--By Madan Lamsal
Nepal and Nepalis have been bagging “the best” titles, one after another, in recent times. Only a few months ago, Nepal’s name came under the global spotlight for writing “the world’s best constitution”. Then we heard that Nepal has fallen in the list of “the world’s best destinations”. Lately, our very own Dr Ram Sharan Mahat was declared “the world’s best finance minister” by The Banker magazine in London. Incredible! What fantastic news!
Indeed, Nepal’s economy has been greatly influenced by our Dr Sir post 1990. Perhaps, the Western country bestowed this title to him in appreciation of that. In these torrid times, this must have come as a matter of great pride for the Nepalis. Indeed, this will give great relief to the Nepalis, if not today then sometime in the future.
It could be a different thing altogether that Nepal, which the world knew in a good way before 1990, has become the 19th among the 23 poorest countries in the world that are prone to famine. What needs to be understood here is that Dr Mahat is the best as a finance minister and as a leader and a public figure, but not as a common citizen. It’s us, the common citizens, who haven’t been able to become the best. A leader like the Late Ganeshman Singh had said that the Nepali people are like sheep. The Nepali leaders have always been the best. Let there be no illusion here.
Another thing, it’s only Dr Mahat who is the best. That is, our economy couldn’t be the best despite having the world’s best finance minister because all our other ministers, prime ministers, secretaries etc are/were the worst.
Now again you will ask, how come Dr Mahat is the best?
See, The Banker says that Dr Mahat got the title of the world’s best finance minister because he was able to make the foreign countries commit assistance to Nepal after the 2015 earthquake. So, it seems whoever can beg the most can get such a title! Everyone knows how good Dr Mahat is at asking for things. Now you will ask, where is the money that was promised for the reconstruction?
But gosh! Mahat did his best; he begged with everyone. And everyone said they would give. Later, they didn’t. What can you do about that? Can you really blame him for it?
However, if the earthquake hadn’t come, then may be Dr Mahat would have been grouped among the worst. Therefore, Dr Mahat is also on the top of the list of those who benefitted from the earthquake. However, we must acknowledge Mahat as the best finance minister because of the earthquake. The current finance minister Bishnu Paudel wouldn’t have been able to gather promises of assistance from the donors since he cannot or refuses to speak English. Bharat Mohan or Barshaman would fare no better because the Western donors wouldn’t trust them for being communists.
Most of the assistance that has come in the name of earthquake victims and reconstruction was possible because thousands of Nepalis working abroad as well as foreigners donated individually when they saw the hardship of the Nepalis in online videos. The fact that the amount collected in this way is far more than that committed at the donors’ meet may not be known to The Banker, which is thousands of miles away. This title could have slipped from the hands of Nepal, had The Banker known about the pain and suffering of the Nepalis following the earthquake, and the massive irregularities in the relief distribution. Thank God, the Banker didn’t know about these things.
In any case, we should be proud that our very own Nepali leader has got the award. Don’t be surprised, if some foreign paper bestows the top prize to our PM Oli “for citing the world’s best proverbs and sayings”! Wait for it!!