Nepal needs an outsider like Donald Trump to disrupt all this organized chaos and make the establishment tremble even for a moment.
Former chief secretary Lokdarshan Regmi was recently appointed ambassador to the United Kingdom. Regmi isn’t the first to revel in the ‘biased-political glut.’ Think of newly appointed Nepali ambassador to the United States. He’d been the governor of the Central Bank and vice-chair at the Planning Commission (in no order); quite an upsurge after that with becoming the finance minister, then the Prime Minister’s personal economic advisor (then when the cabinet was void of finance minister) and ultimately the ambassador to the US. Funnily enough, it’s those men talking in corners scoffing at a man like Donald Trump.
The first American election I observed was that of 2000. It was mostly because I’d applied to few American colleges for undergraduate courses. Bush eventually won. However, the general consensus was President Bush meant odds were against me. Somehow people who hadn’t even been outside of their four walls assumed that with a Republican president, a student from Nepal hardly stood a chance for a study visa, let alone thrive in America. I went to America in June 2001. In America never did I yearn for a democratic president because my grades weren’t good or my bills were past due or that my love life sucked. I may not have flourished in America, but I certainly grew.
Donald Trump is no longer the president of the United States. Establishments all around the world are delirious. Nepal is no different and Nepalis are no different—one of my Nepali friends in America hated Trump with all of her might, but couldn’t resist the stimulus check he sent. Many people took Trump too personally to their own detriment. Trump said what he said to win the election, leaving the left-America shattered. Even though they vehemently deny it, it was the mainstream left-wing American news media that made Donald Trump President Trump. The fervent of electing the first woman president mutated into hate for the eventual winner.
Perhaps just riding the wave of electing a woman for the sake of it can have its pitfalls. Nepal’s lady President embodies all those pitfalls. I say sake of it because Hillary Clinton by no means was any better than Donald Trump. Nor do I believe Joe Biden to be any better than Clinton.
Something normal yet extraordinary event unfolded last year in both Nepal and America. While a black man was kneed to death by a white policeman in America, five young Dalits were slaughtered in Rukum. I defined it as normal because from time immemorial both blacks and Dalits have been repeatedly harassed, dehumanized and lynched by whites and upper-castes respectively. I defined it as extraordinary because the opposition in both countries vociferously encouraged general people to go out and protest against the government. The way I saw it was seasoned and established politicians using people as pawns. While the young generation of Nepali politicians who ironically themselves were borne out of the blessings from the preceding generation lamented such injustice, in America, Joe Biden promised to end such bigotry if elected.
Unfortunately, he’d made the same promise some six years ago in Ferguson, Missouri. The only difference was six years ago, he was the vice-president to America’s first black president.
The difference between America pre-January 20 and post it is the mere difference in leadership. In four years of Trump, I don’t think America was anything less—unemployment was almost record low and the economy was great till Covid-19 pandemic. He was one of four presidents who didn’t start a new war. He did, however, do all he could to infuriate the establishment not just in his country, but across the world. Trump consistently got organizations like NATO, WHO and others reacting and talking about him. Before being sworn in as the 46th president of America, Biden had served more than 45 years in American politics and government. Hardly is there any evidence in the 45 years that minorities would be better off with him at the office.
I don’t believe the appointment of an off-spring of two minorities as vice-president would mean any significance to minorities in America either. Similarly, I believe the Dalits will always be miserable whoever’s in charge of the government in Nepal. It isn’t the government to be blamed for that. The problem is the people in the government.
It’s people like Biden, Clinton and each and every Nepali politician along with their sidekicks like Regmi and Khatiwada carrying around them handful of cronies that have become the government. These establishments have many similarities, but it’s a lack of something that defines them. They are too obsessed with their mind’s continuous and compulsive projection into the future. Picture that guy who as per his oracle is yet to become Prime Minister three more times. He could, you know!
As the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says, the obsessive need to arrive, to attain and to make it for some can have devastating consequences to many. The impoverished sugarcane farmers of Sarlahi are made to believe that future will bring them good and hence the end justifies the mean. Unsurprisingly, they fail to realize that belief in the future for farmers brings them hell in present. And that’s what the establishment lacks—they lack living in the present and they fail to see the serenity of Nepali rural-life, the naivete of those farmers or the overall beauty and miracle this country is.
Listen closely next time they ask for your ballot. ‘If I become the parliamentarian from this constituent, I will……. See, they’re already projecting into the future. Don’t vote for him!
Ask the mountains what time is it. It will say the time is now and so will the Nepali mountaineers who summitted the ever-formidable K2 for the first time. When it’s a life and death situation like that, you have to live in the present. Unfortunately, that’s the sort of experience our political leaders will never confront. That’s why Nepal needs an outsider like Donald Trump to disrupt all this organized chaos and make the establishment tremble even for a moment.
I have first-hand experienced that organized chaos. In my few months working at one of the ministries in Nepal government, I’d seen how arbitrary, irrational, petty, vindictive, capricious, shortsighted, avaricious, and nasty they can be. I remember my last day there, as I gazed through the window and I saw (in the words of Eric Arthur Blair): “…voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the(ir) faces...”
The creatures looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.