Nepal, where progressive agenda gets hijacked by “progressive elites”

Our progressive elites conveniently believe all these pahade Chhetri/Bahuns are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, just like them.

Bineeta Gurung

In Nepal, it has become fashionable to call yourself a progressive, particularly if you come from an elite family and want to rid yourself of the guilt of being born into one. No wonder all those claiming to be the voice of the marginalized are part of the PEON (Permanent Establishment of Nepal- Thanks to CK Lal for that coinage- though I don’t agree with him on the definition). Go through any English daily in Nepal, they reek of these progressives, with their immaculate English, ever ready to condemn any pahade Bahun/Chhetri. The only fault of these pahade men being their castes, as if they had voluntary control over it. Our progressive elites conveniently believe all these pahade Chhetri/Bahuns are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, just like them.

You don’t need to engage with the truly marginalized. You just need to attack your fellow elites to prove you are a progressive. Those that don’t toe your line of politics are all reactionaries. You are the lone voice meaning well for the unprivileged. The rest are oppressors.

Regarding identity politics in Nepal, the space for a nuanced discussion is shrinking. People do not speak for fear of being labeled status quoists by our progressive thinkers. Nepali progressives are the ones who use the “diversity” argument to beat up non-leftists. But they forget respecting diversity includes respecting diverse and opposing opinion as long as they are not imposed through coercion.

Published by Siromani Dhungana

I am a Kathmandu-based economic journalist (currently with The Himalayan Times), researcher and lecturer of Journalism and Mass Communication at Tribhuvan University. I have also been appointed by the Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Development Center to revise the journalism syllabus for grade nine and ten as well as to rewrite journalism textbooks for the secondary level.

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