Nepali Times
Tipping point


The mystery of why some populations rise up to spontaneously protest, while others don't is the subject of academic research at universities around the world. There are several PhDs waiting to be done about the high pain threshold of Nepalis. How long does a society endure sustained and chronic hardships until it breaks? What is Nepal's tipping point?

We mutter and shrug: no diesel, no petrol, no gas, no electricity, no cash, no jobs, no passports, no problem. There is little hope of things getting better anytime soon, and the hopelessness is turning to apathy. 

Cynics say we have the leadership we deserve. As long as the people tolerate an establishment made up of murderers and kidnappers, war criminals and passport fakers, we don't deserve any better. In any other country a motorcyclist who has waited four hours in the cold rain for petrol, watched government vehicles jumping the queue, and then found the fuel has run out when he gets to the pump, would run amok and start a riot. Even the Baidya faction of the Maoists only threatens an urban uprising, it never actually seems to want to do it even though there is plenty of reason for people to rise up.

Some theorists have speculated on why this is so: the legendary capacity of Nepalis to tolerate hardship and suffering, our society's self-centeredness, we wait for protests to be put together by organised groups or parties, we have come to expect nothing from governments, and are used to making the best of a bad situation. Whatever the reason, successive rulers of Nepal have understood this psycho-social trait, and exploited it ruthlessly.

This is also why elected representatives of the people, the government and civil service are so unresponsive to the people's needs. They habitually ignore public opinion because their legitimacy comes from manipulating the system, not from performance or delivery. Elections are only partly fair and hardly free, so crooks get elected over and over again.

Public opinion polls conducted by Himalmedia and others in the past year show growing disillusionment with the political establishment and elected representatives. Never has the gap between the people's needs (inflation, health, education, jobs) and the obsession of the rulers (power, money) been as wide as it is now.

The Himalmedia poll of May 2011 corresponds almost exactly with the results of the latest cycle of polls conducted by Interdisciplinary Analysts (IDA), the results of which were published recently. In both polls, most respondents didn't seem to be bothered about federalism, secularism, or even that Nepal is now a republic. There is a backlash against the politicisation of ethnicity, and the proportion of people who said they'd like to be identified as Nepali only grew from 58 per cent in 2010 to 71 per cent last year. Both polls showed the people are fed up with politicians and want new elections.

Politicians should sit up and take notice. Asked about who they will vote for in the next election, the IDA poll shows 57 per cent of the respondents were undecided. Of those with preferences, the IDA and Himalmedia polls both put the NC ahead of the Maoists, with the UML trailing. The next elections (whenever that happens) is about winning the hearts and minds of the 57 per cent who are undecided. If­­­­­ conducted fairly, leaders with better performance and integrity will win.

We have seen politicians in the past who have made a big difference in a small time in office. Local council leaders in the 1990s were re-elected based on performance. It would be too much to expect a cabinet made up of mostly hoodlums to even understand this, which is why the prime minister must show statesmanship and throw out the rotten eggs in his government before his own image is irreversibly tarnished.

Forming a government of national unity may be just the right opportunity to bring in clean technocrats. Address the shortages and there will be no shortage of votes.

For IDA Opinion Poll Report:

Read also:
Caucus chaos, ANURAG ACHARYA
A political caucus is not a tool for political blackmailing

1. who cares
that is why all nepalese should support the following "born in nepal idea by nepali, for nepali" regarding form of govt.

there are likes of maoist, deuba, jhallu ram to drag there opposition into referendum and thus nepalese can easily make those incompetent feel our presence/dissatisfaction.  

this form of govt will make sure all politicians keep in close contact with public. 

in US around 5-15% are decision makers. thank god, in nepal there are around 50%.

the latest news from NC, seem to be, there is likely to be directly elected executive head, but that is not enough. 

why dont they go for free sms polling? 

2. Ashok SJB Rana
You know what they say - wake up and smell the coffee. Come on man, how can a handful of thugs continue to exploit millions and millions of poor Nepalis and we just put up and shut up. Get this, unless and until you drag Prachanda by his hair along the streets of Kathmandu and publicly punish him , nothing will change in Nepal. I have been saying that we Nepalis are all cowards. We have no guts or glory. We simply suck. Every one keeps harping that the Maoist are thugs, but no one does anything. How can Nepalis expect to prosper if the Communist killers are in charge. Its time. From 1990 to 2012, don't you thing that is enough suffering. We need vigilante justice in Nepal. Sudan Scam - what happened. The top cops are free. Its time to banish the killers of Nepali and Nepal. India needs to pay in some fashion for the suffering of Nepalis. Its with Indian support the Maoist have ruined and destroyed Nepal. Its time for payback.       Â

3. K.K. Sharma

Public opinions are of inconsequence in Nepal. Opinions ( instructed ) of the major parties matter. And their induced opinions, needs the the nod of some foreign embassies. 

So base your writings on the opinions of the foreign embassies, or indirectly on the opinions of the bahuns of the major parties. This would be more meaningful and realistics to gauge what could transpire.

4. jange

The mystery of why some populations rise up to spontaneously protest, while others don't is the subject of academic research at universities around the world.

Really? Where?

The next elections (whenever that happens) is about winning the hearts and minds of the 57 per cent who are undecided. If����� conducted fairly, leaders with better performance and integrity will win.

