Nepalis are the bravest of the brave and hospitable beyond the call of duty, if we are to believe our own mythmaking. By the same token, they're akin to a cluster of crabs in a bucket; we do enjoy the odd game of khutta tanne, a local variation on the globally accredited 'tall poppy syndrome'.
Going by the Facebook protests in the capital lately, the so-called sukila-mukila of yesteryear are live and kicking. Inevitably, the initiative to use social networks to push for a constitution and outlaw the plague of bandas has spawned a couple of dismissive op-eds. Protestors have been damned for their alleged loyalty to brands (rather than the 'people') and their moralistic outrage (as opposed to practical politics).
To state the obvious: everyone has the right to protest, as long as the protest does not tread on the rights of anyone else. Thus bandas, particularly of the illogical variety that have sprung up in this last week, are a no-no. Rallies that do not obstruct traffic ‚Ä" such as those in Khula Manch ‚Ä" and which seek to counter those who obstruct our freedom to move around and conduct our business, are definitely kosher.
We've heard some perverse arguments in the meantime. When the indefinite Maoist banda of last May began to fall apart, the former revolutionaries complained that reactionaries were provoking them and impinging upon their right to protest. Coming from those who seized the right to unleash violence in response to literal or structural state violence, this was hardly surprising. From left-of-centre commentators embedded into sukila-mukila society, it borders on the absurd.
Those who've turned up to the Facebook events were by no means a homogenous clique of prosperity. But let us assume that such a class manifests itself beyond the pages of ECS and TGIF to frivolously protest on the streets when the fancy takes it. Critical commentators should in fact be glad that the indolent elite are demonstrating some interest in politics. So what's their problem?
At the core of the antagonism lies mistrust, and a certain contempt, of the sukila-mukila. But more important from the perspective of the armchair revolutionary is to publicly distance oneself from this class as in reality, they are as favourably bound to the system as the sukila-mukila.
One would think a more positive response towards the Facebookers ‚Ä" in intent no different from the umpteen protesters in front of the Constituent Assembly ‚Ä" would contribute to the creation of a better, fairer system. But perhaps the problem, for the critics, lies in the supposedly naïve and moralistic tone of all these protests that demand a constitution NOW. After all, politics is politics, they say, and without the tedious negotiations among the representatives of the people, we'd only have a half-assed sketch of a constitution, respected by none. Granted: no one is suggesting we set up a Government of Nepal on Facebook. But to dismiss protests as naïve and moralistic is just that. Morality and ethics are at the heart of politics, and underlie the very notion of human rights.
So how were the actual protests? The Khula Manch gathering last Saturday was heartfelt, patriotic, but a little unsatisfactory, because there was no real objective other than to vent one's frustration and no guarantee that one would be listened to. The motorcycle rally against the Chettri Samaj banda on Monday was more purposeful ‚Ä" a literally liberating experience. What would have been clear to clear-eyed observers of both events was that those attending were extremely concerned about the state of the state, but also recognised the need to continue with their lives. It may come as news to political parties and their cadres, but politics and the economy must go hand in hand if Nepal is to prosper.
If anyone has any doubts about the futility of bandas, as enforced by a rash of identity-led causes, consider what I heard from a kid of about ten on my way back from the anti-banda rally. Wheeling a cycle around the empty streets, he explained to his peers: "Aja Chettri ko banda, bholi Bahun ko, ani parsi Magar ko re!"
1. Ujjwal Acharya
Thank you for neutral analysis. It felt good at the time when we are reading extremist comments about the movements by Facebookers. I have been to some of the gatherings and also I didn't particularly like at least a few things there, what I feel good about is, people and youths - who had normally detached themselves from such activities terming it politics are uniting for the nation. The political awareness, their activism (no matter how not-so-rightly or loosely organized) and the formation of non-aligned communities will prove good for the nation.
27 MAY 2011 | 10:41 AM NST
You are wrong to assume so naive interpretation. Patriotism is not a vent or herd-instinct. That's too literal to assume that protesters were concerned with state of the state.¬†
You may go to movie halls, barbecues, Kentucky Fried Chicken's store, and you know how much oppression has been done. Yuppies and yuppiefiers¬†like you ¬†may little know (for you know little about finance) that the income in Kathmandu is mutually inclusive to the income in Karnali. It isn't education or training or skill that makes kathmandubasis, especially the likes of Marwadis and Dixits, to cater specifically oppressive¬†income. It's the veil of truth that you hide behind the facade, powe and money. Ah..it's influence, complicity and links too.
