With tears in his eyes, voice shaking, hands trembling yet firm and promising idealism for the party and his dedication to value based politics, full of patriotic essence Kisunji was reading his resignation from PM on 2056, Chaitra 7 to the people of Nepal.
His touching words were “mero aakha ma sundar Nepal ko tashbir sajiako cha. Mero sapana sundar santha ra samridha Neplal ho. Thiyo Nepal ko nirman aba naya pustha le pura garne cha.” This statement symbolized his hope for Nepal.
Even after performing the successful promulgation of the 1990 constitution and holding general elections in one year, acts which in themselves should have been a proud moment for the Nepali Congress party and be written in golden letters in the history of Nepal, he was compelled to resign with great humiliation by his own party colleague.
His achievements should be an example to be followed for our so-called veteran leaders who have failed to draft the constitution within the stipulated timeframe.
Leaders should also learn from Kisunji another lesson, his strong belief in nationalism. He never sought external support to stay in power. His early struggles to restore democracy included being imprisoned on his own soil when others chose exile and his bold nationalistic statements during his premiership. His belief that Nepal must be a unitary state and not be separated along federal lines highlights the difference in his vision of nationalism from other leaders.
History will regard Kisunji as one of the few non-corrupt leaders who discouraged the politics of money while in power. His only possessions, a tin trunk, a water pitcher and an umbrella were a symbol of his frugal lifestyle. Instead of following his example most of the leaders who entered Baluwater regarded corruption as a hallmark of leadership.
He was never willing to compromise with his party’s ideology. He emphasized that the party should be as a family and that the personal family of powerful leaders should not take undeserved central roles within the party. He maintained that if this were to happen a party would be an uncontrollable, undisciplined, visionless, directionless mob. Unfortunately the Congress ignored his wisdom. As a result today Congress has lost its path and the convictions it stood for.
It is indeed a shame that the Nepali Congress could not give space to such a dedicated leader. In completely ignoring and discarding him it cannot be denied that the party meted out injustices to Bhattarai.
On his demise tributes flowed freely from the people of Nepal and a special condolence from the US government read “ the demise of Nepal’s former premier statesman is a loss not only for the country he so faithfully served but also for all democrats everywhere. His example serves as a reminder of what can be achieved when no one puts country before self”.
I personally regard this statement from the US government as credit well deserved for his selfless service to the country. It resembles the remark expressed by J F Kennedy “ Ask not what your country can do for you. But what you can do for your country”.
These tributes made by the US government and the public shows how valued Kisunji’s contributions to Nepal were. They must have embarrassed his party colleagues who had neglected and humiliated him, some shamelessly went as far as to call him outdated and irrelevant and compared him to a date expired cetamol.
It is important for our leaders to learn lessons from the inspirational seven decades of politics served by Kisunji. In preparing and perceiving a future path for the country it would be better if our Prime Minister were to look through this great leaders eyes then feigning sight of an alternative through covered binoculars.
Thapa is based in Maharajgunj