Imagine running a business or trying to make a living in urban areas in Nepal. Not a drop of water flowing from the taps. An acute shortage of gas for cooking. Long lines for petrol and diesel, and power cuts that go on for 18 hours a day.
If these are not palpable signs of complete failures of accountability, with government in cahoots with cartels, then we should lobby with the New York-based record setter book of World Records to recognise us as the record holders in the category of highest levels of pain endured while trying to live normally in the capital city. Anywhere else in the world, this sort of urban hardship would have been enough to foment a popular revolt.
To be sure, well-to-do pundits will prattle about that elusively cute quality called resilience that we Nepalis supposedly show in the face of extreme hardships. But as a tax-paying citizen, I'm fed up with the way this or any other government has repeatedly failed to enable the provision, let alone the delivery itself, of basic services. A political process that is numb to people's pain for a long time ceases to be legitimate in any sense. This is the sort of situation we wanted our leaders to avoid when we cheered them on with the shouts of New Nepal only a few years ago.
But instead of getting solutions, we get insults to injuries. The prime minister, who has spent his adult life demonising the free market and blowing up symbols of development such as bridges and schools, recently unveiled his vision for creating 700,000 new jobs in 17 different areas. It's as though the PM thought that if he just waved a magic wand, investors would come flocking, and jobs would appear.
For someone who was so politically clumsy that he ended up courting controversy even on the mind-numbingly simple matter of keeping government information secret, how can anyone hope that the PM can really see sufficiently far into the future to make his plans come true? When nice-sounding grand visions trump many small but iterative steps of unglamorous execution, our future is doomed to look better only in distant dreams, while our present remains oppressive.
The question is: what to do?
Keeping quiet, muttering from the sidelines, minding one's own business and not ruffling feathers –all these add up to an option. Leaving Nepal for better opportunities in India, the Gulf and the West has long been the rite of passage for millions of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled Nepalis. The more the able-bodied citizens leave, the fewer there are inside the country to cause trouble in the villages and on the streets.
Finding a way to join the government as an adviser is another win-win option: one can take credit if something good gets done, and blame others when nothing gets done. Then there's the promise of Facebook-style online activism: impassioned status updates and vigorously shared messages, laced with the cloying theme of national unity that give an illusion of a revolution taking place outside one's window.
But for real changes ahead, there is no substitute now for another Kathmandu Spring that throws up alternatives to the present crop of leaders. Such a spring would not be against multi-party democracy. It will be against the same old political parties with the same old netas for their collective crime-like failure to deliver for the majority: a national constitution, followed by sufficient clean water, road networks, electricity, cooking gas, petrol, diesel, and, most of all, a safe and secure future to live as one pleases in one's own country without breaking any law.
Lock all 601 of them up inside the convention centre and don't let them come out until they draft the constitution and fix date for the next polls.
03 FEB 2012 | 11:14 AM NST
The prime minister, who has spent his adult life demonising the free market and blowing up symbols of development such as bridges and schools, recently unveiled his vision for creating 700,000 new jobs in 17 different areas.
And you forgot to mention murder, loot and extortion. But I suppose in your view these are minor crimes and so do not merit mention.
03 FEB 2012 | 11:15 AM NST
3. who cares
" For someone who was so politically clumsy that he ended up courting controversy even on the mind-numbingly simple matter of keeping government information secret, how can anyone hope that the PM can really see sufficiently far into the future to make his plans come true?.... "
** for your consumption 700k jobs in 17 areas, and whether it is achieved or not is a secret,,, so all should praise bhatterai for creating 700k jobs.
looks like bhatterai is trying to bring back his good old style of running so called underground govt. which he got so much praised for by media and semi educated fools.
what to do?
water for kathmandu- reservoirs at different rivers- bagmati, bishnumati.
for electricity- build reservoirs at the top of the rivers,,, its easy, very cheap and less time consuming.....
all you need to do is put some pipes with regulator, ,,,,,, ....... add some mud, rocks on them and then blow the hills to block the river..
by the way, how much would it cost to run/rotate hydro power generators with tractor or dozer engine? since infrastructure is already there which can be used during dry season.
