this is you…a shepherd not a sheep

think of the days when you were a shepherd
only that you didn’t keep sheep
your goats and cows and your children did need shepherding
though they were not the sheep

remember the grammar (not ‘grammer’) lesson?
you had in grade II where they taught
sheep means sheep, and sheep mean ‘sheeps’ too
you weren’t bothered though
for you didn’t keep sheep or ‘sheeps’ for that matter
and you were shepherding goats and cows and your children instead

there was a leader once who said
people are sheep
you were already a shepherd
and now you became a sheep too
who will shepherd me you thought and all other
shepherds like you who just became sheep Continue reading this is you…a shepherd not a sheep

democracy in installments?

After the rejection of last Friday’s offer of the post of PM to the SPA, by both the parties and the agitating public as a ploy to diffuse demonstrations and split the SPA, Gyanendra has played one card further by reinstating the parliament. No matter what his intentions, it certainly is a clever move on his part and that of the state to avoid confrontations with the SPA and the public with the planned demonstration on Tuesday. Although Gyanendra’s address came late at night, there were already talks among the SPA leaders of changing Tuesday’s anti-monarchy demonstrations into victory parades. Well, now the ball is firmly on the SPA’s court after calling it a “victory” of the people. Although the failure to mention any of the outstanding issues, such as the Constituent Assembly or the Maoist problem, should still raise some suspicious eyebrows, it is now up to the parliamentarians from the SPA to get together and decide on the next move as per the people’s wishes. They should now have enough leverage to take forward the issues, such as that of the constituent assembly to decide the future role of monarchy if any, who the Army should be under etc., through the parliament. Continue reading democracy in installments?

on freedom…#3 is monarchy worth keeping in Nepal?

Is the white elephant, in the form of monarchy, worth keeping in Nepal?
Sunday 23 April 2006

Friday night’s talk – after the royal proclamation – was mainly about king Gyanendra trying to split the SPA-Maoist alliance by offering the post of PM to the SPA. However, people seemed to have realised his ploy as soon as his speech ended. We heard about the overnight demonstrations in Kathmandu and in a number of districts and cities outside Kathmandu – most notably those in Butwal area – rejecting palace’s offer. SPA leaders, after meeting on Saturday morning, had no choice but to follow the will of the public and they finally rejected palace’s offer officially late on Saturday morning. So it seems we’ll be seeing more demonstrations in days to come and it also seems Nepal is heading towards being a republic and not stay as a kingdom. The hot topic today in most of the online discussions, as well as in radio forums, has been whether or not we Nepalese will be better off keeping the white elephant in the form of monarchy – especially the current incarnation. So is this white elephant worth keeping? As a layman in my own country’s politics, I think this question should consider three main aspects of our society, namely economic, political, and cultural. Considering the pros and cons of keeping monarchy with regards to these aspects of our society should help us answer this question. Continue reading on freedom…#3 is monarchy worth keeping in Nepal?

on freedom…#2 have Nepali people got what they deserve?

So the stubborn king finally cracked OR has he? The latter is the question every Nepali should be asking at this moment in our country’s ever-changing political horizon – especially by those who have taken to the streets during the last 16 days or so against the king’s autocratic regime. Have you really got what you deserve?

The answer has to be a big NO. Of course you haven’t got what you deserve. Have you got “loktantra” as you have been demanding over the course of these demonstrations? Have you even got a constituent assembly? Have you – the people – actually got power as the king was saying he was going to give you? NO, NO, NO. People, you have got nothing so far. The royal proclamation tonight was nothing more than a ploy to divide SPA (and SPA-Maoist alliance). The king’s action of asking SPA to nominate a PM to form an all-party government under Article 35 of 1990 constitution, is more synonymous to throwing some pieces of bones to his pet dogs than a genuine gesture towards solving the present crisis. Whether the dogs fight over those pieces of bones is another matter altogether. What is clear, however, is that Gyanendra still wants a piece of bone himself. This much is clear from the Article 35 of 1990 constitution he has cited. Although we can by now safely say that the 1990 constitution has become defunct (otherwise we shouldn’t be demanding a constituent assembly to draw up another constitution OR revise the present one), let us remind what that Article 35 states. The first point in this article should suffice on why this proclamation is just a ploy and not a genuine gesture towards reconciliation. So here it goes: Continue reading on freedom…#2 have Nepali people got what they deserve?

on freedom…

Freedom has always been one of my favourite words. The word I have loved to associate myself with, tried to associate myself with on any occasion I get. Free spirit, free soul, man of my own will et-cetera, et-cetera… On occasions though I wonder if I really am a free soul, free spirit, man of my own will – I wonder if I really have “freedom”, for on every walk of life there are restrictions I face, restrictions I have to adhere to. While I write this, I am on a train heading towards Hull. I am going to a Dutch consulate to apply for a visa – a short term visa that I need to attend a workshop and a conference over a week in May, paid for by a good host I must add. Without a visa, I won’t be able to travel to the Netherlands, and will be unable to present my paper at the conference. Its strange though as I am in the UK, a member of EU and have a valid UK visa for at least one more year – yet I have to go through this whole process of visa application to enter into another EU country. This is a strange country UK – member of EU but without free movement to and from other EU states unless you hold an EU passport, valid visa won’t do! A member of EU that still holds on to its own currency GBP and not take up Euro. A member of EU that likes to associate itself more with the US than to other EU countries when it comes to its foreign policy – just look at the war in Iraq! Anyway, now I need to get a visa even to attend a week’s conference in mainland Europe even though I hold UK visa valid for at least another year! When I reach the Dutch consulate, I am tied with more restrictions. To prepare the current visa application, I had simply used my earlier visa application for the Netherlands and changed dates and some minor details. My earlier application was for identical purpose a year ago and I did get a visa and had travelled to the Netherlands. But now the lady in the consulate goes over my application and asks me to change “Multiple entries” to “Single entry” and 30 days visa period to 7 days citing that I am returning after 7 days. What if I have my flight delayed for a day or two when returning? Will I be charged with an “overstay” and deported? I wonder to myself. Anyway, what I have learnt over the course of 6 or so years of stay in these foreign lands is never to argue with immigration officials…apparently, they are always right…Talk about being a free spirit!! Continue reading on freedom…