Excerpts of an article published in the Kathmandu Post today:
Despite being so close and sharing a border there is an unimaginably high level of misunderstanding about Nepal among Indians. Some of those misunderstandings are based on rumours and hearsay (all Nepalis smoke pot) while others are created by the Indian mainstream media that is most of the times frighteningly immature and trivial when it comes to covering Nepal.
Tens of thousands of Nepali students study in India—right across the country. They are more likely to meet educated and influential Indians (some with misinformation about Nepal) all over the country. That is why these students, not the diplomats, are the real ambassadors of the Himalayan republic in the world’s largest democracy.
Sometime the arguments turn into unreasonable blabber. “When they have nothing to support their argument, they just try to bring in nationality and say ‘you Nepalon, keep quiet’,” said a student who studies in Delhi University. “In such cases when they just argue nothing but keep repeating about the size of their democracy, we also say: if you are the largest democracy, don’t forget, we are also the highest democracy,” said another student at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Lesser known or politically and economically less powerful countries try to promote their interests in important foreign societies and markets through various means. But Nepal hasn’t found ways to promote itself among the Indian public.
[Here’s the full version of the article. Or, click on the photo above.]
1. Face Value: Being a Nepali in India
Only a person with a flat nose and, I hate to use the word here but I must, “chinky” eyes, passes as a Nepali for many Indians…..Going by their reactions and comments, I have come to the conclusion that only those with Mongolian features are considered Nepali in India.
When I hear the same from educated Indians like journalists, software professionals, bank employees and university students, I seriously try to explain to them the diverse nature of Nepali society that lives at different altitudes, eats varieties of foods, speaks many languages and sport different looks.
2. Chance Encounters (with Nepalis) In India
It was the lunch hour and the concrete shade, not very far from the showroom, was his favorite spot to eat. Not that they didn’t let him eat in a corner of the showroom itself; but, he said, he found peace here. “And some time to rest,” he added. Hundreds of thousands of uneducated, unskilled and unemployed men (and women) from Nepal come to several Indian cities to take up low-wage, laborious and sometimes humiliating jobs. One can find such Nepalis almost everywhere in India.
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