The Saga Of Strikes

D.M. Thapa

Well, the political saga of Dr. Govinda KC seems to be over. At least for now. This was the fifteenth fast-unto-death protest of Dr. KC and it is difficult to make any prediction whether this determined medical practitioner and his friends in the media and different rights bodies win or again KC will have to go for his seventeenth hunger strike saga, but most people have heaved a sigh of relief that this drama was over.
I have heard through my sources at the TU Teaching Hospital that Dr. KC is a good physician and more importantly a good human being. But going by the circus we have seen in the media and the political sector, it can be said he has been used, abused and coerced by outside forces to take up such continuous series of hunger strikes. Many of those who have blindly followed the media frenzy and also rights activists may not like what this writer has just said, but sadly that is the truth.
I remember the time in the late Seventies when there was a very violent strife in Northern Ireland, which is a part of Britain till now. Politicians were killed, British soldiers were killed in the line of duty and a lot of innocents also lost their lives due to the violence. Like I have written many times before I abhor all forms of violence, even the violence perpetrated by the Maoists who are in power.
But when I think of hunger strikes and the violence in Northern Ireland I cannot help but remember a man called Bobby Sands who was a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which unleashed terror in that part of Britain. This fellow named Sands with about a half a dozen or so fellow combatants, took a hunger-unto-death protest when they were jailed demanding their freedom and also independence of Northern Ireland from Britain. Margaret Thatcher, dubbed as the “Iron Lady” was the Prime Minister of Britain at that time. She simply refused to budge from her stance and just after a week Bobby Sands and his comrades in arms died. Who remembers them it is difficult to say, but a popular song by the Beatles titled “the Luck of the Irish” comes to mind when I think of Sands and his tragic death.
While thinking about Thatcher, two other things also come to mind. One, when she was the Education Minister and decided to cut off afternoon milk to public school students and she was called “Thatcher Milk Snatcher”. The other thing is when she kept a steely determination when she decided that Britain had to recapture the Falkland, though it was thousands of miles away and the then cavalier Argentinian President Galtiery decided to capture it. It is ironic that many lost their lives, while there were merely just over a thousand British citizens living in this island far down in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Gurkhas, as the Brits like to call the mostly ethnic youths who they recruited for military purposes, played a major role in recapturing the Falklands islands for the once great British Empire, as did some of that country’s secret agents shortly known as SAS members. Though one brave Argentine pilot also totally destroyed a British destroyer and lost his life in the process. The Gurkhas, the SAS members and also the Argentine pilot all were brave people and they did their duty as wanted from them.
Now to come to our own “One Man Army” in the form of Dr. KC, it is intriguing why he has been used as a “Kamikaze” fighter for their own purposes. The Nepali Congress is to blame a little as it wants to embarrass the present government headed by two Leftist parties which have unified, at least on paper. More strikes again, whether Dr. KC is on hunger strike or not.
But more intriguing is the role of the media and other so-called rights activists who all are under the shadow of one political party or the other. All such individuals may have done is buy a cheap party ticket but still gotten to high places through a sleazy network that exists in Nepal, like in most other countries. That surely is the truth but they must be acting not on their own to egg a person like Dr. KC and ferment more trouble in this once peaceful country. If the political parties and their leaders need funds to exist, so do these individuals who have bank accounts in undeclared money in many parts of the world.
How did they became rights activists overnight and establish themselves or run non-profitable newspapers without a blink of an eye or a dent in their own pockets? They probably can go abroad to whichever country has supported them and live some sort of a life, but what about poor Nepal? Shall we always have to leave it in the hands of poorly educated politicians and greedy bureaucrats?
That is what worries a lot for a person like me and surely millions of other Nepalis who are suffering from the mistakes and greed of such high ranking people. Though, a sage like doctor is being used for whatever reasons by those highly ambitious and greedy people.
But as told to me by a prominent journalist friend, Dr. KC has also been pushed to go out of his “medical periphery”. Why should he talk about making the Maitighar Mandala a protest ground? If I remember correctly this area used to be surrounded by illegally built houses and then it was turned into a park through much labour and of course much funds by some officials. The same case with Ratna Park which as its name suggests should have been a park, not a place for a parking lot for private cars and heavy buses. Nobody speaks about such things, they only want this place or that place to be a protest ground!
Let us all hope that the savvy politicians do not make another “Merry Go Round” for Dr. KC and they fulfil his demands or we may have to go through another hunger strike by this man, abetted by foreign influenced individuals and blind followers, who don’t realise they are violating the rights of thousands of patients just because they think they are fighting for a political cause.
Let us all remember that the medical sector is not meant for political accomplishments, but it is there to give solace and healing for those with various ailments. Both the government and the strikers have to think hard and seriously into this problem which has caused inconvenience to hundreds of thousands of people all over the country.


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