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Rajendra Keshari Pandey


Army and Nepali

My recollection of an incident which occurred some months ago in Kathmandu is interesting and different. What I am writing here may not bother someone, but this is a fact and people should keep in mind. It was a cool evening when I was returning home from a stroll. Suddenly what I see nearby my home is quite a number of army men in plain clothes. I was little bit anxious to know what was happening there. Since I could not get a clue, I ventured to ask one of the gentleman why they were there. I …

got no response from them. I thought these people were hanging around my home area but I should of-course find out what is happening there. So I asked another person the same question and got this answer. I was told very bluntly, “DO YOU SPEAK WITH ARMY MEN LIKE THIS”? “DO YOU DARE TO QUESTION US”?

WOW, I was puzzled to hear such a rude answer from a public servant. Being a Nepali I was asking a simple question with another Nepali because it affected? When you see new faces suddenly around your vicinity simple questions like this do arise. Now look at the response a Nepali receives from another Nepali just being an army man? His response bound me to write this article. “DO YOU SPEAK WITH ARMY MEN LIKE THIS”? I politely told this person who is the Army? Are not army men Nepalis? I was done with this gentleman and went home without further delay. At home I was pondering over what happened. This is totally a wrong notion they have bred into them. Reason could be obvious. Servicemen are not briefed properly here in Nepal when they join army and my guess is: they are not made aware of their main duty, which is to serve the Citizen and Nation.

A person does not become army from his birth time or birthday. It used to be so in Nepal during Rana regime when a so-called First Class Rana’s son was born, he became a General, but not any more. Those days are gone with the wind and the system is changing. A person is born Nepali first and then only when he/she is enrolled in the Army, then becomes an Army man. It is as simple as that. Nepali army has a long tradition of being par-excellence, which one may call a gem. This quality of Nepal Army was misused by vested interest and for vested interest. Having gained name and fame of being a well-known force for Peace Keeping Mission and recently in one African Country when there was a need of such Peace Keeping Force, Nepali Army was chosen in number one rank. But, such small act of negligence and blunt answers as I mentioned above could easily defame their glory and it could jeopardise their career.

I was not surprised by that blunt answer of that service man; instead it encouraged me to write this small article as I mentioned earlier. First comes Nepal then Nepali and only one can say I am a policeman, service man or army man. Each and every service man of this country should be taught from the very inception, that they are a public servant. They should respect the public and give more respect to the taxpayers. Why taxpayers need respect is obvious, taxpayer’s money is their bread and butter, their salary, ration, clothing and even the brass and badges they wear come from a citizen’s money. A nation is basically a land area; it becomes a country with the presence of Citizens. Otherwise it becomes no man’s land. A taxpayer’s contribution is directly connected/attached to a servicemen body and life. No servicemen should ignore or misbehave with any citizen. There is nothing wrong in asking questions or needing required information with anybody in this 21st century. A citizen has a right to question even The President, Prime Minister, or whoever, if it is a genuine question.

Few days later I found out that one army officer was promoted that day and that was the whole hue and cry. The whole area was cordon-off very tactfully, which I think simply a wastage and misuse of taxpayer’s money in pomp and show. Thanks to the management for this type of education and training they receive. Until and unless this type of attitude is not corrected in time they will not gain public faith and confidence, it will not and never enhance them. In Nepal nobody is allowed to think above Nepal and Nepali, and this has become a fact now.