Nepal’s Nationalism is Growing Thinner :
An Interaction Program
Buddhi Narayan Shrestha made a presentation in an interaction program in Pokhara on the topic ‘Border Issues of Nepal related to the Question of Current Nationalism’ on 11 September 2013. He had prepared a working paper as requested by ‘Committee for the Protection of Natural Heritage & Human Rights Nepal.’ With a short background and sub-headings, the main points of his written presentation were- national, nationality, nationalism, nationalistic force, elements of a nation, nationalism is growing thinner, reason of such situation going on, questions of national sovereignty, ideological disintegration, physical disintegration, conclusion and remarks as the last point. The program was conducted for nearly four hours with the questions, answers, comments and highlights.
During his deliberation Buddhi Narayan Shrestha said, Nepal nationalism is going to be thinner and thinner day by day due to the declining capability of our government authorities. The other factors of down trend of our national strength is the unstable politics, frequently changing government, not being an elected government, egoism-pride-disagreeing of political leaders, no trust and faith on each other leaders etc. There are foreign interventions in the nationalism of Nepal. It is a question mark on the sovereignty as well. Our decision makers, political leaders and head of the government smell the foreign force and their vested interest even to make a minor decision. They don’t pay attention on the interest of the general people and civic society of Nepal in the matter of national development plan, policy and diplomacy of Nepal. But the authorities hear attentively with their erected ears; what the neighboring countries are expressing and preaching on Nepal.
There was indirect intervention by neighbours till some years ago. But there are direct interventions from the neighboring countries in these days, in the matter of formation of government, appointment of ministers and head of constitutional bodies, and even to the promotion, posting and transfer of joint secretary level posts of the ministries, departments, corporations and organizations. This is very alarming in the matter of sovereignty, integrity and independency of Nepal and Nepali people.
Shrestha, during his long presentation cited so many burning examples on those matters related to the formation of government headed by incumbent Supreme Court Chief Justice, appointment of the Chief of Commission of Investigation of Abuse of Authority, Chief Secretary, Chief of Army Staff etc have been interfered by our neighbors.
Our national borders have been encroached and shrunk. This is due to the political instability, our weakness, weak government that waits signals from neighboring countries; to make decision even to a trifle matter. There are encroachments, disputes, conflicts, debates, cross-holding occupations, claims and counter-claims in 71 spots and places along 1,880 kilometer of Nepal-India border line. 26 districts of Nepal have been adjoined with the Indian border. Among them there are border issues in 23 districts (except Dhanusha, Dadeldhura and Baitadi). The total area of such areas have been enumerated and calculated as 606.62 square kilometer in various spots and patches. The largest chunk is 370 sq km of Kalapani-Limpiyadhura encroachment at Darchula district, 145 sq km of Susta area of Nawalparasi district and the smallest one is 240 square meter (half a Ropani only), located at Phatak of Pashupatinagar VDC-8 of Ilam district. Majority of the issues have been as the cross-holding occupations on agricultural land and the other reason is wash away of the border pillars due to the frequent changes of river course during monsoon season.
Regarding Nepal-China boundary, there is a conflict and disagreement on 6 hectares of land near Lapchegaun of Lamabagar area of Dolakha district for the last six years. This matter has been taken to seek a way out by Nepal-China Joint Boundary Committee.
So far as the border management is concerned, Nepal-India has an open border regime. But it has created several problems on both the countries due to infiltration of unwanted people through the porous international border. Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Afghani, Iranian, cross the international border easily in the disguise of Indian nationals; as their face, attire, language, habits are as similar to Indians. In the same way, Myanmarian (Burmese) and Bhutanese cross the border as Nepali citizens. Criminals commit crime in one frontier and they cross the international border without any interrogation and they hide on the other side of the border. Smuggling of fake Indian currency notes to India, narcotic drugs, trafficking of girls and women, abduction of individuals and children are due to make the border open for the Nepalese and Indians.
Regarding the northern border of Nepal with China, it has the regulated border management system. However, there are smugglings of small arms, gun-powder, electronic goods and materials from China (Tibet) to Nepal. Red sandalwood, yarsagamba, herbs, timber and bones of tigers and elephants etc are sent from Nepal to China illegally.
Concerning our border encroachment and disputes, I don’t blame our neighbors. Nepal border is our national property. We have to be vigilant on it. Our borders have been encroached due to my weakness, my friend’s negligence, carelessness of Nepali society, lethargy of our government. We have to be aware and alert to save our borders. Let us be attentive, not to let our territory be encroached by our neighbors. We don’t have to blame the neighbors. If it happens something else on our borders, we have to protest there and then and claim instantly. The Nepalese must protect Nepal’s international boundary ourselves. Neither Americans, nor British or Russians come to protect our boundaries. Because this is our national border and it is related to our nationality and sovereignty. If our border shrinks even an area of a single square kilometer, the Nepali citizens of that area will be converted into alien. If the rate of shrinkage of territory accelerates year after year, it will come one day that existence of Nepal as a State will be end. And Map of Nepal will be disappeared on the Map of the World. This is a very sensitive matter for the existence of the people of Nepal.
