The Nepalis observe the Gregorian calendar-meant new year once a year and their internal new years several times a year.
The Nepalis, as part of the larger humanity, adopt the 1st of January as a global phenomenon attached to them in terms of international fraternity. It is an obvious trait of their intercultural relationship with the world community marked by the sharing of humanistically relevant information.
Different ethnic communities have different new years internally in Nepal. Nevertheless, all the ethnic communities in the country equally respect the national New Year in the last week of April every year. The first day of the Nepali month called Baisakh falls in the last week of April.
The Nepalis and the New Year
Thousands flocked to touristic spots on the eve of the New Year. Millions shared New Year solidarity on the 1st of January through the social media available to them. Musical concerts and cocktail parties were organized in hotels and restaurants. Four-star and five-star hotels in Kathmandu did have a mini-cocktail gathering of their executives and workers on the occasion of the New Year.
Teenagers, perceptively or superficially, vowed to renew their interpersonal relationships, basing their interpersonal communication on the theme of the New Year.
These are a few instances seen in the name of the New Year. There may be numberless things done to embrace the New Year.
What does all mean to the Nepalis? This is quite natural to the Nepalis, like it is to any other people in the world. Mainly the economic transactions are worth remembering as to understanding the New Year.
However, the New Year can also be considered a new capital to invest. This is true in the context of the Nepalis too.
On the occasion of the New Year, the Nepalis should seriously remember the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) in which the agenda of the political and socio-economic transformation have been categorically stated as the tool to transform the 10-year Maoist insurgency, with the possibility of using the same agenda to prevent future armed conflicts that could result from social injustice and political oligarchy.
Al l the major political stakeholders in the country's peace process have ignored the agenda of the overall transformation of the Nepali society. They have unfortunately, knowingly or unknowingly, concentrated on availing immediate power into their own hands, with no consideration over any long-term impact on the country' future due to their thoughts and behavior that are likely to re-cement the status quo founded on feudalism and oligarchy.
Currently in Nepal, the fundamental rights have become the subject matter of those with access to power and freedom of opinion and expression. The majority of the Nepalis are still in suppressed conditions. They have no access to even basic information about health and education. Democracy has been a talkers' discussion topic. Smart resource persons smoothly discuss about democracy that is universal in nature and they are extremely tight-scheduled because of their involvement in teaching us democratic values and culture while they blame on the "voiceless' for remaining silent or non-competitive. Yet, there are also people who believe that the most marginalized and the downtrodden need to be provided a channel to climb up to the mainstream ladder. This is where the major part of conflict lies. One side says our job is only to continue preaching for what donors pay us while the other side says we need to make our own decisions. This conflict is worth considering if we remember the New Year in a different way.
One can relate English literary figure G. K. Chesterton's saying to the Nepali context: " The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul ." The New Year comes every year and becomes the old year. If we do not right the wrongs we did during the past year or if we intend to repeat the same wrongs during the next 12 months, the celebration of the New Year becomes the reinforcement of the wrongs committed. Therefore, the Nepalis, especially political leaders, have to awaken in the New Year. The Universal scientist and mind engineer Buddha is with us: "There is only one time when it is essential to awaken. That time is now." Can we adopt the New Year for a constitution that makes us feel we are citizens free from criminalized politics?
The greatest test lies in whether Nepal's leaders as we have will ever intend to serve change purposes or will cling to their animalistic instincts, without getting guided by self-conscience--the token of being a human being different from beasts. Opinion formation at the 'educated' level also matters in pressurizing 'leaders'. Nepali leaders have yet to chemically formulate their mindset for changes, with total rigidity against their own ultra-individualism, hedonism and egoism. The nature of the political exercises they have demonstrated so far requires chemical processing in the New Year.Re-educating the educated The educated need to be different. They are the ones to work as opinion leaders. They have to develop their ability to analyze and interpret the ongoing phenomena to those who cannot do so. But if the educated themselves, under this or that pretext, continue shirking their moral-social responsibility, sticking to the saying "Any how paisa kamaau" (earn money any way), the educated will sound more miserable than the illiterates. Desire to seek ethical leadership Ethics is unique among human beings. Human beings alone in the world talk about ethics. But if human beings preach that human beings can do better by destroying human ethics by abusing the three M's, viz. money, media and muscle, they lose the status of human beings. Therefore, ethics is a purely human identity. But we must understand that ethics is not something that is a way of imposing conservatism against democratic freedom. The sphere of ethics is not a pure or mathematical science. It is a philosophy that guides us towards better life and higher human values. This is what the Nepalis can seek in politics. No ethical political leadership, no good environment for the people to work and implement democracy at their level. Unethical leadership criminalizes politics; ultimately every nook and corner of the society gets criminalized while de-criminalizing forces will be punished as criminals. Long-term strategy of producing decision-making citizens Ordinary people like us do not expect unproductive and de-humanizing violence. But the well-fed and well-clad feudal lords, who still rule Nepal by capturing all state mechanisms, ranging from the intelligence bureau to land revenue offices will never be willing to implement democracy and human rights in the soil of Nepal unless the Gurkhas of the 21st century teach them a breaking lesson. The Nepalis undergo the inferno of high level political poverty, which breeds multi-sectoral poverty generation after generation like this. The best long-term strategy of decision-making citizens is to begin from the preprimary and primary level education. This is the best strategy to prevent armed conflicts. At present, we become citizens legally but not politically and economically because we are incapable of making decisions for ourselves. Certain leaders, at village, district or central levels, make decisions for us. They do not represent us. We blindly support or oppose them. That's all. So long as we cannot say "Well, this is white and this is black," we are not decision-making citizens. Do we consider this while smiling at the New Year?
The New Year and the World