Wednesday, January 25, 2006
A Boat Without Anchor!
Images and Ideas
My generation of Diploma level students in the late 90s must have read Three Men in a Boat, a humurous novel by Jerome K Jerome. Most of the characters and the plot of that novel have eluded my recollection now. But, I found a compelling analogy vis-à-vis present political situation in Nepal and the title of the novel.
We can easily draw an analogy between our country and a boat, albeit some may argue that it is a sinking boat or a Titanik-like ship heading to stumble upon an iceberg. The three men are analogous to the three political forces that are prevalent in current political impasse.
The palace, seven-party alliance and Maoists are the kingmakers who can pave a novel road for 21st century Nepal, but are somehow entangled in the imbroiglio. Each of them seem to be striving for a wayout but the resolution is nowhere in the sight. Call it silver lining in the dark cloud, but I'm tempted to elucidate a number of positive repercursions brought forth by the decade old insurgency.
Living in cosy room of relatively safe capital, it's hard to fathom what is really taking place in rural Nepal. But, in a nutshell, it can be conceded that hitherto supressed, marginalized and ignorant village-dwellers have woken up from century old slumber. A rustic lass who would have confined herself in idyllic pastures-cow-grazing or as a shepherdess or in worse case, would have ended up in an Indian brothel , is now carrying an AK-47 with pride and armed with bit of knowledge of why she is compelled to do so. She would have gone unnoticed in Kathmandu centric geopolitics of Nepal, hadn't the insurgency spread like a wild fire in the highlands.
We tend to term 1990's People's Movement as great awakening. But, in retrospect, it was only a tiny part of gradual process of agitation. It hasn't reached its apogee yat, for sooner or later people will overwhelmingly participate in mass rallies and announce their choice of governance. For this to realise, political leaders have yet to regain their lost glory and credibility. A greater mass is still with seven party alliance, but the leaders; closed door and behind the curtain political manoeuvre propells public to remain skeptic. Prof. Samuel Huntington's epigram 'politics makes strange bedfellow' maybe outdated in the West, but it still holds currency in Nepal.
The recent diurnal curfew imposed upon Kathmanduites has proved that the state is shivering in fear. In has only added sympathy towards the seven party alliance. The state seems hell-bent on organizing municipal polls. However, even a novice knows that its only a ploy to legitimize the royal regime.
No one denies that conflict is the greatest challenge the country is facing today. No one, however, had imagined a decade ago that it will engulf the country within this short span of time. Many may see Nepal in the brink of being a failed state; some may even endorse foreign interferance. But, the intregity of our nation is amazingly intact. It not as vulnerable as many would like to believe.
I am not here to come up with a solution or two; so much has been already written and discussed on this matter. Seen from current chaos, the three forces are here to stay. The stalemate is lingering because of their desire to assume power. If any one party ceases to be stubborn, the answer, as Bob Dylan would say, is blowing in the air. Otherwise, Nepal will be like a boat without any anchor to attach to and no harbour in the sight.
This blog was originally posted in United We Blog!