Let us mark the first of June 2021 as a dark day for the entire country when a brilliant personality like Ujwal Thapa passed away. A guy whose aim was to change the face of Nepali politics is no longer with us. While the entire nation mourns the loss of a young leader like him, I’d like to write about his massive contribution to Nepali politics. In the eyes of many young people, a leader like Ujwal Thapa, a political activist and a man who presented the beauty of politics to Nepalese youth in the twenty-first century, is an idol.
In a country plagued by poisonous leadership practices such as nepotism, favoritism, and cronyism, Ujjwal Thapa emerged as a beacon of hope for the youths interested in politics. If we look back a decade, politics was not a matter of choice or interest for the youth of Nepal. From the beginning, youths known as nation builders have traditionally played a passive role in politics. The reason for that is poor and weak leadership that serves its own interests rather than that of the citizens.
Since its inception, our politics had only centered on a few political parties, such as the Nepali Congress, Maoists, UML, and their numerous offshoot groups, who struggled to bring democracy to the country but forgot to put its principles into reality when they got into power. With constant exploitation of the uninformed and ignorant citizenry, so-called parties were able to rule in the name of democracy time and time again. But they consistently failed to function and deliver according to their agendas introduced before the election.
Consequently, a country that dreamt of peace and prosperity had to go through undemocratic practices like unaccountability, zero transparency, no rule by law, and corruption, among countless others. As a result, it directly impacted the country’s growth and development, causing widespread dissatisfaction among its citizens. Because there were no viable political parties in which citizens could place their complete trust, they were obliged to choose the least corrupt leader from the corrupt. This pattern lasted for a long time because no one had the fortitude to stand for a change.
Ujjwal Thapa emerged as a compelling figure who had the bravery to stand up to injustice and wrongdoing in the midst of it all. An entrepreneur and political activist who brought together tens of thousands of Nepali citizens and aligned them in the same direction of prosperity and common sense. In short, he was the one who dared to create 21st-century leaders for Nepal. He is also credited with making Nepali politics more youth-friendly by launching a series of campaigns on contemporary issues related to citizens’ rights, corruption, injustice and shed light on how one’s actions as a citizen might influence Nepal’s future.
In a country plagued by poisonous leadership practices such as nepotism, favoritism, and cronyism, Ujjwal Thapa emerged as a beacon of hope for the youths interested in politics.
At a time when Nepali youths had no faith in politics, he encouraged the young blood of a nation to become a part of it and made them believe that they can play an important role in shaping the destiny of a country. As a result, many young people today desire to be change agents and play an essential role in politics as a nation’s watchdog. Many youth wings even today carry the ideology introduced by him.
The political journey that began with a remarkable campaign: Nepal Khulla Cha
Nepal Banda was a daily occurrence during 2010 in Nepal. A total shutdown in which political groups use force and violence to shut down entire towns, cities, and even the entire country, creating a culture of extreme dread among Nepalese citizens. Ujwal Thapa, a citizen with the bravery to speak up against injustice, did not take this situation lightly and began to act against it.
He took to the streets of Kathmandu with a group of like-minded people to protest Nepal Banda. The goal of the group was to organize citizens to fight the offensive culture once and for all. They began to take further steps by inciting and assisting retailers in opening their businesses and encouraging citizens to drive vehicles to work during the Nepal Banda. They began conducting flashy automobile rallies themselves, branding themselves as Nepal Khulla Cha.
“Nepal should always be open, no matter what”.this was their campaign’s motto. This act demonstrated his significant leadership ability, which sparked a civil movement in him in response to various social evils, corruption, and injustices.
By continuing on this path, leading and participating in various civil movements, he understood that this is insufficient to transform the nation’s face. He discovered that only chanting in the streets in response to current difficulties will not fix the problem in the long run. He saw that the problem was not with current concerns that require change but with the leadership. As a result, he focused all his energy on cleaning Nepal’s toxic political culture.
Along with thousands of concerned citizens, he started on a long and arduous path of starting a political movement based on common sense and wisdom. Thus came Bibeksheel Nepali, intending to build leaders to defeat the most corrupt and incompetent ones that rule over us today. Bibeksheel Nepali, since its establishment, has empowered the youth of the nation to take action when time demands and play an active role as responsible citizens. In short, Bibeksheel Nepali as an alternative political force has played an essential role in bringing sensible youths into mainstream politics.
Today, the person who introduced youth to the beauty of politics is no longer with us. A patriotic guy who risked his life, rallied like-minded people from all across the country, stood up to injustice, and led several protests to form a peaceful and prosperous Nepal is no longer with us. The demise of a leader like him is a significant loss for Nepal, where leadership has been utilized to rule rather than to serve. May the departed soul rest in peace.
Rosy Giri is a law graduate and first runner-up of Miss Teen Nepal, 2015.