Sunday, May 06, 2007

Champions of Nepal - On Paper!

Look at any successful runner – Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, or our own Baikuntha Manandhar. In their primes, they were virtually unbeatable. Carl and Michael were international powerhouses; while Baikuntha was a regional champion (doesn't he still hold the South Asian record?). However, all three (and many other champions) had one characteristic in common; they came to their races prepared. If they won, it was to their credit, and if they lost they took responsibility.

Never once did I hear Carl, Michael or Baikuntha complain about their opponents or blame their losses on their competitors. If they lost once, they prepared harder for the next race and excelled. The result was magnificent—every time they ran, it was usually them who made the headlines, not their opponents.

Why am I singing praises of these runners? For one, I always admired their courage, work ethic and hunger for success. And, more importantly, they provide tremendous learning opportunities.

In Nepal, we saw SPAM score a big win last April. Good! They had something great to build on and win the hearts and minds of the Nepali people. But no, they had their own agendas. They seem to believe that winning is about one of two things—ban their opponents from participating in the contest or not holding the contest at all. If the IAAF had stopped organizing 100 meter competitions after the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, guess who would be today's 100-meter champion? Yes, Carl Lewis!

In democracy, the biggest contest is elections. It is the root of all legitimate democratic practices. Any major issues are decided either by the people (through a referendum) or by a body of elected representatives. When was the last time our "parliamentarians" were elected? Well, some of them about 10 years ago and others, NEVER!

And these pseudo parliamentarians are roaring about "declaring republic" as if it is their birth right. But no one can clearly explain what gives them the right to decide on a 238-year-old institution. Now, if they were true champions (or even wanna-be champions), they would focus all their attention towards holding the CA elections—on time and on a free and fair setting. After all, isn't it prudent to run with your eyes focused on the destination rather than looking back at the starting line? As someone wisely put it "you don't run life by looking at the rearview mirror, you run it through the windshield."

These guardians of democracy have run Nepal for a year now. And their successes so far have been limited to words only, not deeds. The partnership between the seven party alliance and the Maoists, that was supposed to liberate Nepal from autocracy, is now mired in infighting and power tussle. To them, it is not about Nepal any more; it's all about sharing power, it's all about bombarding the airwaves with stale rhetoric.

Accountability is a word that is laughed upon. Preparation is an unnecessary chore. Focus is counterproductive. What matters to the builders of a new Nepal are hollow talk, threats and accusations.

When was the last time anyone won a race with this kind of attitude?