Many westerners know Nepal as a tiny Himalayan nation that is home tothe bravest of brave-Gurkhas. We are proud of our history. We take pride in mentioning the bravery of our founding fathers who gave uptheir lives so that we, the Nepali people, could live free. Needlessto say, Nepal's non-colonial survival during the nineteenth century is the result of the bravery of the countless men and women that gavetheir lives for territorial integrity.
Whether one would consider Nepal's non-colonial survival as beneficialor not is debatable depending upon their perception. Some may value freedom over material well-being, whereas others might preferdevelopment and economic well-being through colonization.
No matter what side of the fence you are on, the unquestionablereality is that the Nepali citizens, not the political leaders, are largely nationalists. They want to be identified as citizens of asovereign nation.
However, when it comes to the Nepali politicians, for the most part,the term "pseudo nationalists" better fits their character. Most of our leaders pose as diehard nationalists, but their frequent visits toour southern neighbor to seek the blessings of Indian politicianswould make it seem otherwise. It appears that for Nepali politicians,the buck stops at the Indian prime minister's door.
The frequent southern sojourn of Nepali politicians provides a veryimportant message: the power center lies in New Delhi. The list ofrecent visitors include stalwarts of both the Nepali Congress andUnited Maexist Leninist (UML) – Madhav Nepal, K.P Sharma Oli andBharat Mohan Adhikari, Chakra Pd Bastola, Sekhar Koirala and Ram BaranYadav. An increase in the frequency of visits and the subsequentbehavior of the politicians has clearly revealed that Nepali politicians cannot agree among themselves unless India forces them to.
The inability to come together and build consensus on pressingnational issues among the politicians is further enhancing the levelof dependency and reliance on India to solve our problems, which certainly is not a good thing. As citizens of a sovereign nation, weshould be able to make decisions that are good for the people withoutreceiving directives from our neighbors.
Madhav Nepal, the supremo of the UML termed his recent visit as, "One of the most successful political visits to India in recent times." Hisreasoning behind this is that the visit was important in guaranteeingIndia's continued support towards establishing peace and stable democracy in the country.
Like Madhav Nepal, many of our politicians are disillusioned aboutwhere the solution to our problem lies. They seem to think that thesolution to all our problems, including securing peace and stability and strengthening democracy, rests in New Delhi. Their actions revealthat they have completely lost faith in themselves; that they cannotget all the players on the same page until they get directives fromthe politicians in India. Is this a sign of decaying nationalism?
With passing of each day, India's indulgence in Nepal is increasing byleaps and bounds. It appears that the politicians have handed over thedecision making authority on Nepal's internal affairs to politicians in New Delhi. The general public is bitter about India's overindulgence in Nepal's domestic affairs, but we need to look at theroot of the problem. It is not India who is forcibly intruding intoour internal affairs, but our political leaders that are inviting India to intervene in our domestic affairs.
There is no problem that we cannot solve on our own. Our inability tosolve the problems is due to our politicians' inability to see thingsbeyond partisan politics. They cannot agree on things that are detrimental to securing peace and prosperity in Nepal. They havecompletely bypassed the constituents. It is hilarious to see themindulge in bitter rhetorical exchanges when at home, but when Indiawants them to flock together for whatever reasons it might be, they kiss and make up.
As far as India's selfless desire towards establishing peace andstable democracy in Nepal is concerned, it may not be as selfless asIndia would like it to seem. India's stance on democracy is highly questionable. It preaches democracy but supports Bhutanese monarch'sautocratic regime wholeheartedly, which has forced thousands ofgenuine Bhutanese citizens to languish in refugee camps and wastetheir precious lives. India's silence on both the Bhutanese refugee problem and the restoration of democracy in Burma clearly exhibits thedouble standards on the principles of democracy.
It's not only Bhutan but other south Asian countries, such as Pakistanand Bangladesh, where democracy has been choked to death. When it comes to democracy in Pakistan and Bangladesh, India seems to be indenial. To the dismay of millions of freedom loving people in SouthAsia, India is encouraging and perpetuating the military dictatorshipof General Musharraf by engaging in peace dialogues with General Musharraf. In other words, instead of making conditions conducive foremergence of democracy and helping citizens overthrow a dictator inPakistan, India is bestowing a political legitimacy on GeneralMusharraf. There is a difference between talking-the-talk and walking-the-walk and when it comes to democracy and democratic rights,India is certainly not walking the walk.
So, the question that arises now is: Is India selflessly for democracyin Nepal or in a long term plan to create the likes of Dasho Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, monarch of Bhutan and Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom,the president of Maldives, who would serve Indian interest and helpIndia administer proxy rule in Nepal?
If it is really for democracy in Nepal, why is India turning a blind eye on other South Asian countries where people's right to freedom anddemocracy has been choked to death and dictators are having theirfield day? How are democratic rights of Nepalese people more valuablefor India than the democratic rights and freedom of millions of peoplethat have been crying for freedom and democracy in Pakistan,Bangladesh, Burma, the Maldives, and elsewhere in Asia? It is hightime we reassessed India's motives and restored confidence among ourselves. We have got to learn to trust fellow citizens and learn towork together to solve our problems; we have got to learn to governour nation ourselves.
India helped us defeat the despotic monarch and we are thankful for that. But there is only so much India can do for us. At some point intime, we have got to learn to deal with our problems on our own, andthe sooner the better. Let us acknowledge the fact that India cannever be an honest neighbor and selfless well-wisher of Nepal because of its short term and long term agenda here. India's national interestand the security concerns come way ahead of Nepal's overallwell-being. Nothing is free in this world. If services are rendered,you have to pay for it. The encroachment onto Nepalese land in SustaVDC, Nawalparasi and other places by India clearly demonstrates howIndia makes us pay for all its help and noble intentions.
Seeing the politicians crossing the border to obtain lessons and directives on how to tackle domestic problems is painful for averageNepalese citizens. It is neither jingoism, nor hatred towards India.It is love towards the nation and the desire to be perceived by theworld as an independent and sovereign nation. Our politicians can definitely do a better job than merely work on New Delhi's directives.A democracy that is home grown and nurtured by the very people whohave a stake on it is far more functional and durable than the onethat is forced to work by external forces. Thus, instead of enhancingdependency and relying on India to solve all our problems, our leadersmust learn to trust fellow citizens as well as to solve problems ontheir own. They should instill the habit of listening to the constituents. That will definitely make us feel proud.