On Deaths of Multiple Things

What surprised me was what followed. Complete silence. People accepting their losses as if they were destined to.

On a hung-over morning, mom called and asked if I would come home. Normally, I prepare myself for a sarcastic comment after a party night. But this time, she had breaking news. Last night, electricity voltage fluctuations at my place killed the oldest equipment we had – our 14 years old TV. Even a bulb and mom’s mobile charger could not tolerate the high voltage and finally succumbed. Many households had the same stories. Many laptops, fridges, phones and bulbs were destroyed. 

What surprised me was what followed. Complete silence. People accepting their losses as if they were destined to. As if this surge in voltage was an act of god. And we, mere mortals, were to take the hit and the best we could do was to forget about it. 

Our TV was basically used to get the news and watch mom’s daily soaps. And for daily soaps, her recent inclination towards YouTube meant the sole purpose of TV was to serve fresh and hot news. And just hours before its demise, the TV had delivered the most high-voltage news in the last couple of years. Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli had misused his power and special connection to dissolve the parliament. What surprised me was what followed. Complete silence.

These two events on two completely opposite scales have something in common. They show the state Nepali society is in right now. A feeling of helplessness among the Nepali people. The last time I felt this was when the tenure of the first constituent assembly was terminated by the Supreme Court. Many questioned if the Supreme Court had the right to do so and if the Supreme Court was right to do so. But, people went on about their lives as if nothing had happened. 

With the death of the first constituent assembly, many things died on that day. Re-imagination of Nepal as a truly inclusive and federal democracy died. The two major forces, Maoists and Madheshwadi parties, that drove the agenda of republicanism and federalism had the numbers where they could have a say. Until the second constituent assembly came to conclusion, Maoists had already traded their souls for power and Madheshwadi parties had a number that wasn’t difficult to sideline.

As a result, what Nepal got after a couple of years was an impotent constitution that failed both inclusion and federalism. Yeah, I know that some of you might feel ‘federalism isn’t necessary’, ‘it is a burden’ and whatnot. Probably the same section of people feel ‘merit is overshadowed by reservation’ as if everything was decided on merit in Nepal for the last two hundred years. It was by merit that not a single women and Madhesi has become the prime minister. It is by merit that the same two groups are nothing more than second class citizens. Right? Now, imagine being almost colonised for two hundred years and then not seeking a way out of that vicious system – a system that only sucks your resources and gives you pennies not even sufficient to feed. Prosperity and respect were unimaginable. 

But today, after more than five years since the constitution, which felt more like a dagger, was brought to existence after the theatrics of Mr. Oli, I feel vindicated. And I feel there are many Madhesi youths who feel the same way. We recognised his manic traits long before anyone else did. What he did in partnership with Madam President displayed that he has the same amount of respect for the constitution as he (or anyone) has for Mr. Prachanda and the amount of respect Madhesis have for him and the constitution. Because the constitution was never about directing Nepal to a better and stable future, it was always about re-establishing the male Khas-Arya supremacy based system that Nepal could never escape from.

As things stand, the future is uncertain. The problematic PM is determined to be in power no matter the cost. But what is more problematic is people’s silence. Last time the northern Nepal was so silent was five years ago. And that killed many Nepalis. I am not talking about those killed by bullets. I am talking about those who watched those bullets pierce their friends, brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers. And the millions who felt the pain as if they were their friends, brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers. As much I hate to say it, some portion of Nepali in me definitely died five years ago. It was the same man who killed it. My only request is: this time don’t let him kill the nation.

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