Nepali Times
Politically Cracked
Blow your own trumpet


When Germany hosted the FIFA World Cup football tournament in 2006, there was no iPhone. Twitter was just preparing its launch. Books were only made of paper, and middle-aged folks had yet to discover, let alone join, Facebook.

Starting today, more than a billion people around the world will hear the sound of the vuvuzela, the South African plastic horn, as the World Cup hogs the fibre optic networks like nothing has done before. For the first time in history, coverage of this worldwide event will be delivered through live 3D, HD television, online streaming and mobile technologies, surpassing traditional media outlets like television, radio and newspapers.

A lot can change in four years. And events like these become not just an excuse for wearing bright nylon jerseys and drinking, but also milestones for measuring technological, political and social progress.

The biggest story this year, unless the United States wins the cup, will be about the host. Until 1994, the World Cup hadn't even been televised in South Africa. This year, it has spent billions of dollars building world class stadiums for the multi-national event that Archbishop Desmond Tutu described being as "important as Obama getting into the White House." As the country's former President Thabo Mbeki has said, South Africa hopes the tournament will be another Mandela moment,"when Africa stood tall and resolutely turned the tide of centuries of poverty and conflict."

More than 300,000 football fans from around the world will arrive in South Africa this week. Thirty-two teams and 736 players will play in 10 venues across the country. Did anyone living under apartheid, when 90 per cent of the population had no voice or voting rights, think this was possible? Did Nelson Mandela envision this day when he walked out of Robben Island prison in 1990? Today, South Africa carries the mantle of pride for the entire continent, as it welcomes the world to Africa.

Here in Nepal, the World Cup fanfare will be centred on urban areas, as when my father bought his first television for the World Cup in 1994, the same year South Africa held its first democratic and multi-racial elections. Most Nepalis will hear of the tournament through special advertising campaigns by noodle companies, even if they are delivered to their villages by mules.

For those of us who like indulge in self-reflection, South Africa's experience is not about when Nepal, or South Asia for that matter, will host the games. Nor is it about when our team will make it to the games, although just imagine how wonderful that will be if supporting proxies can be so much fun (Go England!). We got a peace agreement soon after Fabio Cannavaro kissed the World Cup trophy in 2006, and abolished the monarchy subsequently. But do we have anything to show for the years since, beside the utter political disarray and the proliferation of MSG-laden ramen brands? Perhaps the South Africans can lend us their vuvuzelas to wake us up from this slumber.

Life support, Publisher's note
The intellectual dilemma, Mohan Bikram Singh
Losing ground, Prashant Jha
The partisan press, CK Lal
Making work work, Ashutosh Tiwari
350 days for new constitution, Ass

1. jange
"But do we have anything to show for the years since, beside the utter political disarray..."

But surely you knew that would happen when the 12 point agreement was signed??

So, why complain. It is what you wanted!

just curious. Have you read the 12 point agreement?

2. anish
What is the point of this article? Come on, write something substantial.

3. tired
i think to look at just the political sphere to seek progress is useless, even counterproductive.  it is what it is.  and it is but a very, very small part of most people's lives, when it comes right down to it.  gotta make a living and then live.  dogs bark and politicians shout.  or they don't.  who cares about them losers.  (i can already hear but this or that is the most important. this or that affects everything in the end, etc., etc.  whatever.  i for one am beyond the point of caring anymore.  and certainly don't want to reflect on why the losers didn't achieve...didn't you hear? i've got football matches to watch.)

i would like to think we have made tremendous progress in many other ways in the last four years, if anyone cared to measure or even care about the other (more important) dimensions of society/life.

4. AP
Very thoughtful and well delivered...

5. John
I am sorry, but this is a very, very opinionated piece. I understand that it's your writing, and being a successful writer, you do have the ability to write whatever you'd like and in whichever format that would please you, but I see that you lack honesty in your writing. And that's a problem.
Fact checking; it's simple.

6. Chandra Gurung
I agree with "tired". Nepal has achieved many things in community level, but some KTM centric people only look at the govt and declare everything is failure in Nepal. To start with, four years ago, Maoists were shooting, terai was unlivable etc. Things are improving. More and more Nepali are super rich and their overall health is improving. People are better off today than ever. We must demand more, but to declare that everything is just bad is self defeating and nihilistic.

7. Chamarey
I understand NT is struggling to get writers who are composed, articulate, and educated. I guess you are also bringing on board a new crop of journalists. But please spare us with this sort of mediocrity. After all, I pay the money you ask for every week for your newspaper and you have no right to shove whatever you think is good enough for us.

8. Billa
anish; What is the point of this article?
The clue for the author's motive is surely in the title...
Come on, write something substantial.
Clearly, trite superficiality pays better.

9. Akanchhya Gurung
Nice analyses and indeed an eye opening section........Great job!!!!

10. Roshan Gurung
Indu Zee, this is a good Read. This is what I wrote on my facebook status on the day the Games started... It's quiet near your views....

The World's biggest Sports spectacle should awaken us, "Nepalese" from our self enforced immaturity, especially given that the Host country is South Africa. It is a Democracy as young as ours'. It was an "International Pariah" fractured by the "Apartheid" in my own living memory. Wake up not just for the Games but from you own Dogmatic Slumbers

11. Uday
Great article, a nice combination of facts and morals. I totally agree, we need vuvuzelas to wake up. Well done!

12. Aakash Pradhan

Indu Nepal has stated well that we have just become a MSG chow chow country.............................what a good analysis !!!........Hats off to the writer.................!!!!!Great!!!! 

This writer's articles are always on ground of facts, faith and always gives a positive motivation to the readers...............................I hope that our illiterate, selfish and foolish myopic leaders get some time to go through Indu Nepal's articles...........

13. Abhi
 To me, it seems like just a simple article well written. I expect more from LSE alumni.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)