Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Unlikely Source of National Integrity

For all those who have been watching current season of Indian Idol know exactly who Prashant Tamang is. Wikipedia says "Prashant Tamang (Nepali: प्रशान्त तामाङ) is a Kolkata-based singer and contestant on Indian Idol. He is the first contestant of Nepalese origin to make it to the final rounds of Indian Idol. He is also the first person from the police force to enter the final rounds."
Every Friday and Saturday there is a buzz in the streets and gallis of Nepal. People are found gossiping not about Politics or King but about Prashant Tamang. When the clock strikes 9:15pm of Friday and Saturday, most of the fortunate ones with a TV are found glued to the channel showing Indian Idol. The following day everyone is found talking about how well or bad he performed the previous day. You can find people talking about it in the office canteen, bakery shop, restaurant and what not. Be it young or old, everyone seems not being able to get over the hang of Prashant.

So my question for you, the reader, is:

Has Prashant come as a blessing in disguised? Has he unknowingly contributed to our National Integrity?

My answer is YES. There have been events in the past (People Movement II etc) which have triggered some sense of patriotism. But Prashant Tamang is an unlikely source who has instilled or invigorated patriotism in the Nepalese world wide. All the family members stick together to watch him perform and pray that he performs and outwits every other contestant. People get disheartened when a judge says something negative about him. This might be a story of a fan. But in Nepal this is the story of a Nepali praying and hoping that Prashant wins. There even have been reports about Nepalese people near Indian border going to India and voting for Prashant. What has driven this frenzy? In the past too there was "Indian Idol". But why this time around we have witnessed such an event. Well from my understanding that is what Patriotism is. Although you may wanna disagree to this but ponder about it. To see a Nepali young lad win in such a critically acclaimed worldwide famous show is not a joke. We get worried and excited with him because he is a Nepali by heart. We want to see him perform well and win only because he has a Nepalese blood.

This is what the Wiki had to say about how popular Prashant is in the region:

"Prashant Tamang has become a celebrity in Nepal and Northern West Bengal. Prayers for his success are expressed even in website of Tamang Society.[5] Nepalese newspapers, websites, forums, blogs etc are filled with stories related to him and support for him. A riot, followed by a 12 hours bandh was observed in Darjeeling after the local telecommunication was unable to provide SMS service when Prashant was in "Danger Zone".

The mayor of Mirik, T.B. Rai, has vowed to spend Rs.10,000 in SMS for voting Prashant and his staff have also vowed to spend a month's salary on SMS for voting Prashant. Nepalese people working in Brunei, UK, Hong Kong, UAE are reported to have been sending money to SMS for him.

Rallies are organized in Darjeeling and Kurseong in his support, some of which are attended by his sister, mother and grandmother. A signature campaign for his support was organized by Himalayan Darpan Newspaper of Darjeeling. Schools, clubs and police are found asking people to support Prashant who have named him 'पहाडको गौरभ Pahar ka Gaurav ' (Pride of the Hills). Sikkim Cabinet Minister G M Gurung and S B Subedi planted tree saplings at Singtam to pledge the Sikkimese support to Prashant and to show the unity between Nepalese community in Sikkim and Darjeeling."

May be our politicians can learn a lesson or two from this saga. I bet even in their houses the story of Prashant Tamang is told and discussed. Learn from this saga and help Nepal become ONE once again. This heroic epic of Prashant has to be studied by all our politicians to understand what pride we have for being a Nepali. Show us that you can do this Mr. Politicians. Show Us.

Lastly, thank you Mr. Prashant Tamang for making us patriotic and proud in this critical time in Nepalese history.

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