Nepali Times Asian Paints
RUBEENA MAHATO
This Is It
Been there, done that


RUBEENA MAHATO


After the Arab uprisings that led to the fall of governments in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, another street uprising is going viral thanks to social media.

The Occupy Wall Street protests that started rather uneventfully in lower Manhattan two months ago has now snowballed into a global movement. Protests have revived earlier protests in Spain, Italy, Britain and even Hong Kong where people discontented with capitalism have poured out into the streets in overwhelming numbers.

What lies at the heart of these protests is the growing disenchantment of the people over their governments which favour the rich and sacrifice the majority for the interests of the few. Perhaps this was long overdue in countries where unbridled capitalism has led to greater inequality with no hope of narrowing the gap.

But trying to extrapolate this to Nepal, and even talk of replicating it here seems at the moment stretching it a bit too far. It's not that there aren't grievances here: the peace process is stuck, constitution drafters have a writer's block, erstwhile revolutionaries instead of liberating the people are at liberty to continue looting and extorting.

We went through two street uprisings, one in 1990 and the next in 2006. The second one ended the war and ended up sweeping away the monarchy. But as far as Nepal is concerned, for the moment at least, it is a case of been there, done that.

Op-ed pundits are full of over-eager praise for the Occupy protests. But as much as we love revolutions, perhaps we are better off working on something that revolutions are supposed to bring: change. There are some inconvenient truths that we may need to address: questions which would have amounted to blasphemy if asked at the time the revolutions were in progress.

Were any of those revolutions really useful in terms of what they strove to deliver? Can we say that the 19 people who died in the April 2006 protests, dozens others who died in the Madhes Movement or the 1990 movement did not die in vain? Was their blood spilt in vain? Did their deaths do anymore than to help one greedy bunch of politicians topple and replace another? Perhaps even more pertinent question to be asked is if 16,000 people needed to die in a bloody war whose only utility now it seems was to propel new war lords to positions of power.

Could the war have been started by starry eyed romantics out of touch with reality and the lessons of history? They decided to experiment with this country for a pseudo-intellectual exercise whose sole aim was to get to power and take the country to Year Zero. Before responding to any call for change and taking to the streets, one may do well to look back at our recent history, and the promises that went unfulfilled.

No one disputes that Nepal was plagued with social injustice, discrimination and exclusion. In the absence of jobs and opportunities it became ripe for the kind of revolution Mao preached. But ultimately the objective conditions for revolution were simply the excuse that politicians used for a shortcut to power, and the people be damned. Those thousands who died, were maimed, the families who lost their earners were all "martyrs", even though they wanted no part in a war fought in their name. we can now ask: all that sorrow and sacrifice for this? We have enough political rights to boast of, at least in paper.

The only revolution we need in Nepal now is an economic one. Let's start with an agrarian revolution. There are thousands of enterprising farmers in this country who can do so much more only if the government takes time off to build irrigation canals, facilitate seed supply and open up markets by building farm roads.

Let's start a nation-building campaign, the ones that helped countries like Japan and South Korea rebuild after wars devastated their lands. The country cannot survive indefinitely in a transitional state hopping between people power uprisings every ten years.



1. jange

Could the war have been started by starry eyed romantics out of touch with reality and the lessons of history?

Ask your owns editors. They were the ones who proclaimed the Maoists to be the ONLY party espousing change during the last elections.

Maybe you can write their reply in the next issue. Look forward to that.




2. kumarpaudel
agreed, rightly pointed out the main issue here. REVOLUTION is an easy term to make the people go CRAZY. The main task is to capitalize the sentiments of REVOLUTION once the demonstrations are made and situation is calmed down. So, its better to countercheck the leaders of their capability before hitting the streets for any REVOLUTION.

3. Soni
Were any of those revolutions really useful in terms of what they strove to deliver? 

What did all these revolutions really did intend to deliver? It is only once we have decided that, can we answer this question.

Can we say that the 19 people who died in the April 2006 protests, dozens others who died in the Madhes Movement or the 1990 movement did not die in vain? 

19 people died during the April 2006 anarchy whence they broke prohibitive rules set to maintain security. Afterwards the Maoists through their YCL militia, Madhesi militants, criminal organisations and others have killed many more, reaching into about a 100.

In this context the right question to ask is, who were the people who pushed unsuspecting people into this situation? Who were the people who deliberately forced people to threaten the safety and security of security personnel guarding public institutions and maintaining public order? 

Once you have placed the question into the right context, you will find that the real question is that these people did not die in vain, they died for the benefit from those who used them as their sacrificial animals for their own gains, so what is it that keeps people completely oblivious from knowing that truth?