During the presentation Shrestha said, even the Nepalese intellectuals, human rights activists, civil society people are going to be divided into Southerner (Dakchhinpanthi), Northerner (Uttarpanthi) and westerner (Paschimpanthi). But it is going to be very few Nepali to be nationalistic (Rastrapanthi). Some of us make our mouth sweetened talking on the matter of India, and some others make their lips juicy turning to the China.
At the end of presentation Shrestha said we, the Nepali people must be aware and very sensitive on all these matters. We have to protect our Nepal as a sovereign nation. We have to create pressure from several corners to our political leaders, our government and national level decision makers.
In the present context, forthcoming election of Constitutional Assembly must be free, impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced and fraud less. A strengthful government must be formed with the result of the election, and according to the mandate of the general people, who could protect and preserve the nationality of Nepal and sovereignty of people. A powerful and stable government is needed to speak the dialect of general people. The government should be fully independent to raise the voice of Nepali people in the international arena. Ultimately, Nepal needs a capable government to generate employment for the young people within the territory of Nepal to increase the income and purchasing power of Nepali people and to expand Nepali economy. This will strengthen the capability of Nepal.
Shrestha made a very crucial and serious concluding remark off-hand (without written words) that if we make a study of incidents, happenings, political turnovers, changes in diplomacy and national strategy of Nepal; and various statements made by the high ranking dignitaries of the neighboring country from 1950 to this date, it has to come into conclusion that there will be ‘No Nepal’ by 2030 AD.
It is very serious and alarming for the Nepali people. Shrestha cited various examples starting from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s letter (7 November 1950) to Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, to the statements of Nepal’s incumbent Prime Minister’s statement.
Sardar Patel writes in his letter (9.e-f) ‘The political and administrative steps which we should take to strengthen our northern and north-eastern frontiers would include the whole of the border i. e. Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling and the Tribal Territory in Assam.’ In relation to this sentence, incumbent Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai admitted on 3 August 2012 that ‘The key happens to be somewhere else’ referring to the growing interference from the neighboring and international powers in the peace process, drafting of a constitution, federalism, foreign relations and administrative appointments (Kantipur Daily, 4 August 2012). Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai claimed on 15 January 2012 ‘There is no relevance to the theory of Nepal as a lifeless buffer zone between India and China. If Nepal is not transformed into a vibrant and a dynamic bridge between India and China, there looms the threat of either merging with India or China (Nagarik Daily, 16 January 2012).
All these statements and saying intend that we the Nepali people ourselves, our parliament with overwhelming majority and our government will formally hand over Nepal to India by 2030 AD. It may need three more general elections to ripe the surrendering /submitting process. It will be as the similar case of Sikkim which was amalgamated to India on16 May 1975. During the annexation of Nepal to India by 2030, present territory of Nepal i.e. east of Dudh+Koshi River will be merged into Sikkim, west of Karnali River may be affiliated to Uttarakhanda, River Koshi to Narayani lowland area shall be incorporated to Bihar, and Narayani to Karnali River low lying area will be absorbed to Uttar Pradesh; and name of this State will be changed into Gautam Buddha Pradesh. Rest of the northern mountainous portion will be formed as a new and additional State as 29th State of India, named as ‘Everest State.’
There will be a question, may China be silent if the government of Nepal intends to surrender herself to be annexed to India ? The answer is very short and simple, as an example of Sikkim. It is interesting to remember that China has formally buried its decades-old disputes on New Delhi’s claim over the former British protectorate of Sikkim, while India reiterated Beijing’s sovereign right over Tibet (Agencies/chinadaily.com.cn, Updated: 2005-04-12, 13:28) during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited New Delhi on 11 April 2005 in connection to sign on twelve Protocols and Agreements by visiting Chinese Premier and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other related high ranking officials of both countries.
In such a fashion China endorsed that Sikkim belongs to India. In the same way, India reiterated that Tibet is an integral part and parcel of China. In the newly emerging case of Nepal, it cannot be said that Sikkim case may not be applied by both China and India.
Here is another supporting incident. During the visit of Chinese PM Wen Jiabao to New Delhi, he presented a map to his counterpart Manmohan Singh. This map was published as the Third Edition in 2004 in China. On that map, Sikkim was demarcated within the territory as the 28th State of India. But it was the real fact that Sikkim was drawn as an independent and sovereign nation till the publication of Second Edition of that very map.
