Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shakun's Childhood Quiz

I remember a childhood quiz:

There was a farmer who had to cross a bridge with three conflicting issues from his farm- a bundle of grass, a goat and a tiger. The bridge could only hold the weight of one and himself. In the challenge of delivering all three safely across the bridge, he would have to assure that one did not fail bait to the other. The issue for his survival as well as each of them depended not only in his insight but also his wide-angled intelligence. He had to deliver them across by taking them one by one. But if he did this, he would have to sacrifice one, as each served as the fodder for the other. If he carried the grass across and came back to get the goat he would find the goat missing. If he asked the tiger to follow first, on his return, he would find the jaws of the goat cuding away the grass. The only puzzle in the scenario was that the tiger had no taste for grass and the grass had no brains for either of them. In this, lay the answer for the farmer.

Nepali people will have to cross the bridge of democracy and deliver safely all Nepalese of caste/ ethnicities and women. The victory of the Maoists, to me, is like cow dung in cheese souffle. Their 2-3 days of cleaning campaign in Thamel is no different than their whim to wipe out clean, a community building or school in Myagdi. Should I or other, thinking and feeling Nepalese, consider the smile of a Hyena, signing a peace contract, an auspicious sign? A Hyena just does not know how to wipe out that clean smile off his face, even while preying and praying. Nepali denizens are constantly lured by cutting of ribbons, vermilion blessed foreheads, lighting diyas, handshakes, namastes, sweeping propaganda. and promises of reservations and so forth. All promises that bring us back to the colloquial "Mangal Man".

Every decade since 1940s, Nepal has garnered mass movements, only to fall prey to consequential governments which take you no further than the delusions of a caste based representation of the very nature of what it is fighting against. It's like rolling the dice and getting the same number four times. The hierarchy of caste/class conflict continues with even more gusto and vengeance in the present context as there is the economic, global factor to reckon with, reinforcing power like fueling a tank.

King Pritivi Narayan's "char varna 36 jaat ko phulbari" (Garden of Dreams) could not see King Gyanandra through the April Andolan. The symbol of his forefather's "up you" finger of oneness, has converted his statue into a red, look-alike, veiled and devout Muslim (the color red is to honor the Maoist flavor of the day) in front of Singa Durbar.

The 7 parties professing democracy for Nepal can barely pronounce the fundamental rights and directive principles in their own backyard, Their fundamental concerns are- me, my and mine badis. They speak for the people but who are the people to them?

After the Andolan, when they blatantly elect three representatives in the election commission; all brahmins- Bhoj Raj Ghimiri, Usha Nepal (a brahmin woman) and Nil Khanta Upreti; is this their genuine understanding of one representing all, for proportional representation and democracy? This is only one example, the rest is an unchanged pattern of business as usual.

What about the Arms Management agreement? Is it peaceful to be stupid? Lock them up in high tech cantonements and hand over the keys to the Maoists while the UN gets to play the Pundit. This is the ceremony of confusion. It is like asking a man-eating tiger to shut his mouth with a lock and let him keep the keys, when a plump breakfast is being served. The UN is adorned a "Group Four" authority with chaukidar status, policing the cheese while the cats have free access to milk. Why not have a lock that does not need a key? Why does the Pundit not have the power to configure a code number that is it's own mantra?

When the likes of me hear Mr. Dahal, alias Prachanda, say that he is going to turn Nepal into Europe in another decade, I am just wondering what Andolan will gear up in the next ten years.

The Nepalese are facing the challenges of damning the devil you know and the devil you don't know, syndrome. As long as the government and the donors are not able to respond to Nepal's diverse citizenry through broad based inclusion, Nepal will remain a failed state while I remain a sardonic rat scurring the traffic in Kathmandu.

No comments: