Nepali Times
This Is It
An idiocracy of old men


A quarter of Nepalis are adolescent. Half of Nepal's population of 28 million is below 25. Yet we are governed almost exclusively by elderly gentlemen. Many 'young turks' within the parties are themselves grandfathers. Governance in Nepal today suffers from a generation gap.

Nowhere was this as apparent as on the sidewalks outside the CA building in Baneswor last month, when young Nepali men and women camped out day and night to put pressure on assembly members to finish writing the constitution by the 28 May deadline.

What was unprecedented was that the rallies were mobilised not by political networks, but through social networking sites. Nepal's Facebook and Twitter generation, as in North Africa, have found in the convergence of internet and smart phones, an ideal medium of solidarity.

The rallies last month and the concerts this week on Darbar Marg may not yet mark a watershed in Nepali political activism, but it certainly tells us which way the wind is blowing. It indicates a growing disillusionment among the youth that is finding an outlet through the net. With nearly a million Facebook users and Twitter adherents growing exponentially among college students, these are not numbers to be scoffed at. The fact that the top news portal in Nepali language is a blog site also offers a warning to gatekeepers in the mainstream media.

It is hugely symbolic that Nepal's impatient urban youth have seized on the urgency of new media to express their disgust at the rulers who continue to let us down. Everything in the country is at a standstill because of political scorekeeping by a handful of myopic old men who couldn't care less about governance, development and the economy.

Most people had become so apathetic they had detached themselves completely, allowing rulers to be even more unquestioned. The few who want to change things also stand at odds with the unaccommodating nature of Nepali politics, dominated by the same old faces from the 1990s. The student bodies and youth wings are so politicised they stopped representing the aspirations of the youth long ago.

Young people, who used to be removed from politics till recently, suddenly found an outlet in social media, if not for anything else than to have their voices heard, to vent frustrations and assert their presence: just like jobless Spanish youth in Madrid's Sol Square last month. But revolutions cannot be built just on the Internet, especially in a country where only one in ten people have ever been online. Driving social change needs an agenda, a charismatic leader, needs a strategy, it isn't like clicking the mouse to change your FB profile picture.

With Nepal's digital divide, social media can at best organise people around a cause and bring them out to the streets. Even now, the rallying has merely shifted from Ratna Park to the information superhighway. To reach critical mass, it needs concrete goals, not just blanket abuse at all politicians and general calls for a timely constitution.

The campaign has been trivialised by columnists(who are themselves long in the tooth) for being hijacked by upscale celebrities. To discredit Facebookers as an elite club of young, idle, spoilt brats is not just simplistic, it is wrong. The number of FB-users in Nepal is already four times more than the readers of all daily newspapers put together, and they increasingly come from a wide social spectrum from all parts of the country, and this number is only going to grow.

The ridicule heaped on new media by those in old media stems from their inherent distrust of the younger generation and unfamiliarity with modern technology. Just because the campaign was not mobilised by the usual suspects among grey-haired civil society stalwarts doesn't mean it has no meaning. This country has been held hostage to the idiocracy of irrelevant old men for too long.

But go anywhere in Nepal today and it is clear who is driving this country: the resilient, energetic and enterprising youths. Yes, many vote with their feet and hop on to planes for Doha, but even as they sweat in the desert they prop up the economy. The women who stay behind are members of mother's groups, forestry committees and vaccination volunteers. They have done more for the country than the political hoodlums who believe only in bandas and vandalism on behalf of their fossilised masters.

What the virtual rallies on Kathmandu streets are doing is they are bringing out the previously-apathetic, educated,
future-oriented youth, students, professionals to say in one voice: "We care about our future because we are also Nepali."

Read also:
United they stand, PAAVAN MATHEMA

1. Arthur
This is really bizarre! Are YCL "elderly gentlemen" or "apathetic" or "removed from politics"???

2. Zhou
Arthur, just when I thought maybe you didn't have anything to comment upon this one.

"The student bodies and youth wings are so politicised they stopped representing the aspirations of the youth long ago"- does that speak for YCL too?

