Docs, heart is important, isn’t it?

Last week, a few hours before some doctors at the TU Teaching Hospital decided to close-down emergency service as a part of their protest, I was there for a not-so-emergency case that required an operation.

The consultant doctor who was seeing the patient for months was there ready to perform the operation. But the agitating doctors decided, after failed negotiation with the administration, that even emergency would be closed.

We were left stranded with a patient needing a surgery on the same day. Thankfully, I was among a few who had connections so that I could arrange, for the higher price and even higher psychological pressure, a private hospital’s operation theatre.

But majority of patients at TUTH could only wait – either the end of the protest or life!

* * *

At school, they taught me that heart is the most important organ of the body – the central. I didn’t go to medical schools, but I am sure the doctors know the fact more clearly than me.

The doctors of course know importance of physical heart that beats for blood?

But do they have the heart that beats for the feelings?

* * *

For last two weeks, the TUTH is closed due to strike. For those who can afford, closing down a government hospital probably means nothing than a topic of gossips.

But for those who are not rich – TUTH is lifeblood.

For me, watching people waiting for the hospital services to resume, in the premises of TUTH, during my four hours there a week ago, was almost unbearable. Probably I was dressed a little well, some of them looked at me as if I brought them a message of resumption of service.

The pain was on their face; the tears on their looks.

But do the doctors feel the pain? Do they see the tears?

* * *

What’s not there for doctors in Nepali society? It’s a most respected profession. Many believe doctors are gods. They earn good, at least in Kathmandu.

Health services are essential services. No matter what happens hospital should not be closed down.

I have heard, certificates and studying alone does not make a man wise. What could be a better example than the doctors who have decided to close down health services for merely protesting the ‘alleged rigging of examination’?

* * *

Doctors, if heart is the most important, why don’t you have one?

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Maoists, lead now

When Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda visited Girija Prasad Koirala at a hospital on March 17, Koirala told him to shoulder the big responsibility of the peace process.

Probably Koirala, who passed away three days later, foresaw his demise and wanted leaders to know the importance of peace process and the need for unity [his last audible words were, according to his daughter Sujata Koirala, ‘national consensus.’]

The grandfather of Nepali politics is no more. The peace-broker is gone.

And, now, it’s time for the Maoists to fill in the role he was playing.

Why Maoists (or why not any other party or leader)? There are a few reasons.

Koirala did not tell any other leader to shoulder the responsibility of the peace process. Why? Because he knew nobody is capable. His own Nepali Congress is left with managers or leaders [but no statesman]. CPN-UML is seriously lacking the good leader. And, the two parties are more likely to be involved in internal scuffle rather than working united for the nation.

Even Maoists are not the best right now; but then there are leaders who could become the statesmen, and they lead the largest party which also happens to be a major player of the peace process.

Dr. Baburam Bhattarai said it was mistake in their part for not electing him the first President of Nepal. It would of course had been a fitting responsibility for Koirala, but Maoists played childish failing to understand that the politics is the game of balance rather than domination.

It looks like now they have understood it [unless they translate Koirala’s shouldering responsibility statement into leading the government meaning]. It’s up to Maoists now to try for national consensus and the successful conclusion of the peace process.

If Bhattarai can write that ‘we bowed our heads in reverence to GPK’ for his statement before the CA Elections [“I know my party is going to lose the elections and you people will win. But I will be happy if the elections are held in a peaceful and democratic manner.”]; he and his party should also think that ‘they should be happy if the peace process comes to a successful conclusion’.

For Maoists, it’s an opportunity to lead the nation. For Maoists leaders, it’s an opportunity to transfer themselves into the statesmen.

Maoists, lead now.

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RIP, Axis of Nepali Politics

Nepal has lost its most criticized and most praised political personality.

Girija Prasad Koirala (1925-2010) passed away on Saturday afternoon, at 12:10 p.m. on March 20, after being the axis of Nepali politics for at least last two-decades.

