Nepal’s Chaotic Corruption Circus

Published On: August 24, 2023 03:00 PM NPT By: Akhilesh Tripathi

In today’s modern era, trying to judge someone by their appearance is like attempting to decipher a Rubik's Cube while riding a unicycle blindfolded. It's as tricky as figuring out who's a thief, a pickpocket, a robber, or heaven forbid, a politician! In a world where we're buttered up with compliments just to prevent us from raising a fuss, anyone who looks like a saint is likely to have a secret stash of mischief up their sleeve. And let's face it - the few good people we have around us might just be aliens visiting from a planet called ‘Decency’.

We live in a country where rulers, administrators, police, judges, voters, and the voted-for are all complicit conspirators in the extravagant, chaotic circus of corruption. Each of them is, if not a full-time member, at least a part-time participant in the Corrupt Club. It's akin to a lavish corruption buffet, and everyone has their plate! The corruption scandals that have unfolded over the past few years leave no doubt – be it the Wide-body scam, Yeti scam, Omni scam, 9-kg gold scam, 33-kg gold smuggling scam, 100 kg gold scam, Ncell tax scam, Lalita Niwas land-grab scam, and many more. So, who can still claim a clean conscience? Perhaps the squirrels in the jungles of Chitwan, but it seems they're too engrossed in amassing nuts to campaign for office!

So, who exactly are these snollygosters? Are they the cunning tricksters, slyly adorned in daura-suruwal and the iconic Nepali cap, not only devising schemes to plunder the national coffers under the shroud of darkness but doing so openly in broad daylight? Or are they the current and former ministers, along with their offspring, who stand accused of surreptitiously smuggling vast quantities of gold through the halls of Tribhuvan International Airport? Could this enigmatic group also encompass the highest-ranking bureaucrats? What about the shady businessmen who linger in the shadows, manipulating from behind the curtains? Perhaps it's a combination of all these characters!

The politicians claim Nepal has transformed, but the only transformation I see is the shocking shift from homegrown goods to foreign imports. Now, we import our food, our jobs, our vehicles, our fuel, and I wouldn't be surprised if our politicians are being outsourced from another dimension. Heck, even the country's only train probably has a passport!

The only thing we are exporting in worth-mentioning quantities is labor. In fact, we've become world champions in exporting our unskilled, cheap laborers. Our loyalty for the nation seems to have taken a vacation in the Bermuda Triangle! Our arable land is twiddling its thumbs, wondering why it's not getting any action, and our industries are playing hide-and-seek – let's just say, they're masters of hiding! If our country were a family, it's like we've locked the kitchen and handed out eviction notices to the productive relatives while adopting a herd of freeloaders. So, where's the love and loyalty for the motherland?

Allegedly, the key to a man's loyalty lies in his wallet, or so our foreign puppet-masters believe. No wonder those at the top are so chummy with their foreign buddies. After all, as the age-old saying goes, the way to a man's loyalty is paved with gold. In this topsy-turvy reality, where loyalty is bought and sold, the private sector's battle cry of "Buy local, wear local" sounds like a slogan from an alternate universe. Ironically, those who chant these mantras dine on exotic cuisine and wear international haute couture, blending into foreign landscapes better than chameleons on vacation!

In this wild rodeo for the throne, where rights and responsibilities have been chucked out the window faster than a cat with a hot potato, the politicians have collectively developed amnesia, except when it comes to the Olympic-level sport of bickering. So, picture this: our esteemed parliament turns into a month-long retreat, not because they're brushing up on fancy yoga poses, but because they're busy orchestrating the 'Hide-the-Gold' championship! And guess what? These people are like magnets for a curious crowd – you'll find folks who give them the stink-eye in broad daylight but secretly give them the thumbs up in the voting booth. It's a circus, a three-ring acrobatics of irony, and guess what? We're the ones unwittingly clapping and cheering in the stands, as our wallets sob softly.

Our woes, however, are a shared creation. We crown the kings of chaos and then grumble about their incompetence. We toss blame like confetti, yet reelect the same showmen time and again. We're trapped in a cycle of self-inflicted irony, awarding laurels to those we curse. I'm not one to mock and ridicule, but when our ‘heroes’ turn out to be jokers and then level up to villains, it's hard to resist. We elected them to lead us, but they've transformed into a comedy troupe with a tragic twist. Are we supposed to applaud them for their performance, or just ask for our money back?

In this grand race for the chair – that coveted piece of furniture – principles and integrity seem to have taken a coffee break. The politicians, who were supposed to be responsible, are now playing a game of who-can-sting-the-loudest. And us? We're in this together. We pick these players, and then we're shocked when the game doesn't go the way we expected. It's like hiring a cat to guard a cheese factory and then blaming the cat for the missing cheese. We vote them in, cheer them on, and then act surprised when nothing changes. We're stuck in a loop, like a broken record with a scratched sense of irony.

Long ago, when I was a kid, I couldn't wrap my head around the whole voting thing. Now, as a so-called adult, I'm still puzzled. We set out to improve our lives, and somehow we've managed to preserve our "idiots for eternity" status. In this sea of confusion and paradoxes, there is no glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, one day we will decipher the enigma of effective leadership and make our choices count for a brighter future. 


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