Simmering uncertainties People bear the brunt
It was cold. Very cold. It felt like the night would go forever. And ever. The West Gate of the where the current CA is housed was not a very good sight in front of me on the night of the second of February.
Earlier in the week, when Civil Movement for Democracy and Peace (CMDP) circulated a flier informing the entire citizens of the country that it was holding a 24-hour “Khabardari Dharna” (Sit-in) to pressure for timely constitution writing, I didn’t think twice about lending my full support to this event. After all, this was the long awaited citizen’s response to the ongoing political impasse. This was an opportunity to tell the “leaders” of the “New Nepal” how we, as common citizens of Nepal, felt about it. This was an opportunity to vent our anger and our frustrations, but in a manner unlike those used by the political parties that the leaders’ represent. This for me was the continuation of the peaceful movement for democracy and peace in Nepal, and I decided I would not be caught sitting on the fence anymore. I wanted to be involved, fully involved, by joining other prominent members of the civil society of Nepal in the program. We wanted to remind those happily seated on the 601 padded seats inside the CA building to simply do their job or else…
After all, what wrong have we done to deserve the pain we are experiencing right now?-This was a question that was in my mind as the night wore on. I saw the almost full moon, which now was on its 18th cycle of the month, on its way to brief oblivion once again. I tried to count the few stars that glittered brightly outside the parameters of the tent covering over our heads. Then I noticed the silhouette of the makeshift CA assembly building with the same bright moon on the background. It came to me - This was the cause of our current problems. The same place also held the answers, I realized. The CA members, most of whom we had elected, or representing political parties we voted for, are simply not doing their job. They are the problem. These 601 individuals, earning more than 10 times the salary average Nepali, not including perks by the way, needed to write the new constitution in time. They are the solution, yet.
My inner mind continued working as the cold February morning breeze swept past every pore of my body not used to this lifestyle, with my head resting on a layer of cloth separating it from the concrete below. The problem with us Nepalis is that we have become primarily political cadres or members of ethnic communities or misguided youth groups first. We have stopped being Nepali citizens. That’s why we are always gurgling out political agendas and viewpoints, talking about dividing what little we have, but forgetting that united we stand, divided we fall. This is the reason why we are always fighting, always in the dark. We don’t communicate, we cold-shoulder. We don’t hear others speaking, we just harp our own agendas. We don’t look for a common ground. We drag the ground from right under us. No wonder foreign players are laughing at us. Laughing at our self-destructive attitude. Sneering at our false sense of security. Laughing at our misplaced sense of nationality. Woe be us, we are letting ourselves self-detonate.
The dawn beckoned. In a way a welcome relief from lack of sleep, and overall tiredness. In many other ways, sadness, that another day of confusion, in-fighting among political parties, street brawls, bandhs, murders and abduction was about to start. Sadness, because after all, this is not what I or any other common Nepali wants. We don’t want to be used as guinea pigs. We want to be respected. However, that’s not what we are getting. Guinea Pigs are exactly how the powers that be are using us as. They all say whatever they are doing, it is for us. Then why is it that I don’t feel comfortable at all with the thought? Why do I feel an absolute sense of loathing towards them, and what they are doing to our country? Maybe it IS us- we are infamous as very docile citizens, rising up at the very last minute when things are almost out of control. Or maybe, we have forgotten that we, the citizens are the actual supreme body of the country. Unfortunately, we seem to have all become political cadres, bowing down to the rhetoric and misguided principles of our political gurus. We are waiting for a Messiah to deliver us, each hoping it’s going to come from “our” political party. We have forgotten that it should be the other way round.
I am however sure that they probably laughed at us for wasting our time spending cold nights outside. Maybe they sarcastically commented on our apparent lack of political understanding. They probably assumed that so called citizens movement would subside once everyone went home. We, the Nepali population could easily let their assumptions prevail over our convictions. We could continue to sit back and just watch, or start making our voice louder for Nepal. The wrong choice, and there will be plenty of cold, and dark nights ahead not for just a handful of concerned citizens, but for all Nepalis.
Dr. Dixit is Country Director, Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal