Feb 22, 2011

An open letter to the people of Egypt !

(Here's a letter I have written to the people of Egypt on the success of their revolution.)

Greetings and respect to you, the people of Egypt.
During you heroic struggle against totalitarianism , as a friend of liberty I had kept my fingers crossed and heart hopeful. Now that you have finally achieved your freedom, I congratulate you on your achievements. My heart leaps with joy to see that you've inspired millions of people around the world to wake up, get organized and fight against the enemies of liberty and banes of humanity. Like you I have my fingers crossed and prayers sent to them too. I sincerely hope someday we'll ALL be free and all our societies will be open and accommodate everyone's freedom. I am sure that human spirit will triumph the countless oppressions as we can see in our history, it has always been so.

Photograph by: Hossam Rashad
Now that you have achieved you freedom, I would suggest you to have a careful watch on it as a wise person once said, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." Freedom is always at the brink of extinction. I pray  that you do not to make a mistake as we Nepalese did and let 601 dictators rein in the place of one dictator. I pray that you not let the so called leaders capitalize on your struggles and fulfill their own interests like it happened to us. I pray  that you to think for everyone and respect everyone's rights EQUALLY. I pray that you not to take the path of vengeance but of forgiveness and make your nation as such that every individual's life and freedom is cherished and the fruits of their labor is well protected which we haven't been able to do.

As you have now experienced the dangers of totalitarianism, I request to keep your powers with yourself and delegate only the necessary powers to the politicians /state. As they say, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, please refrain from giving more power to the state and breed corruption. A society based on mutual respect and strong rule of law is the only society worthy for humans.I want to reiterate that only free people of a free society can take the human civilization forward. I am sure that the belief that free people when protected from forceful aggression of others and otherwise left on their own, will always find their own path to progress through their creativity, courage and voluntary cooperation will come true in your case.

You have shown the world how peace can conquer oppression and inspired the whole world to do the same. And I somehow think, if things continue to be the same in Nepal, someday we will be following your footsteps too. I thank you for this and pray that you don't let your struggles go in vain by letting the enemies of freedom who come in various names and disguises have a upper hand in your society.

And with all my heart I pray for the success of Libyan people in their quest for freedom. May freedom prevail!

Your friend of liberty,
Surath Giri

वर्षमान पून्ज्यु , ५० हजार कमाउन एउटा औसत नेपालीलाई १७ महिना लाग्छ !

Barsaman Maalik
ढोङ्गीहरुको कुरै गर्नु नपरोस भनेको आज फेरि कुरा गर्नु पर्ने भयो । कथित गरीब , उत्पिडित , सर्वहाराका पार्टीका नेता भनाउदा वर्षमान पून ज्यु ललितपुरको एक सामुदायिक बिद्यालय को स्वर्ण महोत्सव उद्घाटन गर्न हेलिकप्टर चढेर जानुभएछ । ललितपुरबाट केबल ५२ किलोमिटर टाढा भएको ठाउँमा जान  ५० हजार खर्च गरेर अभिभावकहरुले दु:ख गरेर कमाएको पैसा आफ्नो बिलासमा खर्च गर्नु भनेर कुन चै सिद्धान्तले सिकाउदो रहेछ कुन्नी , बुझ्नै गार्हो ? हाम्रो साधारण बुझाईमा त ५० हजार कमाउन एउटा औसत नेपालीलाई झन्डै १७ महिना लाग्छ , जनताको धन आफ्नो बिलासितामा खर्च गर्न नैतिकताले दिदैन । सर्वहारा , गरीब जनताका कुरा गर्ने अनी आफु चै एउटा औसत नेपालीले १७ महिनामा कमाउने पैसा बिलासितामा खर्च गर्ने , खैकुन्नी एउटा साधारण मान्छेलाई त लाज लाग्नु पर्ने कुरा हो । तर यी ढोङ्गीहरुको कुरा बुझिनसक्नु को!

