How Crazy Are We?

Fifty percent of Stage One of three scheduled elections for Nepal is now over, though the counting in this electronic age reverted back to very slow manual format. Surprisingly, the same method of manual counting that was done in the UK produced a decisive result almost after 12 hours!

June 24, 2017, 9:47 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 10, NO. 21, June 23- 2017 (Asadh, 2074)

Many years ago I remember seeing a film titled 'The Gods Must be Crazy' which I thoroughly enjoyed.  It started with an empty Coca Cola bottle, flung from a plane overhead, falling amidst some primitive folk on the ground below.   Found by one of the inhabitants, it became a prized item and the subject of quarrels amongst the primitive people.  Thinking back on this particular film of the past I began to wonder whether our Nepali society too is in a similar situation.  We had during the past ten months a government that performed reasonably well.  The load shedding is gone, there has been a bumper harvest, agreements for various hydro-projects are in the process, the one belt one road (OBOR) agreement has been signed and the Fast-track route to Nijgard has been officially started.  Last but not least our growth rate this year is expected to be 7.9%.  What else can an astonished Nepali ask for?

 Fifty percent of Stage One of three scheduled elections for Nepal is now over, though the counting in this electronic age reverted back to very slow manual format.  Surprisingly, the same method of manual counting that was done in the UK produced a decisive result almost after 12 hours!  Also another point is where were the electronic voting machines (EVMs) that had been touted for so long?  The country has settled down peacefully now that this stage is over.  However, as we embark for the second stage there seems some uncertainty still in the air. 

 Some years ago, the popular Indian author Chetan Bhagat wrote a book titled 'Five Point Someone' which was transformed into the Box Office success 'Three Idiots' starring Aamir Khan.  The well meaning health minister of the previous government had come out with a five point plan which envisages among four other objectives to give up alcohol completely.  This seems to be a tall order, considering that a little booze on the side is very intricately entwined in the social and cultural life of the Nepalis. Restrictions to serving alcohol at festivities will never be followed.   Not only are the citizens peeved, but even the Devis at many of the temples of the land will be wondering what the world is coming too!

 Not to be outdone, another former minister started the process of passing guidelines for treating animals much more kindly and humanely.   Will the legally proscribed eight hours day of toil by animals be implemented?  All very good and rational in this day and age but what caught my eye is that 'khasi parne' or castration will soon be forbidden.  What will ones momos taste like with meat of bokos and non-castrated rangos?  Will our hill farming be mechanised as it will no longer be docile gorus but rather unruly sandes that will have to be yoked and mobilised for the tilling of hillside slopes!  Now that many of our young men folk are in the Gulf will the Nepali women, tilling the fields be able cope with all this?

 This has brought to my mind George Orwell's classical work 'Animal Farm'.  What if the animals in our farms form Unions?   Will the cows withhold the supply of milk from their udders?  Will the production of butter and cheese come to a standstill?

 Perhaps because of the beef ban in India, substantial number of our tired cows, overworked gorus and unwanted calves are still waiting for right conditions to cross the border at UP, Bihar and Bengal. Some even to Bangladesh.  Because of the now slowed exit from various points on our southern border, one finds that there are now a greater number of stray calves munching the now green and luscious grass in the middle of the Kathmandu - Bhaktapur highway.  Are they hazards to traffic on this road?  Will they cause accidents?  Who has to see to all this?  In the midst of all this crazy happenings one wonders what is in store for us citizens of this land.  Thankfully life has become easier for us Kathmandu dwellers with the onset of the monsoons. 

 In this pleasant state of mind, I am reminded of a story which I heard the other day.  A ruler of a certain land wanted to go hunting and so consulted his Minister of Environment as to what the weather would be like on that particular day.  The minister in turn consulted other experts too, pored over charts and records and announced with a flourish that the day would be fine and ideal for the hunt.  So off went the ruler and his retinue towards the hunting grounds in full pursuit.

 As they neared the jungle the ruler came across a peasant who signalled them to stop and go no further as a big storm would occur in a short while and could be troublesome.  The ruler and the party pooh-paahed all this and galloped onwards.  However, true to the peasant's words the storm ensued and the hunting party had to return home in shambles.

 After a few days the ruler came back to this particular site and searching out the peasant told him that because of his acumen, ability and correctness in forecasting the weather he would forthwith be made the Minister of Environment!

 The peasant was aghast.  He pleaded that it was not he but rather his donkey which had forecast the storm.

 'How come?' asked the ruler.

 'Well whenever there is going to be a storm or heavy rain, the ears of my donkey always droop down.  He has never been wrong in this aspect.'Hearing this, the ruler strode forward and said, 'If that is so, I will take him along with me and make him the Minister for Environment!'

The author writes fiction under the name of Mani Dixit.  Website: www.hdixit.org.np. Twitter: @manidixithd

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