Nepali Times
Under My Hat
Strike while the iron is hot


Every four years, in his infinite wisdom, God gives humankind a bonus day. This Leap Year it falls on Sunday, 29 February-a reward from the Almighty for living our daily lives fulfilling Lord Bishnu's wishes, and an extra 24-hour period in which we can do good deeds like eradicate polio and punish the corrupt.

And what a windfall it has been for our subterranean comrades who smartly seized the opportunity to incorporate the extra day in their marathon five-day banda and bring the country to another grinding halt. Using the Gregarious Calendar to convert a four-day strike into a five-day strike without actually adding a day is a stroke of genius.

Physicists and social scientists are fascinated by how Nepal has defied Newton's Law by proving that a body in a state of rest can actually be brought to a state of even greater rest by the application of an external force. From the scientific point of view, it is a discovery of the same magnitude as being able to attain a temperature even colder than absolute zero.

Most Nepalis now realise that things can't go on like this any longer: we can't wait another four years for another Leap Day. We must be more creative, even more resourceful and inspired in inventing new ways of doing nothing. As usual, His Majesty's Government lacks the political will to do nothing. It must standardise and streamline the application procedure for declaring general strikes and hartals so that they don't fall on weekends and national holidays, so that the banda calls by various factions don't clash and to coordinate the timetable for strikes by bringing out a shutdown calendar for 2061.

The government must immediately set up a Department of Bandobast under the Ministry of Home and Hearth so people can stay home and relax. If the government doesn't fulfil these demands with immediate effect, we will declare a general strike as soon as the current general strike is over, that is if someone else hasn't already declared a general strike on those days, in which case we will strike at the next opportunistic moment.

There are many ways we, as citizens, can exercise our rights in a democracy as we have seen in recent weeks:
. Lightning Strike: Work stoppage without warning, doesn't strike the same place twice
. Lucky Strike: A strike which achieves its result as a result of a fluke and not because of the force of its logic
. General Strike: Work-to-rule by top army brass
. Three Strikes: Means you're out
. Transport Entrepreneurs Strike: Nepali entrepreneurship at its shiny best under which passengers are required to ride on the roof and not sit in reclining seats in air conditioned comfort, because that would be against the national interest, and we need to protect domestic industry, don't we?
. Gas Station Strike: If the government doesn't let us rob people in broad daylight hours and expose them to carcinogens, we will close down our pumps indefinitely
. Pre-emptive Strike: Announcing your banda before someone else announces his banda, also known as 'The Early Worm Ends Up in the Bird's Gizzard'
. Ramp Bus Strike: Airlines care so much about passenger safety they are willing to lose Rs 3 million a day to keep forcing domesticated passengers to ride ramp buses built in the early Malla period out of discarded tin cans
. Hunger Strike:: This is what most Nepalis have been doing for the past few decades
. Pen-down Strike: This column will be terminated with immediate effect in defiance of the Essential Services Act unless the government ensures the uninterrupted supply of taxfree hats at a subsidised rate, and bans the imports of cheap Indian hats

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)