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Rudra Pandey

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Deconstructing Girija

I am infuriated by the appointment of Ram Sharan Mahat as the finance minister. By appointing a person who has miserably failed thrice in the most important portfolio of the country, Girija has insulted the Nepali people. It is a clear example of Girija’s inability to break the circle of bad guys who unequivocally bow down to him. He does not seem to have courage or the interest to give an opportunity to a newer generation that has radical ideas.

A ministerial post is not something that comes back to someone time and again even after doing a horrible job for the first, second and third times. One time stupidity can possibly be pardoned, but not if someone exhibits dumbness and incapacity three different times. Otherwise, what is the difference between King Gyanendra bringing Giri and Bista back versus Girija bringing his incompetent men back to the helm?

This sort of behavior is stereotypical of incompetent leaders like Girija. They do not want to bring new people into their core group. They are afraid of being exposed and they do not want to share their dirty little secrets with more than the number of people that already know or, in fact, were actually involved. To them, the more people know their weaknesses, the more questions to answer. This happens in many third word countries – including India and China. Incompetent leaders stay at the helm and continue to give opportunity to their incompetent subordinates despite past failures and unpopularity. This is a feudal as well as a communist mentality. With his political behavior in the last 17 years, Girija has proven himself to be a constant victim of feudal mentality that he is possessed with.

Looking at all this, I want to think more about Girija and analyze his political behavior which has been the cause for the many unfortunate events the country has had to suffer in the last 17 years. Why does he repeat the same mistakes over and over again, and why does he not seem to learn from them? Why does he depict the “Laloo Prasad” mentality? Why can’t he say “enough is enough – let me do something about this”? Why does he not see that time is running out for him? These are some questions that I would like to find answers to by analyzing Girija’s past.

Girija grew up as an intellectually mediocre child in a very good family. As many of us know, his elder brother B.P. used to address him as “Hawaldar” and he was a laborer in the Biratnagar Jute Mill. There is nothing wrong with being a laborer. Many of us have worked as laborers and we still do, and we all have dreams. However, there is a difference between those who become a laborer because they are from an underprivileged family as opposed to someone like Girija who had access to schooling and could have gotten the best education possible.

Girija was intellectually challenged from childhood and his elders and parents had always had low expectations of him. According to child psychological theories, when parents and elders have low expectations of their children, the children end up doing less and develop an egocentric behavior becoming a victim of inferiority complexity. This behavior goes away in many of them when they grow up, but some of them become victim of this childhood low-expectation syndrome even during their adulthood. Those who continue to suffer from the low-expectation syndrome become arrogant, authoritarian, stubborn and unpredictable. They find it difficult to trust others. They do not easily challenge those who they think are superiors. However, they try to crush those who they think are below them.

Girija seems to be suffering from the low-expectation syndrome even at the age of 85. He bowed down to the King until recently since he always thought the King was superior. It took a while for him to have the courage to challenge the King openly. He empowered himself after 1990 by crushing his seniors like Krishna Prasad and Ganesh Man. He never took them as being superior to him, and thus he had to crush them by hook or by crook. He knew that he would not be able to compete with them. So he used mean tactics and played dirty games to move ahead of them. Being B.P.’s brother made him think of the Nepali Congress as his personal party, and he continues to think that way, which is evident in his grooming of his incompetent daughter to a leadership role. He fears competition because he still subconsciously regards himself as one of those who can’t compete with learned and more capable people.

The feeling of inferiority was due to the expectations (or the lack thereof) of his elders and he still suffers from that. People with this type of syndrome are fearful and never want to trust strangers. They never give opportunity to those they think are better than them. They establish a team with a bunch of “yes/yes” guys. They can’t accept open challenge. I do not blame Girija for this – I blame his upbringing.

Not only his childhood but the very organization – the Congress Party – that he gave his life to, is responsible for crafting Girija the way he is today. The lack of openness inside the Congress party has made Girija an unbeatable dictator. It is indeed ironical that he talks about democracy and runs his own party with dirty tricks and threatens those who oppose him. He is running the party without any checks and balances. The party fund seems to be controlled by Girija and his daughter without any official bank account. The rank and file of the party has no idea of the party’s funds and expenses. Gagan Thapa openly challenged Girija and his very foundation for not keeping clear accounts of the party expenses and running the party as if it were his personal property. And how did Girija respond? By tagging Gagan and Narahari Acharya as royal agents. How utterly shameful!

People with low-expectation syndrome get worse when they get opportunity to run a “closed” organization and freely punish their opposition. They enjoy crushing opposition voices rather than listening to them. They constantly promote the closeness and are encouraged by their success of depriving others of information. Being able to hide important information makes them feel more powerful and it serves their purpose. The absence of transparency and a feudal system inside the Congress party has made Girija worse everyday and I hope the process stops now. He has never had to correct his actions as he constantly got away with cheating the rank and file and mishandling the party funds. Girija knows very well he would have lost and would have been scrapped if there had been openness inside the party.

People with the low expectations syndrome behave very erratically and unpredictably when it comes to crisis situations. They compromise anything to save their ego and so-called prestige and become disrespectful to the very foundation they belong to. Girija proved his erratic and unpredictable behavior by dissolving the parliament with his party majority, conspiring to defeat his party president K.P. Bhattarai in the parliamentary elections, letting the party split to punish those who he thought went beyond his orders, and being disrespectful to Ganesh Man. It all goes to prove that this man has a huge personality problem. He should seek therapy even at the age of 85. A good therapist can help him and he could be better in 90 days. Let us keep our finger crossed that he will not do another costly blunder before he dies.