Nepali Times
My Take



Trust our political parties to act like ostriches while the common people struggle to carry on with their lives.

There's a more pathetic scene to be seen than the one that the parties are currently indulging in over power-sharing and the calculation of gains and losses for the (upcoming) election - the queue of hundreds of passport-seekers outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in the capital.

If you want a clear demonstration of people's lack of faith in those who are supposed to make life easier for the citizens, look no further. The lines of those seeking a better life elsewhere is the most definitive 'no confidence' vote in the political parties by the people.

But even the most basic right of acquiring one's passport is being made much more difficult, as if the people have not been punished enough already. I spoke to some applicants outside the gates of MoFA and found that some are still unaware about the recent change of rules that requires them to have their applications endorsed by district administration offices (DAOs).

Apparently, there's not been much publicity despite the notice in the media. The change that came into effect almost a month ago was because the ministry officials could not think of a better way to beat the criminals who found a way to get machine readable passports (MRPs) by forging documents. Another reason was to diminish the crowd at the MoFA gates. The result is people who come from all over Nepal have seen their hard-earned money go to waste. Some have had to stay in hotels in the capital for over a week, only to be asked to go back to their district and come again.

MoFA officials, on the other hand, are a harried lot. They are simply unable to cope with the pressure despite doing everything they can to make the process of acquiring a passport easier. Here's a list of things they could work on.
First off, they need to revert to a single page application form and do away with the form that has print on both sides, available at MoFA and DAOs. If you fill out the form electronically (a mode preferred by MoFA), it is rendered useless unless you copy the DAO's endorsement onto the backside of the filled application form. To avoid this hassle, MoFA could ask the DAOs to verify applicants' papers, download the new single page forms, fill in the required endorsement details, and then have applicants fill them in.

The application form and instructions to download it on the Central Passport Office's website - - are not user-friendly either. Clicking on 'Download Forms' does not lead to the forms; instead it takes you to instructions on how to fill them in. Yet another click is required to locate the link that finally takes you to the form. This speaks less of the CPO or MoFA and more of the software developer who designed such a system in the first place. This is not all. You need to press the tab button on your computer each time before you type in a letter or digit. The cursor does not automatically place itself in the next box. How difficult can it be to fix this?

While these technical problems can and should be fixed, the best way is to delegate the responsibility to DAO to collect application materials and issue the passport after it is printed at CPO at MoFA. This is already being done for Kathmandu valley citizens. It needs to be followed in other districts without further delay. This will not only ease the pressure on the MoFA but also save people coming to the capital for their passports a lot of trouble and money.
Poverty, politics and the urgent need of people make for a compelling case to immediately review the passport distribution system.

Jingoistic jerks, RABI THAPA

1. slarti
Six years into democratic rule the Maoists started their murder campaign. They claimed that the democratic change was not working. The factors identified by them were the fact that there was a Monarchy in the country and that political parties were regressive.

Ten years into that war, which continued under the reign of different political parties of different dispensations which continued to ridicule the Maoist demands, the same political parties stuck an alliance with the Maoists. Headed by a person under whose watch the terrorist set themselves up and whose failures gave this war to the country and with support from all those who opposed him.

Commentators and analysts hailed the alliance, as one said - "leaving aside the question of political, constitutional, socio-cultural legitimacy of the current regime, 2005 saw its dismal failure in even the fundamental test of any authoritarian regime: maintaining law and order."

This was on the basis of complains that a promise made at the start of the year was not delivered close to the end of that year in its entirety.

As subsequent evidence showed. The government of the time was facing an insurgency by a brutal organisation rampantly murdering and terrorising the citizens of this country. The political parties would not allow the functioning of normal government by creating a series of obstacles. A close neighbour, 32 times larger, was focusing its energy on creating instability.

Against all these odds, the government of the day was managing to deliver on substantial promises. The local elections were held with 20% participation (severely criticised by the said commentators) in an environment of palpable fear.

Cut to the present time. It has been five years with not a single obstacle created by a single organisation worth mentioning. All the leading participants agree on all their objectives. They all agree that Nepal needs to live in a state of Utopia.

You can't get a passport in that Utopia where employment is not available in the country.


2. slarti
The most reviled and hated man in the country pleaded:

"I once again would like to request the parties-is it mobocracy the people want? If the fruit is already rotten, what will you pick? I can reinstate parliament but that would violate the constitution. Would that be right? I am the patron of the constitution, it is the people who have to say what needs to be done. The constitution does not apply just for the king. Destruction, vandalism, arson, these are not what Nepalis are known for. Where did all this come from? The parties need to be clear about whether or not to hold talks with the Maoists. They should also make their position clear about terrorism, corruption, good governance and fiscal discipline. Only then can we reach a conclusion on how to go about things.

The 1 February move was for the good of the country and the people. I have heard that the country has been able to witness some peace. But peace is yet to be restored across the country. There has been progress in the last three months. Our responsibility is to establish the progress made in the Valley and urban areas and to spread the normalcy throughout the country. These things take time. No one has a magic wand. This is the age of democracy. The country has to be navigated with a democratic culture. The priority of 'me, party and then the country' needs to be reversed. Without peace neither will there be development nor democracy. Try to be in my shoes. It is difficult to do everything at once. Running the country through ordinance is not a good trend but it can't be run by the laws of the jungle either. We need to move ahead abiding by the law and we need to understand the situation and compulsions. The monarchy wishes to see democracy flourish in a way that accommodates everyone.

The evil man is sitting quietly on the sidelines. For five years, he is still recognised as an evil man, responsible for every failure on the part of the political party. No Nepali will ever respect the man. Their repeated refrain for hating him. uuuuuuuu,mm,,,,,mmmmmmmm I will just mention the first line of an Elvis song, Suspicious minds

We're caught in a trap
I can't walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Why can't you see
What you're doing to me
When you don't believe a word I say?

We can't go on together
With suspicious minds
And we can't build our dreams
On suspicious minds

So, if an old friend I know
Drops by to say hello
Would I still see suspicion in your eyes?

We can't go on together
With suspicious minds
And be can't build our dreams
On suspicious minds

Oh let our love survive
Or dry the tears from your eyes
Let's don't let a good thing die

When honey, you know
I've never lied to you
Mmm yeah, yeah

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)