Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nepal Bandh Frenzy and the Pollution

(This article was published in 2002 in 'SATHI' but looks relevant even today.)

      Time was when ‘Nepal Bandh’ was regarded a pollution but now, it has itself become an agent of reducing pollution; it was then a crucial issue for the social life and economy of the state but at present, it has become ‘mushrooms after the rain’ that people have become used to it; it was for a reason before but today, the reason has been replaced by opportunity.
      Talking about Kathmandu, running such ‘bandhs’ has atleast helped in reducing the pollution to some extent knowing that we can’t do away with it completely. ‘Nepal Bandh’ of course hampers the economy but unknowingly, it has assisted somewhat these days. The major finances done in environmental projects can be cut and used somewhere else.
      ‘Bandh’ simply is not good but as every coin has two faces, it also has both merits and demerits but the most depressing factor is that it has demerits more than merits. Should the pollution caused by smokes and busy traffic be overshadowed for an instant, there is this foul pollution of politics nurturing behind the curtain, which is far more dangerous than the impact caused due to the environment pollution.
      Be it air pollution or political pollution, both are harmful from every isometric, and the losses borne are by us. The governing bodies of the state should have taken initiatives such that neither we suffer from the adverse effects of ecological disorder nor from the pungent fumes of the pinchbeck pseudo-politics, but there is where lies our pride in being citizen of a helpless governing system. The main reason for ‘Nepal Bandh’ has major offenses to political parties, who declare themselves right and powerful, even though the war they are crackling is in the course of annihilation. The antecedence of this terror dates back to the history of unstable political scenario of Nepal. The Maoists, what we call now, emerged as a result of its suffocation. And every credit goes to the power holders, who are themselves walking on the wrong side of the lane making iniquitous use of law or by enforcing constitution in favour of their insane demands.
      After this, comes minority aggression to the factor like price hike of petroleum products, due to which bus syndicators and vehicle associative become fury and as a result, demand decrement in price or opt in increasing fares. Ultimately, the one crushed under the grindstone of this ordeal is the general populace. Then, those frantic people enter into the battlefield backed by the selfishness of some chance-seeker political parties and thus this war to nowhere goes on and on. Furthermore, unanticipated increment in school/college fees also results in ‘Nepal Bandh’. Be it in the name of serving students or general public, the parties go on protests and strikes only to enhance their political career and make their wants fulfilled that later is coined in as their humanitarian task. And also these ‘bandhs’ are truly encouraged by the visiting students, who are pleased in getting time to kill time. There is no underlying principle for ‘Nepal Bandh’. A ruling party leader slips his tongue and next day will be marked ‘bandh’ by the opposition, a crook journalist gets caught and their association calls for a ‘bandh’ to set him free. A corrupt leader is questioned for his adulteration and his partisans demand for apologies- one out of many with a ‘bandh’. This is what is happening since a long time and still if the higher bodies remain voiceless, then surely a day is inevitable when Nepal will be suffixed by ‘bandh’ and will be replaced by ‘Nepal Bandh’, in a sense that a country named Nepal doesn’t exist, it’s closed (bandh!!). Isn't it better to die than to extinct?
      But, how are the people going to claim their existence here? Simple. As the country has a glorious blood-shed history, Darwin’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’ has been time and again proved successful, and so will in future. Evil pollution goes on as a vicious circle and the serene eyes have no vigour to argue anymore. So easy in itself, ‘Nepal Bandh’ is the tragedic misuse of power and democracy. Simply, anyone can run ‘Nepal Bandh’ because people never complain and their silence is understood as their approval, they are so timid that these ‘bandhs’ most of time go successful. It has become like a power-demonstration campaign for all the concerned parties as if the more number of ‘bandhs’ they do, the more powerful they are to be called. In this perpetual race for power and position, eventually those under the debris are always the poor.
      Pollution should be eradicated, not merely by ostentation of power but by a unanimous consensus between the authorities and masses. But, I personally feel that there should be more ‘Nepal Bandhs’ so that the people here always ramble around or below the poverty line and remain the same ignorant, illiterate, indigent ‘Nepali’ – a characteristic that has helped world identify a Nepali… At no cost can we risk this identity. Happy Nepal Bandh!!!