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SPICE OF LIFE

By P. Kharel

Born to be Led
Sandeep Lamichhane as a bowler making his debut in the IPL cricket in India made a brilliant presence, with a haul of five wickets in three matches with an impressive record in May 2018. But it is only when foreigners identify or crown our citizens that we realise how good they are. CNN Hero, for instance; Magsaysay award for another. Given an opportunity only when his team was certain to be out of the tournament whatever the outcome of subsequent matches, Lamichhane left his mark as an upcoming player.
Many of suffer from short and selective memory, too. Upendra Devkota and Anuradha Koirala were members of the council of ministers during the political limbo created by Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba who democratically dissolved the elected House but most undemocratically sought deferment of the already scheduled general elections when he realised his party was in for a drubbing at the hustling.

Celebrating opportunism
Three and a half years after the December 1960 Royal takeover, and well into the new Constitution, King Mahendra’s 45th birthday was celebrated. In doing so, “Shree Paanch Mahendra Abhinandan Grantha”, was published in June 1964 by Nepal Sahitya Sansthan whose president was Rishikesh Shaha and general secretary Kedar Man “Byathit”.
Historian Laureate Baburam Acharya, the country’s most prominent dramatist Bal Krishna Sama, Kul Sekhar Sharma, who was Rastra Bank governor and later appointed ambassador, and foreign secretary, and noted scholar/diplomat Yadu Nath Khanal were on the 14-member executive committee. Satya Mohan Joshi, who served as coordinator and editor, is still stout and about today in his 90s and drenched in medals, awards and honours, even if too busy to ever mention King Mahendra who died in the winter of 1972.
CPN (UML) leader and former ambassador to China Tanka Karki, in Jana Aastha weekly recently remarked: “There is no doubt that monarchy was authoritarian ruler. But it taught us what development is. Development does not mean only physical development needs but also Ambar Gurung the musician, Lain Singh Bangdel the painter and someone studying in America like Bekh Bahadur Thapa. Had the king [Mahendra] wanted loyalists, he could have picked many from the palace [circle] itself. But, loyalty [alone] won’t do, quality is required. The type of governance was wrong, we threw it away. But if we threw away the positive aspects, where we will it lead us to? A nation develops not exclusively on [political] system. It needs appropriate actors.”

Season-proof
Bekh Bahadur Thapa, privileged from his 20s, with high positions through royal favours, was also associated with the 1964 publication, and continues to be engaged by those in the corridors of power under the existing political scheme of things.  Now too busy with an assignment from the government, His Eminence [as of last fortnight] might be in search of the right issues and the ripe clime to recall his one-time patron’s deeds/misdeeds. Wonder why he is withholding the publication of his memoirs.
Promise of peace has eluded the post-Janaandolan period since 2006. Manufacturing conflicts and crises, aggravated by vicious rumours that are slugged as “news” by the party press becomes pernicious. Prime minister’s post is a powerful public post.
Hollowness of heart and social values degrade society. Tragic and tormenting dance of “loktantrik” hordes torment many a Nepali. The resultant troubles and tumults prey the people ceaselessly as if the latter has been forsaken by all. Taunting and tormenting will not do.
Promise of peace has eluded the post-Janaandolan period since 2006. Manufacturing conflicts and crises that are aggravated by vicious rumours slugged as “news” by the party press becomes pernicious. Prime minister’s post is a powerful public post. With two-thirds majority, Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli could do dramatic things, provided he has the competence to deliver.

Lost ‘loktantra’
Is republicanism the magical answer to stability and law and order? Will the next five years offer what the past 12 miserably failed to provide for? Is federalism the appropriate response to the economic woes of the vast majority of this poverty-stricken country? For that matter, does religious secularism address the overwhelming sentiments of Nepalis?
Some are calling for a referendum to decide on the issues. But there are many others who think that such a course would only polarise the nation too far and too deep, sowing the seeds of discord for many decades to follow.
Only a national referendum that political oligarch dare to order can provide a definitive verdict for times to come. But Netra Bikram Chand “Biplav” rejects all such options which he thinks only drag the nation to a chronic slowdown and vulnerable to national interests and speedy benefits to the people. How serious is really? He has gone underground for some months now. Information is that he is very much in Nepal, and in Kathmandu Valley. It is interesting that he is not in Banaras, Patna, Kolkotta or on the outskirts of New Delhi, watched, sheltered and guided by Indian agencies.

Without comment
In response to criticism made by opposition MPs in parliament regarding his government’s performance, Prime Minister KP Oli, quoted in The Republica: “Lawmakers should instead have accused the government of not being serious when it reduced the number of ministers to 25 from 64 in the previous government.”

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