3. Guido
YCL / CPN/Maoist indeed is new blood in the political arena. But it's scarry to see how fast they adopted "old" politics..

4. rakesh
The point is that YCL is the muscle of a political party filled with disillusioned war-hungry politicians.

5. bns
It is nice to hear that the young generation (whoever is still in Nepal) is trying to be heard because only they can save Nepal. The leaders of current Nepal are the ones who fought the monarchy from the 70's and 60's. No change in leadership has been allowed by these grandfathers and greatgrandfathers.The only change in leadership seen is because of death of these old men. The new generation has to takes charge if anything is to be done: I don't mean the  so called students who have no interest of the country in mind. A new breed of conscentious and moral young men and women who truly want to do something for the country. The sad thing is that such leadership is hard to find. And the YCL? The last time I checked, they were more interested in extorting money from the poor and some rich Nepalese. Leadership from them?

6. nnpl
what have "

7. jange
Yet we are governed almost exclusively by elderly gentlemen.

And what is wrong with age? If we are to take this to its logical conclusion then 10 year olds or perhaps 5 year olds would make the best people for government.

Has journalism at the NT sunk to such a low level? It is policies and principles that matter, not age. Can you name any policies or principles of any party that politicians of a younger age would follow that is different to the one that they are following now?

A rant is not journalism. Please learn to recognise the difference. If you don't know the difference ask your editor.

8. Anusha
1. Nepal's youths are virtually ignorant of the economics.
2. One million is 1/30 th of the whole population of Nepal.
3. It's easy to protest in smooth rides of bikes..that may cause our rural youth to be less nationalistic. Beside, these latter youths don't cry so loudly...(!!!)
4. You can't kill old people, who ain't criminals...there are many ideologues, experienced fellowman...
5. Now, Nepal will be very peaceful, developed country because old idiots are rust-minded, social scums, to be replenished anew by motor wallas....(!!!)
6. Nepali Times is so happy to cover these nationalistic coverage, bike rallies because Nepal as been moth-fed by old idiots....(!!!)
When will the membership begin, Rubeena Ji?........
Why is there no rally for pedestrians like me? Because I don't have a bike, and... frequent lack of petrol doesn't make me sad! it?
....throw these old man out of the wall!!! ;) :)(:

9. Arthur
Zhou #2,

"The student bodies and youth wings are so politicised they stopped representing the aspirations of the youth long ago."

I had not noticed this phrase before. You are right, it obviously is intended to refer to the YCL as well.

So in the author's universe the YCL with more than 100,000 members is unimportant because it is "politicised" but the twitterers represent the aspirations of youth.

As I said, "bizarre".

The article is intended to appeal to readers that wish there was some alternative to the YCL, like #3 to #5. But it only confirms that this alternative is just twittering.

10. ASP
I think most commentators are missing the point.

I think the point is that some "old men" (I'll name one such person here even though the writer didn't: CK Lal) who feel comfortable within their own cocoon and with the status quo cannot simply label the social media-aided youth campaign as "irrelevant".

I completely agree with Rubeena that it is far better to take action than to become an arm-chair cynic complaining and complaining and doing nothing.

11. FG Wrong
Pigshit romanticism............ with media virtually in control of these 'youth' romanticists, the so called generation gap will further grow......   JANGE says it right "It is policies and principles that matter, not age." Problems and opportunities alike are always multidimensional. the unidimensional approach of today's romantic youths will only highlight the problem, it won't solve the problem though.....    

12. Rituraj Sapkota
YAY! the internet, is it?I am a memeber of such groups myself and have thrown in in a few ideas here and there about anti-bandh rallies, but seriously, that's blatant extolling.
#1 Arthur: I have as much respect for the YCL and the youth wings of other political parties as I do for a swarm of mosquitoes hovering over my head on a summer evening. All they do is suck blood out of a already dilapidated, weak system. I knw the party has enough self respect for these young, mostly unemployed or bored men, to equate them to Che's men in Cuba or some glorious army; the truth remains that their intellectual level has only a slight edge over that of neanderthal man. (At least the latter discovered fire, what have youth wings in Nepal done?)

