Dr. Shiva Gautam
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School, USA
Dr. Gautam is an Associate Professor of Medicine at
Not so many people know the sentimental attachments that Dr. Gautam possesses for this weekly. I must admit that he was the one, back in 1984, when he contributed his expertise while bringing out the first issue of the Telegraph Weekly. He was at that time in
Last week, we approached this modest personality, currently residing in the
Dr. Gautam: The Nepali Diaspora is looking at the unfolding events in
Yes, Diaspora members, individually and in an organized way, are constantly engaged in activates aimed at peaceful solutions. These activities include: organizing rallies, writing opinions and suggestions in papers, raising funds, lobbying for international attention and support, conducting seminars and workshops or being engaged in scholarly research activities. For an example, you may find several articles and views published by Diaspora members on topics like federal structure and proportional representation.
TGQ2: Prime Minister Koirala last week made exciting comments as regards the present King. In effect, he told the King to abdicate. Will the country’s politics become politically stable as expected by the population and by a section of the Nepali academia with the King’s abdication gestures? Should the King abide by what Koirala suggested?
Dr. Gautam: I think PM Koirala is telling the King what the king needs to do if he wants to save the monarchy. It is an irony that ordinary citizens have been asked to sacrifice their lives for monarchy in the past, and now a monarch, who was not destined to be a monarch, is being asked to sacrifice for the monarchy itself. The country's politics will not be stable in near future whether the king abdicates or not. It will take some time to address and fix the causes of instability. The King's lingering to power may be one of the sources (out of many) for the continued instability. I don't think PM Koirala is asking the king to abdicate out of whim, but the events as are dictating him to do so.
Also, tell us about the present status of the King: is he a suspended monarch? Or an active monarch? Or even a defunct one? Your remarks please!
Dr. Gautam: I think the present status of the king is that of a suspended King.
TGQ3: The Maoists are shortly to enter into
Dr. Gautam: In the short term things will be as they are. In the long term, I do not know; only time will tell. No political party or government in the past (even democratically elected) has behaved in a manner that is demanded of them. I can only hope that they will stop all those activities and present themselves honestly before the people and serve the people. Politics is and has been a dirty game and will continue to be dirty. Also, in this game who ever grabs the power by waging wars, by winning people's hearts or carrying people’s sentiment is going to rule, and will try to bend and retell the history in its favor.
TGQ4: The country is all set to go for the conduct of the CA polls. The general assumption has been that a sizeable chunk of the Nepali population do not possess adequate knowledge about the nitty-gritty’s of the said polls. Given this fact, do you think that the CA poll results would prove beneficial for this nation? Have you any thing to suggest? Your opinions please!
Dr. Gautam: Again, reason for agreeing to go to CA polls is solely for bringing the Maoists in the mainstream with the hope that it will end conflict and bring back peace and prosperity in the country. And all Nepalis knew that, even though a sizable chunk of Nepali population does not understand the nitty-gritty’s of CA elections. But the way things are unfolding in
TGQ5: The Brahmins are under constant attack from all possible political quarters. Allegations are being made that the Brahmins exploited other ethnic groups and tribes for centuries which capped the possibilities of their progress and development in the fields of education, higher positions in the bureaucracy and the likes.
Dr. Gautam: I think these are true allegations if the reference is made to the past. In the present political context, they mostly are political rhetoric. If GP Koirala, Madhav Nepal, Baburam, Prachanda and many others like them are the examples of ”big" Brahmins, then they will not be invited to perform Hindu rituals and pujas even by other Brahmins.
Where the fault lay? Have the Brahmins or say the alleged Bahunbad really to be held accountable for?
Dr. Gautam: I think it is a complex problem, and not completely unique to
Do you agree to those allegations? Or do you summarily disagree to those criticisms?
Dr. Gautam: Bhaunbaad to me is a system of overall social, political and moral corruption. Classical Brahmins argued for institutionalized discrimination and injustice and played fundamental in the rise of Bahunbaad. Some of the suggestions put forward these days as measures for correct the ills of Bahunbaad may, in fact, give new life and continuity to Bahunbaad itself, if not thought out and executed carefully.