After a dramatic day of violence at the US Capitol, the House of Representatives and the Senate have confirmed Joe Biden's presidential victory certifying Joe Biden's election as US president and Kamala Harris as vice president. The storm by violent supporters of U.S President Donald Trump in Capitol Hill, a pillar of US democracy, shows democracy is not only vulnerable in a new country but even in countries like the United States with strong institutions, traditions and long practices. One of the beauties of democratic order is the peaceful transfer of power and rule of law. However, storming the capitol with the instigation of a president of the democratic world showed the rise of despotism is possible everywhere. Despite the mayhem and despotic nature of individuals, the US institutions, overwhelming politicians of diverse political parties and democracy have been saved. Although President Donald Trump forced rejection of the results, the joint session chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, who strictly followed the constitutional order, traditions and practices, finally paved the way for Biden’s victory.
Although this chapter has closed now, in the history of the modern democratic world and in the history of the United States, January 6, 2021, will be remembered as a dark day. Leaders from the western world have condemned the violent scenes in Washington, where rioters supporting US President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building. Many leaders called for peace and an orderly transition of power, describing what happened as "horrifying" and an "attack on democracy". For the people of Nepal, it is nothing surprising to see violent mob attacking democracy and forcing legitimate authority including monarch to accept forceful abdication from the street. The mob rule works in a country like Nepal where institutions are weak. With the strong institutions and commitments of overwhelming of people in the rule of law and rights of the people, some leaders can infringe the process, not the democracy. What Alexis de Tocqueville in his book “Democracy in America”, expresses is it’s the very strength of democratic institutions Americans are able to retain democracy. He also warned weakness might lead to anarchy and disorder. The United States stands for democracy around the world and a peaceful and orderly transfer of power can still control the damage.
However, we have decided to cover Prithvi Narayan Shah and his role as a cover story of this issue. Given his important contributions in nation-building and his views on inclusion, secularism, economy and institution building are highly relevant today. As the country is celebrating his birth anniversary, we have decided to cover Prithvi Narayan Shah’s role in this context.