There is a Nepali saying to the effect that “A boneless tongue can utter anything”. The title of this piece is a phrase uttered by a Maoist leader when he claimed that 3,000 of his force could take on the whole Nepali army and crush it! Some days back, a current minister made a statement that the crew and occupants of the missing US helicopter were quite safe at a dam site, when it was obviously not true. Another leader, disregarded an important Constitution related meeting to climb the Dharara instead. This shows that our leaders are literally ‘Gas bags’ who blow off hot air for no rhyme and reason.
This earthquake of 2015 has demonstrated the unpreparedness of our authorities to meet with sudden disasters in spite of some lukewarm efforts to creating earthquake awareness. A Disaster Management Bill should have been passed by the 1st post Republican House session. It wasn’t, nor has the present house considered it though they have contributed 2.5 crores from their remuneration for relief. Many have been shown on TV to be more active to collect free tripaals than with National matters. RPP-N and some others have not done so. However, TV footage during the four days of Sankalpa Prastab usually showed empty seats in the House auditorium. Is such a self-centred house even capable to co-ordinate and bring about relief to the Jana Manas? Granted it is the CDOs & LDOs, the official wing of the government, that are more responsible. The crux of the matter is that local elections have not been held for over sixteen years. It means that the younger generation, especially women are being deprived of their right to play an active role in the affairs of the country of their birth. The self centred old netas are not prepared to step aside and let the young take over. New blood in the affairs of the country, both at grassroots and national level will create wonders to the Nation’s future. The call is for the present CA to bring out the Constitution and give directions to hold local elections.
What must be praised are the conduct and the performance of this ‘Boot bazarne’ army, police and AFP in Nepal’s hour of need. In this endeavour for their Motherland, some have made the supreme sacrifice and paid with their lives. It is our duty to ensure that their families are well cared for in the future.
The bhaichalo / bhukamph of 2015 which struck around mid-day on 25th April and did an encore on 12th May 2015 may be termed the ‘Mother of Earthquakes’ in Nepal. The damages in Gorkha and Namche Bazaar – two tourist attracting centres are profound. Dhading, Nuwakot and the three cities of the Valley were also greatly affected. The obliteration of many heritage sites in different parts of the country is going to take some time to reconstruct and replace. The country wide damage to schools is immense and has left the education of thousands of our youngsters in limbo. Health, another birthright like education, is also affected at the delivery point. The effect on the health institutions is also great and it means that the authorities have to give much greater attention to the delivery of services in these two areas.
What this now raises is the visibility and usefulness of many NGOs of Nepal. Where are our Civil Rights Groups? Where are our Women’s’ Rights personnel? Those who seemed to be sharing the lime light and hogging the TV announcements seem to have suddenly disappeared. One comment about the Social activists is that they are in groups of five with a single packet of noodles and taking ‘selfies’ at different angles and backgrounds to disseminate news of the catastrophe in Nepal!
Both Nebisangh and YCL have announced that groups of volunteers will now set to work. Is this for real? Are the masaal julus and the bandhs a thing of the past? Students must be involved in this hour of need – a time when we should all be striving for national interests rather than party objectives. Let not the delay of relief disbursement that occurred at the district and VDC levels because of party cadre’s interests to grab as much as possible, not recur. The creation of such hurdles meant that the work of starting relief measures was unnecessarily delayed! It is therefore mandatory that the leaders of all parties should put aside their vested interests and work for the common good of the Nepali people.
There is misunderstanding amongst the common folk due to the mirage of the promised aid. Only about one fifth of what was promised has come to Nepal so far. Of the remaining amount, a fair percentage has already been spent for the immediate life-saving measures – bringing the sniffer dogs and pulling the people out of the rubble of house debris, ferrying relief such as food and materials e.g. Tripaals to different parts of the country. What is essential is not just a detailed audited account of the incoming aid but also of its expenditure. The demand is for transparency to one and all, when there is distrust all around. Countries which have very kindly and promptly sent us aid should also enlighten us as to how much was spent by them and what was handed over to our authorities. All Nepalis will then breathe sighs of relief. Jai Nepal.
The author writes fiction under the pen-name Mani Dixit. Website: www.hdixit.org.np Twitter: manidixithd