He led four of 18 governments since the establishment of democracy in 1990 through a popular movement. He was one of the leading forces then but soon after emerged as the most powerful single political personality.

He was stubborn to his beliefs and thoughts, yet the power to persuade, or to enforce, them.  That one quality, along with his long contribution and commitment to democracy, put him to a height that rarely any personality could achieve.

Early in his life, he fought for the cause of laborers and began his political career which was eminent given that his father was on exile for raising voices against autocratic Rana regime and his both bothers being into politics.

He was also involved in looting the jewelry and gold from bank to fund the armed movement against Panchayat System and led the hijacking of an airplane in domestic flight in 1973.

When he became the prime minister for the first time in 1991, he continued a family legacy which saw two of his brothers led the nation. The first taint on his career emerged when he dissolved the parliament after three years. The general election that followed failed to give any party the majority.

He led the minority government in 1998 and again Nepali Congress government in 2000 forcing party’s own PM Krishna Prasad Bhattarai to resign. During his third tenure, the Royal Massacre happened.

Following the April Uprising in 2006, he sworn in for the fourth term which saw him sign one of the most important documents in Nepal’s political history – the peace accord with the Maoists. After abolishment of monarchy, he became the acting head of the state until the election of the first president.

Until the every eve of his life, Koirala was a very vocal ‘anti-communist’. But towards the end of his life, he was soft as he agreed to sign a 12-point agreement with Maoists and worked together with communist forces for the cause of democracy.

At the time of his demise, he was leading the political activities as the co-ordinator of the High Level Political Mechanism.

* * *

Though he always kept his private life confined within the boundary of his family members, he seemed to be an emotional family man.

His conjugal life, with a widow whom he married, lasted only 16 years, from 1952 to 1978.

And, he was also involved in a corruption scandal – that involved benefits for his daughter Sujata Koirala whom, after she returned and took a political career, he continued promoting in party ranks and government despite wide-spread criticism. It was for more love for the daughter than anything else.

* * *

I was not a particular fan of Girija Prasad Koirala despite being an admirer of his brother B P Koirala, both for his literature and political thoughts. In fact, many put me as the GPK-critic for I always thought him of being a crooked politician.

I represent a family that was led by a person who stood, and failed, against Koirala after the establishment of democracy. My distant uncle, Jaganath Acharya, resigned from his cabinet following a dispute with Koirala, who seemed to be against the much needed land reforms. Acharya led the force of 36 MPs against Koirala which forced him to dissolve the parliament.

Apart from that for me he was too stubborn to be a political leader (though I admit that this characteristic proved beneficial for the country later on) and was too focused on his personal cause than that of nation and party.

But 2006 changed my views on him. I wasn’t a big fan but an admirer; I disliked a few of things he did afterwards but never went vocal, even at teashop gossips, against him for I saw him the only person capable of keeping the democratic political forces tied for the nation.

As he used to say that ‘the peace process the last struggle of his life’ and jokingly that he would haunt if it’s not completed before his death, I believe he passed away a little early.

Without the axis, the political forces are in a danger of being divided and weak; and that in lack of the father-like figures, the political leaders are more likely to fight for wrong causes.

Let’s hope his last wishes of concluding peace process will be completed in time and that the political forces will join hands for the good cause for which he left responsibility to them.

With his demise, Koirala is no longer a Nepali Congress leader; he is no matter which political belief we follow, is the national hero!

May his soul rest in peace!

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The news was: Nepal Police raided at a Bunkers’ Party at the Babylon Disco in Kathmandu and arrested and detained for a day 356 college students.

The background was: Police tipped off all the media about the raid.

The result was: A television station which happened to be a walking distance of the disco live covered the raid. The news made front pages of every newspaper and prime news of televisions (as if this is of national importance).

The truth is: It was immoral, something that is not socially accepted, in part of the children to bunk classes and attend a disco.