Feb 17, 2011

क्यासिनो भनेको एक प्रकारको जुवा हो भन्ने तपाईंलाई थाहा छ ?

क्यासिनो भनेको एक प्रकारको जुवा हो भन्ने तपाईंलाई थाहा छ ? अनी जुवा खेल्नु भनेको पैसा र समय को बर्बादी हो , भर्पूर पैसा हुनेले मात्र खेल्ने चिज हो भन्ने नी ? 

तपाईंलाई के बेकारको प्रश्न सोधेको होला, यो त १०-१२ वर्षको बच्चालाई पनि थाहा हुने कुरा हो भन्ने लाग्यो होला ,हैन ? तर अहिले प्राय: मानिसहरुको कुरा सुन्दा नेपालीहरुलाई क्यासिनो भनेको जुवा हो भनेकै थाहा रहेनछ  की क्या  हो भनेझैं लाग्छ ।काठमाडौं र पोखरा म सन्चालन भैरहेका ८ वटा क्यासिनोले राजस्व नतिरेकाले आन्तरिक राजस्व बिभागले अनुमती रद्द गरि बन्द गर्न सिफरिस गरेको सुन्दा धेरै जना खुशी भए । कानून अनुसार लाग्ने कर नितर्ने ब्यवसाय माथि कारबाही हुनु पर्छ भन्ने कुरा मा कसैको बिमती नहोला । लाग्दो कर तिर्नु पर्छ । 

 तर क्यासिनोले नेपालीहरुलाई बिगार्यो , "करोडपती नेपालीलाई रोडपती " बनायो , त्यसैले नेपालीहरुलाई बचाउनका लागि सरकारले क्यासिनोहरु बन्द गर्नु पर्‍यो भन्ने कुरा चै लाजमर्दो कुरा हो । के नेपालीहरुलाई क्यासिनो भनेको जुवा हो, पैसा नहुनेले जुवा खेल्ने चिज होईन भन्ने थाहा छैन र ? कुनै पनि जुवामा खेलाउनेले सकेसम्म पैसा धुत्न खोज्छ , तेसैले समयमै सहि निर्णय लिनु पर्छ भन्ने कुरा नेपालीहरुलाई थाहा छैन र ?  क्यासिनोमा नेपालीलाई जना प्रतिबन्ध (यो आफैमा अर्को बहस को बिषय हो ) छ भन्ने कुरा थाहा भैकन क्यासिनो जाने ती नेपाली के पूजा गर्न मन्दिर हिडेकोमा झुक्किएर त्यहाँ पुगेका हुन र ? म क्यासिनो गएको छैन , सम्भवत तपाईंपनी जानु भाको छैन होला। हामी सरकारले क्यासिनो नजानु भनेको छ भनेर क्यासिनो नगएका हौं की आफ्नै बुझाईले क्यासिनो जानु ठीक होईन भनेर नगएका ?? नबालकलेझैं सानोतिनो कुरामा पनि सरकारलाई गुहार्ने , अनी भोली चै तेही सरकार भ्रस्ट भयो भनेर गनगन गर्ने ? अच्चममा छ बा !

प्राय: नेपालीले तेल खाने गर्छन् , तेलमा कोलेस्ट्रोल हुन्छ जुन ह्रिदयघातको एउटा प्रमूख कारण हो । तर प्राय: नेपालीलाई यो कुरा थाहा छैन । सबै कुरा सरकारले गर्दिनु पर्ने भए , तेल पनि प्रतिबन्ध गर्न पो लगाउने की ?  अथवा सडकछेउका अस्वथकर मो:मो: पसल हरु पनि बन्द गर्न लगाउने की ? 
"नेपालीहरुलाई बचाउनका लागि । "

हैन भने हामी सबैले बुझ्नु पर्ने एउटा कुरा हो : 

"कुनै नागरिकलाई ऊ आफैंबाट बचाउनु न त सरकारको दायित्व हो न त कानूनी प्रणालीकै ।"- Casey Percell

