Nepali Nationalism revisited

Telegraph Nepal, Editorials

When Nepal as a nation-state is about to collapse and perhaps counting its last breath, some kind souls have raised the issue of waning Nepali nationalism.

The fact is that, if one were to recall, the past few years gave birth to an unusual phenomenon which had it that those individuals, the selected few, who preferred to talk on Nepali nationalism were instantly dubbed as anti-nationals to the extent that the real nationalists, if they were at all, feared to talk even of their own aspect of nationalism. Great nightmarish trend that it had been in one's own land.

Thanks that the issue, though a belated affair, presumably for fear of some near and dear alien forces, has come to the fore with a big bang. However, the issue though has been given a new lease of life but yet it remains to be seen as to how long the Nepali political animals will be able to stick to their new and energy loaded stance as regards the notion of Nepali nationalism.

Sadly enough, it was a time when the lay men, nationalists included, remained in a scared state on how to talk on an issue which had almost been taken as a crime. Still it is an act of offense.

Albeit, the Nepali population, a section only, were forcefully told that they should talk of Gandhi and Nehru nationalism and very recently the Kathmandu intellectuals lauded the nationalist and educationist credentials of one Indian national, Madan Mohan Malviya. The fact is that Nepali educationist, Jay Prithvi Bahadur Singh, who contributed a lot in spreading the light of education across the country remains largely ignored by his own brethren who prefer to laud the contributions made by some Indian nationals like Mahatma Gandhi and JN Nehru instead. Definitely these two Indian nationals were hero of their times but the fact is also that they were hero of India but not of Nepal and thus there is no logic in highlighting their deeds which were for the Indians and India, Hindustan and Bharat  only. Yet, these two Indian nationals must be revered by the Nepali population to the extent that our own national heroes and builders do not remain in an ignored state. Forgetting one's own national's Herculean tasks and applauding others is a crime against the nation. At best it is a treachery. We by the way told to forget the unifier of modern Nepal. That was our fate thanks the republican order.

Having said all these, the question now is how to preserve Nepali nationalism? Can we sustain nationalism only by making tall claims and eloquent lectures? Or are there any other dimensions as well to maintain a vibrant nationalism?

Rightly said Upendra Yadav, January 12, 2013, that unless Nepal becomes an economically self reliant nation, the question of nationalism will swing to and fro and that, says Yadav, over these years foreign interference have increased to a large extent which has also its contribution in the weakening of Nepali nationalism.

Nepal and economically self reliance? Perhaps not in our life time. But yet Upendra Yadav has some point when he says that Nepali nationalism was comfortably stronger in the days when Jung Bahadur ruled Nepal. In saying so Upendra perhaps wants to hint that after the fall of the Rana dynasty, the nationalism element was the hardest hit of all the needed components. 

Upendra thus stressed in making Nepal economically a pulsating nation. But the question is who should be in the front? And how the nation could be made economically independent?

Speaking at the same media interaction program, the UML leader Pradip Gyawali jolted many a brains attending the talkathon when he unhesitatingly revealed a million dollar secret that "when the Indian RAW agency approaches each and every private quarters of Nepali leaders then in such a situation the talk of Nepali nationalism becomes redundant and that, Gyawali said further, the abstract notion of nationalism remains at its lowest ebb ever in the recorded history of Nepal". Gyawali also opined that the excessive alien interference in Nepali affairs that have become already a hallmark of Nepali politics is the root cause for the weakening of nationalism and that such alien pressure have got to be blocked. But who will bell the wild cat?

Fine! But who will take the guide in curtailing such foreign intervention? Gyawali remains tight lipped. Gyawali would have done well had he declared the names of the RAW agents that are perhaps, most expectedly to begin with, inside his own party. The logic is there. He would have obliged the nation had he declared the names of his own suspected leaders who thrive at the cost of their own nation. Supplying state information? Perhaps yes!

But we also need to go deep into what Professor Surendra KC told at the media interaction. Professor KC in all his modesty said that propaganda nationalism will do more harm than good.

By and large, the national leaders talked on a topic that had almost lost its relevance and meaning. Better late than never. The issue has been brought to people's notice. The Organizers deserve deep appreciation in that they have reenergized an issue of import to Nepal and the Nepali population. At least the job must be lauded because from now onwards people can talk on waning nationalism and will, presumably, not be taken as a crime by our near and dear alien fiends. That' all.

Published in the Telegraph Weekly January 15, 2014.

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