Being Pro-Nepal is not being against India
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 10, 2011
Prof. Dr. Khagendra Thapa
Just as a man would not cherish living in a body other than his own, so do nations not like to live under other nations, however noble and great the latter may be. – Mohandas Gandhi
On March 3-6, 2011 Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs of India arranged a meeting supposedly to discuss and exchange views on bilateral issues on Indo-Nepal relations. The meeting was attended by members of the legislative body, political analysts, bureaucrats, journalists, retired army generals, and others. All the costs including travel and hotel of the Nepalese participants were paid by the Government of India. One of the objectives for the meeting was for India to find out as to why there is so much anti-India feeling in the minds of average Nepalese people.
India\’s political leaders should understand the fact that the following factors come into consideration when it comes to the feelings of an average Nepalese person about India:
1. It is never about the people to people relation. Indians and Nepalese people get along fine since we have been neighbors forever.
2. One cannot deny our cultural, religious and historical relation. Buddha was born in Nepal but achieved enlightenment in India. Nepalese people do not appreciate when India blatantly claims that Buddha was born in India.
3. India\’s building of dams close to the Nepalese border without Nepal\’s permission and in clear violation of international norms and regulations is unbearable to Nepalese people no matter where they live especially keeping in mind the fact that the farmers living in Nepal lose their crops due to flooding caused by the dam. It shows India\’s insensitivity and arrogance towards Nepal and her people no matter whether they come from Terai, mountains or the valleys.
4. The treatment poor Nepalese people receive in India especially right in border crossings is very inhuman. Every year many of our people are looted off their meager savings which they earned after working hard as a laborer. They are ripped off at the border just when they are about to reach their home to see the loved ones after more than a year of absence. Just imagine how it feels if you were one of those who have been cheated of a year’s savings. One cannot even think about the immense pain both mentally and physically it causes to the victims.
5. By far the most disturbing part in Nepal India relations is the Indian encroachment of Nepalese territory in numerous areas including Susta and Kalapani. According to the reports prepared by Buddhi Narayan Shrestha an well-known border expert and former Surveyor General of Nepal, India has encroached about 59,970 hectares of Nepali territory at 54 points in 21 districts adjoining India in the East, West and South.
As stated above, India has encroached Nepalese territory in numerous areas. However, the encroachment by India in the Kalapani-Limpiyadhura area with 372 sq km (37,800 hectares) is the largest chunk of Nepalese territory. All these cases are well documented, but India has not shown any sign of taking responsibility of its excesses in a foreign land. In May of 2009, the Indian Border Security Force (IBSF) encroached into Nepalese lands and committed atrocities along the border villages of western district of Dang. Two separate delegations of the Constituent Assembly and legislature parliament investigated and reached that conclusion unanimously. These actions resulted in the displacement of more than 6000 people from their homes. Cases of rape by Indian security personnel and disappearances have also been reported. This is not an isolated event. The fact is the IBSF has encroached on Nepalese territory and committed atrocities from Illam and Jhapa in the East all the way to Dhangadi, Baitadi, and Darchula in the West.
Nepal’s border with India is over 1,808 kilometers and disputes exist in at least 54 different places. Boundary markers at numerous of points have disappeared. In addition, the 10-yard wide strip of no man’s land between the two countries is getting blurred (often times occupied by the Indians) day by day.
6. The protection and assistance given to groups such as Madhise terrorists and criminals right now and the Maoists insurgents in the past are not the kind of acts a neighbor expects. How would India react if another neighbor were to provide shelter to Kashmiris, Nagalanders, Khalistanis, and many more freedom fighters of India?
7. Another area where India displays its shameless interference in the domestic affairs of Nepal is its constant involvement in manipulating the moronic, unpatriotic, and greedy semi-literate leaders of Nepal. The twelve point agreement engineered by India and signed by the seven political parties and the Maoists was a road map for blatant interference, subversion, with intent to disintegrate, annihilate Nepal and Nepalese people. As a direct result of this agreement, Nepal lost its international identity and a mark of distinction as the only Hindu country in the world. Nepal used to be a highly religiously tolerant country. Unlike in India, there had never been any kind of inter religious disputes or violence in Nepal. There are more than 100 countries in the world which identify themselves as Christian countries and there are 86 Muslim countries and there is only one Jewish state. So, what was wrong with Nepal retaining its sole characteristics as a Hindu Kingdom? Even people in India do not support of turning Nepal into a secular state when more than 86% of its people are Hindus.
8. Because Nepal is not only land-locked but is also India locked country; she has to face more economic problems than any other landlocked country in the world. It is not an exaggeration to state that India has complete control of the economy of Nepal. In addition, India has turned Nepal into its dumping ground for poor quality goods that it cannot only sell to other countries and even her own citizens would not buy them. But poor Nepalese people have no choice but to buy the substandard products because they have no access to any other similar products.
9. Nepalese people have seen in the past how Nepal’s leaders as well as journalists, and the type of people you invited to the seminar accept favors from India such as free education for their children including medical science, engineering and all other disciplines. It is immoral, unethical, and it constitutes a conflict of interest to accept favors from a neighboring country with which these individuals have to deal with many issues of great interest to Nepalese people including treaties related to trade, transit, river waters such as Mahakali treaty. How would Indian people react if India’s leaders accept favors from China when they are responsible to negotiate treaty related to border issues?
10. Average Nepalese people feel that they have been cheated by India as far as the treaties related to Koshi River Dam, Gandaki River and Mahakali River are concerned. These three unequal treaties related to the above mentioned rivers were made possible from the Nepalese side by the three Koirala brothers viz: Matrika Prasad Koirala, Bisheswor Prasad Koirala, and Girija Prasad Koirala. All these treaties were very unfavorable to Nepal. In fact, when the Koshi treaty was signed The Times of India commented that Nepal signed a treaty with India about the Koshi river that was so bad that even any state of India would not have signed such an unequal and unfair treaty.
Therefore, the rulers and policy makers of India should keep in mind the above facts about our true nature of relations. We want to be good neighbors and want to live peacefully. Nepalese people earnestly request India and her rulers to improve on the above nine points to have a very mutually beneficial relation so that we can respect each other and help each other as good neighbors.
Of course, your paid guests who participated in the seminar would not tell you the truth either they are ignorant and unaware or blinded by your hospitality and gifts.
I am all for the friendship and lasting peace between Nepalese and Indian people. Of course, I have many many good Indian friends including coworkers as well as neighbors. However, please do not be confused by our being pro-Nepal as being against India. That is not the case.
@The Weekly Mirror