Let’s pray Deuba’s stint this time will be different to his previous stints and he will now “act” brilliantly, to make us forget recent Oscar winners
Whether or not I or some of you reading this article like Nepali Congress and its leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, he is our new prime minister. And honestly, we can’t do much about it, except hope that he will be different from the others before him.
Rest assured, I am not going to ask him about the ways to turn Nepal into Singapore or Switzerland overnight or to institutionalize democracy, solve all our existing political problems and lay the path for inclusive democracy. Or even ask him to start working on BP Koirala’s Dream, because, frankly, not many of us care what the late leader dreamt about. All Deuba has to do is pretend he respects the constitution and laws of the land. And that will be more than enough for us to sing his praises.
First, our new prime minister needs to understand that we are a people who have lost all hopes for the country. And while it makes no sense to blame Deuba and his friends from other political parties for this situation, because it was us who stayed quiet when they started to mess everything up in the name of democracy, let’s just pray that Deuba’s stint as prime minister this time will be different to his previous stints and he will “act” brilliantly to make us forget the performance of Oscar winners.
Yes, you read me right.
All he needs to do is to act brilliantly. The more realistic the performance, the more praises and accolades there will be, if not an Oscar.
In all countries, or at least in many countries, there is an institution that people look up to when all else fails. In most cases, this institution is either the judiciary or the army. But in Nepal, thanks to the blatant political interference in the judiciary and the army, both are on the way to becoming extensions of political parties. When the Chief Justice herself has to be afraid that she may be slapped with impeachment for not toeing the political line and the army chief has to fear that he may be called to the prime minister’s bedroom and handed a letter dismissing him from the post, it is only natural that over time the institutions they represent will only work for the political interests rather than the country’s interests.
So far these two institutions have shown resistance to political interference but the political parties, including the one that Deuba belongs to, tend to view themselves as sacrosanct and above everything else and as if they are there not to serve us but to rule over us. Our silence on the face of blatant violations of the constitution time and again has only emboldened them. And we have reasons to fear that soon the “brave resistance” these two institutions have outwardly displayed to unwanted, uncalled for and unlawful interference in their workings will end and the dictatorship of the few will be institutionalized in the country, in the best of the worst case scenarios. Or the country as we know it will cease to exist, in the worst case scenario.
This is at the root of our collective despair, hopelessness, negativity and lack of patriotism. We are lost and bewildered. Who is going to take care of the country when whatever that is that hits the fan? Who do we trust?
Now I am not going to say Mr Deuba, please don’t interfere in their affairs and let them function the way they should, no matter how tempting it is to say it. We all know it’s not happening. But what he can do is not overtly interfere in their affairs. So that we can live with the delusion things are getting better and the institutions are functioning independent of political pressure. And positive delusion is good for public mood. If nothing else, it will help preserve our collective sanity (unless there is consensus among leaders to profit from the import of huge quantities of anti-depressants).
We don’t care about nepotism and rampant corruption and remaking of the state and its policies, creating employment opportunities and double-digit economic growth, or about relations with our neighbors and the world. We have even forgotten about the reconstruction following the 2015 earthquakes. We are not even talking about clean air, clean water and edible food. Or about breaking the political-criminal nexus. Because we know nothing is going to change. We have accepted all that is wrong in the country as part and parcel of Nepali democracy.
We know democracy in our context means leaders first taking care of their friends and families, and then taking care of foreign interests. Please do that, Mr Deuba. Don’t do away with the norm. We know happy leaders are essential for our democracy to function and survive, and it’s our duty to take care of our leaders who have lost so much in their prolonged fight for democracy in the country.
Just put on a brilliant show and delude us into believing that even if you and your friends fail due to a conspiracy or grand design of foreigners or reactionary forces within the country, there are institutions here that will take care of things temporarily before you all make a grand reentry.