One of the most exalted quality in a human is said to be that of gratitude. If you are not grateful, you are a great fool, said the wise men. Such gratitude should be the first principal in any human society. That is why we should be very proud of the republic Nepal’s “Sambidhan Diwas” celebrated last Ashoj 3 by the “Paramadesh” government constituting of 5 members since two months ago. They broke the record in honoring more than 900 Nepali citizens for their “exemplary” contribution to the nation over the past year. And Deuba set another record with 903 honorees.
People should appreciate the pragmatic efforts of this government. Why complain about mere Rs 20 crores being spent on the medals? Imagine how much money is being saved by not having a 70-minister cabinet. Look at another noble message given by the government in the medal distribution. It takes a great heart to appreciate the contribution made by the members of our society. It is a demonstration of this essential quality that the Deuba government was able to find. It practically gave to everyone connected to it or has access to the power center. Medals in Nepal are a privilege for the “Pahunchwala.” It was an example of fairness doctrine because the noble concept of “bhag banda” was practiced.
Perhaps we have forgotten to appreciate the importance of the close circle of friends, families and supporters. In practice the Constitution Day has been the day to recognize their contribution to our lives. If not ours, certainly the power center. It might be a great national holiday and an example to the rest of the world, if we could rename “Sambidhan Diwas” to Inner Circle Day because the national honors given to the people fall into such categories as friends and family members, party faithful, and personal favorites. Constitution may come and go, but the medals are for ever.
This government showed magnanimity in its attempt to life the lowly souls from the hall of eternal shame. It created a controversy and questioned the government choices. Among the controversy was a contractor for fertilizer who had been black-listed for his failure to deliver the assigned urea. A business person who was arrested for selling thermal gun in Nepal was also facilitated. Among the lucky recipient of the honor were both the daughters of the president herself, the wife of Prachanda and the deceased father of Madhav Kumar Nepal, the famous connoisseur of Korean Holy wine. We should not really question the good motive of the government. They just see the good quality in these individuals and bring honor to them. Ratnakar turning into Balmiki is quite a popular reference analysts use to illustrate that no one is beyond redemption.
Newspaper editors have commented on the validity of giving medals to deceased party leaders like Krishna Pradad Bhattarai and Madan Bhandari. Has it increased or decreased their honor, the editor asked. The obvious point was that it actually showed the moral decrepit status of the Congress party that was abandoned by the former PM and the leader KP Bhattarai. Look at the other side. It is a case of true love. Even when denounced by KP, Congress still cherishes him.
Even journalists, 54 of them, were chosen for the awards indicating and raising concerns from civil society leaders that they were being influenced to support the government. Of course, everyone wants positive coverage of their government, so what’s the big deal here? Should the journalists refuse such gross attempts to buy of their integrity? What would that say about the journalists who accepts them? Shouldn’t that be the equally valid concern? I have personally witnessed this corrupt system at local levels even. These journalist cover news, or write in favor of certain organization or people and surely enough they are awarded some honor, which they proudly post in their social media. This is the level of corruption in Nepal, from the bottom to the top. But maybe it is just that the government understands the power of words and want to submerge the news with praise and prayerful words.
People seem to associate such honoring practice to have started with the Ranas and maintained by the monarchy to please their faithful. It is argued to be anathema to the democratic system. The main criticism seems to be that there is no specific guidelines or norms in place to select such candidates to be honored. That is the crux of this malpractice. When the Panchayat system was system was in force, Queen Aishwarya was once reported to have liked a cooking of a bird so much that she inquired about the person who had cooked the meal, found him and ordered that he be given a national honor. That whimsical nature of national honor continues to this day and that is the reason why it has been brought to disgrace among the general population. While the honor may not raise the bad reputation of the recipient, it certainly decreases the honor of the whole process itself.
But look at the bright side. The republic is a free-for-all system. Today, it is Congress, last year it was the Communists, so since we have such a revolving government in Nepal, sooner or later, everyone is going to receive national honor. So be proud and just wait your turn.
The writer is a graduate of Arizona State University in Political Science. He is working as a social activist and motivational speaker for students across Nepal since 2007. He has how own blog “Strong Nepal.”
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Nepalisite.