You may say that that is one's right to do anything one likes, otherwise what's the meaning of¬†liberal¬†democracy? You are wrong. When Bryan Adams come here, Kathmandubasis promptly enjoy and hail¬†such¬†icon (maybe, who cares) but when Flood sweeps Koshi area, or famine (almost) strikes Karnali, where go your cheerleaders youth who can wail the umpteenth frequency of shrillness when silence is the premonition to avert the crisis? Next, you to-do editors can pseudo-personalize¬†to claim the¬†rightful¬†care of the country. But your verbs couldn't materialize the essences and realities of the nation that so more than Kathmandu.¬†
I've seen your magazine of your publication ('your' seems the right word), I mean Wave, that's concerned about swimsuits and lipstick and pre-marital sex when majority of people are concerned with malnutrition,¬†unhygienic¬†drinking water and majority of women with illiteracy and miscarriages. At least your concentration and investment is directed towards such leftover issues. Or at least you support such mechanism and pay lip service to defenders of such crappy-little ideas in high echelons. Defend yourself, but the black history is a black history.¬†
It's really humorous that you and others frequently patronize the issues of some distant corners because you, at the meantime, like to be the one.
You even don't know that CA was¬†primevally¬†targeted of malfeasance, with complicity of publication/s like yours. So your crying and motor-rallying doesn't make extraordinary sense.¬†I know whom you intend to hid for your terms like op-eds or¬†critical commentators. But one or two commentators you don't like, from your core being, think that you, as Bryan Adams popularizer and KFC hailers, have a share of oppression which is undeniably true. No critical commentator can be happy with a peudo-patriotism which people (and former editors) like you are so easy to go.
27 MAY 2011 | 1:36 PM NST
3. Nayan Adams
honestly, naresh, what exactly are you trying to say? take a little more time to express yourself better rather than just post jumbles of words, and you might get your 'message' across. and by the way, if you want to rant against Wave, then why not go to www.wavemag.com.np? Rabi Thapa is a columnist for Nepali Times, and very likely has little control over what kinds of swimsuits are promoted in Wave, not to mention coverage of Bryan Adams or KFC. Dullard.
28 MAY 2011 | 12:24 PM NST
4. Arthur Nayan Adams #3, no doubt the english expression from Naresh in #3 is not as clear as yours or that of any yuppy with a more privileged education.
But the meaning was so clear you understood it very well. As you have no reply, all you could do was sneer.
That is typical of the sort of people who stage NGO driven "branded" protests, read magazines like Wave and Nepali Times and don't give a damn about the majority of people living on less than $2 per day.
You understood Naresh so well that you provided a perfect illustration of the mentality Naresh described.
28 MAY 2011 | 4:52 PM NST
I know!! I mean the youths of¬†Kathmandu¬†rallying around and chattering the claims of pompous patriotism is unjustified. The writer clearly supports urbanites in motor rallying, and these motor¬†rallies¬†are mostly those.¬†Not all, but we can see such trends clearly here and there. Personally, I don't interfere you going public concerts you'd like, but when Bryan or someone comes here, we are ready to sacrifice our 10 or 11 crores of money, but have we¬†sacrificed¬†similar in terms of time, finance and energy for ¬†border breach, Koshi barrage breach, Sanitation efforts, illiteracy programs etc.? If you'll not be surprised to how much apathy has been done, you shouldn't miss that the public's priority in Kathmandu is petrol, pizza, foreign popcorn, etc. and etc. And, there was a columnist somewhere who was so much interested in progress in¬†France¬†because of public kissing and in getting inspired by Bryan. So much for parroting the rehearsal. Again and again!
I actually meant the publication, not the writer. I think you understand clearly, that I've used "('your' seems the right word)".
The co-ordinates must shift. I'm not a Marxist, nor do I like¬†Maoists. I believe in one's rights and freedom. But rights and freedoms are not unconditioned metaphors. And I think Guns are often raised for inequalities and revenge as much as for disrupted¬†conscience. And, then, there'll be many Buddhas and Mahatmas around the big houses in¬†Kathmandu¬†who like to¬†believe¬†in far-flung adjectives of democracy and peace.¬†
As far as jumble of words is concerned, I can't express without morphemes. So do you! ¬†¬†
Again, this link doesn't make so extraordinary sense.¬†
28 MAY 2011 | 6:04 PM NST
You contract yourself. NGOs, by definition, care about and work with those living under 2 dollars a day. NGO-branded, therefore, means "for the poorest and the most vulnerable." You may dislike NGOs, but that's a different story. Hats off to you, Rabi, for this good article.¬†
28 MAY 2011 | 7:55 PM NST
7. Naresh ¬†Correction:¬†
I like Lenin and especially Marx as a true geniuses, but I don't¬†fully¬†buy their theories. I've soft points for Maoists, think they are much nearer to people than are Congresis and UMLs and feel that co-operation among parties is the only way to avert the present crisis.
