--BY MADAN LAMSAL
The price of petroleum products has been rising constantly. It turned out that it rose 19 times in the last year itself. It seems the really successful politicians are the ones who can keep the people wanting for more- in this case, even the basic goods. It seems in this way they can keep their vote bank strong.
In other countries, the price of petroleum products rises when the price of crude oil rises in the international market. In our country, however, it rises when the top level politicians and bureaucrats need more money! In other countries, the price of petroleum comes down as well. But in Nepal, the price never comes down once it has risen. A hike in petroleum prices increases transportation costs which in turn makes almost everything dearer.
And again, this is not a game that started only recently. This con has been going on for decades. Therefore, if we cannot change the situation, then let’s change ourselves, or in other words, let’s view the situation from a different angle.
What happens when there is no price rise? When there is no price rise, the purpose for which the government is formed is not realised; so, a government which hikes prices is a government committed to development. The fact is, the government is really working for the wellbeing of the country, since, even in economics, price rises indicate that an economy is expanding! That’s why it has been regularly hiking the price of petroleum products. The government wants people to walk instead of using a motorcycle or car. We all know the benefits of walking! They say when your stomach starts expanding or petrol prices go up, either walk or ride a bicycle – both are beneficial! People in Europe have started using bicycles instead of cars. Don’t we need to copy them to become developed?
The government has increased the price of not just the oil that we put into our cars. Recently it gave its go-ahead to hike the price of the oil that we put into our stomachs or the edible oil. This move of the government is aimed at decreasing the consumption of oil. Everybody knows the benefits of consuming less oil. Now people will not die of heart attacks caused by high cholesterol levels resulting from consuming too much oil! People will still be able die in accidents and of hunger but not from heart attacks. Therefore, let’s apply Darwin’s law here and say that only those who are able to survive the high prices will live!
And again, the rise in prices and general unemployment are meaningless things. The acts of teaching and learning are done to pass the time. So many educational institutions were closed during the lockdown. Did that make any difference to any one? No. If that had made any difference then that difference should have been seen. No one utters a word when the price of edible oil is increased from Rs 160 per litre to Rs 280 per litre all at once. Even the student unions say nothing about how to increase the quality of education or employment opportunities in the country. Instead, they burn tyres on the streets every time the price of petroleum products is hiked by a rupee or two. Something is very wrong here!
Getting a job, going abroad or developing the country is a matter of sheer luck. You will accomplish what you want if you are lucky. You get a job if you are lucky otherwise not. We all came to this earth empty-handed and we will leave it empty-handed. The real fun in life is when you have to live empty-handed, like us Nepalis! How would foreigners know about any of this? The foreigners simply don’t understand such things. That’s why things are just the opposite in our and their parts of the world. They consider health and education as the main basis of prosperity but it is just the opposite in our part of the world. Because health and education are services in their part of the world while they are a business in our part of the world!
But don’t ask why this is so in our part of the world. You all know the people we have here think differently and practice policies and politics differently. The politicians believe they are the gods and we the people their subjects and act accordingly. The only difference between politics and robbery is elections! Hence thieves enjoy a better social standing than MPs and ministers in our society. There is only one thing that's holding the thieves back– thieves don’t have the logo of an MP and a pass to enter parliament. For that, you have to fight in the elections. That’s all.
Therefore, let’s change the way we think. Let’s move forward, believing whatever the government says. Let’s have trust in the jobs the government bodies do. Let’s not mistake the information they provide us for misinformation.
If the roads are dilapidated even in the cities, then let’s make travelling on such roads into an adventure. If we are not getting jobs, then let’s believe the government is just testing our tolerance and patience. If the course of justice has been obstructed at the courts, then let’s assume that the revolution has begun! If driving licenses haven’t been issued for years, then let’s think the government is hell-bent on decreasing the number of road accidents.
Let’s stop saying the government is not spending any money on development; let’s say it is saving it. Let’s not say the government keeps dragging its feet; let’s say its teaching us not to cook curry in a hurry! If there is no water flowing from our taps, then let’s feel lucky that there is the option of private water tankers and bottled water. If teaching and learning activities have come to a halt at educational institutions, then let’s get our degrees through Youtube! If you fall ill and don’t have the money to go to the hospital, drink turmeric-water or go to the shamans to get well.
Perhaps life will be a lot easier once we start thinking this way? Plato said centuries ago – “Reality is created by the mind. We can change our reality by changing our mind.” The Bhagavad Gita says it too, though in other words – “You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work!” So, let’s just read the Gita all day and become wise!