03 FEB 2012 | 3:13 PM NST
4. Rabindra Maskey
Ashutosh - we have to balme the people ! They just put up and shut up. Just imajine, how can anyone have a decent life with 18 hours of power cuts. How can a business operate with 18 hours of power cuts. On top of that all the other evils like no gas or water, no petrol... how can the people just accept this. Pranchanda and Baburam should be the first in that line, followed my Maakuney, Jhala Nath, Sher Bahadur. If Bangladeshis could get rid of Sheik Mujibur Rehman, then we Nepalis can surely get bring down the traitors of Nepal. This rotting, filthy, stinking garbage that is the leadership of Nepal has to go.
03 FEB 2012 | 7:06 PM NST
4. Rabindra Maskey Ashutosh - we have to balme the people ! They just put up and shut up. Just imajine, how can anyone have a decent life with 18 hours of power cuts. How can a business operate with 18 hours of power cuts. On top of that all the other evils like no gas or water, no petrol...
But we ave NewNepal, new constitution and we have got rid of a hated and exploiting 240 year monarchy. Your complaints are puny compared to these achievements of the Nepali people. Get your priorities straight.
04 FEB 2012 | 9:12 AM NST
6. Dorji Tsering Sherpa
So what are we going to do?? wait and wait and wait for something miracle to happen or are we going to do something!!! The Monarchy was probably 50% responsible for the fate now but we too are 50% responsible for electing these same faces again and again. So what about seeking some one who loves the country, is a quite rich so he does not need more from the government coffer, quite educated with a clear vision and capable of Walking the Talk?? There are such men in our country - let us find them.
04 FEB 2012 | 7:27 PM NST
7. Gyanendra Maskey
Wow ! Jange -who pays you man, are u a side kick of The Fearsome One. We should all tremble when we hear or read about Jange or Prachande ! Jange - you have a good for nothing 601 CA assembly that is a burden on all hard working, law abiding, tax paying Nepalis. Jange - where is the Constitution. What world do you live in Jange. Your New Nepal has no water, no gas, no electricity, no jobs, no security. Your New Nepal has only thugs, murderers and killers. You must be a freaking Maoist, Jange - its people like you that make us all Nepalis shameful and disgraceful. You are a disgrace for defending the current status quo in Nepal. Jange - leave Rabibdra Maskey alone. You can go hide in a bucket.
04 FEB 2012 | 10:58 PM NST
8. Sonam Tsering
This is in response to Jange ( # 5 ). Based on your view, you must belong to the elite class of Kathmandu. You must have generator when there is 18 hours of balckout. You must have your own stock of Petrol and cooking gas, as well a godown full of food supplies. Also you must be a heartless entity. Otherwise how do you connect with the misery of Nepal and Nepalis. I would rather live in a secure Nepal under the Shah Kings than the current rotting filthy Maoist gangs. Mr. Jange - you really have no idea about the sufferings of the people. You are a cold hearted being. Shame on you, Mr. Jange
04 FEB 2012 | 2:48 AM NST
Children of poor parents do not expect any thing from their parents for they know nothing would come forth. The Nepalese, born in one of the most impoverished nations of the planet, never get tired of asking for and demanding things time and again. It is accepted that the things that we are asking for are basic amenities, but then even that is asking for too much. Wake up people, we have poor parents (read country). There is no need to join the discontented people, floating fb pages to kick start one's own political career in the name of so-called social work. If you do philanthropy why publicize them, and if you know you have poor parents why keep nagging them for food and clothes. If you can, do your bit or else the so-called greener pastures are open to most any ways.
05 FEB 2012 | 5:03 AM NST
10. Danny Birch
I do not believe that the monarchy was hated. The majority of people loved Birendra. Has anything improved under the parties? I first came to Nepal in 1972, shortly after Mahendra's death. When I came, there was plenty of water in the taps. People didn't need pumps to bring the water to upper floors even. There was very little crime. Almost nobody, including most policemen had guns or other deadly weapons. Where were all the netas? In jail or in exile, where Mahendra knew they belonged.
05 FEB 2012 | 5:30 AM NST
I believe Jange was being sarcastic!
We can only blame ourselves for the mess we are in.
Now, I do not care about my ethnic background, nor my nationality.
All I want is a good, respectable and economically rewarding life so that I can focus my mind on the things that matter and not worry about petrol, gas, load shedding and the rampant crimes.
Seeing the progress made in Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan makes me wonder.
I, you, we, demand a better life today!
