Republic of animals

Nepal’s Supreme Leader is Lord Pashupatinath, the ruler of all animules. As the country's patron deity, Pashupatinath has our backs at all times. And whenever we have no government, like now, he is our default Head of State.

Given that our forebears were four bears, it is not surprising that our leaders make references all the time to creatures great and small. Prime Minister Oli likes animal metaphors, and has said he will “unleash hornets” on his trollers — one of the few promises that he has actually fulfilled.

Premier Oli is living proof that you can indeed teach old dogs new tricks. Just the other day, he said that despite the dog-eat-dog world of current Nepali politics, he has “not yet been bitten by a mad dog”.

However dramatic that admission may have been, it did not make it to the headlines because, as we know from journalism school, it is only news when man bites dog, and not when dog bites man.

Ganesh Man Singh once called Nepalis who keep voting for the same leaders “a flock of sheep”. Things have progressed since then, today Nepal’s social butterflies like to assert that the country is “going to the dogs”. This is factually wrong, it is actually going to the hyenas.

Another Nepali leader (his name will come to me in a minute) compared Parliament to a “goat market”. If that is true, then Nepal could then be actually described as a country of sheep led by goats, which may be why we have to make so many sacrifices.

However, we have to be careful during these wokish times not to overdo the animal analogies for fear of being labelled speciesist. Ostriches, for instance, could easily take umbrage at being compared to Nepali politicians during the pandemic. Even pigs would not want to be associated with the level of greed on display in affiliating medical colleges.

However tempting it may be to say that the vaccination drive is moving “at a snail’s pace”, we have to be sensitive to the feelings of garden slugs who could rightly contend that the velocity of their locomotion is perfectly appropriate as far as they are concerned in getting from one place to another.

We are in such awe of a certain country to the South whose name is a five-letter word beginning with “I" that we fear to call it by its real name, referring instead to "the elephant in the room". Given the current dispensation, however, it may be more accurate to call it “the Bull in the China shop”.

Let me also take this opportunity to voice strong reservations about retaining the cow as our national animal. It is regressive, status quoist and reeks of sexism. Why not the bull? Aren’t our oxen good enough to be proud symbols of our patriarchal republic?

And when someone says something authoritative, why do we insist on saying it is from “the horse’s mouth”? It would be just as credible if it came from the Ass’ mouth.

The Ass


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