In Search of Wisdom: Where is the Vision?

A nation runs into danger when its rulers lose sight of their important responsibilities and get lost amidst the distractions born due to their preoccupation with power. When rulers cannot demonstrate their compassion to the citizens, the people become disenfranchised and they go in search of another ruler. This reality is amply demonstrated in the story of Mahabharata. But that the message does not seem to register in the mind of our leaders, the same story is repeating in Nepal!

As the Sanskrit word “duradarshi” implies, a visionary person is the one who can visualize the likely happenings of the future by looking through the dynamics of events of the past and the present. In doing so, he/she can take measures to increase the likelihood of desirable events while minimizing the undesirable events of the future. And, the people expect their leaders to be such.

However, the insight required to rule benevolently is not read from books nor is it handed down through generations, because a society represents an always evolving and complex system. This insight comes from a process of separating universal truths from all the plethora of problems and scenarios that float around us and extracting them to solve the problems at hand. But, it appears that Nepalese people have yet to see a visionary leader taking care of the business of their country.

Gyanendra proved himself a blind by not shedding the myth that he did not need to “earn” the rights to rule because his forefather had already “earned” an entitlement to rule over Nepal for him. Democratic leaders and lifelong public figures – including Prime Minisiter Girija – seem to fall in the same trap when it comes to linking their knowledge with the wisdom. Every time people give them some benefit of doubt and things start going normal, they quickly find some way to deliver one disappointment or another. Within a few months of being installed in power by a popular movement against monarchy, they stood to deny Nepalese people to decide whether they wanted a monarchy or republic through a referendum by repeatedly standing on the side of the monarchy. In doing so, they inferred that no other Nepalese mother is capable of giving birth to a good ruler except those in the palace.

Such a royal hangover and acceptance of inferiority of the non-royal mothers is an indication that the leaders are incapable of emanating love and compassion to unite their people and are unable to prove themselves as worthy rulers. Instead, when a leader believes or stands for superior or inferior wombs, they are in confrontation with those who believe that the wombs of all mothers are equal. This confrontation is inevitable for the history tells that no one knows which mother gives birth to a great leader. For example, great leaders like Krishna, Jesus, Genghis Khan, Gandhi and Mandela were born of ordinary mothers, and some were also considered to be of inferior clan or race.

Instead of dismantling all obstacles in raising great sons and daughters and letting them emerge out of centuries-old ill practices, our leaders are standing against the flow of time. They are imprisoned by their knowledge acquired from the past, and synthesized for the context of the past, and have not found a tinge of wisdom to stand fit for solving the problems of the present. By the time these leaders with questionable vision learn the knowledge relevant for the present, it is often too late. There are ample patterns to substantiate this assumption. They saw the flaws of the agreement of 1950 in the 1960s, those of 1990 constitution in 2005; they saw the significance of Maoist’s demands after full ten years and 13000 lives. But what they saw as important or unimportant in 2006 is proving to be wrong within a year in 2007; people demanded “democratic republic” but they understood that as “democratic kingdom”. So it makes one to question, “will they always remain bachelors of politics or someday turn into wise-men?” Maybe a donkey will never be a horse no matter how old it grows.

Even the shrewd manipulator of people and the greatest obstacle to democracy, the late king Mahendra, was able to at least appear to know the disparity of people when he wrote, “Saktina Dekhna Bhanchhin Santan Thari Thari Ka” (I can’t see the disparity among my children). But our leaders cannot even admit the appalling disparity among the children of Nepal even if that was largely the making of the past, which was not in their control. Instead they are carrying the guilt of injustice on behalf of the monarchy. For two-third of a year since April 2006, their primary obsession rested on how to save the monarchy at a time when the monarchy had proved itself irrelevant and obsolete. A whole lot other energy was and is being expended on finding reasons to not devolve the old state power, possibly because they only have confidence and experience to carry on the old corrupt state and people who are not empowered!

A democracy of our time does not accept classification of humans based on race, ethnicity, sex, and status. And, because we don’t accept unjust classifications based on status, inheritance of status is most unacceptable to a modern democracy. Only when we reject the inheritance of status, we will find how many great sons and daughters can be born of ordinary mothers of Nepal. Then we will be able to shelve the rule of fiefdom forever. We will be free and liberated, not separated!

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