Cable News Network (CNN) has been airing all over the world constant streams of TV news reports regarding the storming of the US capitol by Trump supporters from all around the country. As one watches these visuals, one realises how mass fury can be whipped up by constant misinformation and encouragement over a period of time so that the receiver of such tirade messages takes it as ‘Katu Satya’! It is estimated that around 3,000 people from all over the US descended on Capitol Hill of Washington DC, on Jan. 6th with the specific intention of preventing the confirmation of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the country. One sees Trump ranting and raving, exhorting his supporters to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and take matters into their hands as the election was ‘stolen’ from him. Perhaps in remembrance of his German roots, he even called it all ‘A Big Lie’! One also saw the visual of a noose and heard the words ‘Hang Mike Pence”. This mayhem, a symbol or the direct result of Trump tantrums has been the start of what has be labelled as domestic terrorism and depicts the level that unprincipled, brainwashed beings can descend to. What a spectacle for the world’s populace to see.
Surprisingly it brought vaguely to my mind visions stored therein of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. I visualised Mark Antony, exhorting the mass of ordinary humans with his words ‘Friends, Romans and countrymen, lend me your ears’ in his attempt to do away with Brutus and his clique of murderers. The difference existing now in the USA, the beacon of Democracy is that Trump, a ‘Chuppe Rustam’ demagogue is misguiding thousands of US citizens against their own government. What a sight for the world inhabitants to behold in a country designated as the leader of a free world. Whereas Antony was enticing a mob to revenge a wrong, Trump was encouraging desperadoes radicalised by him to perform acts of anarchy. With all this background, I awaited with trepidation the events leading up to on 20th January 2021. My first sigh of relief, after Biden was sworn in as President of USA, was of assurance that truth and democracy has finally prevailed. After all we in Nepal are also awaiting an election in the next 4/5 months and subsequent events!
The November 2020 election in the fifty states of USA had demonstrated that each state has its rules and regulations and conducts its affairs as per the wishes of the people living there. Barring episodes, currently occurring there, it represented a somewhat ideal functioning of government. We in Nepal have now been toying with our new constitution of our Federal Democratic Republic for the last five years, trying to work out a direction that it should take.
To recapitulate what must be done in the context of Nepal our Motherland, we must all react in a sensible manner. During the course of Panchayat Rule, the country was divided into Development Zones, Anchals with the Anchaladish chiefs though the reality was that finances and power were firmly in the control of the Centre at Kathmandu. A little minimal power was given to the local authorities of the District or the Ward, but without adequate finances so that not much could be achieved.
Currently, with the establishment of the Democratic Federal Republic, we are trying to give power to the people in the areas where they live and work. With the implementation of decentralisation it is true that a new set of administrative officials and workers will have to work in the seven constituent Pradesh of our land so that activities occur and benefits provided to the people at large. All this requires finances from the Centre for as they say in the USA: “There is no free lunch”. Everything has to be paid for in this day and age. What worries me is that a number of people say and spread the word around that we must revert back to a central based rule. We cannot just say that Federalism is a costly affair and as we cannot afford it, it has to be discarded or dispensed with. A fair trial has not been done in so short a period of time. As it is a system which will work as per the wishes of the people that it serves, the finances for it must be found. Though it will definitely cost more in the long run, it will give power back to those living in different parts of the country in matters concerning development, education and health in the areas where the locals live and work. It is, to say frankly, ‘Taking Singha Durbar to the people.’ If the recent debacle or fiasco in Washington DC, has given a message to the world at large, it is that people must not only be capable and encouraged but that they must also believe in themselves as per the democratic norms of the 21st Century. They must be able to think, act properly and not follow blindly what politicians, vying to be their future leaders tell them. Such individuals, lusting for power,
have vested interests at heart. The people at large must intelligently separate the wheat from the chaff!
Depending on the opinion our judges on the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, there is the question of whether there will be an election within the next five months. Although the conduct of democracy appears no longer to be ideal, the process of decentralisation and sharing of power is something we must adhere to. We are not sure what the future holds. Our country is at the crossroads. Only when the future course of action is decided then only can I do an encore and give another sigh of relief. God be with us at this hour of need.
The author is a retired medical doctor and writes fiction under the pen name of Mani Dixit also. Website: www.hdixit.org.np. Twitter: @manidixithd