Those were the days, when people used to dream that they would at least once in lifetime tread over the pious valley called “Nepal”. They knew there are the temples of Lord Pashupatinath, Guheshwari, Dakshinkali and Budhanilkantha. The gigantic stupas of Swayambhunath and Boudhanath are also there. And, how can one visit and do not take a holy dip in the sacred river of Bagmati?
A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then. Along the changing time, the purpose of visiting Kathmandu has also changed. Now, the educated, intelligent and up-to-date people of Nepal do not have time to think about those outmoded constructions that can give you no jagir, no promotion. Then? Is it that the importance of Kathmandu is withering out? Absolutely not. There are many more reasons for visiting Kathmandu than thronging around the temple of Pashupatinath for a pint of chandan.
Last week, CPN-UML organized an unprecedented programme – ‘Let’s go to Kathmandu”. First, I was shocked why the always-on-fire party is promoting domestic tourism. After a single call from their revered leaders, tens of thousands of people came here. It was just like an avalanche, an ocean or Siberian grassland. I was happy that this old city still retained the charm of Manisha Koirala, which could attract that bold extravaganza at a wink.
All of a sudden, I saw uncountable mass of political activities moving to and fro, countless buses being parked around Ring Road and the streets were more reddish (with sittings of paan) than usual. The population of the capital is ever soaring but it had not tickled my eyes as it did on that day. Actually my eyes were here with a great mission.
They stated there for a couple of days – doing nothing. I thought didn’t they have anything to do – for example, agriculture, factory, business, government services, etc – in their hometowns? Anyway, mouth-watering dishes were waiting for them without having to toil their fingers like in the village. Bottles of imported whiskey and local specialities like buff momo (a rare thing for their villages) had added to the charm. Where else could they enjoy Kantipur FM and shake their hips? Enjoy yourself as much as you can for time and tide waits for nobody.
I thought that this event would certainly boost tourism industry of Kathmandu. They would stay in five-star hotels, eat in executive restaurants and buy some souvenirs from this city of artists. But you see, they had neither money, neither time, nor interest to do anything more than they were supposed to perform. Still, I heard that some tried to meet the lawmakers of their constituency and told hal-khabar of their villages.
On the Judgement Day, all the people were taken to Khulla Manch – the ground that welcomes all, regardless of their parties, qualifications and intentions. The flocks were happy because they saw their sansad leaders for the first time after the election campaign, almost a year ago.
And when the leader saw that the ground was fully occupied, he raised his hand. I was curious what would be his next step. Oh! He then declared that all the leaders, except those belonging to his party, were corrupt.
It was a good idea. Collect some thousands of pseudo-supporters on hire and declare what is the most uncommon. Here goes a Hindi saying – jiski lathi uski bhains (the buffalo belongs to him who possesses a baton).
[2000-04-21, Post Platform]