Nepal | July 05, 2020

Leadership void

And other shortcomings

Anil Shah
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With our new Constitution in place, if we want to move forward in a manner that gets us to a different destination than the previous 6 Constitutions of Nepal, then we need to individually, institutionally and nationally do some serious introspection on our Netas – Nitis – Niyat

Gas ShortageI feel shame, I feel pain, I feel anger: As I look at the long lines of vehicles standing not for hours but days to get a few liters of petrol. As I look at the worried faces of Nepali brothers and sisters as they stretch their budgets to meet the escalating prices of vegetables and daily necessities. As I look at the level of anxiety increase in every household as the stock of kerosene and gas deplete meal after meal. As I look at the concern in the faces of teachers when they face the prospect of having to shut down educational institutions and yet again stop the learning of our youth. As I look at the hustle and bustle in our political circles to determine who gets to move their residence to Baluwatar and get the opportunity to ‘lead’ our nation.

Today the biggest void that we feel in the nation is a leadership void and many of the things that are happening are due to the lack of individual or collective leadership. Agreeing with our political leaders who are so quick to always point out unless we sort out our issues in the political arena we will not be able to move forward in any other arena, today despite there being amazing examples of leaders in other arenas, specially from the youth, the fact that we have such a huge void in political leadership has left us wanting in every sphere of the nation. So the first thing we need is a Neta, and this can be leadership of an individual or a group, that is able to not only win the confidence of the people but to articulate a vision of greater national good, and then actually formulate and implement plans to bring that vision to life.

The ability to articulate a vision and formulate plans brings us to our national need for a cohesive and comprehensive ‘Niti’ for the overall development of Nepal. This Niti has to focus on the short, medium and long term, so that we do not just keep doing what we have been doing in the past and expect to get to a different destination. The Niti needs to cover the entire plethora of our nation including political, social, economic, health, education, natural resources, cultural dimensions of our nation, taking stock of where we are in each sphere and determining how best to work in the framework of our new Constitution to deliver enhancements in each area. We need a Nepal Niti that takes our Constitution as its foundation and looks ahead to see how we can build a nation that utilizes its core strengths to enable it to be truly a sovereign country not dependent on any one too much, but building relations of interdependence with a multitude of nations in the neighborhood and across the world.

In order for the Neta to implement the Niti the most important factor will be the Niyat! No matter how comprehensive our Constitution is, and how precise the laws and regulations under it are, unless the Niyat of those, across all levels from Local, to Provincial to National is correct, we will not get the results we aspire for. Whether it is in a family, an institution or a nation if the Niyat is impure then the results cannot be otherwise. And when we look at where we stand today as a nation, the correction of our Niyat is the biggest challenge before us. And this change is required not only in the political arena but in most areas of our nation.

The need for Neta – Niti – Niyat can be best seen in the predicament we find ourselves in currently. As most goods and services are being exhausted just in the beginning of the biggest festive season of our nation, some choose to blame external forces, some choose to blame internal forces, some choose to blame each other… I see it as a lack of the 3Ns. If we had effective Netas they would have been able to manage the situation in the Terai/Madesh as well as external concerns before promulgating the Constitution. How this could or should have been done would have been known and implemented by effective Netas. This is not the first time we have faced this situation, however after each time when goods and services start to flow we forget it and never look at what Niti we need to implement so that we can save our nation and its people from undergoing such shame and hardships in the future. If we had formulated and implemented effective Nitis today we would not be standing still in this predicament. Which brings us to Niyat and the biggest problem of all in our nation currently, I feel. When talking of Niyat let’s look at our own Niyat as well, taken in reference to the over a month long curfew, agitations and Bandhs that has been going on in the southern parts of our nation. Children haven’t been able to go to school, the sick can’t get to hospitals, it has been a herculean task to get food stuffs and daily necessities to survive, but for us valley dwellers only the problem of the last ten days has opened our eyes that there is a problem in our nation. What happened to our Niyat for the weeks after weeks when our Nepali brothers and sisters in the south suffered far greater than what we are enduring today? If our individual Niyat is not aligned for the greater good then no matter what Niti our Netas try and implement we will not get the desired results. With our new Constitution in place, if we want to move forward in a manner that gets us to a different destination than the previous 6 Constitutions of Nepal, then we need to individually, institutionally and nationally do some serious introspection on our Netas – Nitis – Niyat.

A version of this article appears in print on October 19, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

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