Subject: Social Studies
We have many problems in our society. Some are traditional ones that have remained unsolved and others are caused by population growth, scientific advancements, foreign influence and so on. Efforts have been made for the social reformations in the country from time to time. The following paragraphs briefly describe those efforts over different time periods.
Efforts were made for social reformations even in the early time. King Jayasthiti Malla with his code. 'Manusmriti' had divided people into different castes as per their occupations. This division though sounds unfair now, was valuable in those circumstances and could bring a good social order. He had also improved justice administration; and trade and business. Efforts were made by Ram Shah, a king of Gorkha, to improve judicial system in his kingdom. One proved guilty of bribery was banished and laws restricted accusations of witchcraft. Capital punishment could be given to murderers. Ram Shah established so efficient system of justice administration that people used to say, 'If you lose justice, go to Gorkha.' Bhimsen Thapa, the first prime minister of unified Nepal, had tried to discourage the sati pratha along with other evils of the Nepalese society. King Prithvi Narayan Shah's activities and his divine counsels particularly had very positive implication for social reformations and development of nationalism in the successive eras.
Despite their despotic natures, Ranas are remembered for their valuable efforts of social reformations. Through his 'Muluki Ain', the first law of the land, Jung Bahadur maintained social order and ensured judicial reformations. The law brought legal uniformity and rigorous punishments such as mutilation of criminals were restricted. Efforts were also made to curb bribery, sati system and slavery. Dev shumsher, who was known as the most liberal of all Rana prime ministers, established about 150 schools throughout the country-50 in the valley and 100 elsewhere outside. Chandra Shumsher abolished slavery and sati pratha by law. He managed to rehabilitate thousands of slaves set free in Bikshyakhori in Bara district, now known as Amlekgunj.
The revolution for democracy that could successively overthrow Rana autocracy brought about incomparable public awakening. Rulers afterwards were dedicated to making substantial social reformations. Land reform programmes were made in 2016 BS but due to political reasons they could not be implemented. Later in 2020 BS with the amendment of the Muluki Ain, the state tried to ensure that everyone was equal in law so that publishment dependent solely on guilt and the nature of the crime, and not on caste, religion, age or sex. The act controlled child marriage, old age marriage to young girls and polygamy. Divorce and widow marriage were allowed. It was a step towards giving women more equality as rights in partners in marriage. Similarly, land reform of 2021 BS fixed the maximum limit of the land one could own. Unfortunately, this could not be fully be put into practice. New Education System Plan 2028 BS tried to reform the existing education system that was predominantly a lot of a political and social awakening among the general public. It made the Panchayat government more committed to social reformations.
You know both People's Movement 1 of 2046 BS and the Maoist revolt of 2052 BS were directed towards social reformations along with political ones. The 2047 constitution enshrined more fundamental rights to people and set forth directives and policies for promoting welfare state. Important legal managements could be made for women empowerment and against child labour exploitation. In 2057 BS parliament decisions came for the emancipation of Kamaiyas (bonded labourers) of Mid-west and Far-west. But due to lack of political commitment, their rehabilitation is yet to be accomplished.
The Popular Movement II of 2062/63 has brought substantial changes in the aspirations of the state. The Historical Declaration of the House of Representatives 2063 immediately after the movement got success, declared Nepal a secular state. It also eased the procedure for acquiring citizenship. The Interim Constitution 2063 BS, promulgated on 1st Magh 2063 BS, has given institutional recognition to aspirations of the state for social reformations. It has made provision for social justice and federal state, responsible government, efficient legislative, religious tolerance, gender equality and so on. As a result, the state has adopted policies to encourage the development of women, dalits, janajatis and other disadvantaged groups of people. Our forthcoming constitution is expected to all the more just and democratic.
Nepal is getting enthusiastic support from external world in its activities for social reformations. Many international organizations and INGO's are providing technical and financial assistance. The role of UN agencies such as UNHCR, UNFPA, ILO and UNICEF along with that of the INGO's like Action Aid Nepal, International Nepal Fellowship. NORAD, DANIDA, SOS, and many others are important. They work to coordinate with Nepali government bodies and NGO's working in the field of social reformations.
King Jayastiti Malla with his code 'Manusmriti' had divide people into different castes as per their occupation. This division, though sounds unfair now was very valuable in those circumstances and could bring a good social order.
The list of Ram Shah' reforms are
The bond laborers set free in 2057 BS are yet to be rehabilitated. The problems behind it are the lack of political commitment and promoting welfare state their rehabilitation is yet to rehabilitated.
Despite of many efforts made many of our social problems still remain unsolved because of superstition, ignorance, poverty and male-dominated social structure. It is very important to identify the causes of these social problems before their successful measures can be applied. Public awareness is vital in solving these social problems.
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