Monday, January 15, 2007

What's Next For Nepal?

We are hearing good things about the historical promulgation of Nepal's new constitution. If things improve as well as the events in the last few days, then we have good reason to be optimistic about Nepal's immediate and long-term future. However, Nepal is very good at disappointing its people. As I have said before, constitution is just a piece of paper. It is up to the political leadership to make it work for the people.

Here I have tried to come up with three scenarios for Nepal as a result of today's developments. While I sincerely hope that the best case scenario plays out, I pray that we never have to see the worst case. My likely scenario is not very appealing, but making it better requires the vigilance, understanding and unity of the Nepali people.

Best Case Scenario
Everybody gets back to their senses. They not only talk the talk but do the work and in a relatively short period of time, we are able to see signs of Nepal climb upward from the deep abyss that it is now in. The Maoists prove that they are astute leaders not only with bullets but also when facing the ballots. The NC and UML people go through comprehensive introspections and find ways to govern with dignity and poise.

In a few years, monarchy—regardless of its status then—will be rendered irrelevant, and reinvigorated Nepal and Nepalis will have learned to find ways to enjoy lasting peace and prosperity. With prosperity, the common Nepali will find it easier to fight poverty and the root cause of our problems will be addressed effectively.

Worst Case Scenario
It is hard to teach old dogs new tricks. Our 50+ year old yuba netas will never learn from their mistakes. Once the chaos and commotions are over, they will once again go back to their old ways of looting the national coffers. The army will be heavily politicized, demoralized and turned into a cash cow for the ruling party just the way RNAC was milked. Dissenting voices will be quelled.

The concept of democracy will be blurred and confused with "anybody-can-do-and-demand-anything" and small splinter groups will try to usurp and exert power in every possible situation. The country will be badly divided and we'll see demands for autonomous/independent states along communal lines. The Maoists, used to ruling by fear and terror, will be unable to perform any magic tricks and will go back to their old ways of violence and killing. With no one in apparent control, Nepal will head into a rapid downward spiral allowing our "friendly neighbors" to heavily intervene politically or militarily.

Likely Scenario
After a few months and years of blaming all the ills of Nepal on the king and the shah dynasty, reality finally takes control. Without anyone with the kind of leadership and integrity to lead Nepal, it will be business as usual with ministers and political leaders talking big and doing very little. Corruption may not be as blatant as before, but will continue.

The major parties will squabble on petty things and national consensus will be a thing of the past. Before we know it, a couple of decades will have passed without Nepal making any major progress. Religious and communal tensions will be more common than anytime in Nepal's history.

Once again, I hope things turn for the better for all of us. Jaya Nepal.


Anonymous said...

You are too optimistic. The Maoist murderers will suck the last drops of blood out of all Nepalese people. It is a big mistake that everyone will realise in a short period of time. I refuse to recognize these murderers as the designers of our future. I hate SPAM.

Nepali Blogger said...

Pessimism is not going to help us. We need to be realistic. All of us! It's too early to count anybody out for incompetence. But the big question is who will do the work and not just talk the talk? Talk is cheap. We need solid work to move Nepal ahead. If it is the Maoists that do that, it's ok!

Some signs are disturbing, though. If the goal is true democracy, then everyone should be free to speak their minds on a peaceful manner. And the government should be strong enough to protect that freedom.

After all, wasn't that one of the major complaints against the king? If it's all about the people, then the people will speak up with their ballots. And if the politicians are confident that they are doing the right things, then what do they have to worry about?