Feb 16, 2011

10 things to keep in mind if you are looking for a career in public policy

I recently finished reading the book entitled "Creating your path to a policy career" published by the Institute for Humane Studies. Targeted at young people aspiring to advance the causes of liberty and free market economics, the book is a very useful read for anyone wishing to make advancing liberty their career. The book, however is equally useful for anyone (non free marketers too) wishing to make a career in public policy. Written in clear , simple language , it covers topics like the structure of social change and role of think tanks, skills essential for a career in policy world, roles with in a think tank, steps necessary to kick start your career, ways of changing or influencing policy making  outside of think tank etc. Each chapter of the handbook is written by someone with an expertise in a particular aspect of the public policy world, which has added much to the usefulness and relevancy of the book.

Here are the top ten things, I learned from the book:

In the world of public policy, integrity or character is the most valuable asset anyone can have.
"Integrity is more important than all the good grades or degrees you’ve earned, more important than all the management courses you could possibly take, and more important than all the knowledge that you could absorb on any subject. It’s something over which every responsible, thinking adult has total personal control, and yet millions of people every year sacrifice it for very little. It will not only define and shape your future, but it will also put both a concrete floor under it and an iron ceiling over it. It’s what others will more likely remember you for than your looks, your talents, your smarts, or your rhetoric. If you lose it, it will taint everything else you accomplish", says Lawrence W. Reed, the President of Foundation for Economic Education, one of the earliest free market think tank in USA.

Good writing skills is a must.
A career in policy world involves a lot of writing regardless of whatever your role is. "Writing is not just for the blogger, the op-ed author, and the novelist. It is also the absolutely indispensible tool of the fundraiser, the recruiter, and the manager", says Mr. Matt Mitchell, a research fellow at Mercatus Center.


There is no such thing as a typical day in a think tank. 
Process of influencing policy decisions doesn't have a well-defined set of activities or a path. You'll have to be perform various roles ranging from an op-ed writer to fundraiser to mail dispatcher to event coordinator which implies anyone choosing a career in public policy has to be flexible and must love changes and various roles. Policy world is more of an adventure than a well trodden path.

Higher degrees in economics or political sciences are very valuable. 
A PH.D. in economics or political science is well respected in the policy world so are Masters degrees in these disciplines whereas degrees in other disciplines aren't as valuable by themselves but are valuable in respect to the contribution they make to your work. But any degrees is less valuable than the quality of your work.

Understanding of Economics helps in policy
Policies of any field always has something to do with economics due to the cost and benefit that comes attached with any public policy. So, understanding of economics is necessary for personnel involved in the policy world. "Economic thinking allows policy professionals to ask the right questions, thus helping good thinking to overcome some tempting policy errors that are made every day", says James D. Gwartney, Professor of Economics at Florida State University.

Understanding of Politics helps in policy
Like economics, politics is another indispensable aspect of any public policy. So, an understanding of politics really helps while advocating for or against a policy. Too many times, bad policies get enacted solely for the reason that their lobbyists have a good understanding of politics and use it to their advantage.

Use (Not misuse) of statistics is important
Statistics are seductive. It's necessary for a policy professional to have a good command of statistical tools and analysis.However, statistics represent just information not knowledge.It's important that statistical information aren't misused to serve vested interests.

The secret of convincing people to your thinking lies in your persuasion and issue framing skills.
Different people have different values. Some people may value liberty above all other values whereas some may put more stock in other values. You need to have good persuasion skills and the ability to frame your issues in the manner suitable to your audiences. As Fred Smith, founder of Competitive Enterprises Institute notes:

In the political world, people aren’t stupid because they’re stupid.
They’re stupid because they’re smart.
And if we try to make them smart, we’re being stupid!

Think Tanks accommodate several roles and backgrounds.
Think tanks accommodate roles that range from academicians to journalists to managers to researchers. No matter what is your background, you can still contribute to the world of policy. Policy analyst, policy strategist, communications specialist, investigative journalist, researcher (academician), blogger, op-ed writer , networking expert are some of the common roles in a think tank.