Yet another truth is: It was immoral for police for create such a fuss of the event.

The unanswered question is: Who the hell is Nepal Police to arrest youngsters who are not involved in any illegal activities? What on the earth prompted them to tip-off media for the live coverage? Are they trying to copy, at least in part, the Moral Police that once dreaded the streets of Afghanistan?

We all believe what the students did was wrong – morally wrong not legally wrong (because this is the country where there is no legal restrictions of smoking and drinking or even bunking classes).

I believe that what Nepal Police did was morally as well as legally wrong. I am not saying they do not have the authority to raid or arrest people; but if they arrest 356 people and release every one of them without any indictment, then this only means a drama for nothing!

The senior police officials probably enjoyed the evening with a peg or two of whisky for staging such a big drama. Well done! But what about the youngsters? Most of them were crying and some of them were forced to show their faces to the television cameras (and did not the police use offensive language with them)?

I am sure throughout their lives they will never utter police without using an abusive word prefixed.

Our police should understand that morality and legality are different. People could do something which is morally wrong, but the police is legally bound, they are not the Talibans.

For the Nepal Police and for the television broadcasting it live, it’s a shame!

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Disconnected thoughts reflecting cricket and events surrounding the game

Cricket has long been a sport with potential but with defeats in key matches earned Nepal a nickname of chokers. The dream of playing World Cup almost forgotten, Nepal hosted World Cricket League Division 5 – a step of the World Cup qualification and won it.

Nepal almost choked again after four comprehensive wins. It did lost to USA in the last league match and hadn’t there was crowd trouble, Nepal was more likely to be out of final.

* * *

Unruly crowd behavior! Well, many called it Kathmandu Riot. We were on the receiving side and members of the country which looked like benefitting from the situation. Whatever I told others – those not present in TU Ground – about the event, accurately, believed that I was trying to cut down badness of the events.

An American journalist who was live covering the game wrote – he felt there was police firing teargas – and everyone believed it [despite the journalist himself writing, later, that it was not true]. And, people seemed to believe 12,000 spectators invaded the ground while nobody entered the ground.

There were many who wrote as if the situation was fully intentional and calculated by spectators [the truth is even ICC was not clear on who reached the final more than half-an-hour after the completion of the match].

* * *

I am not defending what happened at TU.

I felt sorry for Singapore too who looked like suffered most from it.

But I do not agree that Nepal’s cricket should be punished. The situation was under control within 15 minutes, not even a single person was injured, even minor. If there are thousands of people at the ground, there can be minor scuffles – always.

And, ICC is reportedly in a quandary:

As for the ICC, it is in a difficult position. If it fails to act then there is a danger it sets a precedent for crowds to disrupt matches if doing so will benefit their side. Against that, it will not want to stamp down to heavily on a country where cricket has really taken hold.

* * *

And, ICC – the organizer of the event – became irrational a couple of time. First, they wanted media to sign a media accreditation contract that was suited when the event was sold to TV, radio and internet for live coverage. After informal/indirect request yielded nothing, we have to go formally via Nepal Sports Journalists Forum and threaten to boycott their press conference. Then they were ok and look, what coverage the event got, without anyone complaining.

The cricket rule-book say local conditions may apply; and looked like ICC had not understood the application outside the boundary.

Another time: ICC media manager disrupted an interview with Nepal’s coach Roy Dias more than half-an-hour after the conclusion of final and end of prize distribution ceremony telling us that we could only talk to him when they say ‘ok, here you go.’

Totally illogical!

* * *

So far, Nepal had only failed to win two of the tournaments that it has hosted – the 1998 ACC Trophy and 2007 ACC U-15 Trophy when all teams – except two – were disqualified for fielding overage players.

Is there a translation for Ghar ko bagh…?

Right now, the ACC U-16 Elite Cup is going on and hopefully Nepal continue to be tiger at home.

And, hopefully, one day, Nepal will be playing in the World Cup!

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