Political values have taken a nose dive in Nepal. The statement of Mr. Chitra Bahadur KC, the Chairman of Sanyukta Jana Morcha which is a member of the ruling coalition said that the state has been involved in looting and corruption. It is certainly the indicator of the aforementioned harsh reality. He was speaking in the capacity of the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee of State Management and Governance.
The outburst of Mr. KC is the result of the events that have unfolded in the past few months in particular. It began with the involvement of the Former Deputy Prime Minister, Home Minister and the seating Secretary in the Bhutani Refugee Scam. It was followed by Lalita Land Scam where again people of high level in Government and private life were implicated. These persons who should be otherwise working for the public welfare are now languishing behind the bar. As if this was not enough, the smuggling of 100 Kilos of gold has sent a shock wave through the nation as it came out of the only International Airport in the capital city despite sophisticated equipment kept in the airport premises. It is interesting how this equipment could not identify the gold that was smuggled to Kathmandu.
This world is an interesting tale of the erosion and restoration of moral values. When they touch the pinnacle, then that society comes to an end.
This world is an interesting tale of the erosion and restoration of moral values. When they touch the pinnacle, then that society comes to an end. Once can see how in Ramayan times, the golden Lanka was turned into ashes after the ruler Ravan was engaged in one of the most immoral of the activities of the kidnapping of others' spouse, the mother Janaki. The values that had degraded took an upward turn after the assumption of the Lankan Kingship by Bivishan.
Mahabharat unfolds a similar story when the attempt was made to strip the daughter in law Draupadi in the assembly meeting. It led to the Death of 100 Kauravs including thousands of fighters from either side Pandavs and Kauravs. In both the cases, the erring regime was annihilated right from its roots. This was in line with the utterance of God Krishna in Bhagwad Gita saying that whenever virtue subsides and wickedness prevails, I manifest Myself. To establish virtue, to destroy evil, to save the good I come from Yuga (age) to Yuga. Similarly, the enthroning of Yudhistir led to the rehabilitation of the moral values.
It could be seen in Nepal in the end of Panchayat system in Nepal. It arose in a virtual death bed of the popularly elected Government of B P Koirala. King Mahendra banned political parties and dismissed the democratically formed Government. Later on, the Government was more intent on suppressing the democratic movements more than delivering welfare to the people. Corruption raised its ugly head with the stealing and exporting of images of Gods few of which are being retrieved at the present. The absolute monarchy was reduced to a constitutional one. Still it continued to exhibit its over ambition and it was finally ousted by the Peoples Movement.
After the declaration of the Republic and the drafting of a new constitution by the Constituent Assembly, it was expected that the country will move to a course of prosperity. However, this was not to be the case. Though the Local Government has done some commendable works like the conservation of the monuments, cleaning up of what used to be a pile of garbage and construction of parks in the open space, it has also overdone in the form of useless view towers. But the Provincial and the Federal Government has done few things to their credit.
A single party Government was next to impossible given the provisions of the present constitution paving a way for the coalition Government.
A single party Government was next to impossible given the provisions of the present constitution paving a way for the coalition Government. It led to the formation of coalition of parties of differing ideology at times diagonally opposite. As everybody's job ends up being nobody's job, similar situation has prevailed at the present while making a review of their performance.
What is worrying is the flight of the students for foreign land. This has clearly shown that the education in Nepal has largely failed even though there are some sparks amidst the ocean of mediocrity. For this the oldest institution the Tribhuvan University can be cited which has remained under the padlock for most of the time. Similar, is the case of Nepal Sanskrit University which has also remained closed most of the times due to protests launched by either the students, teachers of the administrative staffs.
The top politicians including the President had to go to neighboring India for his medical treatment. Though it was said that the President will personally pay the hospital bills, but later it was paid through the state coffers. This shows that both the education and health system of the country have fumbled very badly.
The agriculture sector has suffered the most because much of the arable land has remained barren due to the lack of work force who have gone abroad for foreign job coupled with that of fertilizers. As a result, the farming has never been economically feasible because the farmers end up spending more and getting less from the agricultural produces. As a result, once food surplus country which used to export paddy to India generally has now become food deficient.
People want the corrupt people whether in the low or high posts to be brought under the scanner but few middle level and mostly the small actors of the corruption stage have been arrested so far.
It is due to the lack of a viable policy on the part of the Government. Otherwise, how do the tomatoes get so costly when farmers dumped them in the street alleging the absence of takers in the market. The Government minister made an irresponsible statement by saying that the farmers were to be blamed for producing excessive tomatoes. In fact, the farmers had to be rewarded for profuse production of the tomatoes.
The eruption of one scandal after another has smudged the image of the country. People want the corrupt people whether in the low or high posts to be brought under the scanner but few middle level and mostly the small actors of the corruption stage have been arrested so far. The main actors are enjoying the privilege of their higher party status.
The bottom up approach is not going to be effective. It has to be top down. It means that the inquiry of corruption should begin from the party suprema. But the problem confronting the Government has been the difficulty of belling the cat. Who will bell the cat?
The recent concern shown by the people is about the inquiry of the assets of the politicians. It should also address those who are or were in the bureaucracy. And this should start from the party president and below. This will only address the erosion of values so pervasive in Nepal.
But this is less likely given the hushed silence observed by the majority faction of the Nepali Congress which is the largest partner in the present coalition Government. The minority group shouted at the top of the voice but it fell on the deaf ear of the leaders. It is thus more than glaringly true that the political leaders are responsible for the present slide in the moral front and they should be the point of departure for any national cleansing which is so necessary in the present day Nepal.
The author is the former Vice-Chancellor of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).