The pen and paper have become inferior to swords and bullets, and the press has fallen prey to politicians who have sold their souls for easy money ('Stop Press', 'Pressure on the press,'#354). This should concern first and foremost the moderate Maoist leaders who many people, like me, sincerely believe can and want to contribute to the making of a New Nepal through mainstream politics (sans feudalism, monarchy, and so on). If they do not speak up and influence the hardliners now, it will be too late for them later. Their faces have given the Maoists the benefit of the doubt so far and could attract middle and lower middle class city-based voters in the upcoming elections to the constituent assembly.
But if it turns out that most of the leaders do not believe in the people's mandate, that is a different ballgame altogether. In that case, this is a wake-up call for every freedom loving citizen who stood firm against the king's autocratic rule and his efforts to gag the independent media.
. I was very surprised to see the numbers you reported as well as the tactics used by Maoists in infiltrating different business houses ('Stop press', 'Messy gamble', #354). But more alarming was that business houses also request the Maoists to help resolve or settle rivalries. If this continues one day all the NCs, UMLs, Rajabadis, and No-badis will be out, and there will be only Maoists everywhere. This trick will clearly work as long as the NC and UML continue their fighting-as-usual for posts and bhagbanda for government positions.
The Maoists are entering our kitchens, telling us what we should eat, and when we can do so. I am very frightened. I hope we never have to hear that Nepali Times has had the same experience. King G's goons could not infiltrate media houses, but the Maoists have done so. Makes sense, given that they want ultimate totalitarian control over Nepal and Nepalis.
West Virginia, USA
. In times like these, when even reputed media houses will not come clean about precisely how their editorial freedom is being gagged, your last issue was the kind of hard-hitting, in-depth, no-holds-barred journalism we've come to expect from Nepali Times-sometimes. At other times you seem a little somnambulistic. For the sake of the country, if not your readers, please keep this up.
CK Lal's snobbish dismissal of quantitative social sciences ('Footnotes to history', #353) diminishes the weight of his own 'opinion pieces'. An opinion poll gives insight into mass opinion, which might be different from a personal one. As an effective means of gauging public opinion, polls are carried out in many democratic countries to provide policymakers valuable feedback.
Public opinions polls are even more relevant for Nepal in the current situation because the leaders and parties who are running the state do not have a recent mandate through elections. Their claim that they represent the aspirations of all sections of Nepalis has not been tested at the polls. Those who were elected, were out into power in 1998-their mandate expired in 2003. The Maoists cannot claim to have been elected even once, except perhaps Mr Mahara in 1991.
Under such conditions, opinion polls conducted rigorously using proven scientific methods help register mass opinion on political parties, leaders, and various issues. Argue with the methodology, sample representativeness, and conclusions of the polls-that's more appropriate than blithely dismissing scientific surveys. Mr Lal of all the people should know that without the backing of such quantitative numbers, 'opinion' pieces remain just so much 'hot air'.
Kathmandu can be a 'green' city if the government stops the construction of ugly concrete houses everywhere ('Breathing room', #353). People only build these thinking they will make money by renting out the rooms. Who cares about how you get to your house-or, more importantly, other peoples'? As long as you can get there, don't bother about keeping the back lanes clean for pedestrians who need to pass by. Squeeze every bit of land you can in your neighbourhood instead of graciously leaving some for the government to build better roads.
If the government wants to make Kathmandu better, I think it needs to raze the city and rebuild it. I'm okay with my house being a casualty. That's extreme, yes, and I realise destroying everything is unfeasible. But the government can take other steps-resettle people elsewhere to make certain improvements in some other places. Ban the construction of concrete houses in the Valley's historic choks and bahas that form the essence of Kathmandu's identity. People like the writer of this article Pranaya Rana can make a difference and help wake up the people, and the government.