Nepali Times
Ich bin ein UNMINer


Earlier this year the Ass had guesstimated that the UN's deployment in Nepal would increase Nepal's GDP growth rate by one percentage point. It turns out that was a gross understatement. Given the number of UN SUVs, pickups, planes, and helicopters (and you wonder why we have a fuel shortage?) that have been brought in together with the personnel to ride them, Nepal's GDP is easily going to grow by four percent more than it would normally. If one adds to that the salaries of new Nepali staff, house rentals in the Sanepa/Jhamsikhel/ Pulchok area, the extra food consumed, the beer quaffed, and other downstream benefits, it could even cross five.

The ass doesn't know about peace, but our macroeconomic prospects sure look good. But there is one thing UN people sitting in their retrofitted cubicles at the BICC should now turn their attention to: a logo. How come UNMIN doesn't yet sport one? An operation of this magnitude needs an easily-recognisable emblem.


So is His Awesomeness going to attend Kingji's 60th birthday bash on 7 July at the Kaski Baithak in Narayanhiti or not is the question on everyone's mind. Invitations have gone out to just about everyone, the Ass has been told, including dyed-in-wool republicans. This shouldn't be a surprise since the person who has made the biggest contribution to the republican cause in this country is none other than Kingji himself.


Unlike Comrade Fearsome, it seems that the YCL is not waiting for parliament or the first session of the constituent assembly to be declared a republic. The young commies are on a billboard painting spree at most tarai border points with prominent red signs that proclaim: 'Welcome to the People's Republic of Nepal'. But they have forgotten Kathmandu airport and the fact that it is named after the grandfather of the nation.


Looks like every other party is taking its cue from the Maoists and setting up their own adolescent units patterned after the YCL. The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum has just set up the Madhes Youth Forum. The UML has activated its Akhilays, the NC-D has its Taruns and now the NC is also making a major deployment of its NSU youth wing (age bracket 40-50, since that is considered \'young\' by kangresis).

With 40 percent of the population below 18, it is heartening to note that our political parties have made moves to keep our youngsters gainfully employed. But the Ass wonders where all the combined exuberance of Nepali youth is going to take this country. The trend was started during the Panchayat absolute monarchy days when the rulers tried to channel adolescent energy through the Mandalay network as a vanguard force. If history has taught us anything, it is that Mandalays finally brought about the downfall of the absolute monarchy and when they grew older this residual group of hardcore royalists helped demolish what was left of the monarchy.


Chairman Prach has been trying to defend his boys by telling CNN-IBN in an excruciating interview that the YCL isn't all bad, that they even "clean the streets and plant trees". But we sympathise with Comrade Dahal. He must know that if anyone will hurt his party's chances at the polls it will be the YCL. In fact, the Maoists don't need any enemies as long as they have these youngsters running loose. Just as Daddy packed off his son Prakash on a junket to the People's Republic of China, he should also send YCL honchos to visit the Red Guard Caf? in Beijing. On second thought, maybe not. They may decide to escape to Hong Kong.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)