I am writing this article while recollecting my English studies, which were very interesting. As there was a lot of good English prose and poetry in our curriculum, we used to get plenty of inspiration. Just now, I recalled some of the examples where Jesters, Clowns and Jokers used to be characters in the Royal Courts. The Jester archetype is associated with three major characteristics: (a) making people laugh, (b) making them cry and, (c) wearing a mask that covers one’s own real emotions. The Jester is generally male, with few women playing the role either in literature or the theatre. Since no one can possibly take a fool seriously at the physical level, he is allowed entry into the most powerful of circles. I am trying to jot -down something just in jest on this character.
Jesters, Clowns, Jokers and other such merry making persons in previous eras were supposed to entertain the King, Queen and other dignitaries of the Royal Courts. These days this type of character is frequently seen in our society, even though the Jester’s era and traditional role ended in most other parts of the world a long time ago. Ours is a different scenario, Jokers, Jesters, Clowns and Apple-polishers now reach the top positions quicker than the meritorious people in the rank and file. Once they reach such elevated positions they feel very proud about it, but they fail to even remember the important role they are there to perform. It is accepted human nature that you are allowed to forget some things. If anybody says, “I forgot” it seems to be OK and they are excused.
Historically these characters used to play a key role in entertaining and subtlety influencing the inner circle by becoming confidants of the people in charge and by that role benefited themselves. Out of many Jesters some smart ones would get special promotion or favours from their masters and become Chief Jesters (CJ) in due course. Once that position and power had been gained, the CJ then started influencing others and using their elevated power in various miscellaneous ways. The required qualifications were how good you were in humour, manipulation, false statement, double meanings and confusing the crowd. Little seems to have changed. The modern role of the CJ seems to require the same qualifications. The more usual skill set required for senior key roles nowadays of: Honesty, dignity, integrity, capacity, discretion, merit, and accountability are still not essential. Just like a “kerosene queue” we see in the market, queuing-up as a Junior Jester initially, with a little manipulation and patience would eventually take one to the prestigious post of Chief Jester (CJ). Merit never had a space there senior is senior and was always the criteria for promotion and the Jester’s right to reach the highest post.
Thus a simple Jester eventually reaches the top rank of Chief Jester (CJ) just by waiting his turn. People hardly question or give a thought to this paradox. In Nepal nepotism, favouritism and connection are the main pre-requisite for such advancement. This type of promotion is seen all too frequently in our country where merit, skill and hard work rarely matter.
Once the CJ is sitting on the top seat, in his Jesters costume, people who needed favours and other perks that he can arrange or manipulate, surround him continually. He has little time left for his real duties and responsibilities but always sees himself as a very successful person. However, again he forgets what his real job is. This wrong understanding and wrong thinking about his key role will take him down the wrong path. There cannot be any other path than the one that will eventually lead him to a big repentance. As you sow, so you reap. Happy with the Apple-polishers their day passes and at the end the CJ at last has to remove his “Mask of Office”. Only then he remembers that the whole thing was wrong but now it is too late to correct.
This practice creates frustration among the deserving, meritorious candidates and the system becomes hazardous. It can never function well. Jesters and Chief Jester’s networks are very effective here, they are powerful and capable but not sustainable in what should be a transparent society. There is a dire need for a big change to correct the malpractices of such Jesters and Chief Jesters that defame this country’s image. Even Lord Pashupatinath will be unable to help us in this matter if not rectified in time. God helps those who help themselves.