TOPICS : Divisive ideas and anti-democratic mud-slinging

Hari Charan Shrestha

The Himalayan Times of April 17 published a joint statement by Malla K Sunder and Naresh Shakya. Their opinion, in reality, has the potential to create bad blood among the citizens of this country. They ascribe the non-participation of Newars in the five-party anti-regression agitation to the various parties’ neglect of the interests of this community. It is true that there has been some prejudice against Newars and their language. But in a polyglot society, such as ours, it generally happens so during phases of its underdevelopment. However, this is not the sole reason why their problems surfaced during the last twelve years. Rather, the discrimination against Newars was practised during the three decades of the autocratic Panchayat system. The Panchayati rulers also sought to drive a wedge between the Newars and the hill people (the Brahmins and the Chhetris) by using means not known to the general public. The observance of the Newari New Year’s Day, “Bhintuna,” is one such device sponsored by the Panchayat government. “Newars were not holding the post of prime minister anytime during the twelve years of the multiparty rule,” was the grievance harboured by these two people. However, this was also so during the Panchayat days. But, this is not the hour to contemplate such an issue, for it is time when all should fight against anti-democratic measures which can be called a counter-revolution. The common evil today is regression, and to keep oneself aloof from the movement is against the cause of democracy.

There is yet another brand of debunkers of anti-regression movement. They come from the wretched ranks of the retired, superannuated government officials, some of them having served as the country’s ambassadors, a few top functionaries at the Singha Durbar secretariat during the Panchayat days as well as some others from the lumpen lot who are never tired of speaking ill of mutiparty system, not to speak of those quill-drivers who fill the columns of the sheets they call tabloids. These people fail to see any merit in the parliamentary system, although they are yet to condemn the order as “the foreign stuff highly unsuitable to our soil” after the fashion of yesteryears’ blue-nosed Panchayati diehards. They also dub the enthusiastic younger cadres of the political parties as “donkeys” hired for the measly sum. These anti-democratic elements have only exposed themselves by indulging in this mud-slinging. Floating of wrong ideas as those held by Sunder and Shakya rather sires and aggravates many other undesirable issues and problems. We should eschew all considerations that are divisive or otherwise compromise the larger national interests, so that Nepal is saved from turning into a state where disaffected people and communities seek to reduce this country into a congeries of petty principalities in the form of Limbuwan, Kippat, Terai-Madhesh, Khumbuwan, and the rest. At the same time, top people in the nation’s public affairs should not practise any discriminatory policy against any ethnic or regional group which would only give them the cause to feel that they are meted out unjust and discriminatory treatment of one kind or the other.