Democracy Day or Rashtriya Prajatantra Diwas is a public holiday in Nepal and is celebrated to commemorate the day when the country welcomed democracy after the 104-year-long Rana autocracy on February 18, 1951.
The people had waged struggle and sacrificed their lives against the 104-year-old Rana oligarchy which was later compelled to declare democracy in the country bowing down to the historic people’s movement. Nepal was ushered into the democratic regime with the formation of a government comprising representatives of the Nepali Congress and the Ranas following the proclamation of then King Tribhuvan in favor of democracy.
In course of the struggle for democracy, Shukraraj Shastri, Dasharath Chand, Dharmabhakta Mathema and Ganga Lal Shrestha had laid down their lives. The four were executed by the then Rana rulers on the charge of running public campaigns for democracy by establishing a political party, Praja Parishad. The armed struggle spearheaded by founder leader of Nepali Congress, BP Koirala, had established democracy in the country on 7 Falgun 2007 BS. The struggle for democracy took a different turn when the Nepal Democratic Congress and Nepal National Congress merged into the Nepali Congress in 2006 BS for the cause.
In commemoration of the historical day, the government has been observing the Democracy Day (Falgun 7) by organizing special public program at Tundikhel in the capital every year. The government has also declared Falgun 7 a public holiday.
The day is observed throughout the country with a number of special programs. Each year a special program with military parade is shown by the Nepal Army at Tundikhel. A number of dignitaries like the President (the King, before the monarchy was abolished), Prime Minister, Speaker of the House attend the function. The people also celebrate this day offering prayers to give respect and honor to the heroes of Democracy. Most government organizations and independent groups hold several activities and rallies all over the country as well. Part of the tradition also is that the people illuminate their homes and establishments with lights and hold fireworks displays during the night of the celebration.
This year, the 67th Democracy Day was observed with great fervor and enthusiasm (The Himalayan Times, 18 February 2017). The Main Organizing Committee organized a special function at the Army Pavilion, Tundikhel, to mark the day. The Nepali Army held a parade and showered flowers from a helicopter during the ceremony. Similarly, the Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, Nepal Scouts and various clubs, schools and other institutions performed and showcased their skills and cultural processions.
Addressing the celebration, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said that elections were a must for the implementation of the Constitution. “Elections are necessary for the Constitution implementation and the government is serious about concluding the peace process to end the political crisis,” said PM Dahal.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Vice-President Nanda Bahadur Pun, Chief Justice Sushila Karki, ministers, chiefs of constitutional bodies and security agencies, high-ranking government officials and general public attended the special function.
Celebrations of the Nepal Democracy Day 2017: