Wake up from this dreamy worldOurs is a country where personal interests always take precedence over national interests.
We Nepalis don’t care what the world thinks of us, for we are happy in our small world and think pretty highly of ourselves. So much so that we don't need any outsiders to tell us what we lack and what's best for us, and we always behave like the world belongs to us. Sadly, that's nothing more than wishful thinking, and we seem to be living in a fantasy world. There is a stark contrast between what we think and reality. In reality, we are one of the dumbest and most naïve, short-sighted, selfish, pompous and gullible people in the world. It might sound brutal, but that's the reality; and it has to be said to our face if we are to wake up from this dreamy world.
Ours is a country where personal interests always take precedence over national interests. Leaders behave like thugs. Criminals and cartels get the top leaders’ ears. Government officials prey on the public. The country's youths work as cheap labourers in unimaginable conditions around the globe. Industries are all killed off to facilitate a new market for imports. Leaders are selected not on merit but on the basis of their oratory skills. Positions and powers are shared through nepotism, favouritism and cronyism. Top leaders amass enough wealth to last several generations. Foreign direct investment is virtually close to zero, and the whole economy survives on remittances. The national army is used to serve the leaders instead of protecting the borders. People have to fear the police instead of feeling safe.
Zero diplomatic skills
As far as international diplomacy is concerned, we have almost zero skills in achieving anything substantial. Here are three glaring examples of why we have failed miserably and need to learn if we are to make progress. Take, for instance, how we failed to recognise the importance of leveraging our diplomatic skills to tell the world that Buddha was born in Nepal. Our southern neighbour got one step ahead of us, said to the world that Buddha was an Indian prince, and ever since we have been on the back foot. The economic benefits it could have brought are massive. Countries willing to build roads, bridges and hotels to help connect the birthplace with the outside world are waiting in the wings. Even a railroad joining Buddha’s birthplace and north China via Kathmandu is on offer, and it can quickly turn the place into one of the world's top tourist destinations.
Secondly, the Himalayas are a boon to us, blessed with hundreds of beautiful mountains, including the top eight tallest ones in the world. Tourists come to Nepal simply because the Himalayas are here. Nobody did a thing or spent a cent on advertising, yet we never experienced a shortage in tourist arrivals. Just imagine what could have happened if we had done it correctly—such as giving priority to the tourism industry, letting professional and motivated officials run the industry, registering the participating hotels and organisations, and taking good care of the officials and staff working in the tourism industry. Additionally, building and maintaining the roads and infrastructure leading to the Himalayas, and creating a committee that helps look after the industry. Most importantly, the government should have created an environment where locals are encouraged to get involved and feel like an integral part of the whole process.
Thirdly, as history can attest, the Gurkhas were the main reason the British didn't march into Kathmandu and make it one of the colonies of the British Empire. Almost half a million Gurkhas fought for the British in World Wars I and II, and their sacrifices guaranteed the very existence of our nation, Nepal. Since 1815, each year the British came to Nepal, took our best sons, gave them a rifle, made them fight their dirty wars, and tossed them back when they became old and frail. And they have been doing that for the last 207 years on the pretext of being a friend, and we believed them. And the implications it had on our country as a whole were devastating, and is considered one of the main reasons why Nepal is still poor and underdeveloped. Even worse, the Gurkhas are one of the most neglected and unappreciated people in Nepal. And to add insult to injury, the whole country treats them as mere mercenaries and looks down on them. Instead of ridiculing the Gurkhas, our country could have benefited greatly had we used their good standing for the promotion of our country and helped develop our tourist industry.
Golden begging bowl
Nepal is not a poor country in terms of natural resources. Yet, we have failed miserably to utilise them for the country's goodwill and ended up looking like a beggar with a golden begging bowl. Sarcasm apart, we can still change the country's fate by using our strengths, and we don't even have to move mountains. All we need to do is change our mentality, put aside personal interests, and instead start working for the country's welfare. Let the foreigners come in with money and build the roads, bridges and railroads connecting Lumbini to the outside world. Hire professionals and experts to manage the whole mountain climbing industry. Instead of vilifying the Gurkhas, promote their good name around the world for the sake of our nation. And allow tourists to have the best experience and give them a reason to revisit.
If we Nepali people were hardworking, diligent and country-loving, we would have never put ourselves in such a situation anyway. Besides, we already know what we need to make our country prosperous. Just go and ask any one of them, and they will tell you everything in a single breath for we are excellent talkers, but not doers. It's not in our blood, and we cannot even come together for once for our own country. We could hardly rise above our travails, let alone the national interest. It certainly makes one wonder and ask if we are supposed to be what we are. Of course not! I want to shout at the top of my lungs. Unfortunately, reality tells us something different that sounds much more sinister, depressing and pathetic. If we are to prove ourselves wrong, we better start changing ourselves and making all the wrongs right again. God save us!