At a time when public figures who are willing to make a sacrifice and show restraint are becoming increasingly rare, Bhim Bahadur Tamang was a living example of his democratic beliefs. His disdain for power politics, and his intent to develop a culture of respect within the political fraternity were appreciated by his colleagues and opponents alike.
Tamang was a very gifted intellectual. Knowledgeable about everything from the Vedas, to world history, religion, philosophies, and sciences, he was equally capable in discussing modern issues, and was an erudite advocate of democracy. He was perhaps the most capable candidate from his generation to lead the country, but unfortunately his own party chose to sideline this philosophical giant.
However, ordinary Nepalis recognised his worth and queued up outside his house in Sanepa to pay their last respects. They stood in line for hours as a show of genuine affection, not as formality.
Identity politics has shaken the core of Nepali society today. Many groups are searching for their individuality because they don't want to identify as Nepalis. They want to be known as Gorkhalis, Rais, Limbus, Newars, Tamangs, Gurungs, Madhesis, Yadavs, Chaudharys, and even Brahmans and Chhetris instead. In fact, no one is prepared to be a Nepali.
Bhim Bahadur Tamang alone chose to be known as a Nepali. He was born a Tamang, but deep inside he belonged to no particular caste. His nationalism made him a Nepali, politically he was a democrat, and as far as social justice was concerned, he was a thorough socialist.
Currently, all political parties are running around the president and looking to extend the deadline. If the NC had promoted figures like Tamang, our political landscape would have looked extremely different. Instead the party became caught up in personal ambitions, and failed to understand the need of the moment. Indeed, the democratic aspirations of an entire nation have been strangled by this self-righteous approach.