The political parties have set a dangerous precedent. Consensus is the only way out of the transitional polity and for this we need political compromises, even among disparate forces. But finding such meeting points will be meaningless if the political class is not committed to their implementation. Few of past agreements have been implemented in earnest, starting with the all-important 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The CPA had provisioned for the integration of Maoist combatants into security forces within six months of its signing; the actual process took seven years. The most recent in the line of agreements that have been conveniently neglected are the seven-point deal between Nepali Congress and CPN-UML (the basis of Sushil Koirala government) and the December four-point accord between NC, UML, UCPN (Maoist) and Madheshi forces (centered on the formation of a high-level political mechanism).
Fast growth, job creation and improvements in living standards have spread across Asia in the last two decades, with GDP per capita jumping by around 250 percent in the south of the continent and almost 400 percent in the east since 1993.
Slowly but steadily, GDP levels in Asia have started to catch up with those in high income countries. Nepal, however, has not been part of this convergence—per capita output has even lagged in troubled states across the Indian border and Nepal has grown more slowly than many developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Tibet, a politically important but very remote part of China’s economy, is also growing faster.
I recently read a piece that Nepal Traffic Police will soon be introducing a brand new set of breathalyzers. Buoyed by the huge public support for anti drunk driving, the traffic police seems to think, harsher the ‘punishment’ for the offender larger the support base. So if at all it is a move to set a limit, it may turn out to be a case of massive suicide.
All the glory acquired through this one effort of theirs will vanish. We are the kind of people who have our own logic and philosophies as to how things should be. So the moment we leave something subject to interpretation things go haywire. If 20 ml is permissible, what harm does it make if the new breathalyzer shows a reading of 20.5 ml? Trying to make logical argument out of completely illogical subject is our forte. State honor to a recently deceased actor is a case in point. I will come to that later.
BKS Iyengar, one of the foremost yoga teachers of the world passed away last week. Iyengar developed the popular ‘Iyengar yoga’ and has written excellent books on yoga. But he was not satisfied with his achievements. Once he said a very interesting thing about his life-long practice, “I began to practice yoga since my childhood and continued it life-long. Now, my body has become elastic and all the ailments that I suffered in my early days no longer exist. Yoga became my identity and I instructed yoga to countless people all over the world. However, I contemplate now, if I had practiced meditation with same eagerness, I would have been a different person today.”
Practicing yoga postures for one hour daily and being in a state of meditative awareness the whole day are not same endeavors. Indian saint Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga aims meditation and enlightenment as its highest goal. However, the posture section is dominant and all other pre-meditative and post-meditative practices are shadowed.
The true measure of a society, it is said, is how it treats its elderly. Compared to the West where nuclear families have long been the norm, Eastern societies have traditionally placed greater importance on taking care of their elderly. Most Nepalis lived in joint families even a couple of decades ago. As the heads of household, the elderly were seen as a source of wisdom, and three or more generations, young and old, lived under the same roof. But globalization has broken old boundaries, fracturing families, irrevocably changing social norms and values. The urban-centric growth has spawned a culture of nuclear family, in the process redefining the very idea of a ‘Nepali family’. The average household size in Nepal, as per the 2011 census, has decreased from 5.44 in 2001 to 4.88 in 2011. This trend is expected to pick up in the next decade. As young people are ‘moving out’ to pursue their careers or to enjoy the perks of smaller households, the elderly feel increasingly isolated, shunned by their children and neglected by the society which seems to have little to offer them.