Friday, May 30, 2008

The Sweep of History's Broom


In a nutshell, we're watching 250 years of history compressed into the last 25 years in Nepal. This week the royals are out and unlikely to return. Alas, poor Birendra... his death seven years unknowingly signalled the end of his family's long reign and the dissolution of a monarchy in the last Hindu nation on Earth.

Soon, the Maoists will likely form a government, hopefully with the Congress, UML and newly founded MJF (Madeshi party) as its partners.

Overall, there's a sense of calm satisfaction in the country w/ no less a trace of uncertainty about the future. So far, remarkably, the transition has been pretty peaceful (as I was bicycling among 5,000 young marching Maoists on Putali Sadak yesterday...). But, as they say, 'the future is unkown.'

I remain, as A. J. Heschel used to say, 'an optimist against my better judgement', given the disappointments in the past.

Still, no one can deny that the country's doors have been flung open and today there is a greater awareness and eagerness on the part of many of the formerly under-represented components of Nepali society to participate in the re-creation of the modern state of Nepal.

The 601 member Constituent Assembly does have many of the same incapable and corrupt high caste party leaders from the past, but even more new faces, young faces, tribal & Dalit faces, plus one third women's faces who are eager to participate and grow along with the late nascent start of a new era in Nepal.

Time will slow down again, sans doubt. Even slip backward, as much does on these Himalayan slopes, and yet, and yet, the world below our feet has shifted. Partially for better, partially ineluctably.

As the world spins, we have to keep our balance and adjust to the remarkable changes that history sweeps along our way.

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