The festival holidays for this year have begun. Millions of Nepalis living in Kathmandu Valley and other major towns have left for their home districts and others are preparing to do so. For the next couple of days, at least, Kathmandu will be relatively peaceful. Families will be together, enjoying the delicacies and exchanging greetings. For those who mark this festival, Dashain is associated with blessings and communal harmony. This year it is not going to be any different. Holidays are good from the perspective of increasing efficiencies as well. Studies have found that when people return to work after festival holidays they tend to work with renewed energies. With the Nepali family patterns changing and more and more people living out of their birth villages, significance of Dashain has increased even more. For it is then that people return to their homes to meet their parents and receive their blessings.
Politically we have come a long way since last Dashain. This month last year, we were yet to hold provincial and federal parliament elections and there was doubt as to whether these vital elections would be successfully held. Some political forces in Tarai plains were still reluctant to join the election process. But then the party in power brought them around the process. Meanwhile, two largest political parties of the time—CPN-UML and Maoist Center—announced alliance for elections of provincial assemblies and federal parliament and also vowed to merge into one single entity post-election. With alliance, two communist parties swept the elections. They have been united and formed unified Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and have their governments in the center as well as six out of seven provinces. The beginning point of this development was the announcement of Dashain.
This Dashain, however, the party the people voted to power to rule for five years is slowly becoming unpopular. It is being criticized for failing to maintain law and order, control corruption and deliver on promises they made during the election campaign. The holidays should be the time for the leaders in the government to reflect on where they failed and how they can rectify their shortcomings. Political parties have the tradition of hosting refreshment ceremony during Dashain. Party leaders get together, shake hands and wish well of each other. If such gathering can be made the opportunity to discuss pressing issues of the commoners, they would perhaps find ways to address those issues too. For the next few days, people will revel in feasts, according to their affordability. But the real celebration times for the country will be when those at the helm of affairs start delivering according to their promises and responsibilities. When offices open, after the longest festival break, let us hope, government leaders will return to their offices with renewed enthusiasm for working with new spirit by putting people’s concerns first. Here is a hope that the festival break with rejuvenate us all. On that note, we wish Happy Dashain to all.