Monday, 24 January, 2022

Deconstructing Political Hierarchy

Madhav Prasad Dahal

As the Western philosophy at a time was characterised by an inherent desire to place meaning in the centre, Nepali politics, too, seems to be moving in the direction of idolising leaders. No matter how the party leaders claim to be adopting democratic practices, the political parties are essentially conservative so far. A huge mass of youths are still in favour of continuity of the leadership of the same persons already tested. They feel they can satisfy their hopes in those figures. They idolise those leaders and never oppose the politicisation of apolitical organisations. As result, leaders have extended their political organisations even in the sectors that deal with people’s everyday concerns. In a democratic party, idolatry is dangerous and it gives birth to a tyrant. If a person exercises institutional power for a long time, there arises in him/her a latent desire to prolong it as long as s/he lives.

Personality cult
This is what is happening in the major political parties of Nepal. Though there emerges an impulse to revolt against hero worship culture among the youths of some parties, it has not been effectively launched yet to dismantle the age long political superstructure. The recently held general conventions of some political parties show that majority of political representatives of the major parties still indulge in personality cult.
Political parties tend to interfere every state mechanism as per their party interests. This has obstructed the sound delivery of the services provided by the state. In this respect, Derridean deconstruction that began in the 1960s in Europe is still worth considering in the political arena of Nepal. Derrida interrogates the Western logocentrism to free philosophy from the grip of reductionist tendency. Now, it’s time for Nepali youths and intellectuals to think of a similar endeavour to deconstruct politicisation of our apolitical organisations. Aditi Lappathi asserts that admiring someone is normal and everyone has someone that they admire, but idolising someone is not healthy and can go too far.

Similarly, according to Dr. Timothy Legg, the admiration of public figure is normal and part of human development. But it gets harmful when the admiration starts consuming parts of someone’s life. It is important to know if the admiration is reasonable. If we admire someone because of their unselfish contribution for the state, it’s fine. But if our admiration is not justified, the preconceived ideas about them are not the way to go. We must dare to deconstruct our faith to give birth to the new ideals.

We often talk of the need for good governance but never feel to question ourselves if we, as responsible citizens, have anything to change within us. We feel proud and blessed to introduce ourselves as ever admirers and supporters of political organisations we are attached to. We cannot wipe our lenses to see things clearly. We unhesitatingly support even the wrongful deeds of the political leaders we idolise. If we cannot make use of our prudence fairly, we have no right to blame others. If we cannot dare to rise above the party interest for the sake of our nation’s welfare, it’s a living death. We cannot and must not become the slave of a rigid creed screening our sense of fair judgment. For the sake of our own liberty, we must make an attempt of interrogating and deconstructing our current practices.

Some people are afraid of new things and new faces. They fear to deconstruct established principles and practices. They are ready to carry on even the outdated ideologies and the ideologists at the cost of this fear. The logic behind this fear is a possible uncertainty. But they forget the fact that new things are for progress. We often hesitate to elect new faces during the election. Our nation is paying a huge cost for our inability to stand above all sorts of creeds. Sticking to orthodox politics with an irrational fear of impending chaos is unjustifiable. The foolishness of carrying the myopic leaders on our shoulder must now be deconstructed.
We must have courage to unmask the hierarchical focus of current politics which puts individualism, power capture, groupism, nepotism and hedonism respectively before socialism, equality and development. Without deconstructing the current hierarchy, a new political culture cannot groom. We cannot push our country further back by following their dead ideals.

Power sharing culture
Nepal suffers from a power sharing culture among political parties instead of choosing the capable persons for different posts. The universities, health-related organisations, national security organisations, judiciaries, diplomacy, and all sectors get their executive heads appointed on the basis of power sharing bargain among the political parties. A free and capable individual without his/her involvement to any political party can never dream of acquiring any executive posts.

Politics pervades the whole nation. It has declared the death of meritocracy. The political practice is in contrast to the Darwinian rule of the survival of the fittest. It has changed the definition of meritocracy. Now, to establish the fittest one in all sectors of our society, we need to deconstruct the pre-eminence of the existing political parties and let our country be ruled by system that regards all as equal without being influenced by any forces.

(The author is an Assistant Professor at TU.