Nepali Times
Guest Column
Ironies abound


There is a limit to which you can bend logic. Take this example: When a leader is appointed twice as prime minister under certain situations prevailing in the country it is considered constitutional. Under the same set of conditions when an anti-corruption body is formed to investigate corruption cases and implicates this same person in a scam, the body as well as the move to control corruption becomes unconstitutional.

Prime Minister Deuba used his constitutional prerogative to dissolve the house in 2002, a move validated by the Supreme Court. When the same person was charge-sheeted on corruption charges his followers have taken to the streets demanding restoration of the house that he himself dissolved.

The political parties oppose the choice of the NHRC members because their candidates have not been included as they were in the previous commission. Why should the NHRC be a bunch of political appointees?

Professionals such as lawyers are expected to function without bias or prejudice. But legal practitioners are taking political issues to the streets even on matters on which the Supreme Court had previously given its verdict. Ditto for journalists. They are demanding the right to free expression. What we do not see are signs of greater objectivity and ethical responsibility in journalism. With the media\'s rights come responsibilities.

All this, of course, doesn\'t absolve the state from blame. And one of the most glaring and symbolic lapses is the way Maoist victims are being treated, allowing them to be politically exploited. The government has not been able to refute, deny or correct the negative press the country is receiving domestically and internationally. The ground reality is far removed from what appears in the media, yet the authorities make no effort to set the record straight. Why is the state only talking to a handful of sycophantic state media? There is no point preaching to the converted. The government seems to be dithering on the media ordinance. Why is it hesitating? The RCCC sets the original bail amount in the Melamchi case at Rs 570 million. A few months later, the bail amount is reduced to five million. Has the quantum of corruption suddenly shrunk?

India has been up to its neck in the region\'s crises: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan. The Americans and the Europeans have now given it the lead role in solving the situation in Nepal even though New Delhi is implicated in destabilising activities here and elsewhere. This is like letting the fox guard the chicken coop. Indian media report that officials who have labelled the Maoists as terrorists are facilitating a dialogue with political leaders. This is beginning to look like a love triangle.

So-called Indian experts on Nepal are given more importance in Nepal than our own scholars. Their utterances have more influence on our political leaders than Nepali experts. What makes a JNU professor or an ex-general from the Indian Army a 'Nepal expert\'? Can we not learn to trust ourselves on matters that concern our destiny? Does a nation not have the right to choose a polity suitable to its ow n needs and strengths? Must we blindly ape the west to please the west?

And of our political leadership, the less said the better. When their anti-king street agitation fails to ignite because of lack of political support they rush off to India to cry on the shoulders of their mentors in New Delhi. It is easy to see who the political parties regard as their constituents. The biggest irony of all is the unseemly sight of Nepali politicians acting like birds on a wire to fly off to New Delhi to meet Indian officials.

Our idea of nationalism has been limited to wearing the national dress, speaking our language and boasting of the fact that we have never been a British colony. Is this all there is to it?

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)