It is interesting to note that Prime Minister Manmohan Sing read the description of that map and it was given to Shyam Sharan (Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs), who was sitting behind him. Shyam Sharan managed to make photocopies of that map instantly and it was distributed to the media persons, who were presented over there on 11 April 2005 (Kantipur Daily, 12 April 2005). This example may show, China may be mum (?) if their national interest is fulfilled in the case of her neighbors. Because Nepal-China diplomacy has been turned into a little bit up and down (left and right) since the last three decades due to negligence and idleness of Nepal. However, there may be played a different game (scenario), if the international forces eye sharply on Nepal, India and China.
Buddhi Narayan Shrestha ultimately opined and prayed- may this version or thinking not come into reality. May it be a false statement or untrue logic. To make this statement and saying false, untrue and undeserving; all the Nepali people must come into front unitedly (mentally and physically) from right now to protect and preserve the endangered sovereignty and national integrity of Nepal; not to let the foreign and neighbor’s intervention in the sphere of our nationalism, sovereignty and integrity of territory. We don’t have to be disheartened and discouraged. But we have to remember the actions and activities of our historic bold, brave and courageous ancestors. We need a sincere and dedicated government for the protection of our nationalism and sovereignty.
After the presentation, there were many questions, queries and highlights. Some of the participants opined, it is not necessary to be discouraged on the matter of sovereignty.
The paper presented by Shrestha was commented by two noted commentators. Commenting on the paper, Prof. Dr. Krishna KC said, the encroachment and disputes on our territory is still going on. We have to conduct various awareness programs like this, as organized by ‘Committee for the Protection of Natural Heritage & Human Rights Nepal.’ He further made a comment that the encroached frontier will be returned back, if all the Nepali people go ahead on the path as shown by Buddhi Narayan Shrestha. Only Shrestha is not sufficient for the protection of our national boundaries. Sovereignty and self-respect of Nepal have been disheartened time to time after the treaty of Sugauli- 1816. Our border problems must be resolved with an integrated approach in effective effort and meaningful attempt.
Similarly, Lawyer Tilak Parajuli commented on the paper that the border issue should be resolved amicably. If the problems are not solved in a friendly manner, Nepal should seek international help and could go to the International Court of Justice. Our border has been encroached due to unstable political environment, foreign intervention; and government authorities are not firm and determined on this matter.
After the comments, questions and answer, Buddhi Narayan Shrestha was felicitated by Western Regional Administrator Lok Darshan Regmi, on behalf of ‘Committee for the Protection of Natural Heritage & human Rights Nepal’ by presenting a ‘Letter of Felicitation’ on a wooden carved plaque. It was presented to Shrestha in recognition of the contribution made by him by presenting a working paper, coming from Kathmandu.
Before presenting the plaque, Shrestha was welcomed with garland by Prof. Dr. Bhawani Prasad Panday, President of the Committee.
As the Chief Guest of the program, Western Regional Administrator Lok Darshan Regmi said, I feel pain in my mind hearing on the matter of border encroachment and dispute. But it has not reached on the stage of despair and dejection. The land of Susta area of Nawalparasi district, under my administrative region, has been encroached. But we are not able to do something else due to lack of firm policy of the State.
He further said, the government administrative machinery has installed four CCTV Cameras in four different places as electronic check-posts, in connection to the security system. Such mechanism will be introduced and implemented in additional places, including Nawalparasi district. It will help to control the border encroachment and it helps to stop the cross-border drug trafficking and illegally carrying of goods and materials from Nepal to India and vice versa.
He committed to make an opportune, as far as possible, to stop various incidents on the border region, including border encroachments. At the last he said, he was happy to felicitate an eminent border expert Buddhi Narayan Shrestha on behalf of ‘Committee for the Protection of Natural Heritage & Human Rights Nepal.’ He wished all the best to Shrestha to continue his efforts for the protection of sovereignty and integrity of Nepal.
Prof. Dr. Bhawani Prasad Panday, President of ‘Committee for the Protection of Natural Heritage & Human Rights Nepal’ had chaired the program.
The program was anchored by Ram Bahadur Paudel, General Secretary of the ‘Committee for the Protection of Natural Heritage & Human Rights Nepal.’
He mentioned the purpose of organizing this interaction program, that is to create awareness and to provide factual information to the civic society and general people. Our nation at the moment is going to be in a crucial danger. We have to save our nation as preserved and protected by our forefathers and ancestors.
Source: Pokhara Aawaz Daily, Himadoot Daily, Hot Line Daily, Aadarsha Samaj Daily, Samadhan Daily etc, 12 September 2013.