--BY MADAN LAMSAL
We have been driving the world’s most expensive and luxurious cars.
Everybody says that Nepal is a poor country and Nepalis are poor people. Social scientists and development experts cite various data and statistics to prove that. The stories of Nepalis’ poverty are everywhere- from the reports of various UN agencies, World Bank, Asian Development Bank to other similar organisations, reminding us every year that Nepal is poor and Nepalis are poor.
But I beg to differ. Here is why.
There is no water supply to our homes and 'toles'. But so what? Who says the Nepalis do not have access to safe drinking water- everyone at our homes and offices is buying water bottles and jars and quenching their thirst. So aren’t we doing well buying this purified water and making the life of the Nepal Water Supply Corporation easier!
So what if we haven’t been able to produce electricity from our rivers? We have bought solar panels, batteries and diesel and petrol generators from the so-called rich countries and electrified our homes. Moreover, we have been importing more and more electricity from neighbouring India every year. We have been using state-of-the-art induction stoves, televisions, fridges, radios and computers latest version mobile phones.
So what if our roads are narrow, full of potholes and prone to traffic jams? We have been driving the world’s most expensive and luxurious cars. So what if our chowks, courtyards, cities, bazaars etc are dusty, dirty, muddy and stink? The fragrance of the world’s most expensive scents and deodorants wafts from our bodies.
So what if our fellow Nepali brothers and sisters are poor, sad, underprivileged and victims of floods, landslides and earthquakes and are starving and inflicted with various diseases? We have been spending quite a lot buying medicine to reduce obesity and joining yoga, gym and fitness clubs to improve our health.
So what if our farms and gardens, even the fertile ones, are barren? We have been buying various kinds of food grains, vitamins, fish, meat, fruits, liquor etc from around the globe and consuming them. Can that be called a small feat? How many of the agricultural countries in the world can afford to waste money like this!
So what if all our youths are leaving for countries like Malaysia, Korea and the Gulf for employment? So what if our senior citizens are left high and dry? Many old age homes are being built across the country. The wheel of our economy has been moving forward, thanks to the remittance inflows. Those who remain in the country have been using expensive mobiles, motorcycles, watches, TVs, and buying houses and land, thanks to those who have left the country!
Our daughters and sisters might have been forced to work as sex slaves in foreign countries. That is sad. However, the bright side is that our daughters have become the country’s President, Speaker, Chief Justice and justices. Our mothers give still births because of not getting medicines on time. That is sad too. But there are countless lucky Nepalis who can afford to go abroad for the treatment of pimples and gastritis, or to get a facelift!
So what if the workers and farmers sleep hungry and are unable to clothe themselves properly? The current Nepali champions of communism who claim to have been fighting for the cause of the working class and farmers have become President, Vice-president, Prime Minister, Ministers, Speaker and leader of the Opposition and some of them have even become billionaires. True leaders lead in everything- even in making money! So, let’s stop labelling Nepal and Nepalis as backwards and poor. Rather, shouldn’t we start calling ourselves rich, or even super rich?