Time to identify bad apples in Nepal
On 25 May a Black American, George Floyd, was brutally killed in the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota in full view of the people. A nearly nine minutes of video showed a police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressing Floyd’s neck with his knee while the other three officers seemed to guard the scene from any bystanders’ intervention. For a few minutes, Floyd seemed to be pleading in his barely audible voice to spare him his life and that he was unable to breathe. The officer showed no mercy and he was declared dead shortly after he was rushed to the nearby hospital.
Irrespective of whatever crime Floyd had committed, if any, a handcuffed man should not have died in the police custody. The incident brought anguish among the Black Americans, and outraged various immigrant communities who had been suffering from systemic discrimination for ages. The demonstration not only earned solidarity from many White Americans, but an overwhelming number of them took part in the demonstration chanting ‘Black Life Matters’ and ‘Justice for George Floyd’.
Demonstrations took place in more than a hundred cities across the US demanding justice for Floyd and homicide conviction against officers involved in the incident. Although initially only fired, the officers involved in the incident were later charged with the third-degree murder and manslaughter. This tragic event led to the acceptance by the mainstream media, politics and elites that there exist some ‘Bad Apples’ in America. President Donald Trump, an adamant figure, himself repeatedly claimed that there are around one percentage of bad apples in the police department.
Back in March, a black American lady was shot inside her own house in Louisville to what police declared a botched raid. A wrong raid took the life of an innocent person who might have been cooking food or making plans for her next day. In a separate incident in Georgia in early May, a young boy of 25, who was apparently jogging, was shot by a father-son duo. Lists of such systemic prejudice, social injustice and color discrimination is rampant in the American society and, to be true, such bad apples are present from one’s neighborhood to the White House.
Now let’s have a look at Nepal. On the one hand is the superpower of the world, one of the most developed countries and the dreamland of every single person sharing the earth today, on the other is Nepal, one of the least developed countries with centuries long caste system. When people lose their life due to their skin color in the US, people die in Nepal because of their castes. However, caste is not the only issue; there are few more social ills that Nepal has to tackle.
People are ill-treated because they represent certain backward communities or live in a very remote part of the country. They have to face certain societal exclusion because they were born poor while others enjoy the higher social status because they were born rich. Certain people are respected in the society because they earn a lot of money; therefore, those with less money do not earn same degree of respect among the people. People with money, no matter what the source, are respected while those who spend entire life trying to earn social dignity and moral honesty are humiliated for they did not earn enough money. A man in car is rarely stopped while entering the Singha Durbar whereas the pedestrians would be questioned for their glance at it. Such anomalies exist in the name of sex, class, caste, religion, appearance, language, ethnicity, geography, kinship, and what not.
Bad apples may be at home, may be at the neighborhood, may be in the vicinity, may be in the school, may be in the trade union, in the student union, or may be in the bureaucracy, and, most importantly, in politics.
In fact, there are a lot of bad apples behind all these malpractices. Bad apples may be at home, may be at the neighborhood, may be in the vicinity, may be in the school, may be in the trade union, in the student union, or may be in the bureaucracy, and, most importantly, in politics.
A boy child receives the schooling in a highly paid private school while a girl child is hesitantly sent to a local government school functioning poorly. The boy is repeatedly asked if he is in need of anything every time the father goes to the market while the girl is not asked if she has any choices. The bad apple lies at home. One has a neighbour who continuously envies the neighbour and cannot tolerate any good happening to the neighbour. On top of it, the neighbours enjoy the sorrow of their neighbor with no words of comfort and feeling of compassion – a bad apple at neighbourhood.
Community leaders are biased towards certain community members while displaying their favouritism to a peculiar group; they are the bad apples. Students, who no longer study but involve in mischiefs, and the student union that does not strive for the rights and support of the students but make the union a platform to carry out their vested political agenda are the bad apples.
Teachers, who do not remember their students name but learn by heart the names of political leaders, and who show up late in the class and gives lectures on ‘Students’ Duty and Responsibility’ or commands students to write essays on ‘the Value of Time’ are the bad apples. Trade Union leaders, who know about workers’ rights but does not act on safeguarding such rights are the bad apples. The body of bureaucracy that takes an oath for public service but acts on strengthening themselves and accumulating wealth through corruption, be it by selling secrets of nation, are the bad apples. The political leaders, who promise before every election and remember their promise only prior to the next election are the bad apples.
One can carry on adding the list of such bad apples. A businessman, who does blend lentils with concrete is a bad apple. A player pretends to play for the country while he is already involved in match fixing is a bad apple. From the morning to the evening, one encounters bad apples countlessly. Some pretend to be good while they are not in reality.
A funny yet very genius idea applied by the Late Prime Minister Marich Man SinghShresth is worth mentioning here. Every time his cabinet discussed something very important, he got a call from the Indian side immediately after the meeting was over. He was awestricken and wanted to hunt out who it was that works as the messenger to the Indians. Then on, he called every other meeting in the absence of one cabinet member, but different every time until the day he got no call from the Indian side and discovered that the member of the cabinet who pretended to be the most nationalist, or rather patriot, proved to be the messenger for India. Bad apples are everywhere and anyone after the mask is uncovered may turn out to be a bad apple.
Thus, it is high time that we strive to uncover the masks of such bad apples and save the rest of apples. Those who do not fulfil their duty, those who pretend to be the representatives of Nepalese while hymn about other countries, those who talk about people but do not act for the people, those who speak but do not hear others, and those who chant slogans about rights but know nothing about responsibilities are all bad apples. Such bad apples exist in every nook and corner of our country. Let’s find and demolish such BAD APPLES.
The writer is currently pursuing an MA in International Development and Global Studies at Roskilde University, Denmark.
Published on 12 June 2020