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The enemy within

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

With the kind of politicians Nepal is cursed with, we don’t need an India to wreck this country.

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One aspect of the 18-week-long Indian blockade of Nepal that has always baffled us is why New Delhi would want to inflict such harm on a little neighbour, and to a lesser degree, on itself. There are many theories about what ‘India’ really hopes to achieve with this siege, and it is unclear if India knows what India wants. Or maybe, as some have suggested, India cannot say what it really wants.

On the other hand, we are not at all surprised about the rulers in Kathmandu blundering from one mistake to another. Nepalis have never got the government they deserved. In the past 20 years we have been saddled with short-sighted, narrow-minded and greedy rulers. Most politicians since the mid-1990s instead of serving the people, have been self-serving crooks.

In Kathmandu’s corridors of power today it is all about deflecting attention from our own shortcomings to indulge in knee-jerk India-bashing. To be sure, New Delhi has used (some would say incited) the agitation in the plains to justify its blockade so that it can push through its economic and strategic agenda. Such blatant arm-twisting notwithstanding, the communistic UML-Maoist coalition has made matters worse and prolonged the crisis by its own fecklessness. The opposition NC is unmindful of the crisis and is playing politics as usual.

This coalition seems to take vicarious pleasure in playing victim and shifting all the blame on the blockade. Every day, ministers in the Oli administration come up with even more outlandish statements on ending load-shedding or wild promises about harnessing wind power, to mask their own incompetence. They are taking effective steps neither to end the crisis, nor to deal with the shortages and worsening hardships.

Instead of expediting the petroleum purchase deal with China, opening the Kodari border and urgently beginning the upgrade of the Rasuwa highway, all we get is political grandstanding and more rhetoric. Instead of announcing an emergency action plan for incentives to shift to electric public transport or to expedite hydropower projects, we get the same familiar waffling. Rather than immediately announce subsidies for domestic photo-voltaic systems with reverse metering, all we hear are speeches.

The overwhelming impression is of a state machinery and its organs profiting so much from the black market economy in fossil fuels that they want the crisis to last a while longer so they can fill their coffers. Four months into the blockade, we have no plans to fly in medicines and other essentials by air. With blessings from politicians and bureaucrats, NAC, NOC and NEA have their hands deep in the honeypot — the country be damned.

The most callous proof of government incompetence is how oblivious it is to the plight of over 2 million earthquake survivors this winter. Politicians of the NC and the UML have locked horns over the appointment of the CEO of the Reconstruction Authority. They let the bill lapse in parliament, allowed an already appointed CEO to fade into oblivion. The whole country is suffering from the blockade, but the plight of homeless earthquake survivors is doubly perilous. Yet an uncaring state is blissfully unmindful to their predicament.

Sooner or later, as a harsh winter hardens people’s attitudes, the all this flag-waving and nationalism is going to wear thin. Nepalis will point one finger at India, but the other three fingers will point back at our own establishment. The Oli government will be blamed for the failure to resolve the blockade and normalise the supply situation. Which is why the NC and the Madhesi parties want to strike home their advantage, because they know time is not on Oli’s side.

Zooming out from the current crisis, we see the lapses of the past have caught up with us. And we cannot blame India for them. How does a country with the richest hydropower potential in the region suffer such a crippling shortage of electricity? How come a drinking water project for Kathmandu Valley that should have been completed in five years taken 25? Why has foreign investment never taken off despite the gains we made in the early 1990s in attracting them? Why haven’t we been able to hold local elections for village, district and municipal councils for 20 years? Why is the Tarai fast-track moving at a turtle pace? Why is Kathmandu airport in the state it is in? We could go on …

With self-seeking politicians like the ones Nepal has been cursed with, we don’t really need an India to wreck our country.

Read also:

Mopping up Editorial

Calling a blockade a spade Editorial

Tea and biscuits Anurag Acharya

Flag waving Editorial

In Dependence Editorial

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10 Responses to “The enemy within”

  1. Gfellow on Says:

    For a change, start taking control of your own destiny. Dont blame India for all your problems. India can help, but dont always push a China card in India’s face because you will not get any friendly help then. Nepal belongs to Nepalese people and they elected the government. If Nepalese people want help from India where India is always there in time of need, then Nepal needs to not go against India’s interests. Cant have it both ways.

