SURENDRA R. DEVKOTA
People of different walks of life in the country are simply helpless due to absence of rule of law under a communist prime minster, who is just hanging on to the chair without knowing the location of the power key even after one year, and he has admitted to it publicly. Though the prime minister spent a couple of pages on national vernacular dailies to differentiate between ‘ordinary Baburam’ and ‘Prime Minister Baburam’, in essence, it was a clear indication of the losing self-esteem by the prime minister himself. It may be irrational to expect a value-based politics from the Maoist communist party, but it is equally strange to observe as to how a democratic party is losing its self-worth. Despite available alternatives, political outlets are yet to open. A parallelism of the lack of self-esteem in both the communist and democratic parties is ruining the norms of democracy as well as denizens’ onward thinking. Why is there an illusion among different levels of leadership in the grand old party like Nepali Congress? Is the NC leadership in a vicious trap of low self-esteem?
Politicians, who assume to be the driver of a country, are both actors and factors for the socio-economic development. But, in least developing country like Nepal where political transition never ends, new breed of political forces under different umbrellas are mushrooming. Their steady motto seems ‘how to endure their political existence?’ Are such power-seeking social meta-physicians are good for democracy? Herein, it may be imperative to explore the self-esteem of politicians.
What is self esteem?
The National Association of Self Esteem, a US-based non-profit organization, explains that a textbook definition of self-esteem may not be easy because of its multiple dimension of cognitive, affective, and behavioral elements. In a book titled ‘Self-esteem’ by McKay and Fanning, self-esteem has been explained as emotional sine qua non – without some measure of self-worth, life can be enormously painful. They simply put it as ‘awareness of self: ability to identify and to value it ’. It is an attitude towards self and his/her beliefs about skill, ability, and society. Nathaniel Branden, in one of his famous books, ‘The Psychology of Self-esteem’ suggests that ‘self-esteem is a basic need of human beings but one has to discover it.’ Let’s discuss whether these wannabe young leaders (WYL) in Nepal are willing to ponder their own self-esteem.
First thing first: are WYL self-confident? Regardless of their party affiliation, it is evident these folks in Nepal are yet to build on their self-belief on their knowledge, skill, and ability. A very simple and significant example is evolution of ‘coterie culture’ in all the major parties. Had such young people were self-reliant on their own legs, intra-party unhealthy nemeses would have been nominal. The formation of groups and sub-groups under the name of an individual leader simply justifies search of self-protection. Secondly, in above mentioned background, what is their value? Do WYL have self-respect? Self-respect is simply what you do. If WYLs value themselves positively and feel worthy beings then these political parties should not have incurred ‘coterie culture’. If one observer tries to figure out the daily routine of a WYL, s/he would be surprised to see that the very first act of a WYL would to be present at one of their party bosses’ door early in the morning. By doing so both the boss and WYL complement each others’ political security. A plain but bitter truth about such a visit to party bosses’ home at least 365 days in a year exemplifies a zero self-respect plus self-confidence of a WYL. Don’t they know to visit their constituencies which are the pillars of power?
Thirdly, what are the motivating factors of a WYL to be in politics? Are they motivated by love of power and money or by beliefs or by fear? Does any sincere passion for politics still exist? In recent years, a new wave of amalgamation of power, belief and fear is evident among the top brass political circles, who for the sake of institutionalizing loktantra, prefer to travel outside the country than inside! Isn’t it a revelation of missing out on sincere political inspiration for the betterment of country and people? So how will a WYL be able to be inspired independently? Will they be able to differentiate their beliefs between faith and knowledge? Will they be able to get rid of the fear factor embedded in them?
It seems that fear of failure in public life and of risk taking are the main culprits behind the impotency of WYL. Such failures may end up with a sub-ordinate mind that always seeks others’ shield. Subsequently, individual will be in a state of pseudo self-esteem. If we look on the national scale, how the tactics of fear of the Maoists has destabilized the contemporary socio-politics! The silent majority in the country are still expecting good polity from WYL that will build up a mass of honest politicians who are determined to contribute to maximize the public goods and services rather than being a rent-seeker on taxpayers; a class of intellectually engaged and independent folks who will never compromise between the right and wrong; and, of course, individuals with high self-esteem with objective reality who would be able to safeguard morality and value-based politics.