13. Danny Birch
The YCL is an organized criminal gang only. To be fair, in fact, that is true for the other parties and their youth wings too. That is why people of all ages don't like the political parties. It is not because of the ages of the leaders. It is because they are all criminals.

14. jange

# 13 

This is one of the great successes of the Maoists. They have succeeded in bringing the other parties down to their own level of operation- i.e. using violence. And they know that no one can beat them on that score.

15. B2B

#7 jange

It's time for 'jange' to lumber with the washing-up again! (That's for cutting a joke, right!)

Seriously though, you seem pepped up with your sarcastic remarks and at the same time making feel your opponents the lash of your tongue, yeah? What do you think that the columnist should just sit down politely and look pretty like in image and hopelessly gaze at the bandwagon of development and progress running past her once more? Nay, a smart girl like her, boldly dedicated to her calling, knows for sure what are her rights and duties. She is jaded but not as yet faded like all those who care for life. Equally she is neither stumped by a question nor by any foggy problem, not by a long stretch.

To be sure, at least there is someone who possesses authentic and impeccable qualities of a journalist at that, who doesn't use waffle like an erratic offshoot, but does take potshots at the old coots who have deliberately ruined Nepal by their ersatz of cloyingly sentimental melodramas, incompetence and explosive verbal diarrhea. In a nutshell, we've had more than our share of episodes of political stalemate. When are we going to follow the bright beacon of light to reach our star and make appointment with destiny?

As usual you, my friend, are way behind the times and reluctantly a bit slow on the uptake.

What a waste of time? It's another assortment of bromides and platitudes for hogwash.

I for one prefer people who are nervy to sort it out with flying colors. A passing remark, true wisdom is knowing you don't know half as much as you think you do.

I am game if you are! Consider, buddy, it's just some kind of froth about another froth with warts and all. And I am paying you back in your own coin, if you don't mind!?!

Something to munch after the storming of Bastille in French Revolution (1789 AD) by William Wordsworth.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,

But to be young was very heaven!


But in this very world, which is the world of all of us -

The place where in the end

We find our happiness, or not at all.

16. Naresh

What a line-up? Never had such these greenfoot remarks snuck into these papers.
Go and drink Glucose and Thinarrarot biscuit and sing some Mozart's...

What I've been seeing is a complete melodrama replete with fox-headedness. IS Rubeena trying to be a Jocobin of French Revolution or Kublai Khan?
Never dupe us with your pony's a dollop of ice-creamy assersions slathered over the slate of confusables.
First, these acolytes need some mint should they defy the spigot of these idiocratically farcical society.  
 I don't get what these psychics race for  the juggernaut of Nepali politics. 
I've had a cadeverous ghost haunting with her smile ..
Don't simper at the jam-pack of two sordid sparrows luring their mates out in the dense woods..
A comlete psychosomatic attrition...
Such an impish muckraking...


After all, Rubeena, don't you understand to politick is not just to munch the cod in the mud and wallow at the cesspool mowing the chants? (Question: Do cow chant? If so, that's true for 'chatterati')
Who's your leader? So you want to establish youngocracy or tweetocracy just like Khomenei established theocracy in Iran? After all, what do you mete out other than boast your expensive cellphones, high speed net so these herds feel some superiority over old who don't mail  and have so infrequent facebook status? Your answer may be that a romantic dreamer is unsolicited to let you rejoice your romantic thrill..but here you throw the buots of vitriol!! Do you think these hoary eunuches, as you think of them, don't  click some lewd sites? Certainly, a sidelined issue about internet is the most googled word in Nepal is 'sex', 'bra' etc...(Editor, I'm sorry) 'O you think your digitoactivism is going to save the surreal of political anarchy chached inside the domain of social garbage? What are your alternative propositions to these supposedly mythomaniac idiocrats? What is your stance for modern economics which saviors 60% of the political plate. ( Is it surprising Carter lost to Reagen in '80 due to sweeping conservative, monetarist economic policy in American polity?) What constitutes your vision for representative democracy, or the class you represent (at least here), the chatterati? Have you ever contributed significant other than to vilify the politicains with legions of cutthroat stigma? This chatterati is a social effluvia, the rotten class that has always played a villiany role to vituperate the nation in the mire of never-ending trenches of bad governance....
The saddest irony is the chaterati have the most chauvinistic attitude appended in its dark corner.
I'm sorry we don't have ideal politicos yet. But nothing comes from vilifying others..So I'd yet like to join you but you are so unconcerned to realities..

