As proud as a Nepali can be, I refuse to sign any internet petitions against the Indian Blockade. This may seem contrary to what now passes as a patriot, the sheer anti-India conception. One need not be against Indian governments (past and present) to be a patriot, one simply needs to be a true self of what one believes in, for identity is acquired not ascribed.
Nepalese people have been known for two things: Laughter and Guts. Laughter is our meaning to life while Guts provides the fuel necessary for such a mirth. I don’t believe in opening up the transit points because it will make us ultra-dependent on India once again. Yes, the blockade is illegal but it is also revelatory to Nepalese consciousness. In the name of helping its neighbors, Indian governments have offered loans, bi-lateral agreements, investments, multi-million projects to Nepal, and shamefully, we have accepted it as a token of goodwill since Day 1 (First Five Year Plan, 1956). One thing that I have come to observe is that International politics is never about politics, it is always economic in nature, protecting one’s investments through any means necessary; corruption, nepotism, destruction of local businesses, dependence on third parties, direct/indirect political interference among others, which we are well acquainted with.
Look what we have to show for ourselves! Lofty stories of Gurkha Regiments and a melting Mt. Everest. A mere 5.1% of GDP and $2400 for GDP per capita (CIA World Fact Book, 2014) and other low, insipid data and charts representing bleakness of our plight.
Once the blockade is undone, we are going to be back on the same path. One shouldn’t care about what India speaks and interprets but what we as a nation stand for. When I thought about Nepal it was a hopeless case of unity. I thought we are never going to be a united country, having more than a hundred of ethnic groups and 123 languages spoken (CBS, 2011), without an element that could unify, we were a doomed nation. One can argue that anti-Indian sentiments are unifying elements but what commences from hate never bodes well. One should plainly refute it on the grounds of propriety. Then a miracle happened, Earthquake! Which symbolizes the path that we should tread on. The destruction of past faults to create new. Never had Nepal been so unified as a nation. The spirit still lingers.
Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG) were initiated through multiparty democracy in Nepal in the 90’s. It opened up a wide range of possibilities for business in Nepal but us imbeciles, let it go the Indian way. We are a flop on this matter. But why? Is it because the Indian governments were shrewd in diplomacy or is it our own misdoings. Let’s look at ourselves from head to toe, what have we for ourselves. And this blockade, it’s a sign of fresh constitution, a fresh start for us. Why should we go back on Indian dependence now. Yes, it’s harsh but Rome wasn’t built in a day either. Let it be known to the world that we can sustain ourselves, which of course, without a shred of doubt we can. Also, let’s make some logical amendments on our constitution that truly addresses the Madhesh issues. It is in certes, an injustice to them for they have some valid demands and some are allegedly Indian demands. With more than 50% of our population residing in Terai of which 22% are identified as Madheshis (Both indigenous and immigrants from India), it is imperative that amendments to facilitate equity based policies should speed up before the demarcation comes into practice. Since 2006, Distributive justice has been the basis on which people’s participation is facilitated, it should be continued till equality is achieved.
So how do we achieve equality in an underdeveloped country which is pervasively dependent on India for its economic and political development? Through China? No! Another cycle of dependency will ensue. We need to take this blockade by its throat and do what every developed countries in the world has rudimentarily done, let the means of production be local.
Let’s be gutsy and let’s smile on the face of despair like our ancestors were known for.