Is Nepali Nationalism a Fashion only
Nepali nationalism needs no questioning
Professor Ananda Prasad Srestha
TGQ1: Some high flying intellectuals opine that Nepali nationalism is nothing more than a “fashion”. Is it that what is being said? Your comments please Professor Srestha?
Prof. Srestha: Nowadays it has become quite surprising and “fashionable” that different terms and idioms are being defined and even redefined.
First of all, the term nationalism has its roots in the word nation. Therefore, it is quite common to take in terms of one’s own country and exert the national identity so simply put, nationalism does not need to be redefined.
Of course, it is quite common to accuse nationalism as pseudo nationalism or ultra nationalism.
In other words, those who profess to be nationalists are regarded to be conservative and narrow in their approach to views and issues.
By the same token, those who redefine the term are categorized as anti-nationals by nationalists.
So this debate can go on and on without resolution.
Take for example, another term democracy.
Today in Nepal we are trying to redefine democracy as complete democracy, inclusive democracy when the term is all complete and inclusive. We are even trying to substitute it as “Loktantra” .
Taking all this into consideration, it has raised a somewhat uncalled for definition of democracy which has already been accepted as rule of the people, by the people, for the people.
But coming back to the term nationalism, simply meaning love for one’s own country, identity and attachment with the soil and this seeking a redefinition doesn’t appear appropriate.
For example, America is a nation of immigrants. These immigrants that have migrated to the US overtime have gone there for purposes of economic well being. There is no blood relation with that country as such.
But still, we hear of American nationalism and American interests vested or otherwise.
In this context, Nepal is a “blood” country. Nepalese are born here and have lived here for centuries. So Nepali nationalism itself need no questioning.
The “blood” tie with the soil is enough.
It simply means protecting the national interests. Nothing more nothing less.
Nepali nationalism can’t only be a fashion
Deepak Gajurel, Associate Professor, T. U
Nationalism is a belief, a heart-deep rooted emotion, among the citizens of a nation that the state is of primary importance, above any individual or organization or institution. Nationalism is not only physical or territorial entity, it is a collective identity towards communities which are not naturally expressed in language, race, culture or religion but rather socially constructed by the very individuals that belong to a nation.
Thus nationalism can’t be a fashion only. It is one’s unflinching love and honor towards the soil that gave birth to him or her.
In Nepal's context, nationalism emphasizes collective identity - a 'people' must be autonomous, united, and express a single national culture. But it's not against any other country or society. Nepalese have an honored past of being independent, since the beginning of the history, free from any outside control or say interference. This history has built up, among us, a sense of strong feeling of love towards our Mother Nepal that does not tolerate even a slightest gesture of interference from outside.
Nepali nationalism should remain in the hearts of each and every Nepalese. Loving one’s own country doesn’t mean that we speak against the other nation. Nationalism is nationalism.
Nepali Nationalism is experiencing a fast-paced downward spiral
Professor Durga Poudel, USA
Prof. Poudel: A close look on the recent waves of expressions on nationalism by political leaders’ and their cadres at various occasions and relating these expressions with their actions in the ground it clearly appears that these expressions are just the political rhetoric, they are ad-hock, haphazard, hypocritical, and are counterproductive to Nepalese society and the nation.
There is clearly a competition among the political leaders and their cadres on saying who is most nationalistic in words, while their behaviors and actions are perhaps quite opposite. Nepali nationalism at the moment has become a matter of self-glorification for our political leaders, and there is no doubt that it has been spread among the political sphere as a fashion. Current developments and happenings in the political, economic, diplomatic, societal, and cultural fronts, as well as Nepalese political leader’s life-styles, activities, attitudes, behaviors, decision-makings, and especially their public speeches, expressions and the messages given to their party cadres and the common people sufficiently indicate that Nepali nationalism, at this point is dangerously experiencing a fast-paced downward spiral. While nationalism is an ideology that unites all the citizens of a nation for the nation’s common good, it is the common responsibility of every citizen for its cultivation, nurturing, fostering, and strengthening.
