Building bridges of peace between individuals and groups of the society is keys to national reconciliation. In Nepal, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed by the Maoist rebels and the government define the normative, institutional, and operational framework of peace and aspires to transcend the partial interests of the signing parties and include all affected by the absence of peace. The democratic peace postulated by the CPA was meant to cease conflict, eradicate structural injustice of society, bring social transformation, and post-conflict peacebuilding process to eliminate the future sources of conflict. A government based on citizens’ consent can gradually humanize the operation of political power. In Nepal, however, one can see a discrepancy between growing public expectations of post-conflict peace dividends and the leaders’ utilitarian instincts.
The deviation of leadership from the course of peacebuilding and efforts of aggrandizement of exclusive power reflected deviation from the spirit of peace accord. Worse still, the ruling parties have taken over almost all independent institutions of the state spoiling many positive opportunities available to citizen. It demonstrates the gap between commitment and accountability and the denouement is: continuous deadlock over various constitutional issues. It has delayed the process of drafting constitution in time and transforming negative peace into positive peace as neither the Maoists nor the ruling parties are willing to work for the common good. Dialogue among the leaders of the major parties has failed to open up a common ground, provide room for each other’s legitimate interests and bridge the ends and means of peace for a liberating condition for all Nepalese citizens.
There is a truth in what Nietzsche says: “The degree of suffering is determined by the position in hierarchy.” Nepalese citizens crave for a release from their suffering as they are invisible in the corridors of power and unarticulated in public policy. In a situation of utter neglect of the powerless, peacebuilding requires reducing transaction costs imposed by the ruling hierarchy by activating multi-tracks of dialogue, offering peace dividends, curtailing the risks of violence, and democratizing the pyramids of undemocratic structures. This means Nepalese leaders must become accountable to politics as a public responsibility and link the society to the public sphere for articulation and public action.
This is possible only by fostering an active citizenship aligned with the public spirited institutions, networks, and movements in a genuinely constitutional tradition of politics.
Building a productive relationship with the cultural industries such as media, civil society, public intellectuals, and intermediary institutions and movements can awaken the leaders to their accountability of drafting a social contract, structural reforms, and sustainable peace through a broad rational consensus. Improved relation with the disciplinary bodies helps to weaken the confidence of the spoilers of peace. A rational consensus based on CPA shuns the concept of winner and loser and makes leaders responsible for the benefit they frantically enjoyed from democratic deficit and the condition of increasing statelessness. It is possible to overcome this situation if intermediary institutions nurture cross-cutting social capital across various empirical divides of the nation and train their leadership on the virtues of peace as a common good and make national economy agile and competitive enabling the citizens to enjoy their constitutional and human rights and duties.
The challenge of the day thus is to build bridges across the gaps between the state and society, system and life-world, center and periphery, and groups and individuals through healing and reconciliation with spiritual, social, economic, and political resources of the nation. This, however, requires a self-reflective learning of leadership about the wisdom of ordinary folk, public opinion, and the spiritual and cultural heritage of this nation’s tolerance of diversity nurtured assiduously by sages, citizens, and statespersons. But, for this purpose, the national identity of Nepalese formulated on the common environment condition, socialization, and shared expectation of a collective future must be reinforced by shoring up the national spirit and spirit of international cooperation.