Dalmardan Kami, 44 -- a reputed Dalit political and social activist -- has fallen ill, with a 2.5-cm. hole in his heart, as diagnosed officially as the ASD Secundum by Dr. Navin Chandra Gautam of Shahid Gangalal National Heart Centre, Kathmandu. The doctor has guessed that his heart problem must have already cropped up about 25 years ago. His doctor has advised him to seek a major method of treatment abroad at the earliest. Dalmardan, who lives in Kathmandu with his wife and two children, must have found his complete rest painful not because of his health crisis but because of his habit of becoming active on social-justice issues.
Occupied with socio-political struggles in favor of the marginalized communities, he seems to have not noticed what was going on about his own health. The nature of Dalmardan's involvement in political and social struggles for Dalits reflects that he is an extremely agile person, seeking accelerating changes in the lives of the deprived in the country. Marked by struggles for others, his own life now has to struggle with a very risky heart problem, which renders his blood circulation irregular and his respiratory process tough.
Dalmardan stands for those Dalit youths who want concrete and rapid changes in their lives. He has demonstrated his constant inner search for a more capable political organization that could cater to the transformative aspirations of Nepalis like himself. Dalmardan is publicly vociferous for fully proportional representation of Dalits to ensure their access to mainstream development process.
Dalmardan has already spent Nepali rupees 600,000.00 raised by his friends and colleagues at home and abroad. Indeed, he is a social capital and deserves life.
Dalmardan has admitted to having had financial inability for his decisive treatment abroad. Apparently, he has been active for 18 years as a socio-political activist for the sake of Dalit emancipation and transformation.
As there currently exists no welfare system for social and political activists in Nepal, concerned political and social organizations need to take an initiative for setting up a welfare fund to address their humanitarian crises.
Dalits are politically and economically the most marginalized and excluded community in Nepal. Dalits' political and economic marginalization and exclusion have often been reflected in their social status more vividly, for example, in educational and health sectors. A more recent instance can be seen in the extreme financial difficulty Dalmardan faces in his treatment process.
Dal Mardan Kami has handed over his personal request letter seeking financial assistance from the prime minister's office and health ministry. However, he has not heard from them yet.
Nepal government is currently working on a policy of making health services affordable for the majority of ordinary masses. Media reports at times let people know that Nepal's political bigwigs spend millions of rupees from the government treasury for their nominal treatment abroad. However, there seems to be no clear-cut health policy for the working class people despite the accelerating and appalling privatization of health services across the country. While the vagueness of democratic public health policy remains dominant, it still is uncertain as to the fate of thousands of Nepalis' major health crises.
At times, Dalit activists try to expose their outrage against the deep-rooted caste-based discrimination and exclusion. But the major question why the Nepali society has not been able to eliminate this caste apartheid deserves a serious investigation, to which neither the political forces nor the social-advocacy groups have paid any serious attention. Most of the struggles have continued and degenerated through reactions after reactions. The most scientific answer to social injustice lies in Buddhist teachings that entirely stand for the emancipation from mental slavery and reactionary psychological patterns. All the 84,000 lectures (preserved under the Tripitaka) that the Buddha delivered to his students 2,500 years ago are more or less dedicated to analyzing the biochemical and psychosocial causes, effects and solutions of life problems. Dalmardan, too, regards the Buddha as a leading figure engaged against caste-based untouchability practices. If all other social activists like Dalmardan positively understand the Buddha as a social-justice educator, it is more advisable that they dig into Buddhist teachings and seek out profound strategies as Buddhism is apparently related to the science of becoming the master of one's own mind.
Honestly saying, Nepal's overall political mindset is basically reactive, not proactive. The Buddha, whom we honor as Nepalis' own ancestor, has taught human beings to become proactive, not reactive. Those who learn to become proactive can investigate and solve problems in a scientific manner while those with a reactive cultural setup tend to ventilate wrath against others, without ever striving to emancipate their own mind from slavery, hatred and greed. Indeed, Nepali Dalit activists could be more change-oriented by adopting more pragmatic and policy-centered strategies, which could be instrumental in empowering the marginalized and in transforming their mind and matter in essential terms.
Had Nepalis understood and applied Buddhism in their daily life, theirs would have been a very peaceful, prosperous and happy society long ago.