Then it came again. Deserted roads, burnt tires, and without work! Wow, what a day for the protest!
Hundreds of people flocked in the streets while this man who used to live on his daily earnings is looking into the garbage cans trying in vain to find something to eat. The leaders have the pleasure of eating “basmati” rice when they get back home after the tiring protests in the streets but this guy who works as a conductor for a microbus is without food or even shelter when he gets back. And, he is deprived of work, thanks to the frequent “bandhs.”
It is not the first day; in fact we have been living with it, like every other part of our body. There are costs associated with movements. While the movement might be for the best of Nepalese, it has failed to use the right means to get to its goals.
We condemn Maoists for killings. We condemn them for using wrong means to attain their goals. While some of the questions raised by Maoists might be good, not all are realizable and progressive. The issues of caste discrimination might be a just cause for protest, but the issue of absolute equality is not. They have to think of the gains made during the period of democracy with respect to the alleviation of absolute poverty. One has to be pragmatic and not idealistic. Whatever be their reasons for dissent, they have not used right means for the benefit of Nepalese.
Similarly, the political parties failed to understand the sentiments of the Nepalese people. While their propaganda is as good as it sounds, it failed to address issues which have been pressing the poor masses who have to struggle daily for survival. Freedom has its costs. One should not be deprived of his work for the sake of freedom of another. One cannot be denied his freedom for the sake of granting freedom to another. Every individual has to be respected.
One needs to understand that rights come with responsibilities. If you cannot respect the equal rights of others, you cannot claim your rights either. This same problem persists in our march for freedom. We have failed to understand the problems faced by the lower class people who depend on their daily incomes for survival. We are rich enough to sustain several days of “bandhs” while they are not. Aren’t we being selfish here?
Some argue that one has to sacrifice his/her interests for the greater benefit to mankind. But, this is absolutely wrong. Why should one sacrifice his interests for the sake of other people? Why can’t others do the same to him? Why can’t others sacrifice their interests for his benefit? If others can’t do it, he should not be forced to do it either. It is his every right to work within the legal framework respecting the equal rights of others.
People make a great deal of fuss about the so-called “agitation for democracy” but they are acting as autocrats while designing their movements against the monarch. Democrats are being hypocrites when they shut down the shutters ofNew Road
or Putalisadak. They claim to work for freedom but they are not practicing it. Freedom for us should not come at the expense of the freedom of other people. Just the other day, a person was killed in Pokhara. Why should he sacrifice his life for our benefit? Who is responsible for this? What alternatives does his family have to sustain living? Has anyone cared to think of this? A big “NO.” No doubt, they will protest against the killing, it will provide them with more reasons to protest but his life is gone. We cannot get it back. He suffered when he could have done without.
If it were you, would you die for the benefit of other people? If you cannot, you should not expect others to be ready to sacrifice their lives for freedom of Nepalese. Leaders should take full responsibility for the killing of this person. The government is equally responsible.
I know many of you will despise me for writing against the movement, but I am for the right of every person to be alive. I am for the right of everyone to work. We should not limit the freedom of others when we think of our own freedom. I know it is easy to blast the movement from here but still it is a great tragedy of the agitation that the poor have suffered again.
(note:Please be mindful that this article was written while the movement in Nepal was at its peak sending thousands of poor folks to starvation. Despite the good outcome, we could have done away with the monarchy in some other ways. Now the challenge is to address the aspirations of the people. The changes made so far to restrict monarchy are not enough, we need some actions to help foster growth and prosperity in the country.)