You mean free and fair like the last one?

5. Deepak Gurung
Nepal is a country of crooks and criminals. All the honest people have either migrated to a foreign land or the ones left behind in Nepal are dejected, helpless and powerless.  But you know it only takes 1 man. Case in point is ( Tunisia). One man had the courage to bring down a killer like Ben Ali. Nepali political leaders are fat, comfortable, well fed, have a penchant for Scotch whiskey and French wine and other vices I cannnot dare to write in a newspaper. Nepali politicians are living Kings. Nepali political leaders are lazy and have zero intelligence. But one thing they are good at is duping the people of Nepal. They are good are stealing from the people of Nepal. They are also convinced that there is no one to challange them. Really. Is there no one in Nepal that can take on a bunch of freaking Communist. What ever happend to the Ayo Gorhkali, blood curdling scream of the past heroes of Nepal.  Where are children of these brave souls. One more thing, INDIA has big role and big part in the sufferings of Nepalis. As a Nepali, I hate the Indians for thier overt and covert role in the destruction of Nepal. WE Nepalis need to unite together and bring the politicians to justice, put them in jail, return their stolen wealth back to the people and challange India and let the Indians know that they will not be welcome in Nepal if they continue to destroy us and our future. Can we all come together. Lets unite for a common casue. Lets stop this unnecessary suffering.          

6. Tom Arens

Does "DK/CS" stand for undecided? I couldn't find a definition in the article or cut line under the chart..



7. Nirmal
I don't think Nepali people will have such an unlimited tolerance in coming days neither this can last long. I can see outrage, frustration, anger against netas. Rare is the day that the nepali people do not wake up with these sorts of news of netas' inability to strike the final deal, corruption, shortage, shortage and shortage. Under these same reasons Baburam's predecessors resigned. However, the so called revolutionary and theorist PM Baburam, in spite of same incompetency, has not received the adverse criticism to step down. Mere luck or useless opposition? Whatever the case, the dishonorable details of his leadership are in the mouth of every nepali people these days, all over Nepal. Since he became the PM, his persona is being torn to pieces which is understandable given his incapacity to complete the peace process and the constitution writing. Now, it seems that he is holding the premiership just because he has that thing called PhD and because Prachanda knows that once the maoists lost the post they would have to base their bargaining power entirely in the streets which will lead to the Maoists final destruction.

Pluralism in our country has become 1st the control of three men over all the issues 2nd the lack of clear definition between democracy and autocracy 3rd the fear to construct the consensus and 4th is the fear of collapse of peace process (come on the world will not end here!). While In our modern times --and which is millions of miles away from Nepal-- the pluralism is the ideology or dominant form of conscience that includes and reformulates the vision of the liberal democratic world, expanding over all areas of representation, from ethics, aesthetics and politics to epistemology and ontology. Pity that Nepali society has yet to accept this concept of pluralism. If we could just go around this idea of pluralism while governing the country we would set the precedence, we'd have leaders who could communicate the right to left spectrum then we could talk about individual with high credibility, be it Baburam or any Tom Dick Harry.

8. KiranL
DK/CS: Don't Know / Can't Say...Editor should have spelled it out.

9. Rita Sharma
There will a rude awakening for the political leadership of Nepal very soon. The Nepali people are tired of lies and more lies each day. The Nepali people are tired of energy shortages, lack of security and increasing lawlessmess day by day. The Nepali people are tired of being tired. It will take just a spark similar to Tunisia or Eygpt or Libya. The politicians need to pay for holding hostage the future of Nepalis. The politicians need to pay for the crimes they have commited against Nepal. The good for nothing and do nothing C A needs to be disolved right away.  Today the leaders may think they are invincible, tomorrow they can hanged or shot. They will get there due, what is coming to them. The Nepali people are tired of everything, so what have they got to lose. Nothing.   They have only to gain.

10. Soni
There is no tipping point, there never was any. 

The same students who are out there destroying other people's property at their party bosses instruction were made heroes when they were destroying people's property under some other rule that was not palatable to the hypocrites. All these shortages, price rise, lawlessness, corruption are gift of Nepal's intellectuals, and its rowdy students, to a really cowardly nation that refused to think for itself. Congratulations.

As far as your optimism, I assure you the world that is lost will never come back, the world that the people at the helm of affairs and the students at the helm of your trashed property are set on creating is not good. But do keep hoping, it helps me laugh a little about this sorry situation that should never have come about.

11. Danny
Nepal is a secular state, The people are being asked to  covert into a new religion called Marxism-or  Communism or Maoism or Leninism? You call by whatever name;they
  are the real neo-religion  that have replaced the customary  religion like the Judeo-Christian or Islam, the true religion..
Although this Neo-religion based on Marxism has failed in the rest of the civilized world our so called  messiahs are trying to force it on us by any means/
Beware of the New Religion in a Secular country.

12. Soni
"Forming a government of national unity may be just the right opportunity to bring in clean technocrats." 

Well, they are now trying new plans and techniques, finding escape-goats, ghosts in the cupboard, and a revision of history to deflect attention from their failures. 

They will succeed, but then would that really be success?

13. jange

"Forming a government of national unity may be just the right opportunity to bring in clean technocrats." 

But isn't this what Mahendra tried to do with his Panchayat system and that was BAAAAAD.

So, why is this good?

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)