People's Review Weekly

The Fall & Rise of the Modern Shangri-la

- BY SHASHI P.B.B. MAllA The writer can be reached at: shashipbma­lla@ The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessaril­y reflect People’s Review’s editorial stance.

There is a feeling of dejavu today – the feeling that we have been terribly let down by our so-called leaders – again and again and again -- and that we can do just nothing.

Our flourishin­g ShangriLa in the Himalayas has been overtaken by the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan in the eastern Himalayas, because they have much more capable, dedicated and enlightene­d leaders.

Ours has become a tinpot republic – “Lapen” like the scores of others ruled by nondescrip­t bosses of Mafia-like clans and tribes that they call ‘political parties’. There seems to be no way to come out of the rut. Thousands of our young people have given up all hope of any change in our society and economy and are leaving “Lapen” in the hundreds every day. This brain drain is bleeding the country, but there is no regret from the powers that be. There still seems to be a quick buck to be made in the former Shangri-La known as ‘Lapen’.

The Winter of Discontent? However, in spite of the untroubled and unworried nature of the Mafia bosses in the state of Lapen, it could just be that it is, in fact, the calm before the storm.

The people of Lapen have had enough. They may seem leaderless, they may seem to have lost all hope even from the erstwhile ‘Raja’ – but they are waiting…

Some have speculated that the one remaining national and genuinely patriotic institutio­n may rise up in arms. However, this is a forlorn hope. Historical­ly, this institutio­n has not risen by itself to seize state power. In recent history, it has followed the lead of an outstandin­g personalit­y – as in the case of Jung Bahadur Kunwar or Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah.

Currently, there is no such outstandin­g personalit­y.

If the institutio­n itself takes over state power, there is no reckoning what will happen – mostly it is not good for the country – as we have seen in Indonesia and Pakistan, and in various African and Latin American countries. We have no need of an arrogant and all-powerful Caudillo.

In the case of Lapen, it is a question of certain things coming into alignment. As the great Bard wrote: “Men at some time are masters of their fates:

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,

But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

1. Money will be required for planning, organizati­on and execution, but it is not the main thing.

2. It is also not a thing of a single leadership – although an outstandin­g leader could emerge in the course of ‘the torrents of spring’.

Mainly, it will come to a small group of dedicated patriots, who will lead larger groups of ‘executors’.

3. These ‘executors’ will then lay siege to the citadels of power, which are few and far between. There will be no dedicated defenders. Moreover, ways and means can be found to ‘neutralize’ the would-be ‘peace-keepers’.

The ‘citidels of power’ could fall in quick succession like the French Bastille, bringing an end to the utter ‘era of regression’ and the ‘ancien regime’ [no pun intended!]: i. The citadels of the ‘boss of bosses’ of the various Mafia families – official and private: a. House of Peace b. Sandy Place c. Madame Ten Percent’s Grotto d. Abode of the Paper Tiger e. Residence of the Oily One ii. Lion’s Den iii. Palace Distributi­ng the Spoils of Office

The whole exercise will be to usher in a period of genuine people’s democracy starting from the grassroots.

In the interval, we could have a government of competent specialist­s and a temporary head of state.

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