I'm sorry for the mistake.
28 MAY 2011 | 8:34 PM NST
8. Arthur Merlin #6, sorry you are correct, my expression "NGO driven, 'branded' protests" mixed two things together in a confusing way.
I meant to refer to the "branded" clothes styles and other goods displayed by sukila-mukila society as a symbol show status that they can afford to pay extra for the same goods.
I also meant to refer to the "NGO speak" about peace, human rights, empowerment etc that is so glibly spouted by such people or¬† their parents in order to siphon of donor funds meant to help the poor and vulnerable through fake NGOs that exist mainly to help their promotors afford their branded items.
Such people "talk the talk" but not do "walk the walk" of real democrats protesting.
28 MAY 2011 | 3:45 AM NST
9. Nayan Adams
Arthur and Nayan clearly read both Wave and Nepali Times, and Arthur at least is also a 'yuppy with a more privileged education'. unlike all the other ppl who write for and comment on Nepali Times however, clearly Arthur is dedicated to the wellbeing of those who live on under $2 a day, spending as he does the bulk of his time spewing venom online after cashing in his welfare checks.¬†
29 MAY 2011 | 10:51 AM NST
10. a commoner "But let us assume that such a class manifests itself beyond the pages of ECS and TGIF to frivolously protest on the streets when the fancy takes it. Critical commentators should in fact be glad that the indolent elite are demonstrating some interest in politics. So what's their problem?"
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
¬† Let's suppose today kathamandu ¬†has all the facilities of an international level,,, while the remaining part of the country ¬†has no basic facility ¬†and the people ¬†are left to suffer with their voices unheard......
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Mr Rabi Thapa--- I can my bet my neck under a guillotine ¬†if ¬†u'r people(the ones u'r advocating ) will demonstrate for those people!!
29 MAY 2011 | 2:36 PM NST
When everything else fails, commies across the world fall back on¬† a "class based analysis". It is the last refuge of scoundrels and liars, but at its very essence it is s deep-seated resentment and envy against the better-off, even if this group is doing better because it worked hard. If they were really smart, lefties would stop trying to preach to the converted and make allies of those in the "upper classes" who are also patriots, want to address the roots of injustice and are equally critical of the ruling class. Instead, these lazy pseudo-Marxists have so much bile in their systems, they find hiding behind the class argument much easier.
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†The day these people ¬†start to fight for the causes of the underprivileged,, I will be proved wrong!!
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† "Please do prove me wrong! At the least the people (lower class-that's what i interpret will be the opposite of upper class) ¬†will bless you!¬†
¬†Bear this fact----These lower-class(hate this term-sounds discriminating) people constitutes the majority of the Nepalese!¬†
¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† As for the the constitution which these people are asking ¬† ¬†
¬† ¬† ¬†For now they are happy with the constitution released by Mr Deepak Raj Giri...........it's ironic!! ¬†The pages within answer their understanding of the constitution!
29 MAY 2011 | 5:58 PM NST
13. Anusha Gurung, Samakhushi Ravi, Merlin and Nayan, answer these issues!!!
Suppose you could clamor what¬†lefties¬†do, but what does that mean? You don't answer Arthur clearly? Suppose Naresh and Arthur have ideological bias, but reason doesn't precludes theories. For instance, this issue raised by Naresh has remained unanswered.
...when Bryan or someone comes here, we are ready to sacrifice our 10 or 11 crores of money, but have we¬†sacrificed¬†similar in terms of time, finance and energy for ¬†border breach, Koshi barrage breach, Sanitation efforts, illiteracy programs etc.?...
Not to mention the writer, but the publication, this issue has also remained unanswered.
...Wave,¬†that's concerned about swimsuits and lipstick and pre-marital sex when majority of people are concerned with malnutrition,¬†unhygienic¬†drinking water and majority of women with illiteracy and miscarriages...
Arthur's claims about NGOs hunchos (to borrow Puspa Dahal, Sukila-mukila) can't be logically punctuated by yuppies and 'yuppifiers'.
