>> Sunday, May 3, 2015
Published in The Republica (Nepal's broadsheet daily newspaper), January 20, 2010.
|Pointing fingers at wrong direction|
When Mencken, the celebrated American essayist, journalist, satirist and acerbic critic of American life and culture, who died in 1956 at the age of 75, wrote the above quote, it seems as if he had a premonition about Nepal’s current politicians.
Nepal’s contemporary politics is fast becoming a fairy tale of nightmare. Everyone has a tale to tell. In every tale, the hobgoblin is the country’s southern neighbor that often creates trouble for Nepal.
For every trouble in every tale, many of ours index fingers seem to be automatically pointing towards India—as though India is to our north and our index finger is the compass needle.
India is our southern neighbor and friend that we can’t live without. However, it is also a neighbor, at times, we love to hate with passion.
Such seems to be the image of India, permanently etched in our national psyche—an image of a friendly but troublesome creature, just like the hobgoblins in the Seelie court of popular folktales. Such seems to be our indelible national psyché.
Our fairytale political ‘leaders’ from every political Seelie courts i.e. political parties of every stripe and color have done everything possible to create this national psyché. The purpose is simple. It is to keep the populace alarmed about a perceived threat from India and to keep it in unreasonable fear for being shielded from the mostly imaginary threat.
say imaginary, not because there is no threat at all, but because the significance of internal threat that ignites within Nepal is potentially more lethal for Nepal’s integrity than of external threat from India.
It is the Nepali political leaders who mortgage the country’s dignity and run to New Delhi whenever the going gets tough for them. Seemingly, dignified leadership has become all but a big farce. There is no leadership to speak of. There is a vacuum of leadership.
Why else are the politicians treating the Constituent Assembly (CA), which we had to wait for nearly 60 long years to get after it was first promised by King Tribhuvan, as though it were merely a regular legislature?
It is too bad that the political leaders were too shortsighted to saddle the CA with the twin burden of governing and re-writing a new constitution, when the CA should have been elected with the sole mandate of writing the constitution, leaving the task of governing the country for a separate, interim political mechanism. It is worse that the politicians and the purveyors of democracy and people’s interest are shackling the feet of the CA and preventing it from moving forward.
The lack of political vision, statesmanship, pragmatic strategy, and perpetual ineptness in governing and apathy for common concerns can only be hidden from people’s eyes by baiting common Nepalis on a perceived threat from India. This is the purpose why the inept political leaders who have ruled Nepal throw dust in the eyes of the common citizens by blaming India for Nepal’s every foible. By doing so, they each must share the blame for surrendering country’s dignity and accepting India as their master.
And, what do we, the people, do about this? Do we show outrage towards our inept politicians who have hidden agenda? No. We do nothing to make our leaders accountable.
Instead, we allow our index fingers automatically point towards India, when we should be pointing them to our own leaders in Nepal.