Most opinion columns that you read, I am sure, are about politics. The way we Nepalis have been politicized makes me always wonder and gets me befuddled. It’s not just op-ed writers. As a society, we are always hooked to politics and our politicians have not disappointed us in their capacity to deliver one height of brinkmanship after another.
As a writer, I can say that it’s easy to churn out under a thousand words about political events, and get done with your task for the week. It’s easy to make people relate, it’s also easy to get quotes because almost everyone is an expert on politics. But that's probably not the only reason why we are hooked to politics.
For some time now, I have been wondering about all the issues other than politics that could have been given space in newspapers or social media discussions. But we have this tendency to consider 'other' issues mundane, routine and small. As a result, the lead articles in papers are without fail about ideology or about the turn of events in the political sphere.
But in real life, we are struggling with so many day-to-day issues that need to be discussed, brainstormed upon, brought to the notice of the authorities or policymakers or simply documented as a testament of the time we are living in. We have come a long way, living through many transitions as a society. And we are trying to survive by quickly adapting to the insurmountable shifts.
As millennials, we are always caught between the urge to go abroad and settle in a developed country or to toil here knowing that it’s a running chaos. That dilemma of the privileged is not discussed enough. We live in a hypocritical society where those staying back pretend to be staying back because of their hardcore 'patriotism' until one day, all of a sudden, it gets traded for the comfort of a better life. But the hypocrisy is so deep that we don't discuss these dilemmas openly and we have a new generation whose only aim in life seems to be to settle abroad too.
A friend of mine, a professor in a Nepali university, writes regularly on student-teacher relationships on her social media posts. She observes that it sometimes seems so awkward that right outside the campus, the students refuse to acknowledge the teachers. They simply don't care.
At first look, it may seem like a useless ranting of an old-fashioned teacher. But these are examples of real issues that need to be addressed in our lives through collective effort. I believe the way the students behave is connected to how they view success in life. If their basic orientation in life is going abroad to a developed nation, and settling there, they are bound to consider the 'professors' who have not been able to settle abroad as mediocre or even failures.
I know that without proper research and scientific studies, such conclusions are stretching it too far. But I am using this just as an example of how small things are connected to the bigger scheme of things and need to be studied in that light. In the absence of such grassroots oriented 'sourcing' of issues, we have had the public opinion space dominated by 20th century reductionist discussions on socialism, communism and even specific incidents in the lives of foreign leaders and thinkers who lived over a century ago.
We need less of these digging the graves and hunting for skeletons adventures and more of serious discussions on real issues of today. We need to talk more about our children and our friends and our houses and our parks rather than about Mao's wife or Gandhi's children. Let's write about these more so that the researchers pick up the clues and provide us with evidence or expose our biases. If we need to uncover the truth, if any, we need to do so about the small things that really matter in our lives today and tomorrow.