Nepali Times
The power of one


When Pushpa Basnet won the coveted CNN Hero Award last week, social media was abuzz with comparisons with her namesake, Pushpa Kamal Dahal. One paper published a cartoon in which the social worker was tagged 'Pushpa Hero' next to the Maoist Chairman who was labelled 'Pushpa Zero'.

Indeed, Pushpa Basnet's award did not just draw attention to the plight of disadvantaged Nepali children and her struggle for social justice, but also demonstrated the power of one. She showed how one person can make so much difference in the lives of so many by being selfless, compassionate, and committed.

When Pushpa Basnet stepped out of the airport in Kathmandu on Saturday night, we all celebrated her sacrifice on behalf of disenfranchised toddlers forced to grow up behind bars with their jailed mothers. In 2010 Anuradha Koirala, was also recognised as a CNN Hero for her two decades of relentless work at Maiti Nepal on behalf of trafficked young women.

There are hundreds of everyday heroes in Nepal like Basnet and Koirala. Most work in relative obscurity to improve the lives of fellow Nepali children, women, elderly, disabled, sick, and the unemployed. Basnet's effort to educate the children of incarcerated parents, and Koirala's work to rescue and rehabilitate women sold off as sex slaves are just two among many other heroes among us. We don't know about them because the Nepali media is so cynically obsessed with politics that it has no time to search for them. And perhaps the social workers prefer to work in anonymity.

Basnet and Koirala's well-deserved international recognition masked the abject failure of the Nepali state to protect and take care of its most vulnerable citizens. Six years of foot-dragging have unnecessarily lengthened the political transition and made the state even more invisible. Nepalis are either fending for themselves or helping other Nepalis in their struggle for day-to-day survival, or to battle injustice and discrimination.

In a country where government mattered, there would be shelters where women who have been trafficked, or are at the risk of being sold into slavery could find refuge. There would be institutions of the state that could spring into action to rescue women like Shiwa Hasmi who, in a tragic irony, was burnt alive by her suitor in Bardiya even as ceremonies were held this week to mark Human Rights Day.

There would also be children's homes for those who are abandoned or whose parents are unfit to look after them. Unfortunately, the only government-run orphanage, Bal Mandir, has set a terrible precedence. Not only is it notorious as a hotbed of corruption and mismanagement, but there are horror stories of rampant physical and sexual abuse and trafficking by members of its own staff.

If our leaders cared to look beyond musical-chairs politics, senior citizens would not have to spend the winter of their lives on the streets. While we count the billions spent supporting 601 CA members, five prime-ministers and their cabinets for four years, we leave out the opportunity cost of missed development. Millions of children have missed out on education, hundreds of thousands of farmers have had to sell their lands and migrate abroad, tens of thousands of young women have been sold by family members to traffickers. This is the real cost of the past six years.

A state can't be in transition forever. Since 2006, Nepal has been treading the thin line between progress and anarchy, no country can survive such uncertainty for long, something will have to give. It is time the politicians vying for berths in government realised the extent of the suffering that their greed and short-sightedness is costing the long-suffering people of this country, the people whom they have always taken for granted.

1. Subhas Lamichhane
It's not 'exactly a year ago' as mentioned in the editorial, but some 2 years ago that Anuradha was recognised as a CNN hero...hope this factual error to be corrected!!

2. Ram
Very moving editorial and touched my heart. Line to line yaad garna layak chha. Thanks for the brilliant writing. 

3. Govind Kafle

Thank you for this recognition of 2 great Nepalis,  Pushpa Basnet and Anuradha Koirala !  While these 2 brave women have brought fame, fortune and  honor to Nepalis everywhere, the disgrace men in politics have only looted and lied, brought only disgrace and dismay.

Its good that NT is now focusing on the positives of Nepalis. 99 % Nepalis are honest, loving and work hard each day to provide for their families. The filthy and rotting 1 % has destroyed the 30 long years of precious times of the 99.

Pushpa Dahal is a terrorist. He acts like the terrorist he is, BUT he is only 1 man, same can be said about Bhattarai, another terrorist. Both of these men are now running scared, afraid for their lives, for a maoist cadre will avenge the death of the family at the hands of these 2 filthy animals.

If India really pulls the string in Nepal, then Indians are despised for the hardship and sorrow they bring to Nepalis.


Finally, an honest Nepali has to emerge on the scene, and lead the real revolution that is brewing now.  The political mafia must be destroyed, until that happens, nothing will change.    


4. Nita Pokharel

Its very refreshing to read about the success resulting from hard work and sacrifices of Nepalis. Especially when the fame is global. There are many selfless Nepalis that are bringing joy to the needy. These are the stories we want to read about. Politics can be confined to the hell it exist in. 

5. Sabita Gurung
I loved reading this piece, Except that, its a grave sin to take the name of Pushpa Basnet in the same breath, or story with that of a disgraceful and congenital liar like Pushpa Dahal. Pushpa Mamu is known and respected forher honesty, integrity and sacrifice, and the uncouth Dahal is known fordisrespect, deceptions, lies, murder and loot.Pushpa Mamu is a bright light and Dahal (not using the 1st name ), is total darkness. Where there is light, there can be no darkness.

