Nepali Times
Untied nation


There is something in the Nepali character that makes us more divisive and prone to disunity than any other people. Perhaps our shared history is so faint, its symbols so ephemeral, our future so abstract, that it breeds individualism. The 'patriotic songs' every morning on radio extol the virtues of the impeyan pheasant, Mt Everest and Lumbini. But they sound like parodies.

Individually, we are proud to be Nepalis, but we can't seem to be collectively proud to be Nepalis. We like Nepal, but can't seem to stand other Nepalis. Especially if they are Nepalis who are doing well for themselves. It is this frog-in-the-well psyche that has kept us from getting ahead. There are many examples of Nepalis who have excelled in societies where there are no other Nepalis to pull them back.

It's not for lack of ability that we lag behind. It is not even because we have low self-esteem. A prime minister who has just been sacked told the youth wing of his faction, in all modesty, that he was "the best prime minister Nepal ever had, and will ever have". Well, some prime ministers are born great, others attain greatness, and still others just think they're great.

With misplaced pride on that scale, it is no wonder that we can't work together. Just look at our track record. Communist parties the world over are known for their divisiveness, but even by international standards, our comrades have set world records in disunity.

We don't know how bad it is in other countries, but it could be that this is a mentality common to poor countries, where the people are left to quarrel over such small pickings. They end up fighting each other instead of those who are cheating them.

Congress vs Congress vs Congress, UML vs Congress, UML vs ML, ML vs ML, RPP vs RPP, ironically, even the leftist party that called itself 'Unity Centre' eventually split. Usually the reasons are not ideological, but personal envy, jealousy and pride. Somehow, the Maoists have not split yet. But give them time. They are Nepalis after all.

Because we take things so personally, we haven't as a nation been able to transform our genuine and deeply felt sense of national pride into a unity of purpose. We can, and must, override our ingrained cultural individualism to achieve a sense of collective destiny. Otherwise we will just keep on fighting each other until there is nothing left to fight over.

What's up with the lamentations? There're plenty of examples that Nepalis can achieve great things if they get organized and united, including toppling a feudal state. Cheers for a new decade.

2. Roshan Thapa
the main reason for disunity is casteism and further divisions even within a particular caste. Another reason is distorted version of Hinduism where casteism is given prominence. Even when racial divide is fading in the West, we are still divided by man made divisions. Kingship was another big reason why the evil of casteism prevailed. Perhaps, if all Nepalese changed surnames, it could give us a head start.

3. Arthur
"Somehow, the Maoists have not split yet." "We can, and must, override our ingrained cultural individualism to achieve a sense of collective destiny. Otherwise we will just keep on fighting each other until there is nothing left to fight over." Does the author understand what is implied by what he just said!?

4. Gangalal
Arthur, there's a word in Nepali, कुपमण्डक, which means a frog in a pond. What the frog sees, the frog reports!

5. Sargam
A thoughtful year ahead of us. Let us wipe the slate clean. Those who were spewing hatred and venom all throughout the past year in this country sure enough will make an effort to best put a curb on their hostile attitudes because hitherto we require to be calm, reasonable and most importantly thoughtful. We blame nobody, but those who were deliberately tipping dirty water down the sink must stay put. Let us look on the bright side of things. For the Y2K10 how's about getting some grown-ups? We never know with any luck at all, we Nepalese somehow get it all sorted out. I've still in mind something of the past that I remember: "Liberty has a sharp and double edge, fit only to be handled by just and virtuous men; to bad and dissolute, it becomes a mischief unwieldy in their own hands: neither is it completely given, but by them who have the happy skill to know what is grievance and unjust to a people, and how to remove it wisely, what good laws are wanting, and how to frame them substantially, that good men may enjoy the freedom which they merit, and the bad the curb which they need." More precisely, the above stated quotation is an excerpt taken from my archive of English literature that always guided me. As of now I stay hopeful that many netizens of this website, (let us name it 'blogosphere'), would take the initiative to be creative and constructive and at the same time some epoch-molding insights which have got legs, would be presaging the dawn of another blissful day to come in this country, so that we shall not be compelled to tag someone, unwittingly, a 'dork' and stitch a notice on his back saying 'kick me'!?! In politics a bit of caustic remarks don't bode ill for anybody. See how that gracious lady Gael Collins of the NY Times uses them to slam the US politicos' little failings. That's no doubt the sign of a healthy politics.

6. DA
The latest editorial ----headlined United Nation---appears to be an essay you wrote just the day before---Thursday---not in 2002. Your warning has proved prophetic. We, the Nepalis, continue to be disunited. And the recent Maoist announcements for "autonomous republics" might add insult to the injury.

7. Danny Birch
Hey, His Late Majesty King Mahendra realised the true character of these so-called netas and the destructive, even catastrophic consequences that would ensue if Nepal were to allow their parties to gain power. That's why he jailed or exiled them and forbade party politics. Now it's too late, but it is really too bad that they didn't remain jailed, exiled and forbidden! Anyone who still believes that the supposedly "Democratic" multi-party takeover represents some sort of social or political progress and is an improvement on King Mahendra's unifying panchayat system, needs to have their head examined.

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(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)