Perseverance and hope can only take us so far.
Call me an opportunist and perhaps we all will be better off when we join one of our big brothers ('cuz there is no pride anymore in being called a Nepali)!
05 FEB 2012 | 9:53 AM NST
So many conclusions from so few facts. Truly a genius!
But the facts speak for themselves:
The Maoists won the number of seats that they did on the basis of free and fair and fair elections. Even Jimmy Carter said so. And the NT which welcomed the wise decision of the Nepali public. If you want to question the legitimacy of these elections then do so.
In joining the Maoists to topple the monarchy the other parties accepted that Maoist violence was legitimate, justified, and necessary. This was formally accepted by the other parties by signing the Delhi agreement. To all intents and purposes this was a surrender by the other parties to the Maoists but it couldn't be said so in order to save their face.
Every act of violence by the Maoists is a legitimate, justified and necessary act. The Maoists have been patient with the other parties it was assumed that they would see sense and agree to the Maoist political line. If there is no consensus the Maoists reserve the right to go back to violence since this will then be the only way to get consensus of the other parties. Remember, Maoist violence has been accepted by the other parties as a legitimate and acceptable tool of politics.
Can you deny any of this? With proof?
05 FEB 2012 | 10:18 AM NST
13. who cares 10 danny birch,
then where have all those water, electricity, road, bullet trains, fast cars, colleges, schools, high paying jobs, hydro power, mahendra bahadur and bir bahadur had built gone?
i am sure followers of ranas blame your shahs- they may say ranas used to supply electricity, water, vehicles, uninterrupted traffic system, luxurious palaces, scores of servants, sex slaves to their people .... and after shah came into power, almost all were gone.
police did not needed gun at that time case they were meant to control unarmed crowd and opposition were forced to leave or jailed at that time. look what have happened when armed opposition entered the scene?
at that time the major threats to public were shahs, ranas, police, royal army and mandalas. you can ask those canadian and american women who went inside sivapuri or some jungle in kathamndu and never returned.
society of that time was the society of rapists.
05 FEB 2012 | 11:36 AM NST
14. Nepali Kancha
1. Why do we need 12-13 Federated states, when we could do with 3-- Koshi, Gandaki and Karnali States?
2. Why do we need 601 representatives, when we could do with a parliament of 72 or at the most 200 representatives?
3. Can Nepal afford to spend so much money from the state coffers on the salary of the representatives at the Federal and State levels-- Federal ministers, state ministers, federal parliament members, state parliament members etc? Wouldn't the money be better spent on development instead?
4. Has common sense vanished in Nepal?
5. Is a stable and confident Nepal in India's interest? Does India desire stability in Nepal at all? Is anything possible at all without Indian intelligence's (RAW) blessing? Isnt the intent of the Indian strategic planners a total annexation of a fragmented, impoverished, weakened, hungry, pleading, powerless Nepal into India, say 20-30 or even 40 years from now?
05 FEB 2012 | 11:45 AM NST
15. United Nepal
i guess, whatever is happening is because of ourself, we choose those f****** called leaders. The solution is within ourself... and that is Unity nothing else..the biggest debate everywhere is Federation of ethinic states.... the solution could just change 5 development region into states and kathmandu valley as the capital federal district....
we throw the 240 year monarchy within 19 days, then what the hell we waiting for next...
this shortages of everything is due to damn mismanagement....
UNITED NEPAL is what we support for...
05 FEB 2012 | 4:51 AM NST
16. Danny Birch
13 Who Cares
It's easy to lambaste the erstwhile monarchy for the ills of present day Nepal. It is politically correct to do so. I would like to remind you that without the Shahs and Ranas, whom you dislike so much, there would most likely not be any country in the world called Nepal. Things really started to deteriorate in 1980 with the protests that caused the referendum to be called. Birendra and the reformed panhcayat system won the referendum. But the netas didn't care about the result, because it didn't favour the parties. In 1990 the protests finally did away with the panchayat system, and introduced the rule of the multi-party system. Birendra did not oppose these changes because he wanted a democracy to function in Nepal with a constitutional monarchy as per the will of the people. But the Maovadi didn't want democracy. They wanted a communist dictatorship. Now that these people are ruling, do you think that they have had a change of heart? They still want a repressive communist dictatorship. Is that an improvement?
