Thursday, May 14, 2009

Integrity Doesn't Count?


Below is "Does Integrity Count?" as it appeared in TKP. My name was spelled "Pravin Adhikari" instead of Prawin Adhikari, which is a bit annoying. But, at least the article wasn't censored as much as I thought--or as much as Rahul thought--it would be.

Integrity Doesn't Count?

Like a mangy old dog curling to sniff at itself, New Nepal has gone full-circle to please the crusty Old Nepal. To put it differently: Old Nepal must have very good smelling testicles that New Nepal obligingly licks them so. To put it differently: The snout is but a distant appendage to the anus; New Nepal is but a thin wash over Old Nepal. To put it differently: The cannibalistic, opportunistic, greedy snake is choking on its own tail. To put is differently: Pox on you, Old and New, for you have shown yourself to be One, seamless, shameless.

Corruption, nepotism, despotism, opportunism, ineptitude, greed, duplicity: these were among the reasons why Nepal had to change. These were probably the reasons the Maoists gave against the establishment when they waged their war. Of course, they colored their rhetoric red, for long the favorite of the class in the business of gain through murder, be they feudal or revolutionary. They set up the effigies of enemies always behind a safe red line--India, America, King--, but they killed teachers, farmers, and salary men. They lied to, threatened, coerced and cajoled the most vulnerable among peopel to gain power. They declared New Nepal, but greedy as any other political hooligans, they declared it solely theirs. From their seat in Baluwatar, which got its first cosmetic upgrade in ages, in an age defined by impermanent alliances, what did the Maoists give the country? Browse through news items since first May, and you find the answer: Corruption, nepotism, despotism, opportunism, ineptitude, greed, and duplicity. When this fact was pointed out to Prachanda, he gleefully replied: We learned it from the old parliamentarian parties.

Bijayababu's head was split open by riot-police lathi two years ago. On Thursday he worried if he hadn't been a "foot soldier" to a manipulated manifesto. A young man, whose ideals were, in a manner of speaking, spilled before his generation to consider, he has had to commit the grave sin of doubting his moment of true heroism. New Nepal was not a political achievement! It most definitely was not a Maoist achievement. New Nepal was a cultural achievement. It was the permission people granted themselves to imagine the extent of their capabilities, not tethered to a slogan or a moustache or a flag or a fist, but to a future contemplated, a future desired. A year ago when Nepal was declared a republic, there mushroomed so many "Naya Nepal" buses and rickshaws and chhang-rilas. Today they have disappeared, either behind a thick curtain of grime which is the criminal reward of passing time, or have been re-appropriated by neighborhood deities and soft-drinks. In the past year, New Nepal the political achievement has reverted to sniffing at its own rear end, while New Nepal the cultural achievement has disintegrated, doubting itself, harassed by the knowledge that it has to evolve to suit the new conditions.

Let us be coy no more--three paragraphs is enough foreplay for even the driest mind. Let us call Old Nepal by its real name: Madhav Nepal. He was the head of his party when he lost popular elections. To put it differently: people didn't choose him as their representative. His party removed another person, an intellectual and leader of the so-called Civil Society, to include Old Nepal as a member of the Constitutional Assembly. Yet, he asks to be made the Prime Minister. It is perfectly constitutional: after all, he is a member of the assembly, and that is all he needs to contest. Neither is it unethical: just as representatives of the people chose the President, representatives of the people can choose Madhav Nepal as the next Prime Minister. But, to individuals unnaturally proud of their vote and citizenship--not dumb nationalism conjoined to politics of heritage, but the simple fact that they are enfranchised citizens--this is an unimaginable mockery of the idea of citizenship. The people before whom he begged for the basic currency of democracy--the vote--denied him the opportunity to represent. Now he gets to lead the nation?

Why should this vex me so much? I am not a political commentator. I write the most mindless, inconsequential fluff; breezy Sunday read it should be. It vexes me for two reasons: first, because I think I know why New Nepal is smacking its tongue on the dried feces it has lapped up from the anus of Old Nepal. Second, it vexes me that I am reduced by helplessness to write such over-insistent, vulgar images to drive home a point.

The answer, which I claimed I know, I think, is in Bijayababu's question. To put his question differently: Why must the average citizen always have to doubt his leaders? No matter if they be Congressi cronies or mustached Maoist, or the so-called Civil Society Leader, why does duplicity have a greater currency in a political career than does integrity? How is it a greater, advantageous talent to appear a different person to each different group, but a gauche, debilitating disadvantage to appear unchanging in intent, unbuckling or un-supplicating as the case maybe, before different superiors–voters, donors? No, it is criminal to call Prachanda a "seasoned rhetorician" when the unambiguous, accurate, layman term is "liar." And it is wrong, what Prachanda claims--that words spoken by a statesman in a past date have no relevance to present circumstances. It is especially wrong if the same statesman seeks to profit from the gains made through those earlier, divergent pronouncements, whatever may be the "delta" in the circumstances since. That asks the voter to forgive duplicity as a weapon against democracy.

Whereas, an individual's integrity is the best remedy to most political problems: Corruption, nepotism, despotism, opportunism, ineptitude, greed, and duplicity. A culture that rewards personal integrity actively, punitively discourages these social maladies. To say you stand for one thing and to have the courage to defend it should be a quality worth rewarding. Integrity requires, above all, a lack of duplicity. This is not a play on words: this is a character necessity. If Prachanda is not actively lying to people who did not raise violent arms under his leadership, then he is actively lying to those who fought for him. This is a binary condition: he is either fighting for a nation where democracy will be fostered, or he is conducting the next phase of Prachandapath. One group is being lied to. And the second group shouldn't tolerate it. Similarly, no group should tolerate the idea that in a nascent democracy it should take less than a year for the political establishment to make a mockery of the idea of Vote. Let us, as citizens and not political cadres, as foot-soldiers to our own ideas and not the ideology of scheming politicians, stop forgiving the lies our leaders tell us. Let each citizen show some integrity, some spine, instead of nodding as yes-people to each manipulative bastard blown in by the dust-storm. Otherwise, too-soon, too-soon, we will get used to that taste in our mouths, and you know very well what taste I am referring to.

I have decided to post my TKP Sunday piece one it gets published. But, here are a few self-proclaimed "gems." In reality, you could call them turds.

Once more, it has too many references to shit and one to testicles; in a round-about way, to Madhav Nepal's testicles. About how they must smell.

I have been going full force on script mode for about 2 weeks now, on separate projects, which involves sitting in my room for really long hours each day. That made it very, very hard to write about anything at all for Sunday's paper: I hadn't met anyone, seen anything, been anywhere for so long. I had to rant. When I rant, it seems, I regress to a 12 year old, when scatology is a science as fascinating as wizardry.

42 people in 24 hours? Why would so many people come to this site? I love you, random reader, but there is really nothing here. I talk about my nephew and my niece, or post pictures by my friends, or talk about phlegm. I assure you, if you don't know me in person, this blog can be of no real interest to you. Except, of course, if you want to click on the adsense links: if I can accumulate a decent amount--say, upwards of US $250 a year--I intend to have Google send the check over to Whitman College, my old school. Just a suggestion.


  1. 'prawinreviews' is a window to you, and you in Nepal right now and is a place I enjoy visiting, so keep the writing flowing...

  2. 42 people in 24 hours! Congrats praWIN half century puryauna lagekoma! Stick to the pitch and collect as many as double century a day. Best of luck :)


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