...¬†"NGO speak" about peace, human rights, empowerment etc that is so glibly spouted by such people or¬† their parents in order to siphon of donor funds meant to help the poor and vulnerable through fake NGOs that exist mainly to help their promotors afford their branded items...
I've a travel agency, earn almost 2 lakhs about a month but as a friend of Naresh and a close fan of CK Lal, I'm concerned with these issues. Here, yuppies are not intended but are those chatterboxes of mirage who fear to read Marx because they dare not strip themselves of the nakedness. (read this piece,http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1880/soc-utop/ch03.htm)¬†¬†If one would learn Engel's historical materialism, not necessarily to become a fanatic, many ringing issues of today's world would be found to be answered.¬†
Ravi please dare answer these questions in next column.Thanks to Arthur and Naresh!
.....Again and again.
29 MAY 2011 | 8:25 PM NST
Thanks for the link in #13! It is an excellent summary.
30 MAY 2011 | 5:21 PM NST
Many of the above writers, including Arthur, Naresh,¬†et. al.,¬†have looked at the inequities / maldistribution of resources in Nepal¬†through the prism of¬†class conflict.¬† The elites in KTM have no qualms about spending lakh and crore on entertainment and fast food while most of Nepal struggles to get by on the crumbs that fall from the table, due to their class-based attitudes, they say.¬† Another perspective,¬†however,¬†is that much of the blame for the enormous gulf in prosperity and access to resources can be laid at the feet of Hinduism.¬† After all, it wasn't until a few short years ago that Nepal stopped being a Hindu Kingdom, and what is Hinduism if not a system for keeping the downtrodden in their place?¬† What place do deliberate efforts to provide equal opportunity to all have in a country that was based on a system that tells people the reason they are the bottom rung of society is because of the sins of a past life??¬† Why should the poor be helped in all but the most basic ways if it is their fault they are untouchable?¬†
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...", the famous phrase from the American Declaration of Independence, was certainly NOT self-evident to the Hindu priests and parents that taught the current generation of adults in Nepal that it is OK to discriminate based on what caste someone was born into.¬† One of the few benefits the comrades brought to the Nepali countryside was their acceleration of the decline of the Hindu¬†system.
01 JUNE 2011 | 10:36 PM NST
# 15 Thomas
One of the few benefits the comrades brought to the Nepali countryside was their acceleration of the decline of the Hindu¬†system.
For Christians who believe that all the millions of Nepali Hindus and Buddhists will be punished by their narcissistic and vengeful God and sent to hell for not bowing down to him, it is natural to try to do away with Hinduism ¬†and Buddhism with whatever means possible.
If they resist, you can apply a very effective solution based on the history of Christianity for the last two millennium - just slaughter them.
¬†Good going, Thomas- following in history's footsteps.
02 JUNE 2011 | 5:41 AM NST
17. Arthur Thomas #15, I must confess that as an atheist with no sympathy for Christian missionaries contempt towards "heathen" religions I could see they actually had a point about how backward idol worship is compared with monotheistic religions when I learned a tiny bit about Hinduism as a result of studying Nepal.
Neverthless it is a simple fact that the enormous gap between a wealthy kleptocratic elite and the vast majority is not uniquely Hindu but exists throughout Africa in countries where either Islam or Christianity are popular. Similar situations exist in China and other parts of Asia with non-Hindu religions.
Latin America had the same problem with Christianity.
So did Europe although it was longer ago. Medieval Europe was known as the "dark ages".
The "self evident" truth of equality espoused in the American declaration of independence reflected the fact that America was founded by Puritan revolutionaries fleeing from persecution by the established Church in feudal england.
Hinduism certainly does seem well suited to keeping the downtrodden underfoot. But Christianity also preaches "blessed are the meek".
Oppressed people tend to lose their superstitions as they exercise their capacity to change the world. But it can never be a pre-condition that they should first break with their ancestral religion before they start to change the world.
The accelerated decline of Hinduism in liberated areas of the countryside would have been the natural result of people learning they could take control of their own lives. Those changes in mentality would not have accelerated if Maoists had followed a specifically anti-Hindu policy rather than an anti-feudal policy.
Christianity has also been rapidly declining in the West as people look to their own capacities to change the world. This also results in changes in the Churches adapting to a less specifically "religious" and more socially active world outlook. No doubt similar adaptations to get rid of fatalist and caste aspects will occur among remaining Hindus in Nepal.
