Shaping a country

March 18, 2017 00:25 AM Swasti Gautam

She felt suffocated by the emptiness of the room and slept alone, with no one to wipe her tears
We have before us a country that needs to be shaped; there are debates that need to be raised.

Talks about the formulation of “New Nepal” are central for the development of our nation. More important are the incessant harangues against the government as well as the opposition. Debates indeed are an integral part of democracy. Contentions about identity, territory and state are extremely important. There are various groups in our country that have been marginalized for generations and which have to be brought into the mainstream. However, hiding behind the artificial veil made of these issues were the elites who played their own power politics. Stuck in the midst of those unending talks and fancy prevaricating speeches were the voices of the poor citizens that went unheard. 

Numbed by these interminable discussions and everlasting talks was the cry of a mother who was asking her son to come back from the place that was unknown to her. Return to the land that looked empty without his presence. On a lonely night, as tears trickled down her cheeks, she gazed at the dark room where she lay and asked her son what he had for dinner in the foreign land. “I made your favorite dinner tonight babu”, she told herself, “but I kept it aside because I could not eat it without you”. 

She felt suffocated by the emptiness of the room and slept alone with no one to wipe her tears. As years passed by her son was reduced to a mobile phone that she could not operate. Yet she went from door to door requesting her neighbors to connect her to her son through this device. At times she could hear his voice but most of the time she could not.

When we speak of neighbors, it is important to talk of a bigger picture. There is a need to emphasize greater issues. New trade routes have to be developed and meticulously formulated deals have to be signed. Fancy negotiations and pretentious mitigations are essential for trades and transactions.

Yet, between the roads that were constructed and neglected and the trade routes that were known and unknown, the childhood of an innocuous girl was snatched. While our nation was vehement in talking about monumental trade relations, we ignored the plight of a little girl who was traded across the border like a commodity. 

The place she reached was dark and unfamiliar with many frightened faces like her own. This new world was alien to her, the language unfamiliar, what she was made to do was perplexing and what strangers wanted from her was incomprehensible. All she could fathom was the excruciating pain in her body as she screamed for help and the tears in her eyes as she cried in hope for someone to come and rescue her. 

Take her to the land where she belonged; take her to the place where she was born. But as the years passed by her voice was sealed by the aches she bore and her hopes were shattered by her helplessness, the only thing that spoke was the scars on her body. That pale skin told the story of a child who was craving for her mother’s love and those watery eyes dreamt of those days when she used to play with her brothers till the sun set across the mountains  and laughed till her stomach ached in her own home land, in her own village.

When we speak of villages there are disputes about boundaries that need to be solved. Questions of identities need to be resolved and states have to be named. But while most of the resources of the country were directed towards the fight to demarcate the boundaries favoring the elite power politics, a father took his last breath in a remote village with no medical facilities without saying a final goodbye to his son. His son cried alone in his office in a distant land as the empty computer screen displayed a flashback of his childhood memories. The day he received this heart-wrenching news, his feet shivered as he stood in the middle of nowhere under the huge skyscrapers and a fancy departmental store cursing his faith and questioning his existence. 

“Sorry bua”, he told his dad “I am stuck here enslaved by my own choices and have become the victim of my own circumstances”. “Sorry bua”, he repeated “I could not be there when you needed me the most”. Hiding his heavy tears which were burdened with the guilt of not being able to go back even to his father’s funeral; he cried for the person who had sacrificed his entire life for his son. He cried at the thought of his father who had held his hand on his first step and his son couldn’t be there to support him on his last. As the sun hid beyond the ocean near his apartment, he wished to go back to his landlocked country where the sun would rise across the golden paddy field where he would be with his own family and his own people.

As we saw the political turmoil rise and subside, the constitutions made and unmade and the wars begin and end, we casually ignored the plight of our children being deprived of education, we overlooked the tears of those who died because of malnutrition and ignored the state of the villages that were disease-stricken. Governance has lacked transparency, numerous issues have been twisted and the lives of our citizens have languished in egocentric politics.  

As we saw our neighbors emerge as superpowers, the only changes that could be seen domestically were the faces on the ruling chair after every few months. The pretentious fights among the elite for a new economic system have left our country with no youth to support its economy.

Those endless talks about “New Nepal” have become futile as the citizens are crushed in one of the poorest nations of the world. Yet there are debates that have to be raised, and our country has to be shaped!   
 
The author has BA (Honors) in political science from Lady Shri Ram College For Women, New Delhi 

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