It was perhaps during the last Dasain holidays that a Nepali father posted a picture of himself placing the Dasain Tika on his dog’s forehead as all of his family were abroad. Alas why this is so? Is it because most families in Nepal, irrespective of whether they are from the towns or villages, have migrated seeking greener pastures elsewhere in the world? A hard fact is that most of the progeny of our leaders are no longer living in this country. If most of the Nepali youth are now programmed, because of this prevailing trend, then should those of us remaining in this land be concerned as to whether we are ‘Failing State’ or a ‘Nation of Failures’? When our prominent business persons, including senior level officers and professionals are investing elsewhere then can we really expect foreign direct investment (FDI) from other nations? Some newspaper dailies have reported that even foreign investors who had hoped to invest in Nepal are rethinking. Someone remarked the other day that we should only allow those Nepali politicians, who have children studying, working and living in this country to be made ministers of the provincial or federal governments. Only then will our netas work for the development of this country!
One must remember that making of our Constitution started from the time when King Tribhuvan came back to Nepal and alighting from the plane showed a proposed constitution in his hand. It had then even been stated; erroneously by one leader that Nepal was a republic! We are now at a watershed as the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic has been passed. Some amendments are expected, but this is natural as nothing is perfect!
Over the last sixty-eight years it has been seen that democratisation of society is a difficult process in the history of any nation. Untouchability, chauppadi and witch incidents are fairly common reports in our papers. Is it because we are a closed society that has never been conquered by external forces? What is the quality within us which has made it possible to exist as a Society or as a Nation?
Are the politicians at both Federal and Pradesh levels failing to perform and fulfil the promises that they made to the people? Are they forgetting the varied ‘future dreams’ that they showered on the populace at election time but which they have now forgotten? Why are the Federal leaders, because they have a two-thirds majority, behaving like aristocratic lords and not giving power to the elected Pradesh legislators? Surely they are not neo Shree Teens? Is this all a failure of decentralisation implementation or just high-handedness? Is this the proof of the saying ‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’?
As one looks around one sees despondency everywhere. Many children in the rural areas still have to cling to straps on twines to cross rivers to their schools. A newspaper report of 28th January stated that in the Vyas Municipality four persons lost their lives during the last year whilst crossing the river. During the last four years only 113 out of 187 contracted twines have been converted into Jholunge Puls or hanging bridges. Contractors responsible to construct bridges in these and also in other parts of the country are not completing works on time. Some with ‘political reach’ just started the work and ran off with the money given to them prematurely! Who is responsible for this state of affairs? The blame must surely go to politicians who have been in power and extended such patronage.
The overall general failure in our Nation is due to parents and teachers failing to inculcate patriotism or a sense of nationalism in Nepali youngsters of both sexes. Perhaps the present focus and stress on sports – cricket & football in all citizens will bring this about. After all one feels very proud when one reads news items of Nepali teams defeating those of bigger nations in sports or of Nepali individuals winning gold medals in some other areas such as body building or beauty contests. Recent news that Rohit Paudel and Sandeep Jora are the youngest players to score a half centuries in One Day and T20 international world cricket tournaments respectively are feathers in our cap. The winning of the One Day and T20 Series in Dubai has elated all countrymen. Our sport persons both men and women, not only in cricket and football but also in other areas are achieving to bring about more patriotism.
Perhaps the celebration of New Years of different ethnic groups of Nepal is a good first step in this direction to show that we all have a responsibility to each other and must co-operate to the full in this day and age. When we talk of Global Village can we not at least accomplish this in Nepal?
Another side of the picture however is the individuality that we all are prone to show. Many of us feel that laws are for others and not us. We may keep our individual lots clean but throw litter in public places. People build tall houses of concrete in small plots of land because of exorbitant costs, ignoring or not following the laws of the land, and leaving minimal space for access. In case of fire the fire brigades will not get there and, not only the ignorer of rules and regulations but the whole community is endangered.
Like elsewhere in the world we Nepalis have citizens who have excelled in their areas of expertise and have achieved fame not only within the country but elsewhere too. Despite this, Nepalis in the prime of their lives are toiling elsewhere under almost inhuman conditions. Others are thronging to developed countries in the hope that the grass is greener there. Have we the ‘Stay Behinds’ failed our youngsters?