How do we know if you don’t tell?

Communication gap. If there is anything we are suffering in Nepal right now, it’s the lack of communication. Each and every problem, whether it be the issues related to the constitution or matters of ongoing strike in the Terai. Whether it be the economic blockade imposed by the neighbour in the south or the process of making lives easier, there is no communication between the leaders and the common people. There is no enough negotiation between the leaders themselves and whatever they discuss never reaches us. Who knows what they talk in the closed rooms under the dinner lights?

The constitution was promulgated after a so called ‘collection of suggestions.’ A lot of people participated, including me. There was a wave of excitement. Suggestions from people were taken on the audio, visual and written forms. The leaders promised to include the majority of the suggestions in the constitution. Did they do so? No, not all. I doubt if they even listened to or read the suggestions. If they had done so, there would definitely have been no problems.

We wanted to know what was being written in each article of the new constitution. Nothing of that sort happened. They were passed at the rapidity of a Himalayan river flow. We expected the President to read out the contents as he issued the new law book. He didn’t. We thought the Speaker of the CA might. He didn’t either. We now have a constitution for “ourselves”, the content of which we clearly do not know. Some of us might opt to read the document, but not all people in Nepal can read or write. Also, the jargon related to law cannot be understood by all. What we wanted was the radios, TVs and newspapers bringing up the matters of the constitution to be understood by all. Even that did not happen.

Result. A long strike in the Terai that has affected the lives of people all over the country. Neither ex-PM Sushil Koirala nor the current PM K.P. Oli seem to understand that we have been deprived of the accurate information on the constitution. The leaders of Terai have conveyed a message there that the people have been deprived of their rights. We hear occasionally that it is not the case, but there is no formal declaration from the government on the topic. Who knows what’s been written in the Prime Law if they (leaders) don’t clearly tell what the people have got and what they haven’t?

The same is the problem with the leaders from Terai. They say they have certain demands that must be fulfilled. I am sure most of the common people in the Terai do not even realise what they are asking. Those “leaders” who are concentrating on a regional politics must understand that it will not succeed if majority of the people from the country do not want all their demands to be met. If the leaders from Terai want the people of “Pahad” and “Himal” to support them, they should become a national leader and make people understand what they are actually asking for. Who will go asking what they want if they don’t tell?

I have seen comment-wars between “Pahades” and “Madhesis”on Facebook. They don’t convey a positive message. It’s also an example of prevalent racism. However, there is almost no logical discussion. If someone tries to talk logically, one of the other groups gets enraged at them. If a Madhesi talks about welfare of a Pahade, he becomes an outcast. Similar is the situation on the other side. How can you understand one’s problem if you close your ears? How can you expect the other to listen if you express yourself rudely?

Communication is all we need at the moment. In absence of a good talk, there will always be confusions and misunderstandings. We do not want something that happened in this story I read many years ago.

Once, a boy went to his sister-in-law, who had been living with her parents for some months. His brother had quarreled with her and she did not want to go. The boy’s brother was tormented by what he had done to his wife. The boy had come to take her back home. He was treated well by her sister-in-law and her parents. When they asked about his brother, he remembered what grief he was in. His expression showed sadness. They asked again if his brother was alright. He could not say a word about his brother. Tears rolled down his cheeks. His sister-in-law and her parents thought that the boy’s brother had died. She went hurriedly in despair to her home to see her husband alive. The problem was solved, but not without troubles. The boy was condemned for the confusion he had created.

Such is the result of communication gap. That’s why I have been saying to speak up. How do we know what’s in your heart if you don’t tell?

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