Nepal's democratic movement has decades-long history. The nation was ushered into an era of multiparty democracy and modernisation following the overthrow of the 104-year-old Rana oligarchy. The suppression of people and seizure of their rights by the autocratic Rana rulers had led to an emergence of a popular uprising in the country. In 1951, Nepali people were successful in abolishing the Rana rule once and for all. Many people had to sacrifice their lives for the sake of democracy, freedom and justice. Dashrath Chand, Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Ganga Lal Shrestha and Shukra Raj Shashtri were among those who attained martyrdom in the course of that democratic movement. Nepali people would not have been able to enjoy their democratic rights without the selfless sacrifices and the devotion of those martyrs. That historic political change had far-reaching impacts on the nation’s political, social, economic and cultural spheres.
However, the hard-earned democracy could not sustain due to a royal coup. In December 1960, the King Mahendra deferred the constitution, disbanded the elected parliament, and dismissed the cabinet to impose his direct rule. Then, he introduced the party-less Panchayat system. Nepalis, therefore, were forced to fight for democracy once again. Being the nation’s first people’s revolution, the anti-Rana movement is considered to be the mother of other successive democratic movements in Nepal. The joint movement launched by the Nepali Congress and the Leftist Front removed the 30-year-old party-less Panchayat rule while the 2006 movement led to the abolition of the monarchy and establishment a federal democratic republic. It may be recalled here that a large number of people attained martyrdom during the second and the third democratic uprisings as well.
The martyrs had envisaged creating a fully democratic society in the country where people could exercise their rights and freedom without any restrictions. They had also dreamt of an egalitarian society in which everyone would get equal economic opportunities. In addition, they had envisioned good governance and the rule of law. But looking at the country's political scenario, one may feel that much remains to be done to materialise the vision of the brave martyrs.
Thus, there is a need to walk on the right path shown by the martyrs. Recalling the martyrs' contribution to establish the federal democratic system of governance in the country, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has called for preparing a record of the true martyrs. PM Deuba made the remark while paying his respects to the martyrs at the Martyrs' Monument at Lainchaur to mark the Martyrs' Day on Sunday. The Prime Minister said that the government has been carrying out different programmes to fulfill the dreams of the martyrs and their families.
In her message delivered on the occasion of the Martyrs' Day, President Bidya Devi Bhandari has hoped that the day would encourage the political parties and the general public to dedicate themselves towards fulfilling the dreams of the martyrs. Similarly, PM Deuba wished that the day would inspire one and all to materialise the dream of beautiful Nepal as envisioned by the martyrs. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) organises Martyrs' Week from Magh 10-16 of the Nepali calendar every year to pay tributes to those who sacrificed their lives for the independence and freedom of the people. The KMC has constructed a life-size statue of the four great martyrs. A plan is afoot to set up Manav Sewa Ashram in the name of Dharma Bhakta at the Martyrs' Memorial Park.