--BY MADAN LAMSAL
Nepal has changed unbelievably. Those who would think a thousand times before passing even the most casual remark against the courts in the past are openly pointing fingers at the Chief Justice today. For this, we must be thankful to all those judges who have made or are making Nepalis courageous to this extent. Having said that, we must also acknowledge the fact that some great Nepali politicians, some nouveau rich folk whose rags to riches story still remains in the dark, and some real estate sharks have made crucial contributions to making the courts post-modern.
This change in the Nepali judiciary has been possible not just through the efforts of the courts and the judges alone. The changes taking place in other spheres of Nepali society, too, have had their effects on the courts. And why wouldn't the change come? The world's most expensive cars run on Nepali roads. From government officials to businessmen or even ordinary folk, the children of hundreds of thousands of Nepalis are able to study in the US, Australia and the UK where they pay their fees in dollars and pounds. Those who are unable to do this somehow find their way into some other country, legally or illegally. The situation is such that the number of Nepalis living abroad has already crossed the 5.5 million mark. All of them are sending money to Nepal, making rich the poor politicians who claim to be fighting for the poor.
Every year, thousands of government employees have been able to go abroad to receive training by spending billions of rupees. If they didn't go for such trainings, how would they be able to do their jobs at their offices? How would today's prosperity come to the country? And how would the Nepalis earn their present status in today's world?
The price of land has shot up so much in Nepal that today Nepalis who own just one kattha of land can live without working for the rest of their lives if they manage to sell it. There are hundreds of thousands of Nepalis who are driving cars and motorcycles today from selling land. Today, cakes on birthdays and drinking imported whiskey, wine and champagne worth Rs 10 billion a year has become a part of Nepali culture. Similarly, Nepalis import meat, spices, fruits and perfumes worth billions of rupees a year. Today there are scores of Nepalis who can easily afford to go abroad for treatment, to Thailand, Europe and the Americas for vacation. Likewise, there are thousands of Nepalis who go to Macau, the Maldives or Hong Kong to gamble. No need to mention the many Nepalis who furtively gamble in the casinos built here for tourists. In short, going abroad is just one wish away for thousands of Nepalis.
From high-end mobile phones to carpets, tiles and diamonds to expensive jewellery, there are various items brought from abroad that soothe the souls of thousands of Nepali housewives. Informal statistics show that Nepalis bring 100 kg of gold alone every day. Today, many Nepalis go abroad not only to travel but also for trade and business. It’s become so common that there are some lucky Nepalis who have brought huge chunks of dollars to Nepal without an apparent trade or business abroad! Nepalis with a dollar account are in the thousands today. As there are many Nepalis who have fixed deposits not only in domestic but also foreign banks, many banks are thriving in the country.
Though institutions like ADB, the World Bank etc say Nepal is poor, foreigners are taking billions of rupees from Nepal to their home countries by running industries and businesses here. The Supreme Court recently allowing a foreign firm to formally repatriate billions of rupees which was earlier stuck in Nepal in one go is a fresh example of this. Who has kept a record of the huge amount of money that leaves the country annually through informal channels?
Yes, Nepal has changed. Now, it's up to you if you want to change with the changing times or face the fate of the dinosaurs!