There are many ways to influence policies besides working in a think tank.
Working for a think tank isn't the only way you can influence a policy. There are various professions you can choose to influence policy decisions in your country. You can influence policy decisions by being a professor, businessman, politicians, author, op-ed writer, activist or any other profession. However, working for a think tank gets you in the forefront of the battle of ideas.

Note: The book is freely available for download. Click here to download the book.

Feb 13, 2011

धर्मभिरु कम्युनिष्टका कुरा

हिजोको नागरिकमा प्रकाशित  यो लेखले हसाँउनु हसायो । बल्ल बल्ल प्रधानमन्त्री बन्ने धोको पुर्याएका कम्युनिष्ट नेता झलनाथ खनालले बलुवाटार प्रवेश गर्दा धर्मभिरु हरुले गर्ने भन्दा चर्को पूजा-आजा गरेछन । कठैबारा, के गरुन त सत्ता लिप्साले असह्य भएर घुमिरहदा अझ उल्टो झापू खानु पर्दा तातेको  उनको कन्सिरी बल्ल बल्ल शितल जो भाको छ । हो न हो , देवी प्रसादलाई पक्कै देवीले नै पठाएँको हुनुपर्छ , मलाई आशिर्वाद दिन भन्ने लाग्यो होला उनलाई । 

Cartoon by: Robin Sayami
हुनत राजनितीग्यहरु भनेका जातैले ढोङी हुन्छन् , तर यी कम्निस्टेहरुको ढोङ चै बुझी नसक्नुको हुँदोरहेछ । धर्म र इश्वरवाद बिपरित धारहरु हुन भन्ने मार्क्स्वादी हुन या धर्म अफिम हो भन्ने माओ का अनुयायीहरु "कथाले माग्ने " बित्तिकै भने धर्म भिरु बन्न तम्सिहाल्दारहेछन । जनताहरुले बढी कमाए भनेर रिस गर्नेहरु आफुले चै तेइ सम्पत्ती खोसेर थुपार्नु हुने रे । अरुले पसिना चुहाएर सम्पत्ती कमाउदा चै "पुँजिपती सामन्ती " हुने आफुले लुटेर धन थुपार्दा चै सर्वहारा भइने । सन्सारका मज्दूर एक हुनु रे अनी फेरि राश्ट्रवादी पनि हुनु रे  (स्टालिन )। विश्वव्यपी आर्थिक संकट पूँजिवादको अन्त्य हो रे , सोभिएत रुस र अन्य प्राय: कम्युनिष्ट देश्हरुको पतन चै साम्यवाद को अन्त्य होईन रे । चुरोट चै आधारभूत आवश्यकता रे , ईन्टरनेट चै २१ औँ शताब्दी को रोग रे (क्युबा) ।

खै यिनिहरुको कुरा बुझेर बुझी नसकिने । गार्हो प्रश्न सोध्यो भनेर अहिले प्रतिकृयावादी, बिदेशी प्रभु, प्रतिगमनकारि, राजावादी, अमेरिकी जासूसको आरोप लाग्ला, तेसैले भो न कुरो गरम्, निस्टामा कमी हुनेहरुको ।

नोट: सम्पादक ज्यू , कम्युनिष्टले पूजा गर्‍यो रे भनेर ३ पाना समाचार छाप्नेले निजी बिद्यालयका सामन्तहरु र कम्युनिष्टहरु मिलेर आफ्नो निजी स्वार्थ पुर्तिका लागी नयाँ बिद्यालय हरु दर्ता गर्न नदेको कुरा लाई पनि (एकै पाना मात्र भए पनि ) प्रकाशमा ल्याईदिए , हाम्रो शिक्षा क्षेत्र , ठुला बिद्यालयहरुको एकाधिकार र सरकारी बिद्यालयको राजनिती र भ्रस्टाचारको प्रकोपबाट तहस नहस हुन बाट बच्ने थियो कि ? 

