Rotten to the core

Published On: September 15, 2017 08:49 AM NPT By: Gunjan Upadhyay

For those of us stupid enough to follow the news every day, the never-ending tales of corruption are starting to stack up as tall as our mountains.They tend to weigh us down every morning and make us anxious of the direction this country seems to be taking.

It is in no small part infuriating too, because here we are – you and me – braving the roads, conditions and often these very fools to make a living whilst these leeches are just sitting there raking in easy money. I’m certainly not advocating for violence but I don’t think there is a single decent citizen who – dispirited by the knowledge that these people won’t ever be brought to justice – hasn’t fantasized about taking a gun, lining up all these parasites, and just letting loose with it. 

One can, of course, argue that corruption is nothing new – it has always been endemic in the system. Mark Twain apparently said that politicians and diapers should be changed often and both for the same reason. But, in following this maxim, we seem to have given rise to a new kind of nexus between politicians and bureaucrats, one that is perpetrating corruption which is bigger, bolder and ‘in your face’, as it were. 

Our current state of affairs reminds me of the time I called a pest control officer to my house in London after a cockroach problem spiralled out of control. I recall his words ‘If you see a couple of cockroaches on your kitchen top when you switch on the light at night, then you can be sure that you have got lots of them – hiding in the bowels of your kitchen. And what makes it worse is that they are such resilient creatures’.

If you consider the kitchen to be our country and the roaches our allegedly corrupt officials, this analogy perhaps best describes our current state of affairs. We have a massive infestation with official graft at every level of officialdom in this country, as the NOC land scam so grimly highlights. But it’s not even like we expect our politicians and bureaucrats to be scandal free (we have pretty low standards in case you’re new to this country).

On the contrary, it is quite the opposite. But what really gets our collective goat is the unwillingness to acknowledge – never mind tackle – these problems. It is this reluctance to act that must be challenged – this notion that politicians can simply stonewall any accusations or cite arcane parliamentary procedures to delay action onpressing issues. 

At least in the past there would be committees and probe panels formed to investigate these issues. It’s quite another thing that these panels and committees were about as useful as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest but at least there was an illusion of adherence to democratic values.

This current lot hadn’t even bothered with the pretences right until now. As I write this, our democratic procedures seem to be moving towards taking actions on these individuals but even then only after a month or two of this newspaper in particular and others in general shouting from the rooftops and pressing the government for action. 

Our education minister – certainly not the brightest spark in the cabinet – is all too willing to spout hot air in newspaper interviews but did everything else not to accept the resignation of Dolindra Sharma, the disgraced chief of Sajha Prakashan.

Gopal Khadka has, over a period of time, transformed himself from an NOC official into a part of the furniture – daring one and all to get him to move. In the midst of this, the man tasked with taking action against him, Minister for Supplies Shiv Kumar Mandal has been running around town sealing shops in Durbar Marg, ostensibly to save us from the real crooks. Bravo, Mr Mandal, we should really be focusing on this sensationalized story because this is the real travesty. Not the billions looted from the public, but this.

It just makes you wonder where all our politicians were when God was distributing spines to everybody.  Mercifully, most of them wear really starched clothes or else they would have a real problem standing up straight. To have the ambassador of the US to Nepal mention it on a public platform is rather extraordinary and should make our politicians cringe but I suppose, being invertebrates, even that is really hard for them.  

The level of brazen collusion between the politicians and bureaucracy is quite simply breath taking in its arrogance – to hell with public opinion because we will do what we want. It is clear for all to see. All except the CIAA.

It is only the media and their relentless efforts – on TV, radio and in print – that is tempering this loot tantra at the moment because the ever so sensitive CIAA are busy preening themselves and taking offence at something or the other. They have even asked the media to refrain from commenting on their “investigations” because it apparently gives a negative impression of them. Aww! I didn’t realize the media were hurting their feelings. 

Just a heads up to the good folks at CIAA – no one has a good impression of your work not unless they have been living under a rock all these years. So, it would be great if you could get rid of that delusion, grow a spine, and actually do your jobs for a change. Because if you did, we wouldn’t have to cry ourselves hoarse every week. 

The writer loves traveling, writing, and good food when he is afforded an escape from the rat race. He can be contacted at

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