Time to critically examine Nepal’s VIP culturePeople are no longer going to tolerate the authorities’ tantrums and want to be treated as equal beings.
To belabour the obvious, a VIP culture—that puts certain people ahead of the rest of the population and accords them undue privileges—is wrong. But it continues to be a staple of whoever is in charge of running the country—no matter which party they belong to. Just last month in September, the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai was reprimanded by irate passengers, after he and his aides purposefully delayed a Buddha Air flight from Nepalgunj. And last week, a Shree Airlines flight preparing to fly to Bhadrapur was delayed at Kathmandu airport for nearly an hour, sparking protests from the passengers again.
Apparently, a notice to airman (Notam) was given wherein the pilot was told to shut down the aircraft’s engines because they were causing noise at the VIP lounge, near the domestic parking bay, where Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was being welcomed upon his return from Baku. This is condemnable. If we allow such a culture to flourish, deification will be the norm and discrimination could be permitted for parochial self-interests.
Here, in this case, the plane was asked to stop its engines, due to the heat inside the plane and uncertainty about the flight time, the airline disembarked the passengers from the plane. As soon as the passengers touched the ground, they started protesting. And rightfully so. It’s a regular procedure on the part of airport authorities to issue a notice to airmen during VIP movements, but of late Nepalis have been complaining about delays in domestic flights even when VIPs are travelling to and from international destinations. Since the communist government has come to power, such examples are a dime a dozen. The authorities concerned seem to have increasingly been considering themselves to be above the general public. This hierarchical mindset is wrong.
The passengers disembarking from the aeroplane and protesting at the runway is a sign that the people are no longer going to tolerate the authorities’ tantrums and want to be treated as equal beings. The government, on its part, should be extra careful to make sure their movement does not cause inconvenience to the general public whom they have sworn to serve. What’s more, once people board the aircraft, they cannot step out unless they reach their destination. But thanks to irrational measures taken to please those in power, people were forced to break the rule themselves, which involves great risk to their safety.
We might get ahead of ourselves and consider each other progressive, but ours still is a country where a culture of inequality and hierarchy, based on social and economic standing, has been thoughtlessly perpetuated over the years. The Maoists fought a war for almost 12 years in hopes of bringing an end to the unequal and unjust system. But rhetoric statements aside, in reality, such a practice continues as business as usual in the country. The sooner everyone, including the authorities, carry out an objective assessment of how the scale of privilege operates in this country, the better.
What do you think?
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