The Right to Work

Posted by: Raj B Thakuri

I had never heard of “The Community Consortium for the Right to Work” before. Neither am I aware of the constituents of this consortium. No doubt, after reading the advertisement below that appeared in “The Himalayan Times” on Tuesday, 04/04/06, many will immediately jump to brand this as a yet another ‘royalist’ lobby. I have no extra information to either endorse or dispute these claims. But as a working professional, with no personal political agenda, holding a job in Nepal and entrusted with a responsibility in these uncertain times, for myself and many others, I could not agree more to the word and spirit of this appeal.

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(Open Advertisement in The Himalayan Times – 04/04/06)

Work and industry are the fundamental basis of any organization’s economy – be it a home, an enterprise or a nation. As it is Nepal has never exactly been enterprise-friendly – miles of red tape, an apathetic bureaucracy, obsolete laws, a protectionist culture, poor infrastructure, corruption and nepotism – we all know the story. Only the boldest or the most foolhardy have ventured into any form of free enterprise in our country. And it is to these entrepreneurs and the salaried men and women that credit for any small progress we have made in the recent years is due. And yet they are dogged at every step – by corruption, by extortion, by unfair practices. It is indeed a tribute to the resiliency and eternal resourcefulness of us Nepalese people that despite these hindrances, we not only survive but continue to hold our own in a global context. Continue to build the nation on the basis of small successes and private victories. Continue to chart our own course to self-sufficiency.
While our so-called leaders continue to bicker to the brink.

And in return, all we ask for is the right to work. The right to go about our businesses without the threat of impending violence. The right to be able to plan ahead without a sword hanging over every project. The right to work without having to contend with enforced bandhs and reciprocal curfews.

It seems that even this is too much to expect. As we are aware, the great leaders of democracy, in their unfathomable wisdom, have called a general strike for four days from April 6 to 9. No doubt the present government will respond by cutting off telecommunication soon and declaring a curfew too.

Again – a few thousand arrivals in the tourism sector will be cancelled; a few more contracts will fall through; a few hundred truckloads of vegetables will rot in pits; a few tons of milk will be thrown to the rivers; a few unfortunates will have their vehicles burnt to ashes; a few expectant women will face an untimely demise due to lack of ambulances to clinics; a few self-respecting people will end their lives at the end of a rope because they could not bear to hear their starving children crying. Again, a few sons and husbands will be lost forever to narrow-minded politics and vested interests larger than themselves.

To the contenders, a bandh may be a form of symbolic resistance against the prevailing authority, but the costs are, alas, all too real in human terms.

It is a fact that 80% of the businesses in the hospitality sector have been forced to close shop in the last three years. It is a fact that thousands of farmers are unable to deliver their farm and diary produce to markets and are forced to dispose off the fruits of their backbreaking labor. It is a fact that maternity and infant-mortality rates spike during transport strikes. It is a fact that suicide rates, which have been at an all time high these last few years, goes further north during extended periods of forced closure. It is a fact that the economy – already in tatters with double-digit inflation rates – is stressed ever closer to the breaking point with each day that is lost to productivity.

The concept of a “Bandh” is founded on the principle of ‘Cooperating to NOT cooperate’. It is a participatory thing – not to be enforced at the end of a baton or a barrel of a gun. Organizers of programs that disrupt public life – past and future – should understand that they cannot go on demanding sacrifices while giving nothing else in return. We will not cooperate anymore.

But I do not have time for politics. I am too busy trying to earn an honest living during these times of upheaval, too busy trying to ensure the livelihoods of a hundred others who depend on the micro-economies around our enterprises. There can be no progress without work. There can be no revolution without work. And in this, without knowing what or who, I express my solidarity to the appeal made by the Consortium for the Right to Work, and through all its myriad aspects and interpretations, demand only one thing – LET US WORK.

The Right to Work was last modified: September 12th, 2013 by Raj B Thakuri
 

Blog Comments

  1. LPK

    TRUE!!WE have been SLEEPing. For Long… and We never felt any idea …People have been obstructed from right to work from time to time. We have seen obstruction, hinderance, and Threat while going for and returning from work. Once, my bike was nearly burnt, unless one of the vandalists asked me to run away thrpugh other way and the other way too was captured by obstructors. We need to display solidarity and enthusiasm to work. Those who do not like to work obstruct work. The People who never wanted to work and simply enjoy on born-riches, or those who have been born-lazy accepting Fate-driven life do not want to work.They want Others to refrain working as well. They enjoy such moments by merry-making.

    I agree with the Writer. We all are laborers. Nobody is boss and no body is lower class. All are equal. Roles are different, however, because of natural selection. a Cow cannot play the role of a lion, or, a rat play role of a dog, an evil play role of a God, or , Osama play role of George Bush.
    People have misconceptions: That person is riding the ladder to the top. I am at bottom. So, he is wrong, and I am right. Then he starts making such unions/communities… to intentionally harm the t person who had ability to play the role and was chosen to be at top.
    Nepalese politics is derived from same notion. Politics is not a lazy game. I have read stories of great leaders who rwrely slept, because they needed to find solutions to current problems, they were wooried constantly on how to best derive the solution and to help the commoners.In countires like ours, we see contrast. leaders enjoy and have no work, just talk all the time, while common people are in despair,with NO RIGHT TO WORK.

    In Nepal, We need to create jobs so people can exercise their rights to work. The Right to work, Work itself, working spirit, and output of the work determines a country’s future. Other poltical matters should never affect work, or, attributes of work. Personal ego related to work has been unproductive , so, we see the Western countries citizens have no personal ego in the working patterns, but, collectively WHOLE Working concept that helps everyone, not just a single person. RIGHT is for everybody, commoner, not for a single person’s self indulgence.

    When a child is born he cries, which is the first sign of his work.This applies for animals as well. Those animals which want to go hunting learn and apply hunting tactis so, their stomache does not remain hungry. It is their born right to hunt. The hunted ones have born-right for hunting other to-be-hunted beings and to be saved from Hunters, say, by running, camoflouging…so, the nature’s cycle runs infinitely.

    On the End, the Right to work concept should be taught to politicians/unions/communities/Human Rights Watch…so, Nepalese or any other people get chance to feed their stomache at any moment. It is up to the concerned Authorities/Communities/Civilized Beings/Human Rights Watch/Journalists…to assure that the RIGHT to WORK has been excersied fully.So, the Nepalese contemporary politics must not abide by Not-Coooperate principles that they imported from their close associates, but, raise and resolve issues while working. The current IT and communication infrastructure just allows that: Express as much as you can during work. No Need to leave daily Work to run to streets to protest. Protest by using New technology, new devies, and new means..a NEW revolution is essential for protecting the Right to work.

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