02 JUNE 2011 | 9:41 AM NST
18. Anusha Gurung, Samakhushi
Some months back, I wrote a comment on New York Times about the monotheistic limbo of the Republican party that felled them in retrograde because they¬†worshiped¬†the idol of deregulation and anti-tax, monetarist economic policy of Milton Friedman; trumpeted the propaganda of socialist takeover; and finally,¬†deprived¬†the American public of the true message that the top 1% earns more than the bottom 90%. I also suggested Krugman to rehearse his cholera for Republicans for making America the Banana Republic, and distorting the Medicare.
What does that mean for segregationist Hindu caste system?
¬†It makes sense, if not equal one, some notions about dark Ages as to that the words of declaration of Independence were false.
Though Hindu caste-based system entrenched the social customs of Nepal, it didn't indeed brought the colossus of economic inequality, severe lack of development ¬†and the striking political malaise. Back in 1990's, before the Maoists's insurrection spawned and morphed, no such radical approach moulted. Today, most of supposedly low-caste people are made conscious that s/he has to tolerate others, and dare ask others not to interfere; otherwise, s/he is also conscious that some rebuke and rebuttal are to be in essence, again otherwise a death blow of fists.
The medieval set of codes to take Nepal to the¬†unsavory¬†plate of religious dogma is regressive.
Now, "the chatterboxes of mirage", who like to 'believe' in some medieval codes at the leaps of faiths of countless yet crushed expectations and misdemeanors of "the pain caucus"( I mean poor people), also don't have the alternative of selfsame beliefs. In such chatterboxes hang an Orwellian doublethink of dogma and secularism. Again, there are plethora of hypocrites who 'arc' on some commentaries and like to believe in their notionally 'corrupt' freedoms. Religious freedom for the salvation of status..a new guise of capitalist propaganda. I clearly mean here not some cosmetic class-based explanations, but the clear obfuscation of capitalist Big Brother is really unwholesome.¬†
But one is always free to have any faith, because faith is no science. But the commentaries who¬†believe¬†secularism ought to be¬†stripped¬†off is really disturbing.
The declaration of Independence was much of a prelude to Locke's version of governance than anything.¬†
02 JUNE 2011 | 6:00 PM NST
I could see they actually had a point about how backward idol worship is compared with monotheistic religions when I learned a tiny bitabout Hinduism as a result of studying Nepal.
Since you admit you only know a tiny bit about Hinduism-why waste everybody's time claiming Christianity is superior to Hinduism.
# 9 Nayan Adams you are right ¬†¬†"Clearly Arthur is dedicated to the wellbeing of those who live on under $2 a day, spending as he does the bulk of his time spewing venom online aftercashing in his welfare checks."¬†
Being a true communist who believes in communal sharing Arthur obviously does not see any need to work when he can live off other peoples labour.
The facts are that over two thousand years Christianity has become the largest religion in the world-has wiped out native religions of Europe, America, and many parts of Africa and Asia mostly by coercive means.
Marxism by contrast is a religion in rapid decline with few followers left except in North Korea.
02 JUNE 2011 | 7:21 PM NST
20. Anusha Gurung, Samakhushi
So sickly sardonic..
So much sauced..
#I guess I had a Rigveda in my hand to believe that every science has its roots to¬†Veda.¬†
Vedvyas wrote it, timelessly.¬†
Please recite a phrase when your God says of an apocalypse, or the day of judgement.
Dan brown was not so stupid to write the antagonism of Church to the science back in¬†Galileo's Times, and to the arts back in Michelangelo and Da Vinchi's Times. ¬†
But Marx had a note:¬†
Religion is not a refreshing mint.¬†
Kim Jong Il and Sun may not understand the Marxism.
02 JUNE 2011 | 12:56 AM NST
21. Arthur bedanand #17, actually I explained that even though Christians had a point about how backward Hinduism is, Christianity is NOT superior to Hinduism.
I gave examples of the "dark ages" in medieval europe and much of Africa today to show that the problem in backward societies like Nepal arises from feudal and other pre-modern social relations rather than just from religious beliefs.
Of course many Nepali Dalits do believe that Christianity is superior to Hinduism and become converts because they no longer believe that Dalits should be oppressed. When Hindus stop opressing Dalits they will lose less converts to Christian missionaries.
Another interesting example is Rwanda where Christian preachers encouraged the Hutu and Tutsi tribes to massacre each other. After the genocide many Rwandans converted to Islam.
Marxism is not a religion and there is no Marxism is North Korea. But you are correct that Marxism currently has relatively little support. You may also be happy to know that about a billion people in the world still go hungry.