Maybe the right answer is that a slavish media which is also writing articles such as this. No? 

Was their blood spilt in vain? 

People were defrauded for the benefit of corrupt men and women, and yes they did split their blood in vain.

Did their deaths do anymore than to help one greedy bunch of politicians topple and replace another?

No. Their action help destroy whatever hope there was and replace it with an autocratic tyranny that does not care in the least bit about the welfare of people in this country.

It would have been better to deal with real questions instead of accepting commands from the propaganda committee and digressing from the real issues.


4. Soni
"The Occupy Wall Street protests that started rather uneventfully in lower Manhattan two months ago has now snowballed into a global movement. Protests have revived earlier protests in Spain, Italy, Britain and even Hong Kong where people discontented with capitalism have poured out into the streets in overwhelming numbers."

I do not claim to understand the issues that roil people in Spain and other countries but from the glimpses that I have got from comments elsewhere I am surprised by some issues.

Prosperity in all these countries were bought by Capitalists (I don't like capitalism, I am a Royalist and that is all)

Living standards in all these countries are significantly higher than living standards in all paradise of socialism, even at the diminished levels post the financial crisis.
 
The financial crisis was caused by a combination of factors, including regulatory, and is a composite consequence of actions taken by various constituents of America, why are bankers who responding to the perverse incentives placed in front of them the only ones to be blamed.

The condition of education has been worsening in America for a long time, it has played a significant role in creating the uneven society that America is today.

If bankers can be blamed for bringing inequality to America, can they also be acclaimed for bringing prosperity to the present emerging markets.

If the demands of Occupy Wall Street protesters are met (note that they don't really have any, they simply are murmuring inequality and bad bankers) why will it not lead to greater protectionism, and as a consequence, be bad for emerging markets in particular and the world in general.

These are just a few questions I have, I will be the first to admit that I do not understand the range of issues and the causes. I am willing to be abused for that quite frankly but it would be nice to have some coherent answers.

Part Deux, t some basic questions about the quote above.

Overwhelming numbers - How many are overwhelming, and you cannot count strikes in Greece and France.

How do people demonstrate against capitalism in Hong Kong without a sense of irony that its system produces such unprecedented prosperity?

Are people discontented with capitalism or inequality?


5. Soni
We went through two street uprisings, one in 1990 and the next in 2006. The second one ended the war and ended up sweeping away the monarchy. But as far as Nepal is concerned, for the moment at least, it is a case of been there, done that.

Here is one from the second. Note that this man did everything within his power to create pain through violence and protests.

Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday, Dr. Bhattarai said that even the nationalistic and advantageous agreement like BIPPA is being assessed through the perspective of 'protest culture', which has always engrossed the political dynamics of Nepal, and is being criticised as the anti-nationalistic agreement. 


6. blogdai
Change is great, sure, but you cannot bring about change unless the forces of change are greater than the forces of political inertia.  

The politicians in Singha Durbar don't know that we exist and don't care. Start by changing THAT with a little civil protesting that hints at revolution. 

-=blogdai


7. Arthur
Been where? Done what?

Yet another article by somebody who did nothing whatever to help rid Nepal of its utterly shameful backwardness, for no purpose but provoking comments from others shouting about how desperately they wish to retain their privileges while maintaining that backwardness.


8. suresh bista

REVOLUTION means nothing just start to think differen way on  the same subject  and act .Change in prospecfive,values  attitude  and  behavour is called the revolution.The problem of our country is hunher proverty and unemployment.Poverty is in our brain not in our country ,hunger is there because we do not want to work at home, there is alot to do but we want alot and want to do nothing instead thats why we are unemployed.WANT   alot and  do  NOTHING   is the only problem of the country



9. Rishi
The only revolution we need in Nepal now is an economic one.

You have hit the nail on the head. You have raised a very relevant issue.  All the political slogans and violence cannot feed the people. The only ones who benefit from this are criminals and their lackeys who are holding the people and country hostage.
There is no place for honest hard-working Nepalis in this New Nepal,thousands are being forced to leave every day to find a job in other countries so that they can feed their families,while the revolutionary political leaders are living like royalty.
These leaders and idiots like Arthur are ready to sacrifice more lives to achieve their aims. Of course they are too cowardly to risk their own lives. Even their followers now have seen through their lies about peoples revolution, and do not trust them anymore. So their days too are numbered.The people will ultimately prevail.


