Blessed Nepal: Sea of opportunities

The country has adopted a multi-party system allowing different trends to have their representation. But within the political party the leaders are poor managers of different opinions. As a result the parties are rife with factions and splits

People talk of how Nepal is strategically placed between India and China, the two powerhouses of Asia.

Yet Nepal as a nation is becoming politically insignificant day by day. People often mention how it can take advantage of the two giants and growing economies of the neighboring countries, yet there is hardly any investment coming into Nepal.

Similarly they talk of how it is between the two most ancient civilizations in Asia, yet the people in Nepal are running after the latest consumer culture.

People talk of how Nepal is between two strong and stable political systems, one party system pegged on executive President system in China and another on multi-party system based on Westminster system in India.

Meanwhile, Nepal is going through changes in government every nine months or so. Nepal is blessed with a multicultural, multilingual, multi religious and multi ethnic country.

There are efforts to make it monolithic with one religion, one language and one culture. People talk of how rich Nepal is in terms of movements: anti Rana movement, anti-monarchy movement, anti-unitary state movement and despite it being a republic, federal, democratic and secular political system it has not been able to institutionalize it.

Nepal has just two neighbouring countries and yet it cannot decide on a common foreign policy. Nepal has more than 85 political parties, though small in size, and yet the country lacks vision.

People talk of how variant the climate in Nepal is. Within less than one hour of motorable journey one reaches from a land of apples to a land of papayas. Yet apples are imported from China and papaya are imported from India.

Similarly, Nepal is blessed with mountains rich with hidden treasure of rare elements like uranium to day to day use iron and yet Nepal cannot even manufacture a needle.

People talk of how Nepal is rich with fresh water yet it cannot provide drinking water and electricity to everyone. There is talk about how rich Nepal is in herbs and yet this country is flooded with foreign made expensive medicines.

Nepal has eight highest mountain peaks in the world; and it has one of the deepest gorges in the world. The only thing Nepal does not have is a sea. But it has seas of opportunities.

Nepal has two populous, economically vibrant countries as neighbors. Both the countries being friendly to Nepal they want to see Nepal using the sea of opportunities. But it is sinking day by day.

While both neighbors are competing to make their presence felt in the world arena, Nepal is not doing well.

People talk about how hard working, tolerant and smiling Nepalese are. But why are they increasingly leaving this country: both skilled and unskilled?

People talk of the flow of remittance in Nepal yet money is not retained in Nepal. It does not induce industrialization. Yes many people working abroad come back with skill and money to invest in Nepal.

But soon they pack off, this time not alone but they take their entire family abroad leaving citizenship of their mother country.

In short, Nepal has almost all the ingredients it needs to make it rich. Yet people are abandoning this country. This reminds me of the state of luxurious bathrooms in Nepal.

They are mostly furnished with glossy marbles, fixtures and amenities: be it in airports or hotels or rich houses.

However, I find most of the latches of these beautiful bathrooms not working. Eventually you start looking for some other bathrooms.

Nepal now has a republic, democratic, federal and secular system. Yet most of the political parties have not been able to cope with the changes they themselves had brought.

The leaders of the political parties are old and outdated. The monarchy system has gone but there are monarchs in most of these parties. Just as a monarch does not give away his seat of power until he dies so do the leaders of the parties.

Similarly, the monarch does not decentralize his power below and today’s leaders too do not want to devolve power below. In the past kings used to use inclusion as a symbol by giving different oppressed community their token share by appointing chosen ministers but without giving their rights.

Today’s parties are doing almost the same by using inclusion issues as symbolic gestures not only outside but also within their parties. On the question of religion they are worse than the past kings.

The past kings openly advocated Hindu religion and gave it state protection. But today politicians are most opportunists in this field. They say their policy is secular but in private they are not.

In public they give lip services to gender issues, but they are apprehensive in increasing women’s seat in the policy making within the parties and within the government.

Similarly the country has adopted a multi-party system allowing different trends to have their representation.

But within the political party the leaders are poor managers of different opinions. As a result the parties are rife with factions and splits.

In short what is failing in Nepal is not due to its people. It it is the political parties who are not able to change themselves.

It is they who are not able to give forward-looking vision the progressive circumstances have brought.

The author is the head of International Department, Nava Shakti Party Nepal.