Nepali Times
State of the nation

The situation in our country will continue as long as clever politicians keep on luring a disillusioned and frustrated generation of people with false promises. It is no wonder that these people are venting their anger, and what better way than joining the so-called Maoist revolution. People are being manipulated to fight not for principles, but just because it gives some kind of purpose to life. Where is all this leading us? Since when did we become so bitter that we take pride in killing our fellow citizens for political reasons? We need revolution in our country but not the kind Maoists want: we need a revolution in the calibre of leaders, a revolution in patriotism.

Ashok Srivastav
North Platte, Nebraska

l Why do poor Nepalis have to die because big people disagree? The Maoists are taking us back 1,000 years. While other countries are moving forward, we are destroying our own property and killing our own people.
BS Kamal
New York

l Raghu Mainali's blow-by-blow account ("Another post-mortem", #90) was good, but I missed a real post-mortem of why 112 paramilitary forces were stationed in Satbaria to guard the Home Minister's farmhouse, and only nine civil police were at the strategic Lamahi post. In attack after attack, our security forces have seen the modus operandi of the Maoists, and yet there doesn't seem to be any real attempt to reinforce the safety of the police under fire. It is almost as if the Home Minister feels the rest of the country can eat cake. The IGP as head of the police force is directly responsible for the security of his force. After Satbaria, even if it means breaking protocol, he must tell us the truth about why the police base was located in such a vulnerable position.

Kabindra Pradhan

l I am one of those staunch followers of the estai ho (go with the flow) path of ennui and nonchalance. But even that is not helping me maintain my sanity. Explain this to me:
1. An ex-state minister confessed to his corrupt ways and admitted that he had embezzled heavily from the exchequer, he wanted to make amends, be fined, and sent to jail. He even offered to pay for his upkeep in jail. But the administration refused to register his confession, as there was no provision for such bursts of honesty.
2. Why is there an additional service charge on public utilities like water, electricity and phones? Aren't they providing a service they were set up to provide? And a "value added" tax? And why do I, as a Nepali, have to pay a tourist service charge when I eat at a restaurant?
3. The hike in electricity tariff is blamed on the World Bank, which justifiably insists that losses incurred due to non-payment of bills and leakage must be recouped. (Why do we need outsiders to tell us we are being cheated?) So, as a conscientious consumer, I rush to pay my bills on time. The honest consumer gets shafted and carries the burden of those who cheat.
4. The NTC is going to increase local phone rates and lower ISD rates. Why? Because people are using the Internet to call long distance from cybercafes. Would it not be more practical to levy a monthly per-computer permit fee to the cybercafes and generate revenue? Ah-ha! But that's the point I have probably missed all along: being practical? In Nepal?

"Goru Budhiman"
by email

- Even if democracy is not what the Maoists accept as a system for social change and development, it is absurd to hope to achieve change by arson, killing, extortion, destruction of water supply, bridges etc. Do the Maoists hope to come to power by destroying the little development that has improved the life of some of the poorest in rural areas? Do they hope to get rid of the establishment in this way? What does the fear and paralysis of the people during the five-day bandh prove to the Maoists? Are bandhs called to convince people that their future would be better in the Maoist's hands? Does their political work, their concern about the people start only when they have destroyed everything? If there ever was a sensible Maoist policy, where has it gone?

The impression prevails that what might have been a necessary revolutionary movement has now turned into an uncontrolled mob, members of which have no clear orders, no objective anymore other than to kill, plunder, and destroy. One has to draw the conclusion that if they came to power the Maoists would not be different from the other political parties, and the people of Nepal would continue to be victims of exploitation and repression.

If last week was a "general strike"-a clear demonstration of the people demanding speedy and effective improvement of education, health, water supply, garbage disposal, and a fight against corruption and sleaze-then the government would have to react. With, or without the Maoists.

C Grote

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)