Nepal | July 03, 2020

EDITORIAL: Stop intimidation

The Himalayan Times
Share Now:

What the intimidation tactic has done is given those in the opposition and the angry commoner a platform to hit back at the government

That folk singer Pashupati Sharma was ‘intimidated’, allegedly by forces close to the establishment, into off-loading his satirical song from YouTube is highly objectionable. This is nothing short of violation of a person’s right to freedom of expression. The song, which raises voice against the misrule, corruption and extravagant expenditure of the government, had resonated with the people but apparently did not go down well with the youth wing of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP). As was expected, political parties, ranging from the Nepali Congress and Bibeksheel Sajha Party, and the Human Rights Organisation have condemned the removal of the song from YouTube. And people gathered at the Maitighar Mandala on Sunday in protest against the intimidation tactics used against Sharma. Some of the lines and words used in the song have vexed those in the ruling party. The song portrays the country as the only nation where looters are free to plunder. The song calls the political cadres “dogs” and the government a “Yama” (God of Death).

Singer Sharma has said he has off-loaded his song from YouTube voluntarily, a statement not many people are willing to buy. He has apologised if the lyrics has hurt the feelings of any institution, political party or community, and said he would upload the song after revising it. Even without the intolerance shown by the Youth Association Nepal of the NCP, Sharma’s satirical song was already drawing flak from certain circles. While the song held mass appeal, some of the wordings were cheap, definitely not courteous. It seems the lyricist got carried away while writing the song. For example, there was no need to be dragging the president into controversy. This is not the first time that singers have had to remove their songs and revise them, although the contexts were different then. In many of these cases, certain wordings were not politically correct and certain communities took offence to them.

No one has come forward to claim they intimidated Sharma, neither the government nor the NCP’s youth wing, Youth Association Nepal. But the damage has been done, and the government has landed up in another controversy. A song which would otherwise have been enjoyed singly with a headphone has now spilled into the streets, and put the government in the dock for showing intolerance. The government and the ruling party would do well to stay away from predictable controversies when they already have more problems than they can handle. The new controversy comes hot on the heels of the storm generated by comments made on the Venezuelan crisis. What the intimidation tactic has done is given those in the opposition and the angry commoner one more platform to hit back at the government. The anomalies existing in the country are many, and they are the making of not just the ruling party but all the parties that have been formed till date. So what applies to the government and the ruling party is equally applicable to others as well. One has only to wait and see, if things don’t turn for the better, the wordings of Sharma’s song would be just as apt 20 years down the road as they are today.

Subsidy on interest

A joint secretary-led panel has recommended the government provide farmers subsidy on loan interest rather than other forms of subsidies or grants. The panel led by Tej Bahadur Subedi at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development found that distribution of grants and other subsidies did not help the farmers who need such help.

The study found that the farmers who had access to the corridors of power and had ties with the bureaucrats benefitted from the grants or subsidies, but did not help increase growth in agriculture. Others who did not have any political contact were deprived of the government support. Providing subsidy on interest would be the best option to the farmers who want to promote agriculture as a business, according to the study. The agriculture sector is receiving support from government and development partners. But such support has not reached the target group. In order to increase growth in the agriculture sector, the government and donor agencies must focus on providing subsidy on loan interest and technical support to those associated with cooperatives. The farmers should be familiar with modern concepts of farming in sectors where Nepal has a competitive edge.


A version of this article appears in print on February 19, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

In Pictures: Protest against govt's ineffective response to COVID-19 crisis

Kathmandu, July 2 Youths hold placards while maintaining safe distance as they take part in a protest at Patan on Thursday demanding better and effective response from the government in handling COVID-19 outbreak. Read More...

Botswana investigating mystery deaths of 275 elephants

GABORONE: The number of elephants found dead in Botswana's Okavango Panhandle has risen to 275 from 154 reported two weeks ago, the government said on Thursday. Authorities are investigating the unexplained deaths over the past months. Poaching has been ruled out as the carcasses were found Read More...

Deepika Padukone champions #DobaraPoocho on importance of discussing mental health issues

KATHMANDU: Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone has urged to be a little more attentive towards their loved ones and repeatedly inquire about their life struggles and mental health issues, through a campaign #DobaraPoocho. Taking to her Instagram on June 30, 34-year-old actor posted a video about che Read More...

Bob Dylan makes chart history with Rough and Rowdy Ways

KATHMANDU: American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has made a chart history with his 39th studio album Rough and Rowdy Ways — the critically-acclaimed full-length debuted at No 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, amassing three million streams and the equivalent of 53,000 album units in the United States. Read More...

British musicians call for govt to help live music industry

KATHMANDU: Some 1,500 British musicians including Sir Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran and The Rolling Stones called for the British government on July 2 to support the live music business survive the novel coronavirus pandemic as the future for concerts, festivals and the people who work in them looks bl Read More...

Actor Samragyee RL Shah exposes sexual, mental and financial exploitation in the Nepali film industry

Actor says many others suffering in silence KATHMANDU : Nepali actor Samragyee RL Shah, who has opened up about harassment she claims to have faced in the Nepali movie industry via a series of videos on her Instagram account, has shared with The Himalayan Times graphic details what she has fa Read More...

Ray Fisher says director Joss Whedon was gross, abusive and unprofessional on Justice League set

KATHMANDU: American actor Ray Fisher has accused director Joss Whedon of gross, abusive and unprofessional behaviour on the set of the 2017 film Justice League. Taking to Twitter on July 1, Fisher who played the young superhero Cyborg in the DC Comics film wrote, "Joss Wheadon’s on-set treatme Read More...

City honour Liverpool - then hammer them 4-0

MANCHESTER: Manchester City generously applauded new champions Liverpool onto the field before their Premier League match on Thursday -- and promptly showed no mercy by thrashing them 4-0 at the Etihad stadium. With the title secured a week ago, there was little at stake for Juergen Klo Read More...