73 Years of Nepali Democracy

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73 Years of Nepali Democracy

BY Madan Lamsal

Seventy-three long years have sauntered by since our country first stumbled into democracy. So, what's the big hoo-ha about these many years passing? Can we really do anything productive about it? I mean let's face it - neither you nor I can do anything. And let's not kid ourselves; the rest of the world isn't exactly holding its breath either! Now, our democracy is strutting around like a peacock in its seventh decade. One day, it's going to throw an 80th birthday bash, then a 90th, and before you know it, it'll demand a Centennial Gala! Meanwhile, our country remains the same and it will remain the same - as consistent as that stubborn uncle who never changes his favorite armchair placement. The mountains loom in the north, the Terai stretches lazily in the south, the Koshi River flows eastward, and the Mahakali keeps grumbling in the west. Our borders might shift a tad, but really, does it matter if our border pillars do the inward slide?

But honestly, who cares if a country is big or small? A country is a country, right? It’s like saying ‘Does it matter if your pizza is 12 inches or 8 inches? It’s still pizza!’ Moreover, what’s the deal with our country? All those Nepalis who do not live abroad are packed like sardines in this place! Though the number of Nepalis leaving the country for abroad is high, the number of those living in the country is not less. Look at the traffic jams and the crowds of people on the roads. True, we cannot increase our economic growth rate but we can certainly increase our population! After all, we too have to prove our worth to the world in some way!! 

In these 73 years of democracy, our nation got big leaders. After the big leaders were made, we gave birth to petty leaders who in turn gave birth to even smaller leaders. In fact, we built a huge pyramid of leaders! And thus became self-reliant in leaders. We don’t have to look at foreign countries any longer for guidance. We can guide one another ourselves. The door to leadership is open for everyone. If you have nothing worthwhile to do, you can become a leader of our country! If you already have something worthwhile to do, you are already a leader!! 

If you aspire to do some good in the world, they say you should become a leader. But if your aim is to stir up some trouble and spread chaos, well, then, you should aim to become a BIG leader! And if you find yourself in the acting world, congratulations! You've got all the necessary skills to lead. In a country with too many actors, there's always an abundance of drama, just like a soap opera with endless plot twists. Now, picture a city brimming with leaders—what do you get? A political party extravaganza! It's like hosting a carnival where everyone claims to be the ringmaster! Yet, these days, it seems like the party attendees have hijacked the democracy bus more than the actual drivers. No wonder we're experiencing more political accidents than ever before! 

Our country boasts vast, bountiful land, where food grains sprout like nobody's business. But it seems we're in a never-ending competition: the more grains we grow, the faster new mouths appear to gobble them up. So, naturally, we've become world champions in food imports – filling our bellies to the brim! During these democratic decades, we've been busy cultivating crops and ordering them from abroad. We've mastered the art of eating and digesting with unparalleled precision. Thanks to a blend of foreign grains and local wizardry, we've achieved the delicate balance in our stomachs!

Meanwhile, we've embraced modern living by turning our homes into fortresses of comfort, complete with ACs, designer kitchens, and plush bedrooms. In fact, we've evolved so much that our houses now come with built-in kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms. To achieve this architectural marvel, we've assembled an army of contractors and builders. But here's the kicker – while our buildings keep soaring to new heights, our country seems to be engaged in a never-ending limbo contest, sinking lower and lower into who-knows-where!

In these democratic decades, our production surged, but the cost of making things skyrocketed even faster. People somehow became less valuable, while goods became more precious than gold. The average citizen ended up feeling like a clearance rack item while everyday items seemed like they should be displayed in a museum! Suddenly, the appeal of our humble abodes plummeted, while the allure of hotels and resorts soared to new heights. It's as if people started respecting the sparkle of jewelry more than the folks wearing them. High-ranking positions became so elevated that even the mountains couldn't compete. We used to be known as 'Bahadur' only within our neighborhoods, but now, we're 'Bahadur' on a global scale! We began our journey selling artifacts, and now we've somehow graduated to selling everything – stones, aggregates, sand, water, and even our youth! If we continue selling our honesty and treasures at this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if we ended up having a 'For Sale' sign on our beloved country's doorstep. After all, who's going to rear a cow when everyone's got an uninterrupted supply of milk? 

In these democratic years, our country has had more ups and downs than a rollercoaster at an amusement park. It's like watching the clock at Ghantaghar that keeps ticking, but the country just snoozes through it all, blissfully unaware of the passage of time. No wonder we're fashionably late to everything, as if we were following 'Nepali Standard Time' instead of the regular clock. We might have had trouble distinguishing between 'what was what' — like, who needs a compass when you can just ask for directions, right? Hence, we find ourselves in a pickle where our cooking stoves would remain as cold as a snow-capped peak if it weren't for loans and grants from abroad. It's almost like our souls have packed their bags for abroad while our bodies are stuck in a never-ending queue at the immigration counter!

Looking back at where we started 73 years ago and where we've arrived today is like comparing apples and rocket ships. Our 'progress' can be measured by the fact that we've managed to turn our once-pristine rivers into murky swamps and our roads into tactical ambush zones. But hey, on the bright side, we've imported some fancy, shiny cars to navigate these obstacle courses. 

Our streets are littered with garbage, but our citizens? Well, they're strutting around like they're on the red carpet at the Oscars, decked out in tie-suits. Our homes may be cozy, but it's as if the country outside has gone for a makeover at a spa, trying to look radiant while being a hot mess inside. And don't even get me started on our leaders – they've mastered the art of thinking low while raising their egos and arrogance to staggering heights. I'm not entirely sure if our country has gotten stronger, but I can tell you that casteism and political parties are certainly giving 'strength in numbers' a whole new meaning!

This seven-decade-long democratic journey has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. They embarked on a mission to end poverty, but somewhere along the way, they must have mistaken 'enriching themselves' for 'ending poverty.' Now, if you're wondering what the next 173 years will bring, don't hold your breath — it might be a rerun of the past 73 years, just with a few more twists and turns. But hey, let's not forget how 'unique' these last 73 years were! The country made such 'tremendous progress' that it's practically unrecognizable. You've seen it with your own eyes! What the late Ganeshman Singh might have called 'a baby democracy' has apparently grown into a full-fledged adult, complete with all the quirks and idiosyncrasies that come with age! 

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