Road Ahead

January 7, 2010

As the poet T.S. Eliot famously wrote, ” For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice”…. Let us all hope and pray the New Year voice that the Nepalese will listen to is going to be of contemplative tranquillity, peace and inclusive development. Let these voices provide a sanctuary of the spirit where every Nepali can find strength to face anew the conflicts and the confrontations that are part of our human predicament. For me democracy in Nepal is like a flower, beautiful to behold, but at the same time fragile and in need of protection.

Today Nepal stands at a defining moment in its history. the road to formulate our new and inclusive constitution (through the constituent assembly) is long and bumpy. we are confused, disillusioned. Our visions of new and inclusive Nepal present a complex scenario of tensions between constraints and liberty, bondage and freedom, and the imperatives of a modern nation and the aspirations of a free citizenry. The new constitution will be a document and a vision that holds the promise of equality, justice, and opportunity. This new political culture is a sure harbinger of a new era of the country. But this new culture has to be nurtured. New norms and values have to be articulated and adopted.

Someone said “When we dream alone, it is only a dream, but when we dream together, it is the beginning of a new reality.” Let us all dream together to start a beginning of a new reality – a reality based on trust, freedom, equality, pluralism and prosperity.

Just to remind us, let us go back to the midnight of August 14-15, 1947, when a new nation – India – was born. Mahatma Gandhi saw the tragic partition of India upon independence as a betrayal. Despite the flames of communal hatred and rioting that lit the midnight sky as the new country was born; there was reason for pride, and hope. India ’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, put in words that still stir the soul ( Shashi Tharoor , India – From Midnight to the Millennium, 2000, pg.15,):

“Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.”

For a New and Inclusive Nepal, let us all make this solemn pledge – a pledge to have peace, security, freedom and prosperity. A complete vision of the whole can perhaps be achieved by a renewed and inclusive Nepal – one that places people at the center so that people can become the active builders and shapers of a New and Inclusive Nepal.

Thank You!
Pramod Shrestha
1 Jan. 2010

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