6. Bhawani Tuladhar
It feels wonderful to see my Nepali sisters finally getting their due in the world and local stage. If only Nepa had more Anuradha and Pushpa Mamu, we would definitely have more peace and prosperity for all. The message that is hitting home among young and old Nepali women is that they can dream and fulfill their dreams. We do not have to be 2nd class any more. We do not need the male domination that is so rampant in the Nepali culture and society. We can be equal or better than men.  I would implore to the editors at Nepali Time to continue this new and wonderful trend of highlighting the success of Nepali women. Kindly also accept my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for this gift you have given to women of Nepal everywhere. Please continue and support the efforts for women of Nepal from all walks of life to shine in glory for generations to come. Jai Nepal.  

7. Bindu Malla

Nepali Times is doing a wonderful job in supporting the women of Nepal. Its about time someone decided to come forward. The women in Nepal have been abused and mistreated by the male populations for ever and ever. The tide is now turning against the men in Nepal. We need strong laws against domestic violence and abuse against women. Pushpa Basnet will go down in history as one of the greatest Nepali woman for she is the hope of millions of abused children and women of Nepal. Men of Nepal, you should all be ashamed of your existence, for you have only brought dishonor and disrespect to Nepal and Nepalis.

Yes, my views are biased towards Nepali men, try to look at how Nepali society is from a woman's eyes and the you will understand how I feel. Most members of SAARC nations have had competent and brave women leaders, Nepal should also produce a woman to lead the nation.  

8. Bimala Shrestha

Compared to Pushpa Basnet,  Bhattarai is a goon and a traitor, that brings grief and instead of joy to Nepalis. Compared to Pushpa Basnet, Dahal looks like the criminal that he really is, lying each day of his puny existence. The shocking part is no one can oppose these 2 men.


Pushpa Basnet is loved by Nepalis, the Netas are hated by Nepalis. I think we Nepalis need to stop being nice to these Netas, lets take a page from Godfather,  lets make an offer they cannot refuse. Can anyone disagree with this logic.

Politicians have destroyed Nepal, lets band together as people and now destroy these politcians.    

9. Confused Nepal loving youngster (male)
Great Article...
I think given the success of Nepali individuals in the Global Arena, particularly one that arises from internet polling, it is quite apparent that Nepalis are patriotic; thrive on togetherness and will go out of their way to promote Nepal. The trend will and should continue.

Most op-ed articles I have read on Nepali Times somehow find a way of concluding on the failure of Nepali Politics...We are definitely not a tolerant society in that we are very quick to condemn wrongdoing without knowing the correct solutions for ourselves; and basing our solution on successful Western Ideology or what is written on the books, will in my view, simply not work in Nepal.
I believe that a successful nation is build by not only talented orators, but talented orators who actually possess clear and conscience morals; People who are able to differentiate what is morally, and ethically right and wrong through means of psychology and life-experiences...and it saddens me to say that in my 28 years in living and meeting people  from all backgrounds , soldiers, Ministers, government workers, students, business people and all, 50% simply lack EMPATHY!!!
And the 5% out of the other 50% who are willing to enter the political stream to fight and build a better nation are simply ousted by the other  bad apples, who simply do not CARE or have a heart!!!

I think the people who will change Nepal are those who have returned back to Nepal after having had the opportunity to live abroad and witness ETHICS for themselves.

10. Khagendra Thapa

I commend the hard work Pushpa Basnet has done for helping these young kids. She really deserves the CNN hero award. My congratulations to her!

All the political morons who are inciting the Nepalese people to fight among ourselves are wrong. Instead, all hardworking Nepalese people should unite against these political thugs and prove that we are united people. Racism, ethnic factionalism will lead us to disaster.

The support the Nepalese people showed to both Anuradha Koirala and Pushpa Basnet indicates that we think and behave as Nepalese people and not as Madhise, Pahade, or Tharu or Newar, or Limbu. We are one people and it is in our best interest to work together and help each other. When these ladies help, they do so irrespective of who the kids are or victims of human trafficking are.

I agree with the other commentators that the so called political leaders in Nepal are criminals thugs and have murdered, looted, cheated, victimized the Nepali people. Thanks to these criminals, Nepal has been turned back by hundred years in terms of development work. Look at the facts, during panchayat era they build many roads including the east-west high way as well as many more roads. They built many factories which have been sold to Indians by Girija for a paisa out of a rupee. Together Girija and Pushpa Dahal destroyed everything we had. Pushpa Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai destroyed all our infrastructure. Is that new Nepal? Is this what Nepalese people wanted? What happened to the 40 points demand Bhattarai wrote? These were just a pack of lies. Did Dahal or Bhattarai ever tried to fulfill even one demand out of 40 when they have the power? Local government elections have not been held for 14 years. Is that how democracy works? During Panchayat era elections were held every four years? I wonder which one is more democratic?

Leave a Comment

Name (required)

Mail (will not be published)(required)

    Please read our terms of use

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)