Greater Nepal is not impossible!
Phanindra Nepal, Lecturer Patan Multiple Campus
He is at the moment a Lecturer at the Patan Multiple Campus in Lalitpur, Nepal.
He is considered to be a reservoir of knowledge and a commanding authority as regards the “Greater Nepal” theory to which he prefers to call a Movement.
Mr. Phanindra Nepal is working as a secretary to the Border Concern Civil Forum. Mr. Nepal is concurrently the chairman of “Unified Nepal National Front” as well.
He has several books to his credit and many thought provoking articles which have been published in several national and international newspapers.
He is also the author of books entitled “The ABC of Greater Nepal” and “Nepal-Tista to Sutlej”. He has also edited a book on “The reality of Indian encroachment in Susta”.
Last week, we met this nationalist at a seminar and approached for an interview to which he readily agreed-Below the results-ed.
TGQ1: How you Mr. Nepal have been assessing the overall political events unfolding in the country more so after the September Kathmandu explosions? Who could have been behind such blasts? The Terai outfits? The Maoists? Or some unknown groups? Your comments please!
Mr. Nepal: There could be no second opinion that the incidents were inhumane however, the Nepali experience of last decade(s) suggest that it is not that we should take them very seriously but the motive with which the explosions have been carried out must be mulled over seriously. To add, in the aftermath, the two Terai outfits had already taken the responsibility, however, the war of words between the Maoists and the Nepal Army alleging each other for their involvement in the incident suggest that the conflict may entangle further in the days ahead. And it cannot be out rightly negated that if the problem persists for long it may have some negative impact on the Nepali politics as well.
However, I suspect RAW behind this heinous act as it has the majority or better say an overwhelming say in the Nepali politics. It is also known to all that it is only India and India alone that benefits more by keeping Nepali politics in a fluid/fragile and unstable state. And as politics continue to be fluid and unstable, economic activities cannot take its desired course thus the country becomes poorer and poorer. The result is thus what India desires from Nepal.
It is also likely that forces who do not want CA polls in November this year may be behind the explosions. And the reason behind the Terai Groups claiming the responsibility could have been a ploy to provoke the Pahade people to attack the Terai people in Nepal, finally, paving way for India to send its army in Nepal in the name of protecting the Indian migrant community here. This also proves why India has deployed a huge contingent of security personnel along the Indo-Nepal border of late. It is comprehendible why the deployment is not merely to curb terrorist activities but instead India needs as well some plausible reasons such as to protect its citizens in Nepal and thus that would be the mere pretext to enter into the Nepali Territory.
As yet it is only due to the tolerance and intelligence exhibited by the Pahade community living in the Terai, such Indian designs has been averted.
Nevertheless, what Nepal could do is to control the Nepal-India border to stop the arms trade, the arms that are being used against the Pahade community.
TGQ2: As we understand, you had been advocating the theory of “Greater Nepal” for long time in the past? Has the theory died a premature death or you continue in your initiatives for the same? What sort of response you received from the Nepali intellectuals during your campaign? And also tell us what was the response from the other camp?
Mr. Nepal: My association with the “Greater Nepal” movement is more than a decade and a half long. I can tell you that “Greater Nepal” was not a matter of discussion in the past, now it has become a major issue in the country’s national level politics- inviting various levels of serious discussions in the Nepali academic sector and beyond. Thus there is no point in saying that the theory has died a premature death. And this issue will continue to survive as long as Nepal does not get its lost territory back-lost because of the Sugauli Treaty.
I can also assure you that the Nepali politics that is presently divided in various fronts will one day be united in favor of “Greater Nepal”. It is also true that each and every Nepali share the pain deep inside their hearts because of the Sugauli Treaty. This pain will continue until we get our deserved rights back. And “Greater Nepal” is the objective of my life and I hope that it will come true during my life time itself if the nationalists co-operate me in my endeavor.
We are trying to move ahead with the motive of transforming the demand for “Greater Nepal” into a movement. In the process, various types of comments have come up, both positive and negative. Some say that India will never give our territories back but I question unless we formally demand how can they give us? It is said that unless an infant cries even the mother sometimes forgets to give the milk her own child.
Talking of our intellectuals now, they are more content with the party tags they shoulder. It is a matter of shame that intellectuals here toe a party demand, thus the movement for “Greater Nepal” does not, let me admit, at present suit to any party line. Just think, our leaders who even do not impart a single word in protest against continuous land encroachment by the Indian side, how would they demand the return of our illegally occupied lands by the Indian side? And the so called intellectuals would also not dare to cross the party line but recently some independent thinkers have come up in support of our movement. A great encouragement for us indeed!
It is for sure that the Indian side fears the movement for “Greater Nepal” originating from the Nepali soil. This has indeed become a matter of headache from them. They fear one day this movement may drag international attention which it would ultimately. If we get our lost territories back, Nepal’s eastern periphery can extend up to Bhutan and Bangladesh. This implies that the Indian controlled eastern states will finally detach themselves from the Indian Union-the colonial offshoot of British Raj. Thus the separatist groups waging movement for independence such as NAGA, ULFA, BODO and others in India could benefit from the movement of “Greater Nepal”.
Finally, India will have only one option left and that is to shape a treaty with Nepal to take Darjeeling in lease and Nepal in return could ask for extending its territory up to the Bangladeshi Border.
I now feel that the Eastern states in India are thus nearing their Independence.
TGQ3: Media reports say that Indian side has been constantly encroaching upon our lands in different parts of the country. However, the political parties, radical communists included, do not utter a single word in favor of their own country? How you take their silence?
