By D.M. Thapa
There has been a growing uproar, specially in different media outlets about how former King Gyanendra was meeting people from different walks of life. Naturally, when prominent people write in newspapers and speak on the TV channels about this issue, the curiosity of the public is also aroused. This issue has not faded in the media yet, though more alarming events like the sudden change in the state of Indian occupied Kashmir are taking place.
It was quite interesting to hear directly about the uproar from some learned individuals who actually met the former king and it was equally interesting to see the partisan outlook of the anchors who were interviewing them. It is definitely hard to be objective on any issue, as any journalist can say, but it must be harder for individuals, including anchors, who belong to certain political parties that totally opposes the institution of monarchy, to be objective in their outlook.
When some guest speakers don’t completely bow down and become tame just because they are facing a camera, the anchors started giving their own opinions, totally not bothering to remember that whoever is tuning in to their programme, has come to listen to what these prominent people have to say and not what some young anchor feels so righteous about. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me many people preferred to skip this channel and flicked on to another channel where a more sensible anchor was hosting a similar talk show.
Anyway, the former king is an ordinary citizen now, and we have been told that as an elderly person, he spends more time in worshipping in various religious sites or he mediates at home, and it is also certain that as a former head of the state, he loves to hear what the people, from simple commoners to high profile individuals, have to say on what is the present situation in the country. Like anyone else he also likes to know such things. But no, if he just so much as goes on a pilgrimage, politicians currently in power start speculating what conspiracy he is brewing. The politicians are further abetted by partisan journalists who have an axe to grind and the poor people, who expected the doors of prosperity and good times to open up with different revolutions, now just sigh and console themselves with the utter lies and false promises that had been made to them and still is being repeated.
The former king seems to have become a favourite fodder for our cunning and wily leaders, partisan analysts and the media to pour their wrath on when they feel a time has come to divert the real issues facing the nation. They know when the people are getting restless and are feeling frustrated with the work of those in power and sadly, the partisan journalists also seem to be only too eager to help them. No ethical values prick their thick skins and narrow thoughts.
Looking at things as a simple observer, the former king is living in his house and not brewing anything sinister. But what to do?
The aim of certain leaders and journalists as they know he is just a “soft target”, who cannot retaliate in anyway, are busy concocting things in the minds of the innocent people!
Naturally I have not met the King, not before nor in this volatile environment, created mostly by Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal who publicly said that the former king wanted to come back to power, and this utterance of Dahal was gladly highlighted by different media outlets.
As for me, I have based all the conclusions by only reading newspapers and watching talk programmes on the TV, and looking at things I feel it is quite unfortunate for this to happen. But more unfortunate is the fact that I don’t belong to any party, though at one time when I was a young student in college, activists had urged me to join one party or the other just by buying a ticket which cost less than one rupee. But if you don’t belong to any party, you are tagged as a “rajabadi”, literally meaning someone who supported the king. This is another way of shutting the mouths of a few objective analysts and also a simple way of diverting attention of the public. Few seem to think that there can be independent people, who simply love their country. But it is much, much easier to put a tag on somebody even by those who call themselves the messiahs of democracy and are the biggest liberals that exist on earth. Their attitude is not broad enough to accept the rights of others and they don’t want to hear anything – no matter how logical it may be – about the malpractices of the majority of the political leaders. This is not democracy or freedom of press and more importantly it is just not fair.
Why can’t these people talk about the constant interference of the United States and its allies in Europe in virtually all parts of the world? Why can’t they utter their wise opinion about the developments in Kashmir, once a picturesque and peaceful place? Why can’t they talk of the constant encroachment of Nepalese territory? Why can’t the authorities here arrest top level politicians, bureaucrats, land Mafia members and smugglers? Actually a conspiracy is being hatched by such people, which in the long run will have an impact in almost all parts of the world, including poverty stricken country like Nepal. Just being cunning, partisan in outlook or taking advantage of greedy government officials will not make a prosperous Nepal with happy people. Much more things like serious planning, sacrifices and not greed, appointing individuals on merit not party affiliation and such things are required if the dreams of the general Nepalese are to be fulfilled.