By Narayan Prasad Ghimire, Kathmandu, Aug 22: The passing away of prominent socialist thinker Pradip Giri has spread a shockwave in Nepali politics and society. Irrespective of the political parties and ideologies, castes and creeds, the condolence messages have been pouring in.
Soon after the announcement of his death at 9:30 pm last Saturday at Mediciti Hospital, Lalitpur, almost all condolences and messages of tribute were evidently eulogies to the leader. Among many things to remember of the late Giri, his contribution to critical thoughts in Nepali politics and society is equally worth remembering.
Political parties are essential pillars of a democratic system. The democratic system becomes successful when it respects the dissenting voices and works for building a just and equitable society. The late Giri was such a figure in Nepali politics who always advocated for the elevation of the living standard of ordinary people for the equitable society. He often criticized the unjust practices of Nepali politics and society.
It was his long advocacy to address rural problems as the late BP Koirala said. The critical thoughts he expressed time and again in the parliament and in other platforms are both mesmerizing and bitter as they evoke the voices of the downtrodden, marginalized and backward ones. His voices and concern used to sting those in power. The logical reasoning he showed in the speech is unrivalled. It is now worrying who others will follow his suit in terms of sustaining the critical sphere.
He was the leader of the Nepali Congress but did not fail to expose the incongruence between the word and actions of his party leaders without any fear and lure.
Talking to the Rashtriya Samachar Samiti (RSS), noted journalist, Purushottam Dahal, who worked in close association with Pradip Giri for over four decades, remembers the late Giri as a 'university of thoughts.' He had unrivalled art of analysing new thoughts and expressing them in an effective manner, Dahal shared, expressing doubt whether the critical sphere in Nepali politics will be sustained as it was.
As Dahal said, the lawmakers including the deputy leader of the parliamentary party of CPN UML, Subash Nembang, and CPN Maoist Centre leader Purna Kumari Subedi, also remembered the days all lawmakers used to wait patiently for leader Giri's turn to speak in the parliament meeting to listen to his riveting speech.
Talking to the RSS on Sunday after they paid tribute to the late thinker Giri, they viewed they would not forget the contribution the late Giri made with critical knowledge for the revolution and changes.
A voracious reader, Giri was equally a spiritual thinker and ardent lover of literature. The excerpts from the Srimadbhagawat Geeta, from international politics, philosophy and quotations of the renowned figures in his speech were so powerful that the listeners used to glue to him.
Influenced by BP Koirala and Gandhi's love for peace, his erudition of philosophy, history, economics, and others might have helped develop critical thoughts in the late Giri, which will keep him alive even after his physical departure, according to Dahal.
Now, going through social media, the video clips of late Giri flick every second on the screen. The one that he spoke to review the budget presented by then Finance Minister Dr Yubraj Khatiwada is worth sharing here. Late Giri had brought the reference of the word 'pura' coined by an eminent person. Pura was 'providing urban amenities to rural areas' he explained while commenting why the Finance Minister focused on making available amenities/facilities only in cities while ignoring these to rural areas.
The late Giri was speaking on the budget and then Finance Minister and all others were listening to him patiently. Egregious ignorance of villages by the federal budget was exposed by him.
Moreover, this colossus person's departure has come at a watershed moment in Nepali political history. With the end of a long unitary system, the federal system is in place, but it is yet to be institutionalized to serve the poor, backward, and marginalized society. The country has just seen multiple transitions- politics, governance, law, and administration. The people are to be ensured benefits from federalism. At such time, adequate oversight and observation of the system, political leaders and parties is imperative. Who will follow Giri's path of logical reasoning and question the rulers to hold them accountable? Isn't it serious?
Making protest and objecting to any decision is easy but reading voraciously, being well informed on the issue and criticizing any decision with arguments and evidence requires academic rigour and perseverance that the late Giri showed. At a time when grotesque greed for power, post and properties has plagued Nepali politics, what our parties/leaders will learn from the contribution and lifestyle of the saintly leader Giri and whether they make corrections in behaviour will be observed by the people in coming days. (RSS)