If so then, should we demand the outright abrogation of the Sugauli Treaty of 1815? Given the fact that India is expanding her territories by intruding our lands, would it be a befitting response to India if we talk of the abrogation of the Sugauli treaty?
Mr. Nepal: The frequent media reports that the Indian side is encroaching upon our land are not at all fabricated events. In reality, the Indian side has been exceeding all the limits and there is not a single adjoining district in Nepal that has not faced continues Indian encroachment, to say the least.
To boot, we have lost almost 372 Square Kilometers in Kalapani area where the Indian military has a camp since Indo-China war of 1962 wherein India embraced a shameful defeat. More over, our territorial claims reach up to 17 Kilometers far from Kalapani. Add to this, some 20, 000 BIGHAS( approximately 13,000 plus hectares in metric system) of Nepali lands have been currently under Indian occupation in SUSTA area in Nawalparasi district. The list might go long of such encroachments in different parts of this country.
More perplexing is the response from the Nepali side. More so, the silence exhibited by the political parties and the so-called Maoist revolutionaries’ included is indeed surprising. This surprising silence is more intriguing. For me, silence is a sign of agreement or acceptance. Thus, I am forced to conclude that they have provided their positive nod to this Indian act of threatening our sovereignty. Which is also a proof that India itself is not abiding by the clauses of the Sugauli Treaty thus there is no point that the Nepalese alone should go by the clauses of the treaty. Thus India reminds us time and again that the Sugauli treaty is no more valid as they continue to intrude our territory.
In reality, the treaty became null and void right on 14th August 1947. Had we been smart enough to get back the lands that we loosed through the treaty of Sugauli during the 14 to 15th August, the entire lost lands of the Nepal would have been in our possession since then. But we failed. The fact is that from 14 till 18th August, 1947, the lands which we lost under Sugauli treaty could have been secured. To be precise, Darjeeling was under the command of Pakistan and a Pakistani flag was fluttering there till 18th of August*. (Read Status of ceded land of Darjeeling and Leasehold of Kalingpong by Rukesh Mani Pradhan) For the Pakistanis, they took over Darjeeling for it was an area that was adjoining East Pakistan then. But India became suddenly sensitive to this Pakistani overtures and instantly took hold of Darjeeling forcibly in order to secure its attachment with the Northeast which incidentally adjoined East Pakistan then.
Though India commands authority in Darjeeling in the East and Kumaon Garhwal in the West, however, the right of Nepal to claim these lands remains sovereign and valid till to date. Nepal, logically, can even now demand those lands from India. To me India which believes in expansionism and the one who enjoys sadistic pleasure in grabbing others’ property and money are similar both in content and nature.
TGQ4: Many academics in Kathmandu see the influence of India in our internal affairs and that too in a brazen manner.
Do you see such influence in Nepali politics by India or it is just a rumor only? If yes, then why India is dictating its terms and conditions on practically each and every political issues? Is our leadership that weak not to withstand the extraneous pressures? Your comments please.
Mr. Nepal: There is not only the Indian influence in Nepali politics but there is clearly an intervening Indian role in our internal matters. It is not just a matter of gossip but not to say so would be improper in effect.
Recently, the Indian ambassador to Nepal Shiva Shankar Mukherjee celebrating the Indian Independence day in Kathmandu said that “November 22 CA elections” must be conducted at any cost. Similarly, in 1992 the arrival of Chandra Shekhar and his remarks made at Ganeshman’s residence about King Birendra heralded a new era for India’s naked intervention in Nepali politics which continues even to day which is there for all to see.
Indians want those political parties in Nepal to succeed that serve well their objective to impose their directives frequently through their handpicked political men.
In reality, the Indians act as a mentor and thus reprimand our leaders and our leaders consider themselves fortunate to be their slaves.
The Indian mindset is such that they consider it their inherent right to interfere into our internal matters and this has become possible only because our leadership readily accepts such interference. Some times I also feel that India is not to be totally blamed. We have several examples of our own leadership publicly admitting their Indian lenience. Therefore, our politics is much weaker than our own perception. There is no National Agenda and Rigidity over any issue that warrants national attention. They are merely pawns at the hands of foreigners. Until and unless we have leadership a la “Mir Jaffar and Lendhup Dorje”, Nepal will remain ever as an Indian colony or at best a Protectorate.
We need such leadership that is more responsible to its own citizen and the country. Nepalese leadership should fear the wrath of its own citizen rather than fearing India.
Unless our leadership gets rid of the mindset that without India’s blessings they cannot acquire influential positions in Nepal, the Indian will continue to influence, interfere and intervene into our politics.
TGQ5: After the restoration of parliament by the King, what prompted the Seven Party Alliance along with the Maoists to bring in the new citizenship bill?
Mr. Nepal: For me it was a move to threaten the very sovereignty of Nepal as a nation state as a whole. As the restored parliament passed the citizenship act the provision for granting citizenship to any one born in Nepal was accepted thus India benefited the most which meant that India gained through its citizen’s acquiring Nepalese citizenship. In a few years time the situation will be such that the population of the Nepali of Nepali origin will be dominated by the Nepali of the Indian origin, thus real Nepalese will be in minority in their own homeland. Which also implies that now on the Indian Immigrants who now have the Nepali citizenship could influence greater say in Nepali politics. Finally, the Indian design of seeing Nepal becoming Bhutan first and Sikkim later is taking a formal shape.
And I also foresee a final standoff between the Indian migrants and the real Nepali population in Nepal very soon. Thus, to save our independence we must fight.
* Pakistan's flag fluttered in Darjeeling at the "Planter's Club" presently a hospital