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Shame On Us!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What is something in Nepal that those who SHOULD have it don’t and those who SHOULDN’T do?

The answer is SHAME!

Those who SHOULD but don’t are many of our political leaders, bureaucrats, people in positions of authority and power. Because they don’t is why they are so brazenly and flagrantly corrupt, insidious, and morally and intellectually bankrupt. No wonder, our political leaders turned into the BIGGEST disaster of the country, following — and eclipsing — the biggest natural disaster to strike the country in living memory: the April 25 and May 12, 2015, earthquakes!

Those who SHOULDN’T have any but do are many.

There are those accidentally born into a low-caste (such as my self) who, while growing up, are made to feel shameful. Some, like Dalit children (like those in the village of Thangpalkot) and Dalit adults (like Pandav Malik), are forced to live with shame all their lives.

The “explanation” is that they are paying for their past miss-deeds: “It’s their Karma!”

Others who shouldn’t but do are victims of other social ills. Such as children victims of sexual abuse and violence at homes and schools. Another group are girl and women victims of violence — from sexual abuse and harassment in schools, workplaces, and public places to rape in homes and elsewhere. Is it any wonder then that the biggest killer of girls and woman is suicide?! And I suspect, among those who kill themselves are those unable to bear and live with the shame associated with being a victim of acts (such as domestic violence or rape) that they were NOT responsible for!

Yes, as crazy as it sounds, no different from some other societies, Nepali society heaps blame on victims, especially when they belong to marginalized group and/or is female!

Be that as it may, Brene Brown has discovered something very interesting about shame which is worth a watch. The synopsis for the Ted Talk reads thus:

“Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.”

In other words, path to progress with many of the social ills our society suffers from, especially those that victimize the most vulnerable and the marginalized — the children, girls and women, Tharus, Tamangs, Dalits etc. — is two-fold to begin with.

We must, as a society, first, wipe away the stigma associated with being victims by acknowledging the existence of those social ills. And second, we must eliminate the taboo associated with being such victims by creating a safe environment in which to come forward and share their experiences!

There are other steps we should and must take and actions we must take too of course (such as enacting and enforcing laws, providing higher quality education, raising awareness about the issues etc.), but those two could be a great start!

I do however wonder if the shameless will continue to manipulate the Nepali society to ever move past this stage we are in.

I wonder if we will ever get past this stage where we pretty much always blame the victims. I wonder if we will ever get to a point where we have the kinds of open and honest discussions about shame (and other topics) Brown has in the video below, for instance.

In the mean time, enjoy the video!

If for whatever reason the video doesn’t play (I have had difficulties getting it to play), click here to go to the TedTalk page.

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