This morning a young writer came to me and expressed his eager desire to go into Rapti Valley where the Government of Nepal has been perfunctorily implementing a grand agricultural project. He said he had adventured into that valley in pursuance of my own suggestions. I recalled the day on which I had suggested Agriculture as the best possible course for us people here who wished to earn some honey- money without the magnetising capital necessary to attract it into out empty pockets. The majority of valley gentlemen, I had then explained, were a puzzled and overstrained class, with grabbing or profiteering instincts highly pronounced; but helpless to operate them in the absence of capital for investment in any field. We maintained a very precarious prestige by running out of breath every festival period; and our desire to make a small fortune for comfortable living landed us after a course of bitter frustrations in other fields in a government office where, very ill-paid and grumbling. We rubbed our calm palms together after a six-hour, regular prison duty about the worm eaten desks. We could not shake ourselves out of it for fear if the shock of sudden domestic unbalancing as the insistent demand of the daily cold oven could not be out off for a single reason. There was something like hereditary in out natural propensity to look up towards the secretariat as the most proximate, the most accessible of places of employment to keep the wolf from our door. And a position would be procurable by just a cleaver wire-pulling through a court favourite or a genuflection before a master of state job charities. The immediate and the proximate enslaved our spirits and barred the line for our wider and remoter visions. The train of my arguments, and the healthy analysis of the general situations among us, came back to me, as he made reference to the convincing speech I made that day, urging him to venture into the Rapti Valley for a preliminary inspection of possibilities. I remember how I had harangued him and accused his species of wanting in a strong effort of will and the spirit of healthy adventure. Business, I had explained, was uncertain and hazardous on the principles of honesty and sincerity in unwary and the inexperienced. Couldn?t the half-starved state of our government servant fit himself with a shake off one or other of the state programs for national developments in our new democratic vision? I had expatiated upon the natural superiority of Agriculture over other occupation; for was it not milking the Earth? Was it not the most natural of human operations, the most ancient and the most necessary? Did not conduce to healthier life in the open air? Was not a poet, of all men, most fitted by nature for it? Could not go into the most intimate communions with nature herself? Well: that was a day of inspired oratory, which had thoroughly, convinced my fellow writer. We had finished by indulging mutually in the poetic vision of a writer?s colony in that blessed region of natural beauties.
He was the writer of small brochure entitled ?Government Employment? in the days of the Under Payee?s Agitation, then a clerk on Rs. 17 per mensem, a sum which kept him starved with his family for three weeks. He is now an employee in the Nepal Radio at Rs. 100 or so per mensum, a pay nearly seven times higher than the original one. He said he had been in the said valley on a leave. He had inspected the land, and found it cultivatable with profit for us. Provided the water supply was assured. I asked him facetiously whether a man was not always on the verge of ninety-nine, and whether from the evils of starvation he did not intended to jump into the worse ones of surfeiture. He replied with a smile that people of our sort should never dream of affording to be guilty of that. We had certain discussions following during which I had the occasion to remark how we thought of the nation in any of the dreams or schemes that we entertained or sought to promulgate or implement. I went off into another price of oratory again on the evils of our general habits that made us self-centred would be profiteers without harmonising our actions of our principles to the spirit of state program or National Schemes.
I have dwelt long on that morning talk for the healthy spirit implied in it. Ourselves first is perfectly true of me as much as of any other censure. We must think of ourselves first. It is probable question for political and sociological science whether an underdeveloped state, maintained by money and gun-power, can have the right to expect thinking in terms fit of its individuals whom it has neither fed, clothed or employed profitably for itself. The Nepalese adapt form to the effect that a loaf is baked on both sides. Is it immortal, is it unintelligent to aspire to live where death by starvation is the general social law? To drive off the continually recurring wolf is the goal of lives in general. And of those who surfeit, goal is extension of affluence for future security. For there is no moral edict, no social sanction, no legal ban on indulgence is acquisition for luxury and power. Shall we not then, one and all, first think in terms of ourselves? Life, the poor ones cry! More life, wail the rich. And an amoral philosopher can find no fault in this operation of the vital instincts.
We, poor people, are dreaming continually of becoming living units in a discased or paralysed Body and struggling or to fulfil our dreams. We struggle to live so that the General Body that gives us no impulse may feel the presence of live cells sucking in something out of the general air. We are living apologies for galvanising into action a frame inanel something is wrong at the root. Everyone feels it. We are stunted dwarfish shruds his own symptoms, and to play his own doctor. There is no adequate energy for research. We can keep nothing in reserve after what we do for ourselves to the dictate of our starved moments.
That is what my brother does, with his wonderful intellect shown on the hands. On starvation wages on the Nepal Radio, he is heavily drunk at nights, and indulging in high-flown invectives against false pillars, social illusions, brainlessness and surfeiture. Extremely modern in outlook, and an amateur psychologist, he has no safe landing for his physical feet. He cannot step out of his own suicidal currents. That is an illustrative example for many a fellow brother at Kathmandu. Brains of high level are helpless. Limbs of high strength lie inert. Or if they must be yoked,?
( Text courtesy: Janmotsab journal-chief editor).