Considering our political condition, we cannot afford to be ignorant. This is why paranoia exists
There’s no such thing as paranoia. Your worst fears can come true any moment
—Hunter S Thompson
Paranoia is defined by the Oxford dictionary as an unjustified suspicion and mistrust of other people. It needs to be said earlier on that paranoia here is related with suspicion and mistrust on other people and other countries, as in the context of being a citizen of Nepal. I hope the readers will figure out whether this condition is justifiable.
Why does there exist a condition where a citizen of any country in this modern democratic age feels paranoid about being a citizen of such country?
The reason largely is political. Founder of Nepal rightly said, ‘Nepal is a yam between two boulders’. This generates feeling of insecurity in the yam. Nepal’s population is almost 48 times smaller than that of China. Geographically we are almost 66 times smaller. Population wise we are almost 46 times and geographically almost 23 times smaller than India. Who doesn’t get intimidated in such situation? But here we are talking about paranoia not intimidation.
Each country looks to serve its own national interest. Now, imagine the interests of two giants who are also aspiring to become dominant powers in the world. While larger hunger requires larger appetites, there is equal chance, smaller doses get knocked off during the pursuit, if not through intention, but as a frustration.
Consider the case of ‘yam’. How can yam secure its existence? Does it have enough characters to safeguard the yam? Has it earned enough love and respect so as to never be ignored?
Paranoia arises due to the lack of belief in the ability on one’s own self and having mistrust on one’s own ability to counter. Our country, given the circumstances, should have focused on being clever and smart. But no trace of such inclination can be found within and that is what generates worry. Man has tried and at some cases even succeeded to defy gravity, but he has never been able to defy history. What amazes one the most is why we Nepalis people are intent on defying history.
Has there ever been an instance on human history where a country has thrived without a strong national character? Has a strong national character ever developed in a country without the development of strong arts and culture? While we may boast about having ‘great’ art and culture, do youths today really get indulged in that greatness? Do we not occupy ourselves way too much with the so-called ‘entertainment’ and at some cases even worship it?
Our entertainment is too superficial, too hollow and too pretentious. The question is: Can we Nepali youths of today afford to spend our times consuming such dazzling and superficial entertainment? Or have we taken the idea that one cannot live without entertainment, way too seriously? If one looks around to see who have the most influence in the youth psyche of Nepal, it is the entertainers. But what has such entertainment given to us, provided that for the last 30-35 years all we’ve appreciated are those entertainers. We need to start getting entertained at intellectual things.
We are good consumers and imitators. We are influenced by wide varieties of multi-national and multi-lingual entertainment and we not only consume but also wish to do the same. But has one ever noticed something amidst these hubbubs? That all that we are consuming and imitating comes from countries that are well off and well secure?
Considering our political condition, we cannot afford to be ignorant. And this is why the paranoia exists. We do not have muscle power nor is there anything called love and sympathy in international relation. If there’s anything that will allow us to survive and thrive, it is our brains and if there’s anything that will develop it, it is high intellectual activities. This has not developed in Nepal.
Our education is ‘vocational’ without ever becoming educational and moral and people are proud of it. It doesn’t inspire, it doesn’t teach. Self-promotion in social media is ever rising and none of them have any depth or value whatsoever.
I don’t intend to target the politicians, entertainers or our neighbors. Everyone is inclined to act for their own interest. The weaker complains, the stronger acts, that’s the difference.
But I have something to say to the youths. We need to act, we need to wake up. We need to bring forth a renaissance in our thinking. We need to remember what someone rightly said, just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean you are wrong.
The author is a researcher at Sushil Koirala Memoria Foundation