September 6, 2015


[Two posts here today: as they were email-received from Kathmandu, by two critical thinkers: Kalyan Dev Bhattarai and Bihari Krishna Shrestha on Nepalese politicians, their incompetence and corruption as well. Mr. Bhattarai has made the comment on a TV talk-show from New Delhi (please watch the video). And replying to Kalyan Dev Bhattarai, the other commentator Bihari Krishna Shrestha writes, "the sum and substance of Nepal’s political parties, that otherwise masquerade as ideologically inspired entities." - The Blogger. 

By Kalyan Dev Bhattarai
Neither the things are so simple nor the solution is so very easy here. The opinions of the three experts carry some weight, at least, there is some truth in their expressions even though their  prescription may not solve our problems.  The crux of the problem lies in the honesty of the corrupt leaders which is miles and miles away.

I do not agree any community like Khas people(people of Caucasoid origin, Bhramins and Kshetriyas) are totally responsible for the current situation in the country  but as the rulers they truly are. I would rather say - all the rulers who ruled the country since the last 280 -300 years or so were or are responsible for the current mess simply because they were or are corrupt and their only goal was or is to fulfill their vested interest: be it being in  power and control the country's resources or collecting wealth, or in other words grabbing three Ps: power, pelf and prestige.

This all happened during the Rana regime, the Shah regime or the Panchayat regime as well or during the multi-party system today. The leaders are heavily corrupt nowadays. It is a fact, be it in the name of religion or caste or politically or socially: the rulers of the country were and are now exploiting, suppressing and marginalizing the Janajatis, Tharus, Madhesis, and Dalits etc. But the rulers could not suppress Brahmins because of religion as the Brahmins are considered as Pundits even though they are 'uneducated' - 'the uneducated pundits' - due to which even the poorest of the poor Brahmins were less suppressed,less exploited and less marginalized than the average Janajatis, Dalits, Madhesis  etc. So to name any caste people such as 'Bahuns and Kshetriys'  as being responsible for the present day pathetic condition of the country may be unjustifiable.

The political revolutions in the country right from early 1950  to 2015 were not for the development of the  country nor for betterment of the people but only to grab power so that the rulers could loot the nation and fool the citizens. Until and unless we accept this bare and ugly truth it will be impossible for us to understand various Tamasas (spectacles) staged by the corrupt politicians of the country. The wrong notion of the few corrupt looters (politicians) that they only have the right to rule the country because their ancestor created the country by conquering many small states is so false but still these crooks leave no stone unturned to sabotage People's Movement: be it of 1950, 1990, 2006 or 2015 simply because they do not want to lose their authority in politics. If we understand this ground reality of Nepalese politics then only we will be able to understand why the agreement / understanding / MOU signed between different groups : be it with Madhesis, Tharus, Janalati or even individually with people like Dr. K. C and anti-corruption activist Sharda Ji and the then governments, are today being breached by the government almost every time and never implemented. The lack of basic honesty among the bunch of Nepalese politicians and their inherent fear of losing their grip on country’s politics,  would never allow to solve any of the existing political, social and economic problems of the country.  Or else how would you explain the fact that even after 65 years of so-called democracy, Dalit community is not allowed to take water from the well of the villages and many women treated inhumanly claiming them as witches etc. ?

The group discussed federalism also and I agree the basic difference in the Indian type of federalism and the proposed Nepalese federalism and it is not panacea but the fact is that none of the Nepalese politicians do have any idea of federalism, its requirements etc. But they agreed on the suggestion of INGOs as they give them enough opportunity to create lucrative posts for their corrupt cadres. I have written many articles against federalism, so I need not repeat my explanation here again.

The other reason for our failure is that Nepalese politicians do not trust anybody, other than their henchmen who created the boundaries of the proposed states of the country. This is because they are not politicians but the 'camouflaged dacoits' who have joined the politics to loot the nation and fool the people. 



[Conceptually speaking, it is the manifestation of the incompatibilities between the demands of the Westminster-style democracy for rational voters and the chronically feudalistic nature of the Nepali society that cannot provide them.]

