Monday, January 03, 2011

Straight To The Heart

Stung by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal’s uncharacteristically blistering harangue on the telephone the other day, Unified Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal accused the CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress of plotting with ‘outside’ forces to subvert the peace process.
But Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N) chairman Kamal Thapa apparently was not impressed by the rationale for Dahal’s invective. The following day, he clubbed the Maoists with the other two big parties as part of a foreign-funded conspiracy against something even priceless, the nation.
Though Maila Baje was tempted to ruminate on the latest twirl in the love-hate relationship between Thapa and the Maoists, the somberness of the moment was too stark. India’s entrance into the United Nations Security Council with the advent of the new year has left Dahal with little else than moving our Supreme Court in a last-ditch bid to stop UNMIN’s withdrawal.
The Maoists’ hopes of regaining Indian patronage, on the other hand, have improved with Dr. Baburam Bhattarai’s very public defiance of Dahal. Yet Chinese benefaction could easily have been on Kamal Thapa’s mind. An increasing number of Nepalis who had welcomed Beijing’s post-April Uprising assertiveness today have grown wary of how that might ultimately imperil the nation. The regionalization of Nepal’s conflict-resolution initiatives may or may not prove to be a greater incentive. It would certainly limit our room for maneuver, so to speak.
The ‘constrictionists’ have benefited from the upsurge of the issue of Nepali money. The longer the organizers of the upcoming Bryan Adams concert take to figure out how many thousands they want to charge for each ticket, the more it is going to roil public opinion. As the son of a Canadian diplomat, Adams has an internationalist perspective rooted in childhood, something rare for rock stars. But it is hard to imagine that he somehow sees Nepal as revenue enhancer.
Given his involvement in Georgia, another country seeking to gain its footing against the shadow of a powerful and meddlesome neighbor, Adams’ eagerness to sing at Dasarath Stadium perhaps acquires additional significance. Conversely, with the departure of the United Nations mission having become such a pressing imperative for many, this new internationalist had to be properly discolored at the outset, irrespective of his motives.
The bright side here is the growing appreciation among Nepalis of the character and contours of foreign influence. Granted, there still are powerful voices within who want to portray concerns of international skullduggery as hubris, history and geography confirm that such apathy plays into the hands of the meddlers. No matter how distasteful Nepali politicos may sound in depicting the foreign hands that sway their rivals, collectively they go – apologies to Bryan Adams – straight to the heart.