In As we head into the new year 2013, we need to remind ourselves and make a commitment to ourselves that we shall not be easily swayed by rumors and rhetoric, gossips and lies; we all need to stand steadfast and strive towards the goals we aspire for. So many of us get carried away so easily that in the oral tradition and heritage of Nepal, we have a term called “Phe gaan” or wind chimes that are shaped as ordinary bells but with a sheet-metal leaf hanging from the middle. Whenever the slightest wind blows, the leave “flutters” and the bell rings. Lookat the base of the roofs of temples and monasteries across the Kathmandu valley and Nepal, and you can see and hear them.
Right from the early days of 2012, people from all over the world had jitters about the true meaning of the fact that the ancient Mayan calendar ended in December. Hollywood even made a movie that had such scary and convincing special effects. There were so many arguments and theories put forth by fear mongering people all over the world. Fear began to spread then every event was used to make a connection including the rare event of the planetary alignment with the pyramids of Giza in Egypt. In each of these cases the “wind chimes” of the world took up so much space that there was no room for the real explanations, science and logic to take root.
Change is for real and a constant. The future, in words of Darwin, belongs to “those who can adapt” and not to the biggest or the fastest nor the richest or the ones with the biggest guns. As we enter the year 2013, there are numerous challenges that we face globally, in Nepal and locally. People look worried and stressed out all the time. The smallest of information creates ripples globally. Change for the better will require that we stay focused on the work at hand. We cannot afford to sway in the wind all the time. Part of the reason why Nepal is in perpetual transition is exactly because we react and respond like wind chimes. Globally, banks are failing or being fined, there are too many guns in the hands of people who will not even spare children. Politics everywhere seems to be a synonym for polarizing society rather than improving the human condition. The planet is already telling us in so many ways that our only home is under great stress.
Once again, giving direction and creating a sense of urgency to tackle these issues cannot be based on clever arguments on both sides, getting the sound bites and photo ops right, and the general population reacting like wind chimes. We need to take concrete action to get us all out of the mess we are in. There is a real confidence deficiency in the world and Nepal, and “wind chimes” like behavior will not help. The leaders and members of political parties that are the pillars of democracy, the media that serve the interest of transparency and accountability, social leaders, teachers, priests, each and every one of us need to contribute to get to that desired future state where we can all be at peace.