By Bihari Krishna Shrestha

It is not difficult to join in with you in your impatience with the breed of corrupt politicians who now rule our country.

But, for a difference lately, the statue of historically the corruptest politician in Nepal has finally been brought down at Birgunj, Saddam Hussain style. It was such an obscene insult on the people of Nepal that of all the people who sacrificed their lives in the service to the nation, this thug of a man should be immortalized by erecting a statue at Nepal's door to the outside world, Birgung. But we also know that the statue itself was an act of servitude performed by fellow Nepali Congress Party thugs who were also allowed to  make enormous sums of money themselves due to this chief thug's policy that in order to subdue any possible opposition to you, you gotta get everybody around you corrupted too. This has been the sum and substance of the Nepali Congress as a "political" party as it has also been of other parties as well that otherwise masquerade as ideologically inspired entities.

That said, the fact remains that when Girija Koirala was in his later teens and trying to follow the footsteps of his elder brother, B. P. Koirala, one of the very few statesmen to be borne to Nepal; he certainly did not envision that when he would grow up and go on to become the prime minister of the country, he would turn the government of Nepal into the machine for utmost corruption that the country has ever known.  Most possibly, he too was as inspired himself by genuine democratic ideals and by his urge to do the utmost good to suffering humanity of his motherland.

The reason most of these well-meaning, ideologically inspired and devoted politicians resort to corruption is because the voters are not and cannot be made ideologically as inspired too due to their poverty and lack of education. The situation is made even worse for the people by the fact that the supporters of these national leaders at the local level are no other than the feudal crooks who have always dispossessed them of whatever they have in this chronically feudalistic society.

So, right from the start after the 1990 restoration of multiparty system, the so-called democratic election had degenerated into buying and selling votes. Since this became the basic rule of the game, just about everybody in the structure of a political party had to become corrupt. The richer you are the greater your capability of buying supporters  and voters in the communities. For your information, during the last couple of years, I had the opportunity of addressing gatherings of senior politicians which included ex-prime ministers and ex-ministers. When I told them, based on my feudalism-based framework of analysis, that a successful politician in Nepal was necessarily a corrupt man, nobody was angry; I was greeted by applause and resounding laughter. Since everybody in their ranks is corrupt, there is no shame associated with being corrupt or branded as such publicly.

Conceptually speaking, it is the manifestation of the incompatibilities between the demands of the Westminster-style democracy for rational voters and the chronically feudalistic nature of the Nepali society that cannot provide them.

It is this context against which I have been arguing for the redefinition of Nepal's polity, because at the grassroots we are able to promote robust democracies as evidenced by the brilliant successes of forest user groups and mothers' groups. Briefly put, when the users themselves get to participate in decision making, there is transparency of management and accountability of leaders, the twin critical conditions of the genuinely democratic setup. The point of departure for such far-reaching redefinition of polity would, however, has to be demanding by its very nature. Briefly put again, we will have to do away with the parasitic constituent assembly and the current constitution making process, and that can be done only with the President taking over the reins of administration for managing this transition. But that does not seem to be on the cards.

As our country is sandwiched between the two vast world powers, one would expect that they help the small buffer with political development too. However, that has not been the case either.  India's foreign policy, according to an Indian analyst himself (S Shah, 2004) has always been designed to keep Nepal "intrinsically unstable". While with the advent of Modi at the helm in India, that policy initially seemed to be changing. But recent events have shown that that may not be the story yet after all. Besides, with the Lipu Lekh controversy raging in Nepal, India is even seen as an "occupying power" that is unlawfully in control of a part of Nepal's sovereign territory.  While China is hailed as a better neighbor, her help in political development has been limited too, even as her own country's speedy transition to being a world power was helped mainly by visionary leadership and control of corruption.

So, dear Kalyanjee, this is where our nation is stuck. So, cursing the politicians is one of our bounden duties. But we have to look beyond and try to find out how to bring about the redefinition of our polity without which there is very little hope for getting rid of the vicious cycle in which our hapless people are stuck.