“If you’re not provided services without paying bribes in public offices, you should be prepared for a group intervention there.” This was a remark expressed by Nepal government’s Former Chief Secretary Lila Mani Poudel in a social discourse program organized Saturday by Leo Club of Kathmandu Margadarshan and International Creation and Equality Foundation. While encouraging youths to be active against the all-pervasive corruption in Nepal, Poudel pre-warned them of constant harassment, demoralization, threats and even character assassination against anti-corruption fighters. He suggested youths to face all such possible circumstances to combat corruption.
Despite the expectation of about 600 participants, Poudel hesitated to disclose his bitter experiences while he was combating corruption from within the government during this tenure.
Former Constituent Assembly Member Shanta Chaudhary, who says her life journey began as a bonded worker in a landlord’s house, is dissatisfied with the humiliation of toiling masses in the country. “During public ceremonies, prosperous ministers lay foundation stones with gloves on. But toilers still struggle for their hand-to-mouth life,” she adds.
Rabindra Mishra, BBC Nepali Service Chief—also a campaigner against corruption—sees an acute scarcity of people’s moral sense against corruption. Pointing out to the pitiable condition of educated lots’ irresponsibility, Mishra explodes, “3.6 million educated ones are the ones who have spoiled the nation.” He suggested a bottom-up approach against corruption.
Similarly, SSP Sarbendra Khanal—Chief, Kathmandu Metropolitan Crime Bureau—said, “There are security threats while fighting corruption. Uttering his firm commitment against corruption, he expressed his concern over the public misperception that the whole police is institutionally corrupt. He stresses on seeking individual accountables within the institution.
Another speaker Prem Baniya—News24 News Chief—does not see an easy control of corruption. Dissatisfied with fragmented changes, Baniya highlights, “Nepal requires a volcano-like change that results in the chemical change in the soil and production.”
The anti-corruption social discourse organized by youths is very positive and encouraging. The speakers’ views, though random and disorganized, are appreciable in the context of combating corruption. Their contribution of time to an anti-corruption discourse is valuable, especially as regards the gathering of youths against corruption.
However, the nature of the three-hour social discourse was very superficial, with no cause-and-effect analysis. No opportunity was provided for audience to pose questions. None of the speakers informed their audience what corruption is, how it evolves, and what long-term strategy against it should be adopted. Contents of the program were very weak. But the intention of the organizer and speakers was quite genuine. The participation was excellent.