In my early college days, I read a poignant story penned by Leo Tolstoy titled How much land does a man need? The story tells about a man's desire to accumulate more and more lands. A Russian farmer Pahom goes to another part of Russia in search of arable land. The landowner proposes a deal: he can accumulate as much land he encircles in a day. The greedy farmer never stops and dies at the end due to exhaustion. Finally, Tolstoy concludes the story with the message: a man needs only six feet land to bury his dead body.
Its a chilling analogy one can draw but as I flipped through the pages of newspapers–the glaring fact that our king owns more than thirty thousand ropanis of land–shocked me beyond words. (For a person at age 30 who doesn't have any lands to his possession). The same day, The Kathmandu Post flashes a picture of poor Mugu people who are all smiles to see a helicopter hovering in the sky bringing them the rice they so desperately look for. In other words, hope is afloat.
The king, on the other hand, has displayed an immense capacity to plunder the land of the people. The king of a nation that is barely 1,48,181 square kilometers, possesses the land that would put a zamindar to shame.
Another news published beside this ugly fact says the drought in Khatyad area of Mugu had left eight thousand people starving. It's a reminder of an axiom: Nepali people are very poor but the king is very rich.
Poverty, however, lives next door in Nepal. Bajura district is plagued by famine. Down the Midwestern Nepal, Kamaiya (bonded labors) are fighting for land. At least twenty thousand Kamaiyas are landless. The government turned deaf ears to their hue and cry when they staged protest in front of Singhadarba, administrative headquarters of Nepal.
Gone are the days when we used read about a Lichchhabi king who would not dine unless he saw smoke emanating from his subjects' houses. Our royal family acquires luxury cars, hovers in helicopter and has summer and winter palaces for retreat. There are kings and here's a king. Dixi.