Your editorial ('Round and round in circles') and CK Lal's book review ('Revolutions devour their own children', #223) evoke a Dickensonian Tale of Two Cities feeling in present-day Nepal. All Nepalis, especially the ruling elite, politicians, rebels, generals and the so-called intellegentsia need to turn the pages of history. Kathmandu lives in a cocoon. Our erstwhile political leaders squandered the gains of the People's Movement so flagrantly that we are now back in a pre-1990 status quo with royal proclamations and palace appointed governments. We have a cabinet that increases the royal household budget while the people are starving and being butchered. We have new limos and the thundering of Harley Davidsons on the Ring Road. This is the 'let them eat cake' mentality that you cite in your editorial. It is time for the rulers to gain self-realisation, time to look inwards and think. Otherwise history may well repeat itself.
S N Singh,
. This is in response to an interesting remark made by FA Hutchison in his letter (#224) about 'where is a Nepali Vaclav Havel?' We Nepalis have never learnt the meaning of the word 'leadership' or 'leader'. There is an illusion that a leader should be a politician or a monarch.
Qualifications of a leader in Nepal include: political incarceration, association with a political party or inheritance of the throne. If we look outside Nepal, the world has re-defined the meaning of leadership. Like Havel, leaders ought to be agents of change. Leaders ought to be motivators, communicators and popular. None of the leaders in Nepal have these characteristics. There could be a Nepali Havel but the Havels of Nepal have been ousted from their leadership aspirations.
. 'Summiting under a shamiana in Lumbini' (#224) by Kanak Mani Dixit is articulate and sheds light on the ugly pretence hidden under the surface of duplicitious rule. It was a gesture of disrespect to have the king garland a tiny statue of Buddha from behind.
. Having been born and brought up abroad but now settled in Nepal, I found 'Summiting under a shamiana in Lumbini' (#224) spot on. As a Nepali to witness such embarrassment on an international scale is heartbreaking. I thank Dixit for being one Nepali who is brave enough to tell things as they are. One just had to look at the coverage on tv to get a flavour of that sad picture. Lumbini is a national treasure and our government should learn some aesthetics and put that knowledge to use when staging events of this magnitude. And perhaps at the next summit our government-at-war will be better equipped to discuss peace by bringing a bit of that to the table.