The year 2061 BS did not hold much promise for the majority of the Nepalis although the drama of political hobnobbing was quite extraordinary. Violence, for instance, continued unabated. If anything, Sher Bahadur Deuba’s appointment as the prime minister nearly a month after Surya Bahadur Thapa’s departure plunged the country into an abyss. Deuba’s repeated call for the Maoist rebels including a January 13 deadline to return to talks was rebuffed by the latter. But Deuba’s anxiety to gain legitimacy by inviting Nepali Congress and other parties that chose to stay out of his political alliance served to dwarf other issues. Heights of bureaucratic dilly-dallying were best portrayed in the whole exercise, including the hype and hoopla that surrounded the formation of the peace secretariat. There were also a few notable face-offs between the security agencies and the rebels throughout the year. Over 2000 people were killed in the conflict last year alone. But a year later, peace appears to be as elusive and distant as it was exactly a year ago.
Amid all that gloom, there were times such as when the nation found a cause to unite and cheer up for Sangina Baidhya in the Athens Olympiad. Short lived as that episode was, the next time the citizens were together was in grief, praying for the departed souls of those Nepali workers who were brutally massacred by an Islamic outfit in Iraq. But Bhadra 16 will go down in history as a moment when the government stood a mute spectator as rioting crowds pillaged and plundered manpower agency offices. The year will be remembered as much for blockades and bandhs as for petrol price hikes and an ever soaring cost of living. Unemployment was at an all-time high. The picture on almost all fronts remained gloomy.
But as yet another year beckons, there is very little the common man can do other than go about his business as usual. The struggle for the Nepalis steeped in rank poverty has only been for two square meals a day. But when things beyond his control interfere with even that basic life equation, the common man has never before yearned for peace with such intensity as today. Digging the dirt from the past, therefore, will have almost nothing to offer. Hope is in the future and so must we all aspire for better days ahead. The state cannot let down this flock of 2.4 million, no matter who is at the helm. Now that the political scenario appears to have taken an about-turn, the rest is, as they say, history. Life has to be lived, though, and a living has to be made. How that can be achieved is, of course, a 64 thousand-dollar question that time alone can answer. Irrespective of what happened and what didn’t, promise lies in looking ahead with anticipation.