What exactly distinguishes a normal ‘person’ from a ‘very important person’? Is it the money, power or self-proclamation of standing out as a very important person? Are we all very important or such a title is reserved for a few political personalities and bureaucrats? In our context the latter is mostly true. If you are not involved in politics then you are just a person who is meant to serve the country selflessly without asking questions. Only then can you truly call yourself a proud Nepali.
For quite some time now “equality” has been a major agenda of most of the political parties in the country. They do not, however, seem to practice what they preach. How can treating few a people as VIPs and the rest of us as general people be called “equality” in any way? Yes, equality is essential. But the kind of equality that the parties are preaching for needs to be defined—perhaps their equality means the equality in the eyes of the law. But law in our country is just a tool easily manipulated by those in power. There have been instances of political figures openly challenging the court, law and the police—and these are the ones revered as VIPs.
It has not been long since 16 mountaineering support staff and guides lost their lives in the Everest avalanche. The government announced a relief of USD 400 to the families of the deceased. A mere sum of USD 400 is promised at the demise of the Sherpas while on the other hand if a VIP sneezes he is rushed in an air ambulance to the most facilitated hospitals of Nepal and abroad, the expenses for which is borne by the government through taxpayers’ money. In this context, I would like to cite government’s decision to pay all the expenses for Mr. KP Sharma Oli. He was airlifted to Delhi then to Bangkok for treatment. He is just one of the many VIPs we have to endure and take care. Like Mr. Oli former minister Govinda Raj Joshi and Siddha Raj Ojha were also provided with NRs 5 lakhs each and the expenses of the air ambulance service was also paid for. Do you see any equality in these two cases? Those Sherpas who risk their lives and promote tourism were provided with mere USD in compensation for the lives they lost while the VIPs were given tremendous amounts of money for treatment.
How is life of a Sherpa any less important than that of Mr. Oli or those former ministers? These VIPs are already provided with a handsome salary and a lot of other benefits. Why can’t these VIPs, like any other Nepali citizen who falls ill, treat themselves without any government assistance? If these VIPs cannot afford the treatment how can a normal citizen afford it?
While 25 percent of the people live under the poverty line and most Nepalese have a very low level of income it makes it impossible for them to get any health care. The awful memories of hundreds dying of diarrhea in the Jajarkot district cannot be just done away with. You might also have seen a number of newspapers reporting people asking for help in order to raise enough money to transplant kidneys or live a few more years post cancer diagnosis. Why does the government ignore these helpless poor people when it is readily available to help these VIPs?
No country or government is going to stand if there is no population to fund and support it. If the general people are always treated as sheep they will retaliate and when they do systems are bound change. If people can vote and bring these people to the top and make them VIPs, they can as well bring them down. “सबै नेतालाई चेतना भया”