06 FEB 2012 | 6:06 AM NST
One person, one state.
That will solve all our problems.
06 FEB 2012 | 8:12 AM NST
May be it is time for a revolution against the revolutionaries as the article suggests - but who is going to bell the cat? The reasonably well-off middle-class urban youth, however well-intentioned they may be, simply don't have the mobilization capacity needed to topple a government from the streets. You are unlikely to stir-up the people of Gongabu, for example, from a Facebook page or a Nepali Times article. You can wait all you like in the hopes that the winds of change from other parts of the world will blow your way and breather life into your revolution but you may be in for a very long wait. People in the country are growing weary of protests and demonstrations and it will take much more than a few weeks of erratic fuel supply to shake them from their state of apathy.
One thing the article did not mention was about changing the system from within. People who express frustration with the current state of affairs will have to join the political process and change the system from the inside if they are really serious about change. For example, wouldn't someone like Ashu be able to impact the direction of this country more if he joined one of the parties, put in his due diligence, rose through the ranks and took his debating and persuasion skills to the decision making bodies of these parties? To demand change but not be an active participant in the long and arduous process of implementing that change would be like what our so-called civil society leaders did. They initially stepped up to the plate and gave a certain legitimacy and boost to Jana Andolans I & II but retreated back into their cocoons once the movement was over. The result was the absence of capable and committed people at different levels of the political structure created a vacuum that was filled by the very thugs and goons that people love to complain about today.
If you want to change the country, perhaps it's time to put down that placard and re-purpose your energy towards policy and politics rather than protests.
06 FEB 2012 | 10:12 AM NST
19. who cares
16 danny birch,
"It's easy to lambaste the erstwhile monarchy for the ills of present day Nepal."
its not easy, that is the fact. how long it took for your country to build all the infrastructures- road, bridge, railway, schools, hospitals, power generator etc etc... ... the answer is- 100s of years and in nepal rana, shah wasted close to 250 yr.
(remember i am the biggest hater of maoist, corrupt, incompetent etc politician from those who call themselves democrat)
*its not just maoist leaders, there are many poor people who are with maoist, they are with maoist cause they are poor and they are poor cause rana, shah ignored them.
* during the time of shahs, even professors could not afford basic food for his/her family- forget about the basic logistic, health care, education, extra activities- today, professors are paid quiet well.
during those days, only professional ass lickers were better off.
"I would like to remind you that without the Shahs and Ranas, whom you dislike so much, there would most likely not be any country in the world called Nepal."
without UK, india would not have existed, without founding fathers, US would have been out of the question. but today, do americans treat the children of those founding fathers as god.
one shah just lead the unification, it was nepalese who sacrificed to build nepal.
" Birendra and the reformed panhcayat system won the referendum."
have not you heard that they bribed voters by destroying jungles.
"Birendra did not oppose these changes because he wanted a democracy to function in Nepal with a constitutional monarchy as per the will of the people."
constitutional monarchy! you are joking right. they were never constitutional. it was just a word mentioned in the constitution.
(i am not support of any form of monarchy, I accept only I as the monarchy)
"But the Maovadi didn't want democracy. They wanted a communist dictatorship. Now that these people are ruling, do you think that they have had a change of heart? They still want a repressive communist dictatorship. Is that an improvement?"
who gave birth to the maoist? your own constitutional monarchy. and later india helped them grew.
dont worry, bhatterai is trying to curb information, if he successes, their rule will be as perfect as mandala's rule.
for me, only difference between maosit and shah is quantity wise, not quality wise.
during panchyat, there was no hope- society, security force all were totally controlled by shahs. but today, moaist are in no position to control society, army is beyond their dream, police is only partially controlled.... so there is hope for me. all we need is one MAN with public backing.
i support better nepal, not present nepal.
06 FEB 2012 | 1:08 PM NST
20. Bibek SJB Rana
Jange - The Maoist are thugs, crooks, killers and traitors of Nepal and Nepalis. Jange - who ever you are- you are no better for your support of the Maoist and their rotten policies. Your Maoist buddies have now taken money by force fror the PLA fighters. Jange - you are a disgrace to Nepal and Nepalis. You are nothing but scum.
06 FEB 2012 | 11:16 PM NST
20. Bibek SJB Rana
Everything that the Maoists have done has been as a legitimate government or as a revolutionary act (endorsed and approved by the other political parties. There is no room for complaint. The people voted for them in FREE and FAIR ELECTIONS.
