Ashutosh Tiwari asked 5 quick questions to Anil Shah, Facilitator of “म नेपाली – हाम्रो नेपाल” campaign:
1. What exactly is this event and this campaign, and why do you think this is important at this time in Nepal?
ANIL SHAH: The event of Wednesday 4th February 2015 is the commencement of what we refer to as the ‘Ma Movement’, which in effect is based on the philosophy that if we are to truly build a prosperous and peaceful nation each of us has to start individually by being the best that we can be. In the event we will hear from individuals who have excelled in their respective fields as well as from young motivational speakers on how to take hold of positivity to build on an individual’s core competencies to be the best that one can be, in their domain of choice.
The reason for the timing is the environment of negativity and despair that seems to be enveloping the nation now, with the blame game for our collective shortcomings being thrown about and everyone fixating of the faults and failures of each other. At a time like this there has to be a platform that showcases ‘hope’ and we believe the seed of that hope for a better future for our nation starts with each of us individually, with ‘Ma’!
2. Since the end of Jana Andolan 2, we are all — from Mechi ko Mahakali and from the Himalayas to the Tarai — struggling/debating/discussing/arguing/quarreling with one another to define what it means to be a Nepali and what Nepal means to each one of us and to our ethnic group. In this context, your assertion “I am Nepali [in] our Nepal” could strike some as an example of naive patriotism bordering on, well, jingoism. Your response?
ANIL SHAH: Sometimes it is the most naïve and simple thoughts that are the most transformational. Let us take the relationship of a mother with her children, one a doctor, one an engineer, one in politics, one in business, one unemployed, each will have their own strengths and weaknesses, each a unique ‘Ma’ but each will receive the unconditional love of Ama. For her each child is as special as the other.
Now when we look at the relationship from the children’s perspective, they all share the same mother, no one has the right to claim her exclusively, or keep her to just themselves for she is ‘Hamro’ Ama! We have built an environment where in the diversity that used to be our beauty and strength, is today threatening to tear the very fabric which makes our nation. So while there are many who talk negatively on a collectively basis on the national, regional, ideological, religious, or ethnic level, we believe someone has to stand up and talk on the individual level. For in all this din to build unanimous consensus nationally, we seem to have forgotten that this is only possible if we start with building the correct philosophy individually, we all need to remember that the change I aspire for starts with ‘Ma’!
3. Who are some of the speakers at the function, and what will they be speaking on? Will there be a unifying theme to what they will talk about?
4. What does success look like for this event, this campaign?
ANIL SHAH: This initiative is a journey and as in every journey there will be many milestones that we need to pass as we forge ahead. One measure of success for us is how many ‘Ma’s’ can we awaken and energize so as to enable the individual to open the doors to their full potential and be the best that they can. Another milestone is the ability to connect several initiatives that are currently happening and doing great work all around the nation by providing a platform for them too to be a part of the Ma Movement, not by leaving what they are doing, but by up scaling and doing the same in an even better way.
And yes, of course, the Ma Movement envisages the development of a network of Nepalis across the nation and spread around the globe who believe that enough is enough, now the time to talk is over now it’s time to work in a manner where each individual brings works to the best of their capabilities utilizing their strengths and competencies, so that collective we start building the nation we all aspire for. And as even the longest journey starts with the first step, the biggest of changes starts from ‘Ma’.
5. You are a busy banker. What motivates you to find time to do this sort of thing?
ANIL SHAH: Many of us live is cocoons of prosperity wherein we are satisfied in our secure lives within these bubbles. But if you look outside these fragile bubbles you will see a nation in crisis. Now the question before me is will I wait for others to fix the problems, whether they be the Constitution, healthcare, education, economic development, natural resource utilization, or the solid waste management or will I see what can I do to be a part of the solution and stop being a spectator sitting my cocoon.
The Ma in me wants me to do more, but not do more by leaving whatever I am doing and jump into politics, but do more firstly by constantly bettering myself professionally and personally and then do more by sharing what I have learnt over the years of my life journey with my fellow citizens and learning from their life journeys so that together we can add synergistic value to deliver an even greater end result… and for me being part of the Ma Movement is the best way to do this, today, tomorrow and for as long a ‘Ma’ walks the earth!