--BY MADAN LAMSAL
In this age, it is quite difficult to judge a person by his appearance. Moreover, it’s quite tricky to tell who is a thief, who is a pickpocket, who is a robber and who is a politician! In today’s era when the people are sweet-talked and swindled and the service-seekers are given buttery compliments so that they don’t complain, the people who look good are unlikely to be actually good. Equally, it’s quite likely that the good people are not ours and that “our” people are not good.
In the past, they would say “While in Rome, do as the Romans do” [means dress like the Romans] and “Judge the people by what they wear!” But these sayings don’t apply today. Today, even a half-naked person says – “Don’t judge me by my appearance!”
It is said, in this country, the rulers are corrupt, the administrators are corrupt, the police are corrupt, the judges are corrupt, those who get votes are corrupt and also those who cast the votes are corrupt (the politicians say so). If so, who is not corrupt then? And how do we know who is a politician and who is a scoundrel? Do the scoundrels with a goatee get a clean chit for conspiring to rob the state coffers in the middle of the night only in Nepal or elsewhere as well?
The scoundrels and their stooges say Nepal has changed. However, the result of this so-called change or the so-called ‘hard-won’ democracy is that today the food grains, vegetables and fruits we Nepalis eat are bought from foreign countries, we have been forced to find jobs in foreign countries, the vehicles we ride and the fuel needed for it imported from foreign countries, and the only train the country has was made in a foreign country and is being operated by foreign technicians. Things have come to such a pass that people say that our very government is made in foreign countries!
So, it’s no wonder that those who are ruling us are loyal to their foreign bosses who know that the best way to keep loyalty in a man’s heart is to keep money in his purse!! In such a situation is it going to be enough when it’s only the private sector which says – “Eat what is grown in Nepal, wear what is made in Nepal”? What is perhaps even more interesting is that those who chant these slogans often eat imported food and wear imported clothes and you find them more in foreign countries than in their own country!
The truth is I am not very fond of ridiculing and making a mockery of politicians, rulers and the other so-called big people. But again who should I ridicule if not the politicians and the rulers who have been making a mockery of the country and its people for decades? We chose them to rule us thinking that they were heroes. But in no time they proved that they were jokers! That was somewhat tolerable, but now, they have transformed into dangerous villains!! What are we supposed to do to such fake people if not criticize them? Or are we supposed to give them a clap in applause?
In this race for the chair - nothing else but the chair - rights and responsibilities are dying a tragic death. Because the politicians who are supposed to be responsible have forgotten their responsibilities and are busy stinging and biting each other. But they can still gather crowds wherever they go in the country! And look at the crowds. They reproach, censure and insult the politicians in public but vote for the same politicians secretly, when the elections are held!!!
So, the dirty game of politics goes on. But the price that the country and its people are paying for it is huge, very huge. It seems, without the chair, no politician will live for long. Every politician thinks his life is a complete failure if he doesn’t become a minister. How can we think that a politician who cannot even think to live without the chair will do something for the country?
We the people, the so-called sovereign people, are to blame for this sorry state of things equally. First, we elect certain politicians and then we criticize them when they cannot deliver. We curse them for five years, saying that the corrupt should be banished from the country. But at the end, we vote for the same politicians. It’s us who elect them. It’s us who put the garlands of victory around their necks, when they ‘win’ and we ‘lose’. It’s us who are always looking for opportunities to honor and felicitate them. So, it’s crystal clear that this mistake is not of the politicians; it is our mistake but the problem is we have been making this mistake time and again and yet not learning!
Many years ago when I was a kid, I never understood what a vote is and why it is cast. I am a mature adult today but I still cannot fathom what happens when we cast our ballots. Many years ago, we set the goal of improving our living standard. This goal is still intact, as it was when it was set. In other words, we were idiots, we are idiots and we will remain idiots if we continue doing what we have been doing. And all that we have been doing for the past many years is curse the politicians and also give a clap to the same politicians. Therefore, let’s stop cursing the politicians. Instead, let’s give them a huge round of applause every time they deliver their hollow speeches. Let’s not fight over who is wrong and who is right! Maybe this way we may change our plight!! Maybe that will also make our burden light!!!