Back in the old days, I used to play with fireflies or lightning bugs in my neighborhood. Fireflies would show up from nowhere in Spring. After sometime, they would just disappear without letting us know where they had gone. I loved to play with them. As the sun went down and houses in the neighborhood would light up, kids would come out of their houses and play hide-and-seek and all kinds of oldies kiddies’ games. Those fireflies would come, especially in the dark areas of allies and lit up their lights. That scintillating lights just fascinated kids and drew them closer to them.
I loved those flashing taillights on my shirt. With so much delight, I used to keep them without any hesitation by smacking them with my palm and smashing them only to get those lights and fix them on my shirt. Then, I would look like a dandyish child with a grin and bright face combined with green taillights of fireflies. Does that sound weird?
You might be thinking what the heck am I talking about??! Well, the only reason for this short discourse here is because I am going to talk about fireflies again. I just simply like their lights. The sheer glittering lights of those fireflies still mesmerize me. But my primary talk is about the present day situation of Nepal.
The other day, I just happened to browse Facebook, and my eyes caught the status of one of our relatives in her profile page. She was venting her ire on the ongoing and unending load-shedding or blackouts in Nepal. Ironically, Nepal is the second richest country for potential hydro-power in the world. And we are squandering the potentiality of hydro-power in the midst of political instability and turmoil. People are deprived of one of their basic needs – electricity – and forced to live without light for twelve hours a day. A year and half ago, we went to Nepal to see family during Christmas break. There was no electricity for more than twelve hours a day. I felt as if I were alienated from the rest of the world. There was no internet, no television, and no radio. Whatever operates through electricity became mere toys or showpieces. What a painful moment, especially when you have a newly born baby who has enjoyed the developments of a rich country!
Economical institutions are losing their ground in the free market, as there is no effective productivity. Educational institutions are also facing the same fate. This truth is not unknown to our political leaders that sinking economy will also take down the nation along with it. And we have seen the glimpse of that inevitable and unwelcomed situation recently.
Thousands of Nepalese students are leaving the country to go abroad every year and only a handful people have returned back to the country with a strong determination to use their skills for their country’s advancement. Billions of dollar as well as capable workforces are exiting from the country to foreign world. On the other hand, the free market is shrinking due to counterproductive elements: political instability, load-shedding, racketing of kidnapping, extortion, and insecurity of assets as well as lives. Recently, the Secretary of Home Ministry made public that more than 105 fringe and big armed groups are actively involving in criminal activities and terrorizing civil society in the eastern part of Nepal. The exponential growth rate of unemployment is one of the major reasons behind these criminal activities.
Instead of looking for stead and long-term resolution of these problems, political parties do not seem to be working for public interests. They are engaging to topple the government one after another. This ongoing business, since democracy was reinstated in Nepal after People’s Movement in 1990, should be put to end. Ministers in the cabinet are telling people to have patience for, at least, 5 years in order to enjoy 24/7 electricity. You gotta be kidding!
Dear political leaders, why don’t just tell the people that you have no ability to make that happen even in the next 10 years? Then well-said slogan “Hariyo ban, Nepal ko dhan” which literally means, “Green forest is Nepal’s property” is only confined to old text books. We have already deforested many hills. At the same time, coniferous forests are also being disafforested by fire every year. So, the chance of collecting pitch-glued twigs (they burn very good and can be used as torch) from there is also slim. Even though Nepalese want to use kerosene lamp and go back to stone-age, there is no way to get them either. Price of Kerosene, diesel, and petrol have been hiking beyond a normal citizen’s access to get them. In lieu, you gotta import more wasted or garbage plastic bags from southern neighbors and the West, so that Nepalese can, at least, burn those plastic all through load-shedding time. Additionally, people can get them for free. You have put us into the habit of begging!
|Photo source: http://firefly.org|
There is another resolution to this problem. Encourage farmers and each individual to farm firefly just as once silkworm farming prospered in some villages in the past. People will farm millions of billions, if possible, trillions of fireflies. When they fly in a group, there will be some green bright flashing light. We will be set free from paying huge amount bill on electricity. There will be no more hassle in changing light bulbs. As you enjoy electricity in your homes or in the ministry quarters, a normal citizen of the country will also get some flickering light from those lightning bugs. There will be no more load-shedding in the country.
Government should not allow Nepalese students to return from abroad to this country. They are also like fireflies or lightening bugs. When they come in with degrees in certain discipline, they surely will come with some lights – valuable ideas, knowledge, skill, and productive scheme that are different than the one political leader have known and parroted to their cadres, comrades, and supporters. Indeed, these “well-educated and professional jerks” in the west will channelize their experience and knowledge in this country which they had learned abroad. Surely, it will have and already has positive impact in socio-economic and educational arena. You have already seen what Mahabir Pun did single-handedly in the far-remote villages in the Himalayas. If a flick can show the glimpse of the world, how much more people will get to explore the world if there is electricity for 24/7!!! Therefore, there should not be any other Mahabir Pun, or any other A, B, C fireflies who can dream in the daylight and actualize them for real change in Nepal.
You have only a choice to cry out loud, accusing them of importing western culture in the country. It is a fact that western culture has some negative impact in our society and that has changed, to some extent, our family values too. But this half truth is what you keep reiterating so that you can deviate the attention of civil society from present crises. These “well-educated professional jerks” who made Nepal their destiny and chose to labor here as their laboratory have strong determination and motivation. They have clear vision, so do they have sense of urgency, accountability, and responsibility toward motherland.
What if someone put his/her efforts to bring light back in, if not in every house, but most houses in the country? By no means should they be encouraged to do that; otherwise people will have privilege to get connected to the global network over again. They will be aware of their freedom of choice and rights. For this very reason, dear respected leaders should put as many hurdles as possible to thwart their plans. This is how our patriotic leaders can succeed in nipping these fireflies’ hope off and diminish enthusiasm before their dreams take a solid shape.
You do not have more options other than keeping this country in darkness. You enjoy electricity you can get 24/7. You can keep the citizens from receiving the knowledge of outside world once you paralyze the cutting-edge technology of private sectors. They will lose their grip in the competitive free market because of electricity shortage. Then, dear leaders will not be barred in the marketplaces, and you can blanket your intellectual nudity, I doubt if you have that thing called ‘intelligence’ or shame. Your lie will be sold well in your mouthpiece daily papers. It will be a great privilege for us to hear your prideful voice that is promising to civic society of common good, social security, health, education, and so on, and your assurance that is full of lie to your supporters in the televisions you own while we have few hours electricity.
And you know, how propaganda works. You have benefited from it, more or less. As long as impunity, terror, and crimes are nurtured and protected in the party offices, our dear leaders can rule this nation without any fear. You are always superior to law, rules, and regulation. You have superseded the constitution. As someone has put it this say, “Education is the light of eyes.” If it is the case, simply poke into the eyes that wish to see light by increasing load-shedding hours, and rip the wings off these poor four-limb fireflies who have dream to see light in the country. Thus, dear leaders can push Nepal back into dark-age and rule forever in this majestic poor of the poorest Himalayan nation until Mt. Everest bows down shyly before the world.