A baby girl opened her eyes on the world for the first time on Thursday when the sun was about to rise. The newborn at the Maternity Hospital at Thapathali was nothing uusual, but there should have been something special about the day.
“Today is Magh 8, the day we were to get the new constitution,” said new mother Sita Tamang, 20, looking tenderly at her infant daughter.
Her little daughter could have been one of the first Nepalis to be born in a new Nepal, had the CA promulgated a constitution as promised by the politicians. The promise was broken, but the birth of the newest generation that deserves to have a better future cannot be stopped.
Barely a few kilometers from the CA building, the little girl at the Maternity Hospital was soon the adoration of daily wage-earner Buddha Tamang”s family. A permanent resident of Trishuli, Nuwakot, the 22-year-old works at construction sites in Kathmandu for a living. Buddha himself was a school-goer when the country was going through the armed insurrection. The impact of the conflict upon his family was bad enough for him to end up out of school, his wife Sita narrates.
“Remaining at home was not a good idea when the army and the Maoists would march in one after another,” she says, explaining why her husband was forced to go to Pokhara in search of work. A dream of earning more and saving enough to go abroad brought him to Kathmandu about two years ago. That was when they married.
Now that a little girl has arrived in their lives, Sita hopes to live together with her husband. But the future seems uncertain.
Asked if she believed a new constitution would have secured her family”s future, Sita said “We grew up amid war and poverty and I pray that my daughter does not suffer the same fate.´
By the time the newborn turns 18 and becomes a citizen, will Nepal be a better place to live than today? What will come out of the current situation? Sociologists say the prolonged political deadlock in the name of state restructuring indicates both hope and pessimism for the decades ahead.
Sociologist Chaitanya Mishra says society keeps moving and politics throws lives out of balance when it fails to keep in tandem with society. Nepal is an example of this. Only three factors – institutionalizing democracy, investment in larger economic activities and addressing the issues of the marginalized can ensure a better future, he thinks.
“Politics through suppression won”t work any more, mainstreaming the minorities is the only solution in the long run,” he said.
On the brighter side, Nepali youths are healthier and more ambitious than ever before, and capable of working in any corner of the world. “Government has to create an environment for retaining them and their money inside the country through lucrative economic activities here,” he adds.
“Personally I am optimistic, but if the current scenario does not make a U-turn soon half the side will remain in darkness,” he added.
Socio-anthropologist Suresh Dhakal points out that the politicians who are supposed to foster peace and harmony among the people are engaged in divide and rule.
“This cultivation of hatred will have a serious impact on the up-and-coming age groups, the deadlock can reach critical mass,” said Dhakal, indicating the dispute over constitution-making.
What matters more to the individual is basics like education, health and transportation, which are definitely improving. But political instability remains a threat, he added.