Visit to Sri Lanka
(also identity crisis of Nepal)
A delegation from Nepal Council of World Affairs (NCWA) had visited Colombo and Kandy in Sri Lanka on the invitation of Bandaranaike Center for International Studies (BCIS) from 10 April 2013. Purpose of visit was to foster and enhance relationship between NCWA and BCIS. During visit, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between NCWA and BCIS at the BCIS Board Room.
It was a goodwill visit to strengthen the friendly relations between the two organizations of two countries. The Nepali delegation attended also as special invitees to the Language Award Ceremony at SBMEC Auditorium. Ambassadors of five countries residing in Colombo also attended the ceremony. Dinner was hosted by Bandhula Ekanayke, Director General of BCIS, at Hotel Hilton, Colombo in honour of Nepali delegation.
Nepali delegation had visited Independence Square, Gangaramaya Temple, Galle Face Beach and other historical monuments in Colombo. Ambassador of Nepal to Sri Lanka Sushil Chandra Amatya had hosted a dinner in honour of visiting Nepali delegation. Sri Lankan dignitaries were also present at the dinner.
A travel was managed to visit Kandy from Colombo by train to experience the topography of Sri Lanka. While returning back to Colombo, the delegation experienced micro bus riding.
In Kandy, we visited the Temple of Tooth, Botanical Garden, Museum of Buddha Relic and other historical monuments. During the visit to the temple to tooth (at Dalada Maligawa), we met Gamini Bandara, Director of International Affairs, temple of tooth). While talking unofficially, he told us that Buddha was born in India. I vehemently opposed, as his saying is totally mistaken and misleading that Buddha was born in Nepal, not in India. In response he said, he had read such items in the book. He also said, while Sri Lankan pilgrims visit Lumbini, birth place of Lord Buddha they go to India.
We protested and pleaded that Lumbini is located in Nepal, but not in India. So Buddha was born in Nepal. I had my visiting card with me as it was written ‘Buddha was born in Nepal.’ I gave this visiting card to Gamini Bandara and requested him to make corrections in his false and misleading statement and improve his scanty knowledge.
After that, his face was rather blurred. I insisted him to make correction on his knowledge of Lord Buddha’s birth place. He finally said he will update his knowledge and information. He further said that he will read related materials. Such type of misleading about the location of Lumbini and birthplace of Buddha did hurt me very much and other members of Nepali delegation as well.
It may be relevant to mention one more interesting thing, while visiting the museum of Buddha’ Relic area in Kandy. There were separate halls with the materials from Nepal, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as well. There was an inscription mentioning that ‘Mayadevi gave birth Lord Buddha under a Saal Tree in Lumbini. But it is mysterious that the word ‘Nepal’ was written nowhere in those materials. The other thing is that, the materials from various countries like Pakistan or Bangladesh were put and managed under their national flag in the hall. But there was not installed the national flag of Nepal, where there were some materials brought from Nepal.
I don’t know whether this type of short comings have been made unknowingly or by mistake or intentionally. At least, the Ambassador of Nepal to Sri Lanka should take initiative to correct and improve on all these things to maintain the identity of Nepal. I think each and every Nepali Ambassador might have visited that spot. Why they are not so sensitive and serious on all these matters of national identity of Nepal ? They are representing Nepal.
We talk very much on Nepali politics and political leaders. General folk people from Namle-Doke-Kharpane brothers and sisters to University teachers and intellectual personalities talk on politics too much anywhere, in tea shops and open discussions. One Chana Chatpate seller or Badam seller can talk and explain about Nepali politics for an hour. But they cannot speak for more than two-four minutes on the matter of national identity and overall development of Nepal, which is necessary for the protection of our sovereignty, freedom and integrity of Nepal; and means of economic development of the people of Nepal. It has to be thought seriously and come into action on these national issues by the government and political leaders on those types of sensitive matters.