17. Kamal Kishor
She just wanted to make a point that the decision makers in Nepal are people with old ideas, old concepts of governance, old cultural values and social values, old moralities, and every one and every concept old. 21st Century does not belong to them. I myself belong to that categories.

I find myself and my ideas not going along with my kids. My values are different from them. The environment that I seek is different than what they are enjoying or aspiring for. 

Regarding YCL or other youth wings of political parties, they represent the political thinking of my generation. They have been doctored on those. lines. They don't represent the new realities that is unfolding in Nepal or the World. 

Those who don't want to forsee this should just look at the new Arab generation. It is the youth, overlooked, bypassed, completely ignored, who came out forcefully and changed the politics of that part of the world.

Political thugs never represent whatever generations. Mandals never did nor YCL does.

18. Kuire Kukur
YCL and Youth League are gangs of thugs doing the bidding of self-centred kleptocrats who have nothing to offer Nepalis, young or old.

19. Sugatto
Dear Writer,
 After reading this article, I feel pity for Nepalese online/print media. You are simply a bad journalist who does not have the qualifications to be a regular writer in a leading online journal alas in Nepal you seem to be qualified as we dont have too many options. I have the feeling that you just had an idea(bad) about writing an article (this time about young people) and just going out of any way or direction just to prove you are right by any means. Its a shame that people have to read something written by someone like you.
Btw Your title isnt very bright when you are pointing out multiple idicrasies of old men, its better not to have "An" at the beggining of the sentence. Ty.

20. Anusha Gurung
What a schmooze!
What are you but a proud little commie..!
Don't you read here clearly that you implicate (or better rationalize) her for what she's not done and the issues she's little concern with..
For example, if I own a cellphone, may it be expensive, (I do of 56000 NRs iPhone), then should I cry and don't own it because you little leftie joust me not to own it..a perfect insanity, a delusion of grandeur, a seething hypocrisy, a harebrained attitude..
I had long been your friend but should you damningly implicate someone for the things not afforded, I'm surely going to somersault the car you'd hoped to drive with me. I need not your dim faculties at loop with me. You smack of the most loathed class-based explication. I was wrong in that you wanted to become a copycat of Fareed Zakaria.
Rubeena, I's also participated in that rally when another lamest duck columnist CK Lal took my company at affront.
I'd asked Naresh to join me, which would have been  symbiotic and syncretic mass attendance to reflect our common aspirations and cultural moorings. I'd seen in lefties in Nepal a clear duplicity, who just flip-flop the courts according to their benefits.
My immense gratitude for your locus classicus...Thousand thanks!!!!
Keep on mothballing these attitudewalla megalomaniacs like Naresh.
Naresh, again second-last warning!!

21. Battisputali
Examples of Rubeena's "pitiable", "bad", "low" journalism,

Pragatinagar's progress
Power Sharing, Nepali style

Google her name with Nepalitimes to see other samples.

