constitutional monarchy. In addition, the caste system was abolished. That benefited the country’s democracy.
Eventually, Nepal also became a member of the United Nations and held elections. This won the NCP party, which had previously overthrown the Rana regime. So in terms of democracy, things went pretty well in Nepal for a while. That changed at the beginning of the 1960s when the then King Bir Bikram Shah banned all parties and proclaimed a new constitution in which he himself had the say.
The NCP party originated mainly in the neighboring country of India and acted pro-Indian, that means: in India’s sense. But the king was afraid that India’s influence on Nepal would become too great and decided to restrict democracy and to take action against India himself. However, the population did not like this and quickly there were more and more opponents of the king. They protested until the king was forced to hold a referendum. However, this went in his favor.
It wasn’t until the 1990s that enough people had been convinced to pass a new and more democratic constitution. This also lifted the ban on parties and elections could take place. The NCP won these elections, but at the same time communist forces gained more and more support.
A little messy
Because there were and are very many parties in Nepal, various coalitions ruled until the end of the 1990s. Unfortunately, it was not always peaceful in the country at these times. The main troublemakers were the radical communists who carried out attacks. But there was also trouble within the government. A large part of the royal family was killed in 2001 when the royal crown prince carried out a rampage.
His little brother followed in the footsteps of the murdered king and fought violently with the communists right from the start. They continued to carry out attacks, mostly against state institutions. King Gyanendra was overwhelmed and tried to regain control by weakening democracy. These measures were pretty unpopular in Nepal by now, so he decided to leave it off.
Creation of the “Democratic Federal Republic”
The whole back and forth with the kings met with increasing resentment within the Nepalese population. Therefore, in 2007 it was decided to abolish the monarchy. Instead, the aim was to create a “Federal Democratic Republic”. This Federal Republic was enforced on May 29, 2008.
Constant change of government in Nepal
Constant changes of government should shape the country. In February 2018, the Nepalis elected a new government that has two thirds of the seats in parliament and thus appears stable. Nepal is meanwhile a state with a federal structure, similar to Germany, and many important decisions are made by the federal states. Thus, like many years before, Kathmandu is no longer the center.
Prime Minister and President of Nepal
Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli has been the eleventh head of government in Nepal since the abolition of the monarchy in 2008. Bidhya Devi Bhandari has been the President of Nepal since October 28, 2015. She is the first woman in this position in the history of Nepal, a country located in Asia according to estatelearning.