In signing the Delhi 12 point accord the other parties accepted that Maoist violence was legitimate, justified and necessary.
07 FEB 2012 | 9:44 AM NST
Response to Jange 21 :
Hey Jange - I still say that you are nothing but a low life Maoist supporter. Let me assure you, the day is not far away when you will be held accountable for the killings and spilling of Nepali blood. The free and fair elecctions, who are you kidding, fraud and totally rigged and based on threats and intimidation. You are nothing but a traitor that bows to Indians and licks their boots. The Maoist Party is a party of criminals and soon it will be overthrown by the people of Nepal. You can take that to the bank, Jange... like I said, it's only a matter of time. You are disgrace to the human race.
07 FEB 2012 | 7:45 PM NST
Jange was sarcastic. Those who don't follow his past posting say that his proxy Maoist here. He was sarcastically attacking maoists.
08 FEB 2012 | 8:23 AM NST
Response to Jange 21 :
Hey Jange - I still say that you are nothing but a low life Maoist supporter. Let me assure you, the day is not far away when you will be held accountable for the killings and spilling of Nepali blood. The free and fair elecctions, who are you kidding, fraud and totally rigged and based on threats and intimidation.
The election was declared to be free and fair by Jimmy Carter, NT, all major political parties of Nepal, sundry human rights organisations etc.. Can't remember anyone saying that it was "fraud and totally rigged and based on threats and intimidation"
No demonstrations by any political parties, or anyone for that matter, that it was a fraud and based on threats and intimidation...
Where were you then? Didn't see you on the streets protesting.
08 FEB 2012 | 10:01 AM NST
25. Mahesh Thakur
24- jange - just one thing, if you are Maoist supporter, you are a traitor of Nepal and a sidekick of India. No more no less.
09 FEB 2012 | 4:30 AM NST
You can use the words 'cold hearted human being' , 'shame on you' , 'low life..supporter' but it's all in vain because you have absolutely no idea how to identify sarcasm.
17 FEB 2012 | 7:56 AM NST
27. Man B. Bal
I would not see the issue raised in the article as pro or anti Maoists. It has to do with the way we handle the governance. Well meaning people, my compratriots! Look at this way.
The Shah Rana combined rule of over 200 years did not, I repeat did NOT, establish a system of good governance. Whichever way you look at it, it was a bloodsucker regime. A very large section of the population was continually neglected, oppressed and marginalized and, sadly, this trend continues even today. Benefactors and beneficiaries were from the same groups of people for centuries, and I believe ---evenhanded, Harvard educated, fair minded, good writer of the article would be the first one to acknowledge it publicly. In such a scenario, the Maoists come and sell their dreams! and common folks are lured to the dreams. I can at least speak from the first hand experience of my own community, Tamangs. Therefore, I know where the shoe pinches.
When a gap continues to widen between haves and have nots despite all fancy promises, and no light is seen at the end of the tunnel, all things become possible. The debate here is nothing but an academic. When reality knocks, you find the world different. You have a generator, inverter, extra water tank or water and gas delivery and what not --because of your power, source, position and money. Just think how a common person suffers here on a daily basis and particularly think of those who are neglected and marginalized. What future do they have in our country and what can we do to educate them and provide employment and equal opportunities. That should be our everyday debate and find a solution. Not a useless seminar, workshop and Goshti where a good food and TA DA are given to individuals. The headlines on leaders found corrupt and so and so transferred and promoted or appointed is nothing new. Communists of various brands including Maoists have failed miserably in every step of the way in Nepal but so have NC and other parties. So called elites and the community of benefactors and beneficiaries must participate in and insist on a good governance and inclusiveness of marginalized groups into the government. Otherwise कागलाई बेल पाक्यो हर्ष न विस्मात!
29 FEB 2012 | 10:25 PM NST
28. haku kale
Bibek SJB Rana, your fore-father ruled our country for 104 years.What you did?You made us slave and you still dream of making us slave. Those who are fighting for their rights, they are now called criminals?Do you think that people will vote in favour of you for putting crown on your head.Stop day dreaming.If 30% of people in our country are criminals, then that is fine with us. History has shown who were overthrown, who were discarded .