10. deejay
there goes another cynic.. if only she analysed a little further.. the problem with Nepal's revolutions so far is that they have been leader-driven, demand-driven... and no, we haven't been there or done that the way tunisia or egypt or libya or the occupy movement has done it.. the closest we had to that was the madhesh movement and, in the past, the student movement in 2036 BS (which failed, but succeeded in the sense that all of those leaders are now the establishment).

11. Rishav
 SPOT ON!!!

Excellent piece and well written.

"Were any of those revolutions really useful in terms of what they strove to deliver? Can we say that the 19 people who died in the April 2006 protests, dozens others who died in the Madhes Movement or the 1990 movement did not die in vain? Was their blood spilt in vain? Did their deaths do anymore than to help one greedy bunch of politicians topple and replace another? Perhaps even more pertinent question to be asked is if 16,000 people needed to die in a bloody war whose only utility now it seems was to propel new war lords to positions of power."

Valid point, now people are openly comming out to say, well done.

"Could the war have been started by starry eyed romantics out of touch with reality and the lessons of history? They decided to experiment with this country for a pseudo-intellectual exercise whose sole aim was to get to power and take the country to Year Zero. Before responding to any call for change and taking to the streets, one may do well to look back at our recent history, and the promises that went unfulfilled."

Again excellent analysis, and I see you have annoyed our very own foreign starry eyed Maoist Romantic out of touch with reality and the lessons of history - Arthur.

Well done!




12. Sujesh


Demonizing all those in power all the time is clearly not the answer. Yesterday we demonized the kings of Nepal. Today we demonize the politicians of Nepal. And tomorrow when our children demonize us, will we be able to swallow our responsibility in the mess that we the Nepali people have caused of our nation?

I like this piece what Rubeena Mahato is saying. Yes, it is very easy to get carried away with revolutionary zeal and to react and demonize who ever is in power. Unlike the popular rhetoric, change is not always the answer. Why? Because change can be both healthy and unhealthy. And for those who have long lost touch with what 'health' looks like, they should know clearly what it is that they are asking for when they ask for "more change."
It is "more and more and more change" that Nepal got, while being out of touch with what is "healthy" for the nation that got us in this mess in the first place.

The revolutions of 2006 and 1990 came from demonizing the powers that be: namely the Monarchy at that time.


Perhaps it is time to look at Nepal's history a little more objectively so that we can see ourselves a little clearer in light of our own history? If we hope to get credit from our children for doing good and right in Nepal, maybe we need to start with giving credit to those who preceded us.

"Every son criticizes his father, inevitably to find himself a father�being criticized in turn by his sons. Let us be compassionate to our fathers so that our sons may learn to be compassionate to us." - The Last King of Nepal
http://nazaronline.net/recent/2011/10/the-last-king-of-nepal/



13. Soni
Nepal did not have a single revolution. Both were instigated by foreign agents. We are now required to forget everything that happened, and ask no questions.

What did actually happen in 1990? An economic blockade, foreign leaders shouting abuses as they were invited by internal agents of usurpation? 

Why was Chandrashekhar here in Nepal and who was he helping? 

What did actually follow that "revolution"?

And then we had another in 2006, everything about it is as clear as daylight. The signing of the agreement, the fact that the ex-PM of Nepal was on the beck and call of a criminal directing militant assaults on government installations, the property of the people, spreading rumours (most ghastly) and his cronies in the media aiding them in their nefarious agenda!!

More

The domination of foreign capital in Nepali industries, business and finance should be stopped.

And what exactly happens now?

The efforts of the media currently to aid their political masters by providing a new spin is a rehash of the strategies deployed earlier. This is just a sad little addition to the atrocities already committed against the people of Nepal.

The real aim of this war has not yet been revealed, it will be when the forces of terror misery and darkness have further strengthened their hold.

The media will continue to support them, simply because they fear that the alternative is to lose influence and the ability to influence.


14. Soni
#12, you say "Perhaps it is time to look at Nepal's history a little more objectively so that we can see ourselves a little clearer in light of our own history?"

Rubeena says, "No one disputes that Nepal was plagued with social injustice, discrimination and exclusion. In the absence of jobs and opportunities it became ripe for the kind of revolution Mao preached."

I ask you to try me. Please. Lets see what this objectivity bird looks like.


15. Sujesh

Dear Soni,

Hope all is well with you.

The objectivity bird, hmm, right. Now what does that damned bird look like? Hmm...it tweets when you pull it's feather. And when you feed it bird seeds, it pecks at it. What else? Hmm. Well, it kinda does a little chicken dance when you're really nice to it and kiss it on the beak.

What else did you want to know?



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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