Imitation is sometimes called the best form of praise. However, the problem with many of us in Nepal is that we have often tended to copy-cat wrong aspects of foreigners while we have ignored many virtues they possess, which, if adopted, could have transformed the country. We have also a tendency to point out that because this is so and so in country A, we should have it over here too, and that because this is forbidden in country B, we should trash the idea, and so on. This thinking covers almost the entire gamut — from culture to corruption, from politics to pornography, from fashion to films, from media to music, virtually from A to Z. This partly explains why Nepal remains one of the least developed countries in the world.
From across the border, for example, we have imported the culture of guns and goons in winning elections, contributing to making the electoral race mainly a matter of muscle and money. From the West we are second to none in aping their outward lifestyles, their sexual morals and mores, or anything that is easy to imitate. By doing so, we have done much to distort our culture. What may be good in their context may not be so in ours. But hardly ever have we been nearly so enthusiastic about emulating the really good in them, their singular qualities that have made their countries advance and excel in many fields, including economic development. This is because it is difficult to discipline oneself, to behave responsibly, to work hard, to have a high sense of duty and civic sense, to institute an effective system of accountability, to observe the rule of law, and so on and so forth.
In politics we are said to have adopted the Westminster system, without thinking of doing better in the Nepali context, and much worse, in our scramble for power, we have introduced elements that leave much to be desired. Some of us have often argued that the government should shed control over the print media, not the state-owned Radio Nepal and Nepal Television, because, according to our logic, even in India, the State owns All India Radio and Doordarshan. In recent times, a public debate has arisen over whether Nepal should permit FDI in the media. Some have argued that because even India had banned it, Nepal should pooh-pooh it too, regardless of why the idea is good for Nepal or why it is not. Now India has opened up its print media to FDI with a 26 per cent cap, so should Nepal ditto? This line of thought is injurious to Nepal’s interests. Issues should be debated on their merits. In this first decade of the 21st century, with so much change sweeping through the world through technology, globalisation and liberalisation, we should learn to march in step with the times, just to survive.