Essay : State of the Nation

~Dibesh Karmacharya~

Like every year, we had Nepali New Year parties in New York/New Jersey areas this year as well. With the growing Nepali population in the area, it is getting harder to organize Nepali get together these days. I attended couple of those parties myself along with my wife. And like last year and year before, some of the New York Nepali party ended up in brawl. Two years back when this happened, it did not alarm me or triggered any of my concern buttons. It is taken for granted here to have such a brawl at the end of any Nepali party. I guess it is a way to conclude to celebrate the joy of getting together. This year however when the party that I attended in Queens, New York ended in a “bottle fight”, it made me think about our Nepali Community. Maybe we can not enjoy peace too long, maybe we have the urge to keep our brave Gurkhali blood in hot condition. Our history is well respected for Gurkhali reputation in all the battlefields. These days however, we have not been able to hear such compliments from anyone else. So we go about proving ourselves that we are still known for our fighting skills, the only difference being we are using our skills against ourselves. This could be a micro example of the bigger picture of the situation back home, I believe. We have a society that can not get along with each other.

I was involved in a group discussion among our friends regarding the future of Nepal. These days such discussions are easily created when few Nepalese get together in one room and start drinking some alcoholic beverages. One of our Nepali friends was so frustrated, it seems, that he even proposed that Nepali Military take over the country. “You know what the problem is? The problem is people are too damn free. They need to be desciplined. Only strict rules will make them behave.” And surprisingly lot of people agreed to what he said. Even I agreed to that to some extent.

When I hear all the news on Nepali politics, I get to so frustrated and vexed. And with all the bloodshed and chaos in the country, one would think Politicians will make better dissions by now. But when I hear infighting within Nepali Congress and how power monger Gririja Babu is still after the Prime minister’s seat, that just outrages me. How can they be so ignorant and greedy and irresponsible?

The problem our country is facing with Maoist rebels is of course a great tragedy. At the same time everyone knows why the problem started. It (problem) is triggered and fueled by social injustice, the growing gap between the poor and the rich, the rampant corruption among the higher officials and the failed system administrators of the Multi party democracy. Problem is deeper than few Maoists attacking police posts. Our politicians have failed us miserably and due to their grave mistakes and greed and irresponsibility we have come to this boiling point. At this point I believe we have to focus on the root of the problem and not the superficial fix.

The truth of the matter is, we as a Nation has been cultivating very fowl culture- the culture of self-prosperity and self-centeredness. We have little or no regard for our Fellow citizens; we do not care about our communal harmony. We are too self centered, too materialistic. This is the cause of our corrupt minds. So when chief of Army Mr. Rana had the guts to tell the reality in a public speech, our politicians could not take it. Our government is so corrupt that now International donors are reluctant to give any aide to us. And why should they? Our dear politicians are all over the money as soon as they smell that Dollar coming to Nepal’s door.

At this point it is hard to blame anyone. Admitting the fact that we have bad political culture is the major step. The system has nothing to do with the downfall of our country. If we had honest and healthy political culture, our country would have done fine regardless of Panchayat or Multi party system. Although I am a firm believer of a democratic society, I also believe that it is the driver and not the car that causes accident. Our country have had good share of bad drivers. Now that raises the whole new question- does our country have any visionary, any genuine and honest leader? So far I have not seen one. That is the biggest tragedy of our Nation. We have no leader; we as a Nation do not know where we are headed. We are blind, very blind. No one can predict the future of our Nation. No one has either the guts or the zeal to steer the wheel of our Nation. As a beehive without its queen, we have been left out for the bears to steal our honey.

Unless and until we get our acts right and have better opportunity for all the Nepali people, we will be never able to solve the current problem. It is so painful to see all the bloodshed in our country. While our troops are engaged in “Peace Keeping” missions in other countries, no one in our own Nation is been able to provide us with Peace. And like brawls every year in Nepali New Year party, our nation goes through the emotional roller coaster. Light at the end of the tunnel is not a reality for Nepal.

Dibesh Karmacharya
Volume V:: May, 2002

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