We have democracy in Nepal. The problem though is that we aren’t quite enjoying it. Sure, there are right to free speech, right to expression and right to information but we never exercise them to the fullest. Our conservative culture has affected our mindset as we seem to value too much of what other people think about us than believing in ourselves.
Most of the time, when we begin to think something new and daring, we immediately focus on what other people might say. It has become our culture to accept everything that these people say about us even though only 5% actually make sense. We hear from them that phalaano (a person of interest to the discussing party) has done some amazing stuffs or phalaano has become a successful entrepreneur or phalaano wears traditional clothes and thus respects culture and, so on. Such accusations are carried out of concern for someone close but they take negative connotations.
The victims are forced by the parents/families/friends to become someone that these people admire. The perpetrators want their beloved to copy what phalaanos are doing. They want these victims to be as successful as phalaanos. In all the situations, the victims’ opinions are not entertained. Not at all. It is as if democracy has lost its charm in such situations. The effects are that people become less creative and lose confidence in themselves.
Now, it is true that these victims have absolute rights to not hear what others want them to hear. That is not the case in Nepal. The intricate relationships that we value even to our distant of distant of distant relatives compel us to think about our next actions before these actions become the cause of disappointment for our family in not respecting their opinions. Consider that my parents want me to become a very successful and dutiful son just like my distant of distant of distant uncle’s son. I do not have a choice to argue that I do not want to be like the dull phalaano. If I say that, then I am a bad son. No arguments. End of story.
Most Nepali have the habit to think too much of phalaanos. They view stories of phalaanos as the epitomes of role models. Phalaanos are their deities. Hah, they never realize that they are wasting their lives in taking others’ opinions to their hearts. Hah, they have never experienced the freedom when they give a damn to what their seniors are blabbering about their favorite phalaanos.
I was also one of those Nepali. In due time, I did not care what other people thought about me. I did not care if they thought of me as stubborn, stingy or bad-tempered. Or if they want me to be like Bikash-phalaano, Sunil-phalaano, Dikendra-phalaano or Prabesh-phalaano. I have learnt to correct myself if someone kindly points out my wrongdoings but I will never be like those phalaanos. I will be Manasbi. After all, if I try to become like those phalaanos, what is the meaning of my existence? Who will be Manasbi? If I try to go with their ideas without arguing, then what is the point of having a brain that took millions of years to evolve?
It is crucial that we realize the significance of being oneself. We may have some crazy ideas. That should not just stop there. We should blindly follow our next steps and see where they go. If we are wrong, then we will push to improve our efforts. If those ideas are successful, we will finally understand the meaning of our rights to democracy. If we think some of our culture needs to be changed or that we need to westernize ourselves, let us go for them. As long as they transform us for the better, our conservative societies should not prove to be a menace in how we live. Trust me, this small transformation will be the key to unlocking creativity of thousands of Nepalis. So, shall we start being Ourselves?