Things fall apart when the centre doesn't hold. The prolonged political uncertainty in Kathmandu is having an impact across all sectors of the economy, and in the everyday lives of citizens.
The long queues for jobs in the army or police, the teeming passport seekers, the throngs at Korean language test centres and at the departure gate at the airport all indicate heightened public exasperation and disenchantment.
Politicians, whose inability to agree on forming a stable new government are the cause of all this, ignore this mass disaffection at their own peril. Someday they will reap the whirlwind. The only political forces that benefit are those that thrive on chaos and anarchy.
Even if it is only for their own self-preservation and well-being, the democratic parties that believe in non-violent change and pluralism should work together and curb short-term greed and ambition. If they don't stop fighting now, there will be nothing to fight over.
History is replete with example of demagogues and dictators who were propelled to power not by their ruthlessness, but by the fecklessness of moderate adherents of an open society, whose greed blinded them from seeing what was coming.
There has always been mismanagement in Nepal. We have come to take it as a given that governments will be ineffective and corrupt. Budgets, if passed, are seldom spent. Garbage has been piling up on Kathmandu streets for decades, especially since 1990. State-run corporations have all been bled dry. There have always been kleptocrats in the bureaucracy, and there has always been dacoitry in politics. But never has the level of malgovernance, corruption and apathy among our rulers been as visible and blatant as it is today.
The rubbish on the streets is symptomatic of the rot. The inability of the state to cope indicates the level of statelessness. Floods are ravaging the land from Mahakali to Mai Khola, but there hasn't been a coordinated state response. A CDO inspecting floods from a helicopter in Kanchanpur makes the news, not the fact that boulder mafias were quarrying the flood-control embankment.
In this issue we have an investigative report on how Nepali workers are not just being exploited, but are bought and sold like slaves. The victims are Nepali, the traffickers are Nepali. There is no point blaming the Libyans or the Macau authorities for this modern-day form of slavery in which the state is complicit.
This is what happens when society and the nation are without leadership. Crooks of all hues crawl out from holes in the ground to pick at the bones of what is left.
It is when the state goes into freefall that we have to be most vigilant to prevent the rise of strong-arm dictators who promise to set things right, and restore order. If that does happen, the blame will then fall squarely on the leaders who today call themselves 'democratic'.
Trafficking labour, JB PUN MAGAR and BABURAM BISWOKARMA
Nitty-gritty politicking, PRASHANT JHA
Meddling in the media, CK LAL
Singing of sorrow, INDU NEPAL
If the cap fits, ASHUTOSH TIWARI