The country was in deep slumber when the Former Speaker of Constituent Assembly and currently the Vice President of United Marxists and Leninists (UML) breathed his last following a massive heart attack. The people received a shocking news of his demise early in the morning. His supporters as well as his opponents though a few or none at all were deeply stunned by the passing away of Mr. Newang.
Mr. Newang has the unusual distinction of being a first ever and most probably the last Speaker of the Constituent Assembly which gave the Republican Constitution of Nepal prepared by the Constituent Assembly. Because the constituent assembly does not come into being several times in a country's history. His holding of the new constitution along with the First President of Nepal Mr. Ram Baran Yadav is engraved in everybody's mind in the country and outsides. His untimely death has thus sent shock waves shaking the whole country.
He had the unusual capacity of yoking the academia as well as administration together when these are daggers drawn against each other at times.
It is no wonder then that condolence started to pour early in trickles but later in torment. The Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal visited Mr. Newang in his death bed in deep midnight and the other leaders also followed the suit. Similarly, Sher Bahadur Deuba, the President of Nepali Congress sent the condolence message full of grief as soon as it was made public. The UML has decided to observe a three- day mourning with its flag flying in half mast.
He comes from an indigenous Newang family. His father was a justice which molded him towards studying law. He was also a lecturer and later became the Minister of Law. He was like an encyclopedia of the legal matters in Nepal. The bar fraternity has thus lost a source of information and knowledge regarding the legal aspect in Nepal.
He had the unusual capacity of yoking the academia as well as administration together when these are daggers drawn against each other at times. He performed the role of the academic personnel very well when he was teaching in the Law Campus of Tribhuvan University. As the Minister of Law, he exhibited how well could he address the administrative issues.
His forte was perhaps his gentle behavior. Never in his life did he act harshly with both his supporters and the opponents. His ability to say even the worst of the thing in the best of language that too in a mild and charming tone reflects his higher state of diplomatic personality. Ever cheerful and smiling, Mr. Newang was a charm to work and interact with. He was thus a stand out politician amidst some of his mates who reveled in the sarcasm of the others.
There were several people who benefited from his simple living but high thinking personality including many caricaturists. He was spotlessly clean and nobody dared him to allege for implication in corrupt scandals when politicians one after another have been behind the bars recently. Many more are likely to follow in the days to come.
He is well known as the icon of consensus, conciliation and coordination. He believed that the political parties even if ideologically different should come together in the interest of the country and the people. He was against the demolition of public property during political protests which his party UML indulged in after the dawn of multi-party democracy in Nepal. He said that democracy was about talks between the opposing political forces and arriving at a consensus and not the damage of national assets which have been created after making heavy economic investment which is scarce in a developing country like Nepal.
There have been many politicians like him who sacrificed themselves for the betterment of the people and humanity at large. Siddhartha gave up the pomp and pleasure of the palace and took for monkhood. But in the process he founded Buddhism which has been like a lighting torch at a time of gloomy conflict right from its formulation in the sixth century BC.
The other King in Nepal was Vrishav Dev. He did not care of his life after knowing that the stone spout near the Narayan Hiti palace south gate that he constructed would not run water unless a person of 32 merits would be sacrificed which was a rarity indeed. It is said that even Sita, the consort of Lord Ram was devoid of this unusual distinction. There were only two persons in the country including himself and his son. He told his son Man Dev to smear the head of person lying covered by a white cloth in the spout in the night time. He earlier maintained himself in the lying posture. Man Dev cut off the head from the body and the spout started to run water.
There was yet another King in the Malla period Mr. Mahendra Malla. He would not eat unless he could see the smoke coming out of everybody's house. The traditional houses in Kathmandu have kitchens in the upper floor and these would give off smoke in the eating time. If the smoke was not found, he would inquire and eat only after ensuring that his subjects got two square meals every day.
He had initiated for the establishment of a Parliament which he could not implement due to his rather short rule.
Though Ranas are generally known for their oppressive character, Dev Shamsher and Padma Shamsher belonged to a different species altogether. Dev Shamsher followed after Bir Shamsher who had initiated the campaign of national exploitation. It is reflected in the construction of several posh palaces. Dev Shamsher was a liberal leader. He had initiated for the establishment of a Parliament which he could not implement due to his rather short rule. He arranged for the placement of complaint box in several places in the country seeking for the suggestions of the people. He also tried to abolish the slavery prevalent in the country. However, it was not liked by conservatives of the kinds of Chandra Shamsher. He imprisoned Dev Shamsher and later chased to Dhankuta following which he became the Prime Minister himself.
Padma Shamsher said that he was the servant of the people. He even tried to give a democratic constitution to the country and for this he invited constitution specialists from India by requesting then the Prime Minister of India Mr. Jawahar Lal Nehru following which a three-man committee of Shri Prakash Gupta, Raghu Nath Singh and Ram Ugra Singh had come to Nepal. However, he could not stand the resistance offered by mainly Mohan Shamsher and resigned from his Prime Ministerial Post.
Mr. Subash Newang was also one of such illustrious politicians. Because of his straight forward character devoid of treachery, he could not rise to the pinnacle of politics such as becoming the Prime Minister. His wish of becoming the President also did not materialize after he lost against the reigning President Mr. Ram Chandra Paudel.
Despite his excellence throughout his life, there is one instance in which he had a political fumble. He was eclipsed by the assertive personality of some of the leaders in the party particularly Mr. K P Oli. It is due to this reason that he could not speak out the truth when the Parliament was dissolved once after the other. This was perhaps the lapse of his political carrier if any. He knew very well that the present constitution did not authorize the Prime Minister that early to dissolve the parliament. But he kept mum and even supported the dissolution of the Parliament which was certainly one of his Achilles heel.
However, it has now been erased by the bold statement that he made recently regarding the continuous disturbance of the parliament. He had said that it was improper to close the Parliament proceedings for a long period when the parliamentarians have been elected by the people to ensure to ensure its smooth functioning.
Mr. Newang will be missed in the days to come very greatly as it is an irreparable loss to the country. People are left with no other alternate rather than wishing for the departed soul to rest in peace and praying the Almighty to offer enough patience to the bereaved family in this time of shock as well as sorrow.