This term with origins with the Coffee Party US started a campaign that was supposed to encourage people to awaken their souls. I quote: ‘WOKE means awakened to the need of others. To be well informed, thoughtful, compassionate, humble and kind. Eager to make the world a better place for all people.’ It was started in 2010, a year after one called Tea Party, a totally Republican affair. The Coffee party advocated that ‘the government is not the enemy of the people’ and wants more participation by the people of the in the political process.
Just below this post in FB was shown a picture of scantily clad, very thin and under-nourished Nepali males claimed to be queuing for ‘one mana of rice’ in 2055 BS. Some viewers doubted the authenticity of this photograph and said it was a fake. Another (me), posted that it reminded one of Nepali farmers queuing for high priced fertilisers at the time of the yearly planting of crops – a regular annual happening! This also reminded me of my childhood years when we Nepali children played what was known as Damdi biyo, literally a game when a small piece of wood, tipped at both ends was thrown in the air by one’s opponent and then one struck it by a larger stick with a hefty swing. This game is said to have been played for over 2500 years in many lands of Asia and even Europe. In ancient days this game when played in England was known as ‘Tip-cat’ or ‘Tip-pussy’ and is said to be the origin of cricket in that land and baseball in the USA! The word for this game, played also in rural Bengal in former days was known a Gilli danda and as Vitti Dandu or Kitti Pullu in other parts of India.
As many of us in Nepal are avid FB followers, I too saw a post during third week Jan. titled ‘Men un-woke’, courtesy Fox News that went on to say. “We are being governed by some of the most smug, sanctimonious and proudly ignorant people on the planet. In turn, they are governed by what they lap up from the fountain of sewage.” This sums up the current situation here, but what to do?
This brought back to my mind some visions of three decades ago when we saw painted on many walls and buildings of Kathmandu the word ‘Thaha’ said to have been the handiwork of one Rupchandra Bista, a member of Rastriya Panchayat. This was taken by many of the capital’s denizens to be their right to know what was going around after all. In course of time this campaign disappeared like a ‘seven days wonder’! Its follow up seems to be the ‘Khoj’ campaign but this too has not unearthed the shady doings of our politicians! Poor us, who are all suffering now without a whimper from our lips.
My thoughts then drifted to the 1989 Dalit andolan in India at the time of Indian PM VP. Singh when the OBCs were fighting for their rights and a student immolated himself in the street. Recently Prem P Acharya repeated such an incident in front of our current parliament to try to draw the attention of the public to injustices prevalent in Nepal towards which authorities are turning a blind eye!
Returning back to the title of this item, we in Nepal ought to ‘Be Woke’ too like the Democrats of the US to the needs of the people i.e. informed, thoughtful, compassionate, humble and kind in our own ways too. Unlike the Tea & Coffee Parties we ought to have a Makai and a Bhatmas one instead! Traditional agricultural wisdom in Nepal was to plant both makai and bhatmas in the same plot and subsequently to roast both and eat them together! By doing this the bad side effects on just existing on maize did not occur. It may be recalled that the Niacin deficiency disease Pellagra was endemic in Southern US for almost four decades of early 20th Century as the poor existed on maize alone!
The time has come for our new or rejuvenated parties in our House of Representatives to cater for the common Nepalis and look after their interests. During our last election campaign there was a lot of support and enthusiasm for the new parties with slogans such as ‘No Not Again’ or No Never Again’ being bandied about in the social media. The success of the new parties reminded of a ditty I heard a long time ago that went:
“With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music where-ever she goes.”
A number of new faces of both genders have been elected but the atmosphere seems to very stagnant. Is the enthusiasm for the new comers already evaporating? Some gentler sexes seem disconcerted and angry at being referred to as ‘Cheli’! Some their compatriots do not think that ‘Cheli Beti’ is derogatory. Is the enthusiasm for the newcomers dissipating as they realise that they do not have the numbers to make real changes and that all that they saw whilst in the wilderness was just a mirage! Have the bell ringers been silenced after just three fortnights in power? Is it all Back to Mangalman and a state of reality come into force? Have are neo-rulers of Nepal already realised that they are not in a position to do much for the common Nepali? As they look around, do they feel that as the author Erich Fromm has said, “The successful revolutionary is a statesman; the unsuccessful one is a criminal.” Has this all come to pass in Nepal to make us an experienced nation? After all as Oscar Wilde has said, “Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterwards.”
Like the gilli or the biyo in the Nepali context the Nepali population is being thrashed with the ever huge rising costs of daily living. Can I say to my country nationals, ‘Awaken Your Souls – BE WOKE’?
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
VOL. 16, No. 15, March.24, 2023 (Chaitra 10. 2079) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75
VOL. 16, No. 14, March.10, 2023 (Falgun 26. 2079) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75
VOL. 16, No. 13, Feb.24, 2023 (Falgun 12. 2079) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75