  2. Raj on Says:

    You Nepalis blame India for everything, but so conveniently forget the things we have done for you. After the Earthquake funds were being raised in all major cities. I donated Rs. 10 thousand. No we are not trying to buy you. But it hurts when after helping you in your hard times, you succumb to pro-Chinese communist propaganda against India. Go read the comments made on Modi and India, and the extreme cheap language used. And after all this you want special treatment? Do some introspection first.

  3. Anurag on Says:

    If you people have such high pride, why don’t you return back all the aid provided by India?

  4. namah on Says:

    those who read and agree with your blogs…usually are powerless…those in power can hardly read and understand your feelings…

  5. BNS on Says:

    Absolutely agree we need no enemies to destroy us when we have leaders like the ones we had and have now. The only hope for change we had in this generation’s lifetime was when we took the power away from the Shahs and gave it to our elected representatives. But who do we get as our saviour? Girija Prasad. The first thing he does is nominate 5 members of his clan to his cabinet. All his actions after that was geared towards securing power for himself, his daughter and other members of his clan. How did someone as incompetent as Shushil Koirala become the leader of the main democratic party of the country except for that he is part of the ruling clan of Koiralas? He even refused to honor the deal he made with UML and declared himself a candidate for prime minister because the Indian ambassador told him do so. No he want to bring another Koirala to replace him. This I believe is worse than financial corruption as this clan rule prevents all capable politician from ever coming to power. Nepal is doomed if we are to follow this path. The only hope is if we rise and demand a directly elected executive who is responsible to the people directly and not to the people who control the party like the Koiralas. This is what all Nepalese, Pahadis and Madhesis should be fighting for not for more or less provinces.

  6. Dinesh Bhatta on Says:

    lol…sounds like you’ve had enough. It’s good to let it all out sometimes. At least you can share your frustrations publily and reach the mass, there are millions of us who can’t.

    Perhaps when we point one finger to the politicians, the three others are pointing to ourselves – we voted them in? And perhaps you could help next time during election making voters better informed about their “chosen ones”. For now perhaps, you could use some of your media magnanimity to exert pressure to get these “rulers” (I don’t like this word – sounds very undemocratic) to their task. In your own industry – Rupert Murdoch sways the political outcome across the globe, perhaps it’s time you might muster your efforts for some tangible outcome in this country.

    We all know it’s been 20 years – but it’s always been those 20 odd politicians running the show – is there a role for your organisation to assist in transitioning the system from dumb-nut “rulers” to “leaders”?

  7. mkc on Says:

    Dear Mr Dixit,

    Its not just you, thousands of Nepalis including myself feel the same way, helpless and hopeless due to non-performing and corrupt politicians and govt officials of the country.

    Everyone I talk to say they are sick and tired of the politicians, and yet the politicians are living life of wellness and luxury. I wonder why has there not emerged a public power or force to put these stupid politicians out of power.

    Has anything even been better in Nepal since the advent of democracy?

    Democracy has been a curse to the nation. Democracy is great, but it just does not seem to suit the country. Fifteen years ago they said, it will take time for a new democratic nation to settle, but I have not see anything except a downhill ride of the nation.

    I am quite sure, at present , people of Nepal would rather live in a peaceful kingdom rather than a democracy they cannot understand.

    I am not a royalist nor a monarchist, I am a nationalist, and the only solution I see for Nepal is a baby king that can stand as a symbol of unification.

  8. Arpit on Says:

    Request the Nepalese writers use the words “Indian Government” while referring to the “blockade” instead of “India”.

  9. Anisur Rahman on Says:

    At last Nepal bowed down before India. What a poor performance by an elected govt!India will not end it’s arm twisting. don’t even dream that. gradually it will swallow Nepal like Sikim . Bangladesh is also on their palm with the help of present govt. Bangladesh got more than 1 and a half crore “MADHESIS ” .they r waiting for a “situation”to call India to take over with the help of present govt . this govt wants to stay in power till 2050 even at the cost of bangladesh sovereignty..we don’t know what will be the role of rest millions of bangalis at that time . Would they fail to stand up against Indian aggression like Nepal.?

  10. Anisur Rahman on Says:

    It is wise to live in hell than to live in heaven as slave.3 crore Nepales minus traitor and India agents MADHESIS, how come they could not thwart Indian dirty game with Nepal !!.look at tiny MALDIVES. they kicked out India from their country and smashed INDIA’S pocking dirty nose! India tried to grab MALDIVES with the help of Indian stooge NASHID and his gang.why Nepal is begging to begger India ? Why can’t it go to China for all out help?is slavery a blood disease of NEPALI politicians?

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