I met and interviewed one of my neighbors who had participated in the students movement of 2036 BS as an eyewitness. I would like to mention his experience, preface of the movement and its effects briefly below.
All the political parties were working underground after king Mahendra imposed ban on them on 1st Poush, 2017 and initiated partyless panchayat system. The students would represent them in national politics without visibly connecting themselves with the party. They would protest against the decision of Pakistani government to execute former leader of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. They wanted to hand over the memorandum to the embassy of Pakistan, but they were stopped by Nepal police. Students kept on protesting against the police administration, too. It pressurized the government to high. The government tried to suppress them but failed. Students demanded referendum, and the government was compelled to announce referendum in 2036 BS. The referendum was held in 2037 for either 'improved panchayat' or multiparty democracy. Improved panchayat won the election by 4 lakhs extra vote. This is how the movement of students had concluded then.
It was mentioned well about the people's right in the constitution but in reality they couldn't be felt by the people. People protested against the activities of government. Understanding the sentiments of people king Birendra held the referendum for the two options: reformed panchyati system or multiparty democracy. The causes to be held the referendum were:
- People were deprived from fundamental rights.
- People opposed very aggressively activities of government.
- People dissatisfied to the panchyati system.
- People didn't like the suppression of government for huge procession against the death sentence to former Pakistani Prime Minister Z. A. Bhutto.
Nepalese people showed their dissatisfaction on panchyati system. The students also opposed the activities of the government. This sentiment of people was clearly understood by the then king Birendra and he held the referendum. The result supported the reformed panchyati system although most of the people didn't like this system. The causes for its success were as follows:
- The election was under the control of panchyati government.
- Irrational and inhuman activities, in between 2015-2017, made people fade up with multiparty system.
- The advertisement and education of multiparty system couldn't reach to the people.
- Many of the political leaders lacked political honesty and consciousness.
- Illiterate and poor people.
- The political game of Surya Bdr. Thapa supporting panchyati system.
The panchayat system was undemocratic and leaders were intolerant towards opposition. The leaders devoted themselves not to the development of the country and people but to their personal interests and benefits. Some the people went against it and demanded for a change in the government. Many ups and downs took place in the country. Finally, realizing the gravity of the situation, late king Birendra decided on Jestha 18, 2036 to hold a referendum in the country. A referendum is a system by which an issue is decided by popular vote. A referendum was to be helps on the issue whether the people prefer reformed Panchayat system or multi party system. The king's declaration eased the situation and was praised by prominent leaders of the democracy and a step forward towards the restoration of democracy. After 2007 B.S. the referendum was held on Bishakh 20, 2037 B.S. and the result was declared on 1st of Jestha 2037 B.S. The reformed Panchayat system was won by a thin majority. The supporters of the multiparty system blamed the government of rigging.
2031 B.S. is notable for the coronation ceremony of late king Birendra. This day can also be taken as the one which paved the way for democratic system that he was inclined to. At lot of foreign dignitaries attended his coronation and king Birendra proposed Nepal to be a "Zone of peace" to which many peace loving countries gave their support. This is also the day when primary education up to grade III was declared free and Nepal began to celebrate Education Day on Falgun 12 every year.