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Machhapuchre Bank

Elitism diagnosis

Whether we want to believe it or not, realistic appraisals of contemporary Nepal must accept the existence of a new political elite in Nepal. This political elite is nowhere near the traditional elites unless we factor in their casteist base. But even this is not adequate. Even this casteist base is not justified in their economic elitism. The traditional Nepali economy is no more and so their economic base is far from the traditional landed elites that dominated politics in the country. In fact it is in the economic newness that our political elites thrive. Our political masters are backed economically by the newly mobile commercial class that thrives in the middle-men economy nurtured over decades by a politics of reliance on commissions from the ever-increasing consumption culture which has been made bereft of national production. Added to this is the donor class which wreak benefits from the economy while serving their political objectives and the modern power base of political organizations with their reach through the monopoly of goods and services at the grass roots. Nepali society, despite its non performance, has been changed radically. As tradition as our society remains, the carpet has been pulled from under the traditional elites.
Awkwardly enough, it is not quite the same of the country’s intellectual elites. Their background is by and large traditional still. As a matter of fact the core of the political elite that is currently the political establishment was flipped to power by secondary elites of this ilk who currently find themselves alienated by these very politicians. They are aware that the current brand of politicians need no longer cater to traditional elites who can no longer supply them the funds and support that external backing and grass roots foundation provide them. The ideological façade they adopted need not be homegrown but it helps give them the modern garb the intelligentsia helped initially with. The uniqueness in today’s Nepali politics is that it no longer need serve the people. It has a wide enough organizational base to cater to which need suffice to keep them lodged in the current monopoly. The politics they serve, as they are aware, will remain perpetuated unless an equally political class emerges that can outmatch their self-serving monopoly.
It is this that matters. Nepal’s traditional elites served themselves ill by seeing in the political class a base economic thirst that they thought would be won over through moneys and other patronage that they hoped would be returned by service. This was never the purpose. Non-nationals were out to serve their own interests and the politicians had power very much in their sights. The threat traditional elites pose to our politicians is real and so there is a perpetual strategy to undermine, sideline and negate them. This trend can only be arrested and reversed when an equally adept political attempt is made. Unfortunately this needs an equally adept comprehension of politics that the traditional elites seem to have been averse to since decades. When one looks back and sees wonders at king Mahendra’s political achievements in wonder despite decades of well articulated procrastination, the intellectual is wishing for similar response. It is time traditional classes shape up to give confidence to the intelligentsia that they can shape up. As yet, unfortunately, indicators are dismal. And so the options, as desired by the current elites, is depleting.

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