In days gone by, it was customary after the Intermediate level results were out, that those who passed in 1st Division took up science with the objective of taking up medicine or engineering and those with 2nd Division took up humanities to be civil servants. The ones who got 3rd or ‘Royal’ division usually joined one course or another at a campus or at the Central one in Kirtipur to become Student Union leaders. They would then repeatedly, certainly intentionally fail to pass one subject or another and thus continue to enjoy the perks of the university campus. The perks were negligible room rents and heavily subsidised non-vegetarian cafeteria charges. The worry was if the person cleared all subjects, in which case s/he would have to quickly join another course. The advantage of this was that after a number of years they would be familiar with the politics of the land like the back of one’s hand! The step-ladder ascent from student leader to top notch politician is prevalent in many lands.
It is perhaps in such contexts that one hears phrases as: ‘There are neither permanent friends nor enemies in politics’ or ‘Politicians make strange bedfellows’. A politician’s rise can be very rapid and the fall more drastic. The time frame can be long or short and as the late Margaret Thatcher said, ‘A week is a long time in politics’.
There is no doubt that politicians all around the world are ‘Birds of the same feather’. Of course species differ, some are large, some small, some are hawks and some doves but the fact is that they tend ride or fly roughshod over the common folk in their respective lands. The era from 1950 to date has been a breeding ground for politicians in Nepal and they have bred a horde of their ilk over the years. Politicians come in various hues and colours of the rainbow, varying from red to green which they proudly display at their rallies. Present day Nepali politicians have been enjoying the perks of office for 25 years during which time they have become PM by turns as if the PM seat is a musical chair to go round and round. We have had our share of Constitutions too. The 1990 one, said to be the ‘Best in the World’, has been assigned to the dust heap.
Denmark, one of Nepal’s long term benefactors, has a history of its PM or ministers being made to resign from their posts in the event of having lied or misled the Danish Parliament. Most of our current crop of leaders of Nepal, the ones at the apex of all political parties are entirely of the same breed. They tend to cut corners, lie to the people and take their constituents to be fools. They are egoistic, have the feeling of ‘Afno haath Jagannaath’ and confident that they can over-ride and get away with everything. Most having graduated from ‘carpetbaggers’ or ‘sukulgoondas’, do not live in the areas which they represent but only visit at the time to elections with pockets filled with cash or sundry materials, which they distribute liberally to their chamchas with instructions to spread it around. Many such successful characters are not really connected to the people that they represent. To rectify this, the next round of national elections must make it mandatory that candidates have property and live in that area for at least six months of the year. This has to be enforced forthwith and no one should be allowed to contest an election from two constituencies. Furthermore those losing elections should not be nominated in the proportional representation (PR} quota.
We are at the crossroads in Nepal. Over the course of sixty-five years from a stage of familial and feudal rule we travelled via a monarchy to republicanism. Many of our rulers and politicians have come and gone as we travelled over innumerable stages of political turmoil. BRB @laldhoj in his time of power and SuKo now both tried to pass ground breaking legislation to guarantee a life time of perks for the politicians. What is there for us common folk in the future is still a closed book to many Nepalis. It is fortunate for us that some of our media personnel took up the cudgel on our behalf. This was great for most our free press is very docile to the politicians in office as the hand outs of advertisements is a lifeline for many. I must hasten to add that this does not apply to the many cartoonists, who by and large are a fiercely independent lot!
The recent endorsement by the CA of the first draft of our Constitution has gladdened many.
Come to think of it, it is the two groups of 601 members who, after much coercion over the course of last eight years, have finally produced this document. Many experts state that it is full of flaws. There are also rumblings underground, public burning of copies and torching of effigies on the streets. Suddenly, after burning midnight oil, the proposal is that this draft should be looked at and approved by the people in a matter of days. They can’t be serious! Do not we the common people of the land count? One suspects that this action, set to precede the formation of a mili juli sarkar is just a ploy so that all parties get a share of the goodies that have suddenly appeared in this land of earthquake devastation. There is talk of who is to be the next PM, President and what not. The more crucial question is what is there for the people? What can we Nepalis look forward to?