Buddha, nagging monk and Nepali Congress Cadres

 

We recently had Buddha Purnima, remembering the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. We pride ourselves that Buddha was born in Lumbini in modern-day Nepal, around the year 563 BCE. But how much do we learn from him? How much, we as a Nepali read his story and teachings and follow?

Here I draw two parallel modern Nepal story where some Nepali are doing opposite of what Buddha taught.

Buddha’s teaching: 

  • Buddha and his disciples

One day in monsoon season Buddha was walking by the jungle with his disciples. On the way they reached a river which was starting to flood due to monsoon rain and there was a beautiful young girl wandering by the riverbank trying to cross the river. Buddha saw that and offered his help to the girl. Holding her hand Buddha helped her cross the river; the girl thanked him and went her way, Buddha and his disciples went their way.

When they reached their destination, one of the monk expressed his unhappiness about the incident, Buddha smiled and said nothing. A few days later Buddha was preaching about meaninglessness of earthly relationships, the monk again said “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then hold the hand of that girl?”

This time Buddha replied, “I left the girl a long time ago at the riverbank, however, you seem to be holding her hands still.”

The moral of this story is that mental attachment to an idea or earlier experience blocks the full experience of the present here and now. Attachments slow the mind, interfering with appropriate responses to the immediate situation. And eventually distract us from our progress and future development.

Two stories of Modern Nepal:

  • Historic Peace deal in Nepal and Kanak Mani war cultivation company

12-Point Understanding between the Seven Political Parties and Nepal Communist Party (Maoists) leading to Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). In this agreement, the parties pledge to work towards democracy, peace, prosperity and social advancement and ending autocratic monarchy. The parties agree that the National Army and the Maoist army shall be under the supervision of the UN or any other reliable international actor, to conduct fair elections, and to accept international mediation during the dialogue process. Including through the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a National Peace and Rehabilitation Commission.

Although main leadership and majority of population have moved forward from the war there are people like Mohan Baidhya (Kiran) and Netra Bikram Chand (Biplab) complaining about Maoist and Nepal Army integration. There are also Kanak Mani Dixit and company nagging about the war time events and complaining about TRC and NPRC. Kanak Mani Dixit war Cultivation Company benefits a lot from war, the more war and death the more of news for his media group and more of so called human rights agenda for his empire and eventually more donation. His mere existence is a sad existence who lives on the benefits from people’s death. Fundamentally the same applies to Netra Bikram Chand too.

The moral of this is that unnecessarily nagging to an idea or every war time experience blocks the full experience of the present here and now. Attachments to their personal benefits from war slow Nepal’s progressive socio-political change and prolongs transition period, interfering with appropriate responses to the immediate situation. And eventually distract us from our progress and future development of the country. This will benefit people like Netra Bikram Chand and Kanak Mani Dixit but the country will suffer.

  • CPN (Maoist Centre) and Nepali Congress leaders & protesting NC Cadres

Ruling coalition partners–Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre–have finally agreed to partner up for elections of mayors in two metropolitan cities of Nepal.

Some of the Nepali Congress cadres in Bharatpur are furious about the alliance and think teaming up with Maoist is unacceptable because they were the enemy at war time. Maybe some of these Nepali Congress cadres still have hangover of war like the disciple of Buddha whereas the leadership has moved forward from it.

The moral of this story is that few Nepali Congress cadres still have mental attachment to war era idea or earlier experience which has blocked the full experience of the present here and now. The present or now of Federal Democratic Nepal is that there is no war and there are no enemies. There was 12-Point Understanding and then A Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The appropriate response to immediate situation is that all the parties who believe in democratic republic should stand together by eliminating fassist Rashtriya Prajatantra Party Nepal of Kamal Thapa. The attachments to the war era seems to have slowed the minds of Nepali Congress cadres in Bharatpur, interfering with appropriate responses to the immediate situation.  And eventually this and likely events distract us from our progress, peaceful politics and future development.

 

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Country Roads

I went home to Nepal after 2 years to see that the country had gone backwards in development and social change. But the smile in people’s face and Himalayas were as prevalent and defiant as death. Here is the first part of my experience. Roads.

Roads

The first welcome after escaping the chaos of Tribhuwan Airport was by armed police patrolling dusty roads of Kathmandu, barking stray dogs, street vendors and darkness.

The roads seemed much wider but gave a feel of a battlefield with the dust, bumps, noise, speeding bikes and microbus and pedestrians crossing roads dodging the death. I felt like I was in the middle of the Valley of Ashes in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby and the two eyes of Shwyambhunath temple were  the eyes of Dr T. J. Eckleburg.

At hometown in Chitwan, the roads were even wider but the mountain (I mean literally mountain as high as buildings) of dust meant it was almost impossible to see a meter away. The trucks emitting the clouds of black smoke would make it even worse.

The construction of roads seemed to be going on massive scale in town, on highways and in hills of Gorkha. But later knew that these construction were on pace of a sloth posing millions of peoples health and safety a dreadful threat.

Road Bullies

Apart from the dust and smoke thewe was unbelievable intolerable level of bully from the drivers and helpers of public transport; bus, taxi, rickshaw etc. One day the bus in Tandi to Narayangarh route took us from Tandi to Bharatpur and stopped saying that’s the journey done. When asked with a city warden lady she shouted that was our mistake to take particular bus. Frustrated I reported to the traffic police and he would just node his head and wouldn’t speak.

The other day in Kathmandu the taxi wouldn’t go in normal meter, demanded triple the fare I had paid other day. Again went to police and he replied that the taxi driver can decide if he wants to go or not and in meter or whatever price. In the matter of 3 minutes there were around two dozen thug taxi drivers surrounding me which was scary in fact.

In the long route going to Gorkha from chitwan, the bus was so overcrowded, when it approached near traffic post near Gorkha, asked some of the passengers to drop off and walk. I was so tired that couldn’t be bothered calling traffic cops who wouldn’t help anyway.

Population went bigger, public vehicles got smaller

Another surprising and completely illogical and damning thing about roads in my hometown Ratnanagar was that I noticed the population had almost doubled, house number increased, shopping centres and hotels opened. But the public transport had gone smaller!! There were smaller vehicles where you could hardly crouch. There used to be small auto rickshaws which were thrown out of Kathmandu because they were too pollutant, could carry around 12 people. Now they were still running plus there were many smaller vehicles that hardly carried 4-6 people.

I wondered whoever gave permission/ route permit to run that vehicles in Chitwan must have his head filled with pig’s shite otherwise normal person with common sense wouldn’t permit such crazy idea.

Masked Population

Everyone out of house were wearing mask in Chitwan. This was like everyone was out from operation theatre or as if there was some epidemic going on and everyone was dead scare to breathe. Well, Kathmandu is polluted and I would call it Narakpalika नरकपालिका (hell) instead of Nagarpalika (Municipality) but No one would expect Chitwan to be that polluted, being in the middle of huge rainforest and natural heaven.

But yeah, if you still run the auto rickshaw which were thrown out 20 years ago because they were so polluted, if you permit hundreds of tiny vehicles suitable for chicken, as public transport and dig roads leave the mountain of dust over people’s houses – what can you expect. So there were almost everyone (and me as well), sick with respiration related diseases and common cold, sore throat, sore eyes, runny nose. Despite the masks the smoke and dusts were clear winners.