Many years ago, after I reached London for the first time, I saw at the Tottenham Court end of Oxford Street, a small shop frontage displaying various items with a SALE tag attached. At its side was another shop with a crowd of people within. Wondering what was happening; I too ventured in and saw an auctioneer at work. Holding an item in his hand, he described it eloquently and asked for bids starting with Pound One. Offers for the item were voiced from side to side and as silence ensued after a little while the man pronounced, ‘Going, going, gone’ and banged with a hammer the top of the table in front of him. After seeing and hearing all this for a while I suddenly found that I too had been ‘bitten by the bug’ or rather auction fever. I made a bid for an item that the man displayed. Someone in the crowd shouted his bid, then another and others. As the auctioneer said ‘Any one top that’, I made a hefty bid. There was silence for a couple of seconds and then his voice announced, ‘Going, going, gone, to the gentleman in the duffle coat in the corner there.’ I had been enthused, attracted and finally entrapped to obtain an item which I did not need. What to do? I had been made a sucker. Some 15 years later when I revisited the UK, I retraced my steps to the SALE shop and also the auction centre I saw that both were still functioning in the same manner and in full bloom!
Coming back to this thread I have realised that this has been going on in my whole life. At this old age of my life I, and many other Nepali simpletons like me were enchanted by the slogans, ‘Never again’ and ‘NO, NOT AGAIN’ as these were bandied about during our recent elections. We voted for the Gathbandans said to have a life of at least 15-20 years! Within a matter of days what were said to be almost permanent were torn apart by some unseen force and fell by the wayside. There was a gnashing and grinding of teeth. Our aged politicians who had been ‘ruling the roost’ with the expertise developed over seven decades had outsmarted their own compatriots with a masterly stroke once again. Our Sukulgoondas, well directed by their compatriots the carpetbaggers of phoren shores had once again been outwitted! Sadly as Plato has said, ‘Those who are too smart to enter in politics are punished by those who are dumber.’ We the plain dumb witted Nepalis are in for years of hardships ahead. What Edward R Murrow foretold, ‘A nation of sheep will soon have a government of wolves’ has happened to us.
Coming now to the context of the ‘No Not Again’ one can look at the context of monarchy in Nepal. It was as I have written before. King Farouk of Egypt, who on being shunted out of the kingship in 1953 by Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser leaders of the Free Officers Movement, made a remark for posterity. His subtle comment ‘There are only five kings in the world, four in the pack of cards and one King of England’ is uncanny. Subsequently Naguib became the first president of the Arab Republic of Egypt (Misr).
Cambodia is a country which has gone through a very chequered history. From French Colonial rule, monarchy, Khmer Rouge, communist regime, a state during the years from 1970 to 1993, when massive changes took place. Since then Cambodia is a kingdom again. The main player in all this is Norodom Sihanouk (1922-2012) who during the course of his life served both as PM and King of the country. N.Sihanouk was a multi-talented personality who during the course of his life, did as Shakespeare was ‘A man who in his time plays many parts’. Being really loved by the people he was also referred to as: Samdech Euv meaning King Father. His parts ranged from being a movie maker, premier, king and refugee. His first rule was from 1941 to 1955. He abdicated to participate in elections and was succeeded by his father N. Saramit. After his father died he became King in 1960 but was ousted in 1970 and fled to China. He became king again in 1993 and served in this capacity till 2004 when he was succeeded by his son N. Sihamoni who is currently ruling Cambodia.
With the meetings, impending decisions and varied announcements, one wonders the fate of us common Nepalis. One knows that one needs to learn to walk before one can run. Our current constitution was made without the consent of the people. In reality the feedback received from the people had been stuffed in the bags and cast aside without even being looked at. How can this be termed a People’s Constitution when a handful of chosen coterie scuttled the whole process and passed it as per their interests? There is no doubt that the existing crop of leaders, especially those after 1990 are all of the same feathers and an inheritance which we need to clear straight away. They have paid no heed to the one and only rule that should have been uppermost in their minds and is that the policy which all must follow is same whichever party is in power. The bottom line is that national interest comes first.
The Rastriya Prajatantra Party’s finally succeeded in making Prithvi Jayanti a national holiday as National Unity Day. The scheme to do away with homage to PNS, implemented by PM GPK in 1963 lasted for 16 years . Was it removal a pre-requisite for RPP joining the government? Head strong determination has brought this about. What about Nepal being a Hindu Rastra with a Hindu monarch? This is a big talking point in the House of Representatives. As we have not yet seen the ending of ‘No Never’ and ‘Going, going, gone’ can we ever hope that ‘Coming, coming, welcome’ is ever going to be a reality? William Shakespeare said, ‘What a terrible era in which idiots govern the blind’. Are we unfortunate ones suffering thus?
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