Fool the Foolish

BY TARA ADHIKARI

Think of the devil and the devil appears. This has now become truer than ever, especially for the villagers of a remote village who are greatly in need of someone to uplift our living standard. It is a rule of our village to choose just one person from amongst all for the leadership (though most of them are capable for that position). We can choose a new one since we ousted the traditional head of our village a few years ago. Till now, dozens of our chosen heads have got several chances to devote themselves to our betterment, but none was able to work and win our hearts.

All proved to be best for themselves, not for us. So, after a few years, we kept the post vacant. But the result was even worse. Since there is no one to hold that responsibility, the village lost its originality, and anarchism prevailed. Peace vanished, violence deepened. Many of us were threatened, maimed and killed.

Time changed and a very important man, who spent the last decade somewhere we don’t know, arrived promising all stars for us. He claimed himself a true lover of his birthplace and begged the villagers to provide him with that position, assuring that he would act as a public servant. The villagers believed him.

His promises spread like wild fire. He was declared the most qualified person around. As the announcement of his appointment was about to be made, a young man appeared holding a knife. He warned us not to take a quick decision and accused the man of being a criminal, who had killed some of our villagers.

In comparison to the new man, he proved himself far better to assume the leadership (though once he had it but had been ousted after being accused of committing crimes). He further gave clarification that he was devoted to the well being of the people (the proof of his social work is yet to be produced).

At that point, they both readied themselves for a duel. A few of us, bewildered, watched the scene, and the remaining were divided into two groups on the basis of their loyalty. They tried to hit each other and their fights didn’t end.

Next day, at the same place, everyone gathered to witness a different situation. The two opponents came face-to-face. There was no use of harsh and obscene language, instead they were all smiles and both of them were waving us promising the best for us.

They greeted each other and introduced themselves (though they were well-known to each other). Such a fabulous scene perplexed the spectators. Most of them started thinking that the situation had become better; only a few of them found it worst and some became suspicious. They suspected that the duel the day before was phoney, which was staged to fool the villagers.

The villagers had no choice, neither our choice would have been preferred. We were just worried about our future unable to decide whom to choose (though the right to make decision had been already seized from our hands). We knew, the two would share the power and make us tenser, as they would use our limited resources.

As days passed, the meeting place remained occupied; the talks went on. Many alternatives were considered, but no solid decision was made. The villagers got tensed and fed up. Now, we have no idea of what would happen? But we are sure that we were being made strangers in our own place and no one of the two would be really thinking about us.

But we have not given up our hope yet. And we will never, as long as we live. The hope of being rescued from the dark pitch and being placed with brightness is still alive in one corner of our heart.

Published in The Kathmandu Post on 10 May, 2003

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