The novel coronavirus disease has turned out as the cruellest pandemic of the 21st century. Even if the world has succeeded in making anti-COVID-19 vaccines within a year of its outbreak, the loss of lives and economic costs it caused were beyond imagination. Over 3.5 million people have succumbed to the pandemic that hit almost all countries across the globe. It has exposed unequal social order, turned the economy upside down and created political crises in many places. The economic downturn can be revered when the pandemic is brought under control but the loss of lives is irreparable. The mental, emotional and psychological shocks resulting from the demise of near and dear ones will last for long. Their deaths disrupt families and sink the society into the whirlpool of grief and sorrow. The COVID-19 contagion has claimed the lives of many brilliant people active in politics, economy, medicine, business, education, literature and so on. In their demise, the nation has suffered a huge damage, with negative repercussions on socio-economic progress.
On Tuesday alone, the country lost two important figures - former chairperson of Bibeksheel Sajha Party Ujjwal Thapa and economist Dr. Govinda Bahadur Thapa. They succumbed to the virus after days of battle against it. Their demise has left a void in the political and intellectual fields. Ujjwal Thapa, who died at the age of 44, was known for promoting alternative politics at a time when the mainstream parties were dominating the scene. He encouraged youths to join politics in order to clean the mess in the political and governance sectors. He initiated campaign ‘Paribartan ka lagi Hami Nepali Ek’ (Nepali unity for change) and applied a constructive method to defy Nepal bandh, which has been a cheap tool of different groups to press the government to meet their demands. He launched a drive ‘Nepal is open’ against the tendency of enforcing nationwide strike time and again. His initiative - ‘let’s end Nepal bandh forever’ gained popularity among the people. His innovative approach and anti-corruption drive attracted young people towards politics.
His contribution to Nepali politics endeared him to diverse sections of the society. So there are outpouring of grief and heartfelt condolences from the people of different walks of life upon his demise. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that he was stunned by the news of the death of Thapa. Nepali Congress president and main opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba said Thapa had successfully established himself as an emerging youth leader, and his demise was a huge loss to Nepali politics. The ruling CPN-UML, in a separate statement, has described Thapa’s political philosophy as a source of inspiration for Nepali youths. The people from different walks of life have paid tributes to Thapa and recalled his role in ending various anomalies in the country.
Nepali society is now passing through a difficult time. Those, who have lost their relatives and friends, have borne harrowing experiences and agony. The demise of the political figure like Ujjwal Thapa makes us learn the ultimate truth of life – it is short and fragile. Thus, this is a moment to support with each other so that the pandemic will not infect and kill more people. It is imperative that we should demonstrate solidarity with the government to fight the pandemic by adhering to the basic health protocols and safety measures. The political parties and groups may harbour different opinions but all should have unity of purpose to stop the virus from causing more losses of lives.