"Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable …"
– George Orwell
It is an open secret now that politicians tell lies to the people almost all the times. Like an unrealistic lust-lorn lover, they say anything to keep people in their confidence so that they could use them to win elections. They make murder respectable by declaring the deceased as martyr. That is the reason why they like to talk on grand topics like 'liberty' and 'martyrdom'. Because they know 'if liberty means anything, it means the right to tell people what they want to hear'.
And still, we follow politicians. We chase them in such a way that they have now become experts in walking backwards with their faces on us. Politicians and their rhetoric spin round the clock in the news industry. After sex, it is perhaps their political speeches that have been sold the most since time immemorial.
Despite knowing all that, I visited a politician in Washington DC few days back. It was not that he was a charismatic liar like Barack Obama who helped people ride on the rollercoaster of hope and left them to panic in the cycle of hopeless economic downturn. However, he was charismatic in his own ways.
He is expert in horse trading. He is a big bargainer. He is expert in pointing fingers on others and he was spontaneous in saying that the voters were Gods in democratic societies. This political figure I met recently is no other than Mr. Rajendra Mahato who happens to be the health minister in the current care-taker government led by Baburam Bhattarai.
Clad in white dhoti and kurtha, Mr. Mahato must be the only person who was the member of the cabinets of all the prime ministers who were sworn in after Nepal was declared a federal democratic republic in 2007.
Soon after Nepal’s ambassador Dr. Shankar Sharma introduced Mr. Mahato to a roomful of Diaspora Nepali community members, the latter invested all the time to blame three main political parties for the death of the constituent assembly and praised Nepali people as God. Except that he was sweating profusely during the solo speech, he seemed comfortable in creating the questions saying that he knew what kinds of questions would be fielded from the floor and in answering them by himself. But when members of the Nepali Diaspora shot unexpected questions at him all he could do was to beg for an excuse for not being able to write the main law of the nation in four-long-years.
He could not answer Dr. Chitra Krishna Tiwari's question as to why political parties would not let their elected representatives work and continue to muddle in the state affairs. He wagged his mouth and let silence answer when a question related to federal system based on caste was asked.
He was speechless when it came to answering on the government's inability in maintaining law and order, foreign interference and corruption issues.
He did not talk about the achievements of the health conference he had come to participate. He did not talk about the health problems in Nepal and the government's initiatives to make Nepal a healthy place.
I was, however, amazed when he transformed himself into a soothsayer and said that after 20 years all the Nepalese who were living abroad will return to the Himalayan nation since it would be a very much developed country. I kept wondering how Nepal would be developed in just 20 years when political rudderless leaders like himself were ruling the country. However, I very much wish his predictions to be true.
While predictions are mostly guesses, some of them, rife with reflective research and past experiments, become shockingly close to reality. They leave you wondering as to how something would ever be possible.
When Neil Shepherd (name changed upon request), an immigration attorney based in New York told me over coffee some three months ago that his office would soon see Nepalese asylum seekers who would base their statements on the ethnic violence in Nepal, I was not just shocked but also humiliated.
It pains me to state that Neil's prediction is coming stunningly close to this stark reality today. The past month gave us a glimpse of the beginning of a rift among communities that had very well lived in perfect harmony since time immemorial. The systematic formation of "Alliance for Independent Madhesh" with the required resolve, including its own flag and the national anthem, among others, suggests that the nation is heading towards division. I can't rule out whether Mahato is also involved in that alliance since his political nature suggests that he invests interest in anything that have gives him chances for the future governments. Nepal's fame in the international arena as a small country with great cultural co-existence is at stake.
Lawlessness is a new norm that is feeding the ethnic violence. Nobody was brought to the book of justice when a gang guided by local businesses torched the government vehicle and created terror and among the general population in Chitwan. The lives of public servants who had visited a business house to inspect unfair business practices were at great risk.
Neil wants us to read Prachanda's mind and act accordingly if Nepal is to free herself from the clutches of this impending ethnic animosity the result of which is an insurmountable loss to the country which presently sits on a double edged sword -- a failed state economically and an unstable state politically. "Prachanda and his Maoist party are the main enemy of the contemporary Nepal," he says with a long pause and further adds, "His manipulative ambition, lack of empathy to life in general and Lady Macbethian hunger for power and luxury are behind what is happening after the historic 2006 peace accord."
As to what makes him to put all the blame to the Maoists, Neil convincingly argues that if Maoists were truly motivated for the uplift of Nepali life in general they would not have raised the issue of federal structure on the basis of caste. It is surprising that the communists who do not follow any religious beliefs are dying hard to introduce states on the basis of caste and creed.
"They are pushing the country backwards by raising the concept of ethno-based states. I wonder what caste would have to do with states when they would have no feasible socio-economic engine to push for development."
If one carefully observes the moves of the Maoists, it is nothing but a ploy to capture the state. On one hand, the Maoists are dramatizing about the rift within the party and confusing people and politicians; on the other hand they are weakening the state by contributing to the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly. I wish Mr. Mahato would also know this and stop being a conman.