Currently, Nepalese society is in the whirlpool of differences, disagreements, dissociation, division, and heading towards disintegration, and this unfortunate course of Nepalese society must be immediately reverted back through reconciliation, appreciation, mutual respect, harmony, unity, uniformity, solidarity, and national commitment for peace and economic development. We need to develop a common identity, uniformity, and adopt behaviors and practices that are good for the nation and the society as a Nepalese citizen, not as a client. These nationalistic practices and behaviors may include being proud to our culture, traditions, landscape, people, history, independence, sovereignty, and the society; love for our national resources and infrastructures; putting efforts to protecting and preserving them; recognizing and accepting unity between diversity; following and respecting democratic norms and values; determination and confidence for our own economic advancement rather than seeking perennial support and help form hardworking and tax-paying people outside; and always making decisions considering our nation first. Political leaders’ gross negligence, carelessness, disrespect and selfishness, especially on the issue of national uniformity, identity, and uniqueness; preservation of culture and traditions; and utilization of national resources, as well as their superficial and shallow understanding of the complexities of Nepalese society, economy, geopolitics, and global environment are some of the major causes of this downward spiral of Nepalese nationalism. In addition, low level of awareness on nationalism in the part of the general public, massive foreign interest due to geopolitical situations, and the failed political parties and their leaderships in building confidence and uniting diverse Nepalese nationalities, from plains to the high mountains, are other reasons for this downward spiral. However, Nepal’s glorious history, traditions, culture, genuine Nepalese patriotism, common citizens, and the need for a rapid economic development and socio-economic transformation of the nation is calling for all political parties and their leaders to have a national reconciliation and the transformation of the current state of a hollow Nepali nationalism to a concrete and true Nepalese nationalism through peace, democracy, mutual respect and harmony, national integrity, uniqueness and identity, sovereignty, and a fast-paced socio-economic transformation of the nation. This is an urgent call from Nepalese society, this is the need of the hour, and this should not be overlooked and missed.
Nepali nationalism is still live and vibrant
Prof. P. Kharel, Chairman, Nepal Press Institute
TGQ4: Some high flying Nepali nationals claim that Nepali nationalism is confined to a fashion? What say you in this regard Professor P. Kharel? Your exclusive comments please.
Far from being confined to mere fashion, Nepali nationalism is still live and vibrant. It is only that some of the mainstream political party leaders, who currently rule the roost, have chosen to either put the issue on the backburner or prefer to bury it deep while the vast majority of the Nepali citizens have been intensely concerned about the prevailing state of affairs. There is no doubt that foreign interference through a variety of channels and agencies has heavily penetrated different units and organs of the state structure. In such a situation, it takes time for the boiling fever to well up to the limits and burst. The humiliating manner in which Nepal suffered at the United Nations in the recent years--first, in its bid for a seat in the Security Council and, recently, in its attempt at having its nominee elected as president of the UN General Assembly. Presently, many Nepalis, across the cross-section of society, have gradually begun to raise their voices. Some new leaders and groups will surely emerge sooner or later to strengthen the issue of national interests that have been gravely affected in the recent years. That will be the time when the current crop of leaders will suffer their true selves and eternal condemnation by contemporary society and posterity.
Nationalism is not a fad or merely it is something to be taken lightly
Professor Sushil Raj Pandey
HoD, Political Science Department, T.U, Nepal
TGQ5: How you Professor Pandey view the notion of Nepali nationalism? Is it a fashion or has some intrinsic meaning inside the term as such? Your exclusive comments please.
Professor Pandey: Nationalism is a strong attachment to State, in particular to the culture, to the political heritage that provides recognition to an individual as citizens.
In the modern context, with the rapid acceleration of globalization, nationalism transcends further to global identity.
For a nation like Nepal, the interface between nationalism and globalization is vital to the protection of its security of the country.
Nationalism is not a fad or merely it is something to be taken lightly.
For us as the Nepalese the value of nationalism is very very precious.