By P. Kharel
In a country where much is said about the ideals of democracy, one, too, would like to contribute his modest line or two. Democracy reflects a state’s social, economic and political governance, with emphasis on popular accessibility to decision-making mechanism. Its success is on how delivery is made by popular representatives.
Nepal’s loktantra (people’s rule) faces the challenge of beginning to convince people that quality of life will indeed improve within a foreseeable future. Blame game has been the predictable tool employed by rulers all these decades to shift responsibility for their bad performance and rampant corruption.
Since the political changes in 2006, the shameful exercise continues at an accelerated speed by political parties in power, including the former armed Maoists led by Puspa Kamal Dahal, who prefers to be known as Prachanda. For 12 years, the word “transition” came as a convenient tool for all parties in power to prolong their impunity, poor performance, cancerous corruption into vital state structures and despicable impunity. Invoking the so-called transition as a shield against criticisms is nothing but an exercise in thuggery. This has been going on for far too long for people to give any legitimate attention.
The old order did not raise any agitation, let alone arms and acts of arson, after it was replaced with what is tagged as “loktantrik” disorder. King Gyanendra quit Narayanhity Palace with remarkable composure, which was a quality yet to be matched by any of the outgoing prime ministers who headed 38 governments since the 1990 restoration of multiparty polity. Prime ministers fell like nine pins with long faces and cribbing tongues of dissatisfaction in the status of have-beens.
Investment of interests
The main opposition party in parliament, Nepali Congress, recently pushed for a seat aboard the Nepal investment board the government was forming. The confrontational attitude in every main opposition party as a background, Prime Minister Oli rejected the claim on the argument that the agency was an entirely government’s privilege.
Indeed, opposition party’s presence is not necessary. It is the privilege of the government, and hence it is surprising, if not shocking, that the country’s oldest party should lick its lips at investment agency. Perhaps the Congress strategy was to find a space to harass and embarrass the government, even if duly elected by opportunities of boycotting and charging that decisions were made without its participation. There are enough occasions and examples in connection with other agencies where the opposition party is duly represented, with Congress hard-to-get chief Sher Bahadur Deuba finding hard to get in ensuring scheduled meetings.
Feature film fare
A couple of new Nepali movies hitting the cinema screens the same day in a given week is no longer rare, what with 75-90 such fares being released every year since quite some time now. In fact, a string of three simultaneous new releases of the Nepali variety, too, occurs every now and then.
That should not be something very surprising, given the fact that Nepal is among the world’s top ten feature film producers in terms of numbers. And to think that those were the times until the early 1990s when hardly one such fare was released in almost any given year.
However, less than five per cent of the annual cine-releases in Nepali actually make profits. It is a stark statement on the type and quality of the fares offered price-viewers who have a multiple choices by way of audio-visual and other entertainment today, thanks to dramatic advances in technology that multiplies avenues and access.
As Nepalese audiences are no longer willing to be satisfied with the mere novelty value that Nepali cinema was in the earlier decades. Maitighar in 60s and Sindoor in the 1980s did draw viewers to the cinema halls to packed capacity for record weeks. Today, audiences want better offer, which the stakeholders in the production and presentation departments must learn to acknowledge in their output. Otherwise, attracting viewers to the big screen will increasingly become an uphill task.
Wanted for $1m
Saudi Arabia revoked the citizenship of Osama bin-Laden’s Hamza bin-Laden early this month just as his father and Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin-Laden was also stripped of his citizenship in 1994. This was after the United States put a price on his head at $ 1 million. In 2011, Osama bin-Laden and his family members were killed US special force in his hideout in Pakistan.
Washington has released the “wanted” poster announcing “Reward for Justice”, just as Nepali Congress government headed by Sher Bahadur Deuba offered bounty for the heads of armed Maoists led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known then as Prachanda, during the bad old days of the 1990 constitution, once described the Nepali Congress as the world’s “best”. One recalls how the home minister in Nepali Congress government had told the press: “Bring their heads in one hand and carry away prize money in another.”
Trailokya Nath Aryal, quoted in The Republica: “It’s funny how everyone in Nepal is a foreign policy expert—just say, we need to balance between India, China and the US, and you’re an expert. I tell everyone to brush their teeth and tell my contractor to modify the house design. I guess I should be calling myself a dentist and engineer.”