Whom to wait, and how long ?
Our political parties serve as dream selling factories; our leaders epitomize selfishness; they sell dreams to the poor but serve, reward and recognize only either their own sycophants or the affluent ones in an exchange of guaranteed quid pro quos. Ambrose Bierce wrote the Devil’s Dictionary long back wherein he defined the word ‘Politics’ as ‘the conduct of public affairs for private advantage’. Yes, it is how the people groomed only with this evil thought join the politics and grow in an unimaginable progression in Nepal.
Nepal’s politicians rate oneself the most successful, the most they act with emotions, whims and vagaries. Appearing public any time, every time and speaking abruptly with no any evidence but could blackmail the people emotionally is what they do. KP. Oli—the incumbent Nepal’s PM— represents the most citable sample case.
The dream the politicians sell:
Revisiting the past is a must in order to remind Nepalis of how the present NCP got into existence out of then NCP-UML and the Maoists that collectively staged a drama of uniting together to reach to the power.
Both the UML and the Maoists formed the so-called left alliance to contest the 2017 November-December general elections asking the voters to vote for a stable and a strong government capable of establishing a prosperous Nepal economically, socially and politically. ‘Hami sabaiko eutai boli, aabako panch barsha KP Oli’ was the slogan of the alliance especially that of the NCP-UML while electioneering from Mechi 2 Mahakali.
The Nepali Congress contested the elections too. But it neither could form any strong alliance nor could commit who would be its PM candidate on a par with Oli. People like Ram Chandra Poudel, Prakashman Singh, Sashanka Koirala, and Sher Bahadur Deuba tried to blow their own horn giving the votaries an impression that each of them were the PM candidate should the NC succeed to garner the majority. Deuba went to the extent to making the votaries laugh at him having said that he was yet to be the PM three more times as his astrologer has forecasted on him.
Voters were already against the ‘Manpari-tantra’ and the ‘Loot-tantra’ that Deuba has been staging uninterruptedly right from the first time he became the PM. It was therefore natural for them to rally behind the alliance with all zeal and enthusiasm. What attracted the voters most was ‘Sambriddha Nepal: Sukhi Nepali—a developed Nepal with blissful Nepalis’ sloganeering of the alliance which infused a hope that the prolonged transition could come to an end and the nation could have a strong and a stable government worth- doing the needful the way promised.
An upbeat and a re-energized Oli for having routed out the NC and achieved a great appreciation during a four-month-long Indian Economic Blockade became the PM second time amidst a great excitement and thumbs up. Almost for a year or so, most comrades including Oli himself did not have their feet on the ground. They seemed carried away by their elections victory and talked all superficial talks—they remained busy uttering one strong, regular and repeated pattern of expression with an unvarying rhythm— ‘Hami lai kam nagarne, thorai kam garne, ra assaphal hune chhut chhaina— we are not permitted to be non-performers, or under-performers, or the failures’. Most citizens who watched them reiterating this as their daily chores thought, ‘yes, these people could have come from different DNA and are, therefore, worth-hearing. But it was all then.
That feeling that the Oli-led government ‘ is all an illusion’ started becoming the word of mouth of the people once the rape and the murder case of a 13-year village virgin —Nirmala Panta— appeared more untraceable every other day. A wordsmith Oli did not fail to assure Nirmala’s parents with words such as ‘worry not, my government will do every needful to find out Nirmala’s rapist and killer for I am her guardian too’ while solacing them who desperately knocked at the doors of the Medias, the human rights activists, the law enforcement authorities including the PM himself .
Nirmala’s mother’s question ‘who raped and killed my daughter’ and her father’s public appeal ‘we demand that Nirmala’s real killer be prosecuted; if the state fails to do so, we be killed too’ keep echoing nationwide till today with no answer even after elapsing of two plus years. There is no any indication that the rapists and the killers are likely to be brought to book. What a self proclaimed guardian is Oli— a communist PM —that boast of giving social justice to the people so that anyone especially the poor do not die for nothing in exchange. I believe Oli to have his sister, if not a daughter. What an authority is he that fails to act with empathy and compassion of ‘how would have I felt had someone raped and killed my own daughter or sister the same way?’ Oli suffers a serious problem— he badly fails to differentiate between ‘speaking what chosen and choosing what spoken’. It is already late for him to realize that all people cannot be fooled all the times, no matter how selectively he chooses what to speak.