22. A Secret
What have you become, a marijuaniac? You think I don't know  you..Naresh should be sued because he uses marijuane illegally!! I can prove hime guilty!
Don't you know if you write in nepalitimes, you must share fealty to Kunda Kumar Dixit?
What is he but a heap of minutiae, heap of hubristoc behaviors, proud but a maldroit?
Rubeena, you hit me conscience! These poor lads, literally sylvan creatures or yokels,  don't know how to use cellphones, and how to bang heads in concert! They don't know how to speak nepanglish in Thamel cafes and even don't know to ride they know how to wear nice clothes  and eat pizza straight from Rio de Generio? So there is no meaning of their existence. I've always liked Nepali Times, and Wave for doing the same, to treat the yokels badly, may that be slanted and subconscious.

23. Anusha Gurung
#21 Battisputali
I'm hopeful Naresh understand who this Rubeena is. After all, he's just a new comer here! Had he read these columns or forgotten, I don't know! Rubeena, you are the symbol of female determinism, a social activist, not just a reporter or a columnist. Naresh is just a teenager who brims full of the ego and his head is full of confusions since he's been a marijuanaic.
Does he suss it out now if Rubeena represent the mahalwala (actually I also have a big house, not a palatial mansion) or not? 
My hunch is Naresh just kicked up a ball without reflecting what actually Rubeena wrote in previous issues since he's powermonger and mostly concerns buzz-names.
Battisputali, thanks again!

24. Anonymous
"Governance in Nepal today suffers from a [huge..] generation gap." Bravo, Rubeena jee for your audacity to speak up the truth. No doubt, hope for the future of Nepal lies in the youth. The "net" effect (shall I call it a "Manifesto of the Youth"?) could be summarized as follows:

-parties are created to serve people, and not the other way round
-'democracy' in name only without delivery in practice is destined to fail
-true locus of power is the people and not the parties and the palaces
-you want revolutions, we want meaningful change in peoples' lives
-we believe in the transformational leadership
-we are a proud Nation-- we can learn from our own history and people
-we want to be a learning Nation, not a prisoner of defunct ideologies
-we respect differences of opinion and pluralism of thoughts
-peace,  justice, goodwill, and harmony, together make a true democracy
-"NO" to the diktats of 'Prabhoos', "YES"  to the spirit of 'Swayambhoo'!!

25. elp
Rubeena, good column! I enjoyed reading this article and some of the comments that followed. 

I expect more of these passionate and well thought out voices of today from you. 


A young Nepali woman. Perhaps an 'elite', but definitely Nepali. 

26. Naresh
I had tasted the recipe of such good notes as of Rubbena's cautious and pragmatic journalism.
But now the ballast inside the ship has tilted the entire cruise of Nepali Times to trifles and decadence. It'll founder or not, can't I say but comes in my mind the fits of temper I seeing Pawan and Rubyna veering the "junk and junket" journalism towards.

27. jange
15. B2B

#7 jange

It's time for 'jange' to lumber with the washing-up again! (That's for cutting a joke, right!)

 What do you think that the columnist should just sit down politely and look pretty like in image and hopelessly gaze at the bandwagon of development and progress running past her once more?

Not quite sure what you are saying but I will take the cue and respond.

The columnist should at least take a few seconds to reflect on what she has written. This is "chiya pasal guff" and surely she knows it.

Put it another way. If younger politicians were at the helm what new policies and principles would they implement that are different from the current "idiocracy" policies? If they are going to be the same policies and principles then what difference does make?

Let's hear it from Rubeena herself.--  What new policies and principles would the younger generation implement that are different from the current "idiocracy" policies? Â

28. Old idiot
Naresh aka Arthur. Stop fooling people. You sick commie, you are exposed. You make us want to puke with your verbal diarrhoea. And how do you think you oldies are any different, spending all your time on worthless online commenting? 

You (arthur, jange and the like) seem to spend more time on internet (read NT's website which you so hate, you can't live without commenting three times a day on it)  than the youngsters you are ridiculing. 

Get a life you retards. 

29. jange
# 28

How else can I get to know how and what the youngsters are thinking? Except through the one and only NT!!!

And now the youngstas want my job too!@!#!$. And that, after I spent a fortune learning all the latest gadgets and jargon. Over my dead body. 