Feb 3, 2011

How to slap a politician? A Layman’s guide to active citizenry

Devi Prasad Regmi, a simple farmer, made headlines after slapping Jhalanath Khanal, a prominent politician (they don’t deserve the title of leaders!) during a party convention. Though he later regretted his act after being jailed for a couple of days and advised his wannabe followers not to do the same, the sheer amount of publicity and the support he got through online campaigns as well as real life campaigns points out how terribly do we detest our politicians. It's to no one's doubt that when he was hailed as heroes by the general public , it was for doing something which everyone had always wanted to do but didn't have the courage. I wonder how many of our politicians would have busted cheeks if all the "wanna-be Devi Prasad" were to go on a slapping spree. Oh, what a sight it would be!

Getting back to reality, slapping a politician (literally) might not be a good idea (you'll have to spend days in jail and no matter how much people say they support you, you'll end up having to pay for your own bail and  it does NOT work). Slapping them won't change anything except the color of their cheeks and embarrassing (if they are embarrassed by anything at all) them a little.However, having some understanding of fundamentals of economics, how economies function, what are the various methods of running economies and political systems and what makes our lives so dependent on their whims might help. And making the right demands and allowing nothing more than essential powers to the politicians might be useful. Boy, what do i mean by that?

If you look around, the major sources of our frustration are the stagnant economy, sky-rocketing inflation, increasing lawlessness, anarchy and threats to our lives and property, aggression of powerful ones over the less powerful ones, dwindling opportunities, increasing gap between the world and us, power cuts propelling us to middle ages to name a few. Dig down deeper and you’ll notice these problems originated in one way other because we asked politicians to act on our behalf!

Every economy has to decide what are the goods and services it is going to produce, how they are going to be produced and who gets what amount of the goods and services produced and who's going to lead the growth. We could let ourselves (individuals) decide or we could ask the politicians to decide for us. The more we ask the politicians to decide for us and give them the power, the more they are going to slap us in face without shame whereas, the more we let the people to decide themselves, the more we are going to slap the politicians by making them jobless.

For eg, who decides currently, what "noodles" do you want to have and in what amount? Or what shoes do you want to wear and for how long?    "YOU"... However, who decides how much electricity to consume and at what price? Who decides how much petrol to have and at what price? Who decides whether foreign companies should be allowed to operate in Nepal, who decides whether their goods or services are good enough? Who decides which roads will be built and which won't be? Who decides what's going to be the inflation rate for a year? "NOT ME, NOT YOU" It's the POLITICIANS.  And where these issues need to be decided, the dirty game of politics supersedes the common sense and rationality of general people and we get caught in their game. Needless to say, they have been slapping us so much that our indignation and common sense is getting numbed!!

We are partly to blame for all of this. At one hand we are expressing how disappointed we are with the politicians whereas on the other hand, we are making demands that they take care of more and more of our needs. 

When one is asking for nationalization of schools and educational institutions, he/she is asking these very politicians to decide what education we'll get or whether we get education at all? (The money paid will be one way or the other yours and yours alone...ever heard a government or politician producing any wealth?)

When one demands that state should provide him/her with employment, he/she is asking these politicians to decide what job should he/she get, and how his/her wealth should be used? (I don't think you believe that when government provides you with employment, you get your salary from politician's pocket, or do you?)

When one is asking for "Right to food" be written in the constitution and be taken care of by the state, all he/she is asking is these very politicians to decide whether you get to eat or not? (I don't think you believe that people are starving just because "Right to food" isn't written in constitution and writing it there will solve the problem, do you?...it'll worsen the situation instead)

So, next time you make a demand, think whether you really want them to make the decisions ("state should take care") or do you want to make the decisions yourself ("leave it to the market"). Make sure that you don't let them slap you! Giving the politicians less and less power to control the destiny of your lives and properties is how one slaps a politician!