The scourge of corruption:
‘Ma bhrastachar gardina, bhastrachar huna pani dinna—I shall not commit corruption and shall not tolerate it too’ is what Oli has been blabbering all the time. His words do not match the deeds surrounding him. Corruption has crossed its limit : failure to bring the corrupt to book that plotted the gold smuggling scams, the Airbus wide-and the narrow-body scams, the NOC land-deal scams, the TeliaSonera scams, and the Lalita Niwas land scams; failure to investigate the corruption charges alleged against Gokul Baskota after his audio tape became public; and ultimately failure to convince the people regarding the spending it says it has made from the state coffer in combating the Covid-19 are some of the choicest examples. Such cases are many and can be cited on, and on and on. People suspect that the Oli government is not at all serious in investigating all this honestly and impartially given how the middlemen liaising him/ his ‘Hukkes-Baithakes’ with the culprits/ smugglers and the blackmarketeers have been succeeding day in and day out.
Appointment of a person with one of the most questionable track records in the post of the CEO of the Investment Board is the most recent example of how the middlemen and Oli keep working in collusion. Everyone in the country is now well convinced that the Covid-19 appeared as a boon for Oli and his henchmen for it offered them an unprecedented opportunity to earn. Thanks to the Covid-19.
The Covid-19 and the catastrophe it could bring:
Kathmandu Valley is so densely populated that it alone accommodates almost 6 million populations. The Covid-19 contagion could show its ugliest impact on Nepalis especially the Kathmanduites should both the rulers and the people ruled fail to act and behave rationally and reasonably. Experts make a very frightening prediction that a situation of ‘hospitals having no beds and the dead bodies reaching uncountable’ could be reached should we fail to resort to the critical measures such as sealing all the entry points that could purposefully control peoples’ influx from abroad especially from India (FYI: Let us not forget that the word ‘seal’ is an acronym for ‘sea, air, and land’. Hence, the influx of people need to be controlled from sea, air and the land) and expanding tests and contact tracing far and wide on a war footing approach that could offer a solution to the looming catastrophic situation. We may have to live with the Covid-19 for some years to come. This calls people for acting rationally. Making increased movements in hordes in places like eateries, local tea shops, and public places that also without masks is not at all what the time demands.
The Covid-19 has claimed just 55 lives so far. But the number of people committing suicide after the spread of the virus has reached a staggering height of almost 14 hundreds. This reflects a twin issue— the fear the contagion has instilled into and the failure of the government to guarantee a protective security to the people.
People with no travel history are now infected with the Covid-19 which simply means that the community transmission stage has already been reached. The government got totally lost in its fight against the pandemic. The irony with us is that the government comes with the expenses statement that it has spent billions; albeit, the first responders like polices and the medical workers are increasingly falling prey to the contagion for they remain severely ill-equipped. People simply ask: is the Covid- 19, period worth- cashing in money?
Where is the much-talked stability?
The so-called strongest government that has almost a two-third majority in the house seems better no way than any of the preceding post-1990 governments. The only plus point the incumbent government enjoys is that the opposition is weak, feeble, directionless, and almost voiceless with leaders that are mostly discredited.
There is a total chaos in the ruling NCP because of regular intra-party feuds to capture power to the neglect of the country’s state of affairs. The overly politicized bureaucracy, unprecedented corruption, the ‘Manpari-tantra and the Loot-tantra’, and the citizens getting access to government services and career opportunity based only on their political nexus are some of the phenomenal features that best define Nepal’s present scenario.
The going-together- journey with the Maoist has turned to be a bone stuck in the throat of Oli—he can neither spit the bone out nor can he swallow it. Each one of the self-interested NCP monsters seems ever busy playing foul so as to keep his//her rival fellows at bay with the end goal of making oneself the single party leader. This situation holds true also with the opposition wherein Deuba keeps acting as the strongest person of the weakest NC giving a public image that he is a anything can do man in his party. How to make sure that the nation is safe at the hands of such leaders?