Actually, that is the sad part. The younger generation politicians are simply waiting for the older ones to die so that they can replace them and continue to do much the same things.

I don't hate the NT website. I treat it with the utmost affection. How can you even suggest that? As you say, I can't live without it.

And don't call me a retard. I am the agragaman of the agragaman. 

30. Mr. Poudel
here we go... again... facebook, twitter revolution... hallelujah!!!

Do you not see there is a vast problem with this sort of a so called 'revolution'? Look at Tunisia and Egypt. It has transformed itself into  dictatorships (or should we say that the 'masters of the universe have transformed it into dictatorships!). I mean is that what the people of those two countries fought for?

Egypt is a military dictatorship. For crying out loud, all these hyper facebook and twitter 'revolutionary' crap is just that, it's only got face value. Facebook party... add some booze, pot, some music, models, celebrities, hmmm sounds nice! and more and more additions to keep the people entertained (because many of them would probably prefer to stay home and surf through porndom)...

Hello people! It is a commercial event management. The same politicians you are harping against will gain much more control because of your lame duck 'facebook revolution'. FIGHT for FREEDOM... Freedom from what? I dunno... I'll let you answer that question... But the more you fight for something you get the exacting opposite (remember Newton? school science?)... therefore, the more you fight from freedom, the more control is exerted on you in ways you cannot comprehend...

Perfect example of this of course is not Egypt and Tunisia BUT rather USA and Italy. The idea of freedom in America, Italy and much of the so called 'liberal democracies' is just this: you can have your 'individual freedom' to do what you want, like have orgies with horses and post your video on the internet but you will not dissent, you will not ask tough questions, you will not hold politicians responsible for their decisions and bring them to 'justice', you will not go to Iran, you will not think, you will do what we tell you to do and if you don't we will bring you to 'justice', you will not make fun of unhealthy McDonald's burger or the overtly bloated, antibiotic overdosed KFC chickens (heard of the 'veggie libel' laws)... blah blah blah.

There are just so many laws controlling everything that all you can "really", "truly" "freely" do is to have sex with whoever and whatever you desire... Six inches of freedon I suppose (a bit more with horses and a little less with me but you get my point). What strikes me as very odd is that they are the ones hailed as the ultimate models of 'freedom and democracy' for us all to aspire to. But all I see there are people running around with their uncontrolled pee pees. Got freedom? Seriously, it's a suffocating experience whenever I go to the USA... they are such control freaks.

Anyway, I mean, DO YOU TRUST these freaks that you are ranting against to give you a constitution that is beneficial to the people of Nepal and not themselves, their corporate tax evading bloody backers and their parties (yea party time )? It sounds like you are saying I don't care about the content of the constitution, just get the damn thing written...

You will get your constitution, no doubt about it regardless of how long it might take. But I fear the content thereof.

31. Mr. Kandel
Mr Paudel (#30), thanks... uhh... for the rant.

32. sukha
Mr.@30... and naresh .. 

keep barking and huranging.. it makes NT surf ( mind u, not to buy)

33. jange
Since Bahuns are the cause of all the problems in Nepal there should be a provision in the constitution banning any bahun from holding public office for the next 100 years, at least.

34. Sushma Joshi
Great writing rubeena! :-) Nepal needs to wake up to the facebook generation. And i like your use of the word "fossil" ;-) Keep it up.... 

35. Arindom Borah

It is definitely time for the legislature to pass a statute which should ban political participation by individuals 60 yrs. The reason is that the human body and brain starts deteiorating with age. When a government servant is considered unfit for active service at 60 years, what is the logic behind people over 60 governing a country. This is no bias but only logic-pure and simple.

Again, i really do not see what development the so called experience of these 'grandfathers'have brought about in the world or in my country'India'. A statute banning the elderly from politics is a 'we can't lose' situation. If a young government succeeds, we win and if the young government fails, we are back to square #1 at the most.Things cannot be any bad then they are presently.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)