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Machhapuchre Bank

Democracy at work

The entertainment industry and social media came to focus this week when an entertaining song lampooning the current system became viral. What was equally entertaining was the use of the social media in angry response that led to the singer dropping the song from his page while the incident became excuse to lift the song as example of the threat used to get it off the page. The social media is still working overtime propagating the song not on the singer’s page and the use of the social media that prompted its withdrawal is still being used as example of the vulnerabilities imbibed in current politics. That K. P. Oli’s communist government and party is so sensitive as to use the social media in such a manner that leads to a singer dropping his song from his media page Is ruse enough for the mainstream to catch on with the song and the protest on the song itself. The song of course is catchy and humorous enough to go viral. But the threat is serious enough. The government youth wing page need merely warn, that is threat enough. The muscle is there. The media is there. And, the money? It is these three that compose the essence of Nepali political organizations, when the media did not work the muscle did. Democracy at work in Nepal.
It is not surprising that the cultural sector should feel vulnerable when divorced from the clout of political muscle or, for that matter, when political muscle threatens. Nor is it surprising that the media should call this foul since it was the messenger, the message being the singer’s song. The message in the song lampooned the state of our democracy, a message our media has long carried. That very message carried by politicians would have been politics. But the message carried by a singer provoked a muscular response in the social media and that matters. The media matters. For political organizations the message is clear. Government plea is that systemic matters should be treated sensitively. Fact is however that political content has been aggravated by just this breach over decades in academic, media and cultural circles with a view to deride systems, institutions and individuals. This worked fine until popular opinion , as of now, is gradually turning to mirror reality. The tables are turning and so are the senses.
It is not surprising then that the former king should echo popular opinion and touch upon democracy at work in the country as he has done in his democracy day message. The king has also touched upon security and foreign policy when these matters are now the focus of everyday discussion. The system has not worked, it is not working and, moreover it is spoiling. The song and the king’s message are the same. And, what of the response? In a democracy? Concern must lie here. We can laugh at the accuracy of the lyrics portraying everday life in the country and ponder over the surmise of the former royal. But we cannot but warn that political and literary indulgence should not merely be dismissed as such. They could function as disastrous diversions for public focus. Harm is being done to the state. This cannot be but real.

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