Oli is making simultaneous moves on all fronts in a bid to weaken the rival comrades and pave the way to his stay put in power. Wining the support of the comrades like Ram Bahadur Thapa and making Bam Dev Gautam always a confused character is the outcome of Oli’s ‘Divide Et Impera — divide and rule—split the people who oppose you till they drop’ game. Oli is equally active in defaming his rivals’ political career by alleging them that they have been acting as Delhi’s puppet to topple his government. People do not disbelieve the Indian highhandedness in Nepal. But they also cannot remain unheard and unseen the way the Xi Jinping-led Chinese government’s ambassador to Nepal—Hou Yanchi— is trying lock, stock and barrel to see to it that the Oli government live longer in power. Why blame India alone?
The commoners once used to respect Bidya Bhandari—the incumbent president— for being the widow of late Madan Bhandari— a charismatic leader— who died an untimely death. But they are now worried for her future. It is because she has been acting mostly as Oli’s deputy. But the way she has been performing her duties is not up to the society’s normative expectations. Most NCP leaders themselves are not happy either. She has been acting everything uncharacteristically quickly to serve the interest of the PM. She has been doing so not once, not twice, but many more times making people suspect that the president and the PM have been acting in collusion. A cause célèbre among them remains: what would be her fate once Oli losses all his jaws and claws? It could indeed create a great tamasha for Bhandari. I do not think the day is too far.
Why a regular tamasha?
The ‘Gaijatra’ that symbolizes a situation of the total chaos is being observed today. Bal Chandra Sharma’s ‘Nepali Shabda-Kosh’ defines ‘Gaijatra’ as a scenario synonymous to a total chaos— ‘ Sampurna Abyabastha’—anyone doing anything the way one likes in want of rule of the game or violating the game rule for personal gains resulting in ‘Lathalinga Desh ko, Vatabhunga Chala; Ja-jasle Lootna Sakla, Tya-tyasle Matrai Khala’ situation. We exactly have always this situation.
The ‘Gaijatra’ these days has been more a situation of denouncing and exposing the evils. We are observing ‘Gaijatra’ every year uninterruptedly for long with our artists especially the comedians exposing the stupidity of Nepal’s leaders for their misdeeds during the entire year. Notwithstanding all this, there seems no hope that leaders would stop acting stupidly so that peoples’ troubles could be mitigated to a larger extent.
If the ‘Gaijatra’ is to be more a practice of exposing the evils—evils of any kind , why not to celebrate it every day in Nepal for Nepalis get victimized from many more evils every day— every hour of a day, and every minute of an hour? This is why I have been proposing that ‘Gaijatra’ in Nepal be celebrated every day instead of only once a year.
The suffering of the people:
Destruction of hundreds of lives and billions of property because of incessant rains both in the hills and the Terai is a rule, not an exception. Massive floods inundate and sweep tens of thousands of cropland, thousands of houses and kill hundreds of people and their livestock every year. This has happened this year too. Those affected remain all poor or ultra-poor.
People have been facing immeasurable problems caused both from natural catastrophes and inactions of the authorities since time immemorial with no indications that the sufferings of the people have descended down to 19 from 20 amidst our claim with great excitement and uproar that we have undergone drastic changes in terms of political systems and the actors managing the systems—from partyless Panchayat regime with the monarchy as the sole actor to the Multiparty Democracy with people like Girija Prasad Koirala as one of the main actors and ultimately to the Democratic Republic of Nepal with actors like Oli and Prachanda. All else equal, a mere change of a person at the helm can bring about a big difference. Bihar with Lallo and Nitish offer the choicest example. Nepalis do not experience anything good ever. Whom should they wait, and how long?
Hope against hope:
‘Morning’ is expected to describe the whole day—the famous Nepali proverb goes ‘Hune Biruwa ko Chillo pat’. KP Oli’s government—no matter what way it keeps speaking and what way it keeps trying to sell its fraud product is not likely to deliver anything significant— ‘stability with prosperity’ that people mean in its truest sense seems a far cry. There is nothing except to cling to a mere possibility—to hope against hope. I see people once again destined to remain high and dry. If there is anything this government can give, it is just the talks